reality of condo life
ingenious device for obtaining profit without individual responsibility.”
Buying a unit in a condo is somewhat like joining a commune or a
kibbutz. The condo has its by-laws, rules and policies that all owners
and their guests must obey. It is not like renting where if you don’t
like the rules, you just move. Getting out of a condo, without taking a
financial loss, may not be easy.
boards pass rules banning dogs
You may love your condo and you will have no
serious issues at all with the board or your neighbours and you will
think that it was a wise investment. Many
people do enjoy their condo lifestyle.
It is also possible that you will find that owning a condo is just
like living in a rental building except that now you own part of the
Sure you only have to write one cheque a month and everything is done
for you, but the bad news is that you may have very little control over
way that cheque is spent. You have become a minority shareholder
with a mortgage.
life like it
Buying a condo locked you into a small private community that is also a
privately-owned corporation that needs to
be professionally run and properly maintained.
Yet, some condo corporations, that
have real estate assets worth
$50-200 million and an annual multi-million dollar cash flow, are run
by amateurs on the board of directors and a property manager who—acting
together or separately—may be Condo
best and at worst may be incompetent, naive, lazy or stupid. Corruption is a
If you cross a vindictive board, you could find yourself being harassed
by the board
and the manager and threatened
by the condo lawyer who may send you a
bill for several hundreds of dollars for the privilege of being bullied.
A condominium may be the only type of corporation that has the right,
and sometimes uses it, to sue their shareholders (owners) and lien
walls, nasty neigbours
If you bought a new unit you may find that there are serious
construction faults. Water leaks and mould can be serious problems.
Thin walls between the units may cause you to hear your neighbour’s
private telephone calls, their TV and even their opening or closing the
drawers in their bathroom vanity. The bass on a their expensive sound
system or home theatre may drive you nuts.
You may smell your neighbour's cigarette smoke and cooking odours and
hear their toilets flush.
If you paid extra and got a terrace, lit cigarette butts, candy bar
wrappers, used condoms and dog urine may rain down upon you and your
expensive patio furniture.
A commentator on a Globe and Mail site remarking on his ten years
living in a condo stated:
Having lived in a Toronto condo for over a decade now I can tell you
your happiness may be short-lived. Here is a list of the problems we've
infested with dogs whose owners leave them
alone all day and do not walk them sufficiently. The end result is that
you are eventually going to have a barking problem on your floor which
will awaken you at all hours of the day and night.
Also without strict enforcement of the no urinating on condo property
rule any grass will soon be brown. This has happened at the new condo
across the street from us.
|A young family will move in
above you and with hardwood floors now the
norm you'll be listening to kids jumping and dropping things on the
floor from the time they are one years old to about six years old.
Again not an insoluble problem but with more and more young families
not able to afford even a semi-detached expect these types of young
children noise problems to increase.
| The high heel walker on
This has turned out to be the most difficult to deal with if the person
above wants to be an jerk. Hardwood floors with improper or
insufficient sub-flooring and an uncivil person is a recipe for
disaster. We had this problem with a tenant above who started their day
in high heels at 0:500 hours.
The problem took a year to resolve with the woman moving out.
| Odours in the common space
hallways which then enter your suite.
Pot and cigarette smoking is a big problem as is cooking odours and
incense. Many condos do not have sufficient positive pressure
ventilation to keep these odours from escaping the suites between the
door and frame which is often made worse by opening a window.
| Hard core partiers sharing
one of your suite's common walls.
We've not had this problem yet but others in the building have. The
penthouse owners had a rich Nigerian 22 year-old kid who liked to party
five nights a week and bring strippers over as well. It took a year to
evict the guy meanwhile everyone near his suite suffered.
The surround sound bass sub-woofers can be a real problem too in a
|Your suite owner decides to
sell or move in. I've had this happen to me
twice in 15 years as the suite owner divorced and wanted to move in.
always recommend that if people are looking to purchase a condo they
rent in the building first to determine the problems before buying.
Each building has its own culture and problems. Even as a renter
eventually you'll have to deal with one of the above problems.
When you buy a house the chances are very low that the neighbourhood
will drastically change in one year. That process usually takes years.
In condos there may be a major change from one year to another.
Being satisfied with the board at time of purchase is no guarantee that
future boards will continue managing with the same values. Annual
elections have the potential to replace two-fifths of a five-person
A board that believed in properly maintaining the building and
enforcing the rules can mutate into a board that wants no increases in
fees and is lax in confronting noise and parking violations. Proper
maintenance may become a distant memory.