You are responsible for maintaining the interior of your unit.

If you have a plugged sink or need a light bulb changed, a security guard or the building superintendent is not responsible to come up and fix these problems. When the taps need new washers or a cartridge, you need to pay for the parts and if you do not know how to replace them, you need to hire someone to do it for you.

Doing these little jobs for the residents, after their normal workday, is one way many building superintendents supplement their income.

Fan coils
There is a heating and cooling fan coils unit in most condo apartment buildings. In the winter hot water flows through the unit while cold air circulates through the unit in the summer.

The fan coils are part of your unit and, in many condos, you are responsible for maintaining and servicing the unit; after all, you own it.

Every three months, the air filter should be replaced. A qualified plumber should service the unit every spring and fall. Beside lubricating the motor and checking the fan belt and thermostat, the technician should check for leaks, mould and water flow.

If you ask around, you will find that aside from changing the filters, few owners have their fan coils serviced. Fan coils are like home furnaces; some people don’t do anything until they break.

Of course, if you don’t plan to keep the apartment for more than four or five years, you can save money by replacing the air filters once a year and ignore servicing.

Bathroom drains
Don't plug your bathroom drains.

Aside from toilet paper, no paper products or any solids should be flushed down the toilet. Don't flush your cat litter down the toilet. Plugged drains are no fun and can be very expensive.

Water leaks
The outside window caulking is the responsibility of the board, as the windows are a common element, but I suggest that you periodically take a look around the inside of your windows to see if there is any signs of water penetration.

Also take a look at the ceilings in the bathrooms, laundry room and kitchen to see if there are any small brown or black spots on the ceiling. That may be mould caused by a small leak originating from a unit above you.

If there is any signs of a water leak, inform your building manager at once by e-mail or fax. Take photographs. You will want to maintain a paper trail in case the corporation reacts sluggishly to your concerns. If the corporation asks that you submit a Requests and Concerns form, make one out and fax it to them. Keep the original and the fax confirmation sheet. Down the road, you may need to be able to prove that you reported the leaks to the manager.

Washers and dryers
Washing machines and dish washers and can create problems. I suggest that you buy steel-braided hoses for your these machines. If your hoses burst, the water will damage your apartment plus the unit or units below yours.

Almost all condos use stacked washer and dryers and most have exhaust ducking for the dryer. Regularly clean the dryer's exhaust vent as this is a common cause of condo fires.
A few builders did not provide vents for dryers so owners need to use more expensive vent-less dryers.

New tiny condo units may come with a rinky-dinky combination washer/dryer. Be careful with these front-load toys as they will leak if you overload them or put in too much soap.

Older condos may have swipe-card operated laundries on the ground floor and have rules against in-suite washing machines and dryers.

Many people don't like sharing washing machines but having the washers/dryers as common elements means that you don't have to worry so much about water leaks.
At the first sign of cockroaches or mice, inform the property manager. Tell him where and when you saw them. Do the same if you see any signs of water leaks or mould either in your unit or in the common areas.

I suggest that you make a record of these conversations and take digital photographs. Sometimes the manager will act on your information immediately and in other cases, he may ignore the issue for months. A lot depends on the corporation you live in.

If there are roaches in your unit, you pay for an exterminator. If they are in multiple units and/or the common elements, the corporation pays.

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