I Have a Problem: Do I Call My Toronto Condo Management Company or My Board of Directors?

The data from the first quarter of the Toronto condominium market is available, and it reflects some interesting facts and figures about real estate and the population of Toronto in general:

  • Condo sales are up 5% in total over the past 5 years
  • The average price of sold units has gone up by 3% since 2013
  • There were 5,611 units completed in quarter one
  • Units under construction has dropped 6% compared to last year

This data shows that now is a great time to be a condo owner in Toronto. Property values appear to be positioned for growth, and new opportunities are cropping up throughout the marketplace.

If you recently purchased a condo in Toronto, then congratulations! We at ICC® Property Management know that a condo lifestyle is often highly rewarding and desirable. However, you may also have some questions when it comes to Toronto condo management companies and your community’s board of directors.

Now that you are a condo owner, you should become more familiar with these organizations and what they do. These groups actually can have a big impact on your life. You pay fees, and in exchange, you receive access to the common areas of your condo unit, such as parking areas, hallways, parks, and other shared facilities.

If you are confused, the best place to start out is with your condo’s declaration, bylaws, and rules and regulations. These documents should have been provided to you upon the purchase of your condo. If they were not, most property management companies can provide them for you as a new owner upon request. Additionally, at ICC® Property Management, our staff will meet with all new homeowners for a brief orientation.

Declaration and Bylaws

The declaration and bylaws are the documents that will provide you with insights about how a condo community operates. It defines what the condo is responsible for and what the homeowner is responsible for. It will also delineate specific duties for board members and board positions, including the president, secretary, and treasurer. If you are not sure who handles a particular issue, then this is a good place to start, but most often, your Property Manager should be able to answer any questions that you have.

In particular, pay attention to the bylaws. These will tell you about homeowner meetings and how they are conducted in addition to voting rights and election procedures. This will often give you some insight into how to approach certain problems that must be addressed by the community and how to approach those problems with the correct procedures.

Note that each community is also different. Even if you have lived in a condominium previously, chances are, the new one will be different in order to adapt to the regulations laid out in the bylaws and the lifestyle of the particular community you have joined. Many communities take different approaches to Toronto condo management, which is permitted, provided they stay within the bounds of the law.

Rules and Regulations

Rules and regulations are those policies laid out by the condo community governing certain standards for the condo community. Rules are created and enforced for the safety, security and enjoyment of the community. These are most commonly the rules that apply directly to you and can cover a wide range of topics:

  • Pet policies and pet clean-up expectations
  • Rules for décor
  • Procedures for seasonal contingencies, like snow removal or clean-up
  • Restrictions on things like satellite dishes or other outside structures
  • Noise policies
  • Parking issues
  • Rules governing the use of communal spaces, such as pools, exercise facilities, or laundry facilities

These are just a few areas that can be covered, depending on the kind of conduct the community wants to establish as the norm in a particular community. What kinds of rules have you seen, or what kinds of rules does your community have?

Who Does What

Often, the board of directors for a condo community will delegate a number of duties to a Toronto condo management company, like ICC® Property Management. The property management company works for the board of directors, but more importantly, works for the community as a whole.

Your monthly common expenses cover everything from maintenance, contract services, utilities as well as a reserve fund for future major repairs and replacements. Property management companies are responsible for collecting these fees and designating them for current and future expenses.

Condo communities are required to collect fees to put toward a reserve fund in order to cover anticipated major repairs and replacements.
Without adequate reserve funds, there have been situations where condo owners have had to pay more than $10,000.00 each in some instances to cover special assessments for necessary major repairs.

You can usually request financial information from either the property management company or the community; generally, though, expect to pay between 50 to 80 cents per square foot toward common element fees in Toronto.

These companies also usually handle the hiring and supervision of contractors to provide maintenance and repair services to the common elements in a condo complex. This can include grounds keeping, security services, snow removal, and other major components like heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Many also provide emergency hotlines for after-hours problems, like roofing issues, leaks, fires or building-wide electrical problems.

The board of directors is typically responsible for things like handling the condo’s legal affairs. This can mean hiring a lawyer to handle collections issues, and directing management to issue warnings to those who violate the rules. Boards are often advised by their Toronto property management companies, who are also sometimes designated to keep track of issues among residents in order to pass the concerns along to the board for consideration.

Board members are most often volunteers, meaning that the relationship between the board and the property management company is essential. The management company can often provide significant help on day-to-day functions, leaving board members to address issues that arise in the intervening periods during their regular meetings. It is often wise to have a liaison between the board and the property management company in order to address issues quickly if needed.

At ICC® Property Management, we have significant experience in helping boards of directors, particularly in new developments requiring assistance with getting their communities started. We can provide realistic advice and comprehensive services to make the transition into condo living smoother and easier. We can also provide exceptional condo property management services, from maintenance and upkeep to financial records and administrative services.

If you or someone you know has recently moved into a condo unit, and needs assistance determining how to address their concerns, share this article with them to help them gain some insights into how condo communities and property management companies work.

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