This is one of the first things that needs to be defined when you're thinking of purchasing a condo here in Calgary. Many people don't really understand what your ownership rights are when you purchase a condominium apartment and that is the first thing that you should fully understand before going ahead with the purchase.
Understanding what the unit is
When you own a condo unit you receive a title for it and you also jointly own common property along with other condo owners in the building. It's completely different from an apartment rental where the responsibilities and duties of running and maintaining the complex are the responsibility of the owner. As an owner you share in a part of this responsibility along with all of the other co-owners.
The title you are given is for a unit that is enclosed by a ceiling, floors and walls. All of the maintenance and repair issues of the unit are your responsibility. Remodeling the unit may require permission from the board at the condominium corporation if some of the proposed changes could impact any or all of the common property.
The common property
This is everything that is not a condominium apartment unit and it can be identified through the condo plan. In most cases it will include the facilities available apart from the units, both inside and out, along with any open space. This can include the following:
- Electrical systems
- Heating systems
- Recreation rooms
- Laundry rooms
- Pool and Gym areas
- Exterior landscape areas
Bare land units
With this type of condo unit you are buying not only the structure of the actual land but it sits on as well. This can include the roof, the exterior walls, the driveway, the foundation etc. With these types of units you will be responsible for the maintenance and repair of the exterior, but you will have the option to transfer these obligations over to the condominium corporation through specific by-law registrations. These are not, however, the types of condos that you'll usually find on the listings and have only been included here so that you'll have an understanding of the term should you ever run across it.
This is a general overview of what you are purchasing when you decide to buy a condo and everything should be laid out in straightforward terms in the paperwork provided. It is always a good idea to get the terms and conditions well understood as defined by the condominium corporation before making a final decision on the property. This is best done by first reading through it yourself and then handing the paperwork over to a real estate lawyer so that any discrepancies can be noted before any commitments are made to purchase.