Condominium bylaws are the rules that regulate the condo corporation. They provide guidelines for the management, renting and administration of the units, the common property and any other real and personal property owned by the corporation. A board of directors is elected by the unit owners to carry out the condominium corporation’s responsibilities.
Condominium bylaws vary greatly. Some for example, may not allow children or pets to live in the complex. In other complexes if you wish to remodel the interior of your unit you may have to seek approval from the board of directors if the common property or building structure is affected. It is absolutely essential to make sure you know what bylaws govern the condominium you own and your rights and responsibilities, before you join a condo board.
How Can an Owner or Board Member Change a Condo Bylaw?
Every condominium has a set of bylaws. When a condominium plan is registered, it may include the initial set of bylaws that govern the corporation. If not, the bylaws found in Appendix 1 of the Condominium Property Act apply until they are replaced.
If the condominium was built before May 16, 1978, the corporation would be regulated by the bylaws found in Appendix 2 of the Act until they are replaced. Owners can change the bylaws to suit their particular complex by passing a motion to adopt the changes. A special resolution, requiring the approval of 75% of the owners named on the unit titles and representing not less than 7,500 unit factors is required to make any changes to the bylaws.
Changes are effective after the board registers the changes at a Land Titles Office. Owners, and everyone occupying a unit, are bound by the bylaws of the corporation. If there is a conflict between the bylaws and the Condominium Property Act, the Act applies. The Act and specific bylaws give the corporation the right to impose sanctions, like fines, on owners who fail to comply with the bylaws.
What questions should I ask before I join my condo board?
- Pets: whether they’re allowed, how many and types are allowed, whether board approval is required, etc.
- Age Restrictions: whether there is a minimum age to live in the building, whether children are allowed, etc.
- Aesthetic restrictions: colour of window coverings, whether planters are allowed on balconies, etc.
- Renovation guidelines: installation of hardwood flooring may require extra soundproofing, etc.
- Parking restrictions: types of vehicles that can be parked, visitor parking rules, etc.
- Use of amenities: hours of operation, maintenance standards, visitor policies, etc.
- Condo governance: electing board members, meeting schedule, voting procedures, bylaw amendments, etc.
- Bylaw enforcement: penalties for not following bylaws, such as the smoking policy, or rules for BBQ’s and air conditioners.
- Renting: What are the rules for subleasing units to non-owners?
- Insurance: What are the necessary types of insurance for owners?
What happens if an owner doesn’t follow the bylaws?
The Condominium Property Act requires the condominium board to enforce the bylaws. The board therefore has the ability to impose penalties on anyone who is not following the bylaws.
However, a penalty can only be imposed if the bylaw specifically states that a penalty can be imposed and indicates what the penalty is. If there is a financial penalty, the bylaw must state the amount of money or range of money that could be charged for failing to obey the bylaw.
To enforce a penalty, a condominium corporation can make an application in court to recover the unpaid financial penalty and/or for damages due to the owner’s failure to comply with the penalty imposed. However, a corporation can only take court action if the bylaw(s) in question were filed with the Land Titles Office.
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