Relationship Between Condominium Management and Tenants
Ontarians continue to embrace the condominium lifestyle with unprecedented construction and an increasing number of units (there are currently over 800,000 units owned by residents and investors according to data provided by the Condominium Authority of Ontario in 2021). Condominiums continue to be an attractive real estate investment opportunity that purchasers use to offset mortgage costs while building equity. In line with this, the number of people renting in condominiums also continues to grow: Families and individuals who favour the benefits of an urban lifestyle, unique property amenities, and the advantages of this kind of community living are increasingly attracted to making their homes in condominiums.
Condominium owners/investors who rent out their units are landlords, and the landlord/tenant relationship in a condominium is different from a rental apartment building or complex. Condominiums involve systems of rules and governing documents, as well as concepts such as space ownership. Similarly, renters do not always understand that renting a condominium is not the same as renting an apartment and should know where to go when addressing certain issues.
Responsibilities of the Owner and the Renter/Tenant
Each condominium corporation has its own specific declaration, bylaws, and rules that must be followed by all residents, in addition to the overarching Condominium Act, 1998 (Condo Act) legislation. Unit owners have a duty to ensure their tenants receive copies of, and comply with, all governing documents. As outlined in the Condominium Authority of Ontario’s Residential Condominium Buyers Guide, it is the responsibility of the unit owner to ensure that the tenant abides by the condo corporation’s governing documents.
When an owner chooses to rent their unit, they are responsible for notifying management of the leasing/tenancy agreement and providing the tenant’s contact information. Section 83 (1) of the Condo Act requires that owners have a legal duty to provide notice to their corporation within 10 days of signing a lease with a tenant.
Renters are beholden to their landlords, the condominium owner, from whom they rent their unit, and in general should approach them first for any problems they encounter in their unit, or within the condominium. In other words, the owner is the point-person for their tenant in the event of an issue (for example, maintenance) that requires resolution. It is important to note that although there is condominium legislation, the relationship between an owner and a renter is governed by separate legislation, the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006.
Role of the Condominium Manager as it Relates to Renters
Naturally, condominium managers will interact with residents—tenants included—throughout the course of a day. It is normal for managers and tenants to communicate about certain routine matters within the building, and for tenants to raise emergencies directly to management or other building personnel (in addition to raising these issues with their landlord). Tenants should expect courteous and respectful service in these interactions with management. However, tenants should also understand that condominium managers provide their services to the condominium corporation under the direction of the condominium’s Board of Directors, and that the condominium and the owner have specific obligations to each other.
There are three things tenants should keep in mind:
- The manager works for the condominium corporation and takes direction from the condominium’s board of directors.
- The condominium corporation has a relationship with the owner.
- The owner has a separate relationship with the tenant.
If a tenant has an issue with the unit they are renting, or other features of the condominium, the tenant should raise the issue with their landlord. With an increasing number of condominium renters, clarifying this hierarchy is more important than ever.