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Condos and Townhouses – What You Need to Know
The easiest way of understanding the concept of condo responsibility and ownership is to view it as an apartment that’s owned. Ownership usually extends inward from the ceilings, floors, and walls. Additionally, unit owners are partners with other owners in an association concerning the exterior structure (roof, exterior walls and the foundation) and any common areas as well as amenities such as play areas, tennis courts, clubhouses, swimming pools, etc.
So Who Maintains What?
So…how do you know what an association maintains and what an owner maintains? Generally, the association takes care of the building’s exterior upkeep as well as grounds, however this arrangement and separation of responsibilities can vary from one association to another. Therefore, it’s highly important for any condominium or townhouse buyer to have a clear idea of what will not or what will be covered.
What’s Ours and What’s Mine?
Generally, all governing documents address that the association is responsible for the repair and maintenance of common elements. Your corporation should repair, maintain, and replace all the physical assets that are designated as common elements. It does not matter whether they are located inside or outside of your unit. Then, as a unit owner you are responsible for repairing or replacing limited common elements.
Definition of Common Elements, Unit, and Limit Common Elements
Common elements refer to all portions of a condo other than the units. Some of the parts considered as a common element include portions of the attic/ceilings, floor, and walls.
Limited Common Elements refers to any heating or air conditioning units, bearing column, bearing walls, conduit, wire, duct, flue, chute, other fixture, whether located outside or within the Unit’s boundaries.
Energy Assessing Your Condo or Townhouse
So what does all of this have to do with home energy assessments? Well, you already know that a home energy assessment can improve your impact on the planet, save you money in the short and long term, and help you improve the efficiency of individual features in your home, but did you know that getting your condo corporation to agree to energy assessments can benefit you, too? Since the roof technically falls under the responsibilities of the condo corporation, then energy inefficient roofing, for example, can be impacting your bills. And inefficient communal lighting (on pathways or internal driveways) can affect the corporations bills – driving bills higher when that money could be put towards other areas of the common elements like snow removal, fresh coats of paint, or even lower condo fees (okay now we are dreaming).
A home energy assessment is a must do for your condominium or townhouse, especially with the latest rebates, but advocating for yourself, your home, and how your condo fees are allocated is something you will never regret.
Do you own a condo or townhouse? Bring this information to your next General Meeting and start educating your Board of Directors on the benefits of energy assessments – condo wide.