Property damage from Tenants: Do Property Managers Pay For Repairs?

We no longer live in an age where owning a property meant that either:

  • You were living there, or
  • Rented it out to a tenant on a year-long lease.

Condo property management is slightly more complicated than it used to be. We’re living in a time where you may find yourself trusting strangers with your condominium while you are away for a weekend through AirBnB services or subletting your place while you travel for the summer.

AirBnB grew by 125% just last year, across Canada. Sure, this means greater flexibility for you as a condo owner because you don’t have as much pressure to pay rent while you’re away but this also means your condo unit is susceptible to damages. While there may be certain checks and balances put in place, it’s hard to know whether someone will take care of your property as well as you do.

Unfortunately, if there is damage caused to your condo from guests, the more parties involved, the more complicated it gets.

Do Property Managers Pay For Repairs?

When it comes to repairs and maintenance of condominium property, there are two types of repairs: repairs to your individual unit and repairs to the common elements.

Each condominium building has its own set of by-laws, rules and regulations. Condo corporations must also carry certain insurance that can often affect repair and maintenance of the building.

Furthermore, any insurance coverage you may have for your individual unit can affect your repair and maintenance responsibilities as well. While these factors impact each individual case specifically, we can spell out what constitutes repairs within your unit versus shared condo repairs.

What constitutes repairs within an individual unit?

damage repair

Typically, by-laws hold unit owners responsible for the maintenance of their personal units. This could mean any damage made within their own unit that is not a result of a problem extending from another unit. This could entail a leak, drywall damage, or broken window that results from damage caused within the unit but you or a guest.

You are expected to take care of the damages and all cost resulting from these issues.

In many condo buildings in Toronto, if the electrical and plumbing is behind your unit wall and services only your unit, you are primarily responsible for any repairs or damages for these problems as well.

Let’s make this clearer with a specific example— if you have a guest over or are renting your unit out to a subletter and your toilet gets clogged because of something they put down the toilet, you’re responsible as the unit owner for fixing it.

Similarly, if there’s a pipe issue with a pipe that services just your unit, the responsibility falls on your shoulders as the unit owner to fix it. This means you are paying for the repairs out of pocket.

Looking at your condominium’s declaration will help you determine what the unit boundaries look like and what specifically you’re responsible for repairing.

If, for instance, the damage to your unit is from another unit above or adjacent to your unit, you can contact your property management company in Toronto to determine who is responsible for repairs and who will cover the costs for the damages. In most of these cases, if the problem is caused by an external issue in the building not stemming from your personal unit, you are not directly responsible for the repairs.

Since 30% of Canadian condo owners rent out their condominiums, it makes perfect sense that owners, tenants and guests understand their role in the maintenance of the property.
It’s important to understand that if damages to your property result from your own guests or tenants, you’re usually responsible and liable to fix the damages (or at least pay for the damages). Just to double-check specifics, make sure you take a look at your Condominium’s Declaration to determine what the standards and time limits your condo corporation expects repairs to be done. Most condo buildings set a time frame for repairs and expect that they be done in a reasonable time frame for the overall maintenance of the building.

Who is responsible for repairs to the shared spaces of a condo building?

The property management company or condo corporation is responsible for maintaining and repairing damages to any common elements such as the elevator, lobby area, car garage, hallways, gym, pool or any shared spaces within the condominium building.

Shared elements consist of all parts of the condominium property that extends beyond the boundaries of your individual unit. In most cases, as long as the damage caused to the common property is not intentional, the condo corporation uses the funds from the monthly maintenance fee to pay for repairs.

Let’s say, for example, that your guests or tenant accidentally damage one of the shared elements. They have parked in your parking unit and their car leaks oil in the parking space. You as the unit owner would be responsible, in most Condo buildings, to take care of the damages caused. Again, your Condominium Declaration will specify who is responsible, but in most cases, owners are responsible to pay for repairs when:

    • Their guests have not carried out proper maintenance or have not allowed the corporation to do so in the case of individual and share elements.
    • They or guests have broken an item which must be repaired. This can be within the unit, such as a balcony railing, or in a common space, such as a fire alarm system.
    • Their guests or tenant have broken something that is a common element exclusive use, such as a parking space storage locker or mailbox.
    • Toxic materials, such as car oils, leaking inside a locker or parking space area.
    • Your monthly condo fees are paid to take care of emergencies, and for the general maintenance and upkeep of common condo spaces. These are considered common expenses so every unit owner is responsible to pay a monthly fee— so that the funds are available to cover these costs. However, if the damage is caused directly by a guest or tenant, most Condominium Declarations will hold the unit owner responsible for the repair and damages.

Take a look at your Condominium’s Declaration to determine what responsibilities lie where. If you are looking for assistance, consulting a property management company in Toronto might help you ease some of the stress that looking after rental units entails.

ICC® Property Management has been managing condos in the GTA since 1992. We can handle all the responsibilities in managing your condo building and all of the maintenance and repairs that come along with it.

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