LEGAL CORNER

LEGAL CORNER

Definition:  A condominium, or condo, is the form of housing tenure and other real property where a specified part of a piece of real estate (usually of an apartment house) is individually owned, while use of and access to common facilities in the piece such as hallways, heating system, elevators, exterior areas is executed under legal rights associated with the individual ownership and controlled by the association of owners that jointly represent ownership of the whole piece. Colloquially, the term is often used to refer to the unit itself in place of the word "apartment". A condominium may be simply defined as an "apartment" that the resident owns as opposed to rents.

Condominium is the legal term used in the United States and in most provinces of Canada. In Australia, New Zealand and the Canadian province of British Columbia it is referred to as strata title. In Quebec the term "divided co-property" (French: co-propriété divisée) is used, although the colloquial name remains 'condominium'. In France the equivalent is called copropriété (co-ownership), usually managed by the syndic. In South Africa, this form of ownership is called Sectional Title, with the owners constituting the Body Corporate.[1]

There is the misconception in the community that if the Standard Unit Definition of a Condominium Corporation (found in Schedule C of the Declaration) describes the unit as encompassing the entire building from the outside in – it’s Freehold.

Not true.  There could be shared parking and driveway space, playgrounds, and shared green space.  These are defined as “common elements”.  In addition, there could be management fees, private garbage collection and contracted services to look after the grounds.  All these costs would be governed by the Condominium Corporation.  Therefore a maintenance (or common element) fee will be charged to each owner to pay for these costs.  This type of Condominium is designated “Common Element” under Part X of the Ontario Condominium Act, 1998 (“the “Act”).

The term “Freehold” actually has no designation under the Act.  If a property is “Freehold”, the owner is responsible for the costs of everything to do with the property, just like a ‘regular house’. 

If it’s truly “Freehold” it’s not a “Condominium”.