Paying Attention to Who Pays for What in Your Alberta Condo Bylaws

Author : mark01
Publish Date : 2021-09-27 18:07:30
Paying Attention to Who Pays for What in Your Alberta Condo Bylaws

You’re relaxing for the evening, enjoying a nice nighttime tea when the telltale trickle of water makes your ears twitch. Steadily, the sound grows from a trickle to a constant whoosh of running water.

“Where could that sound coming from?” you wonder, only to realize that it’s being caused by water rushing inside your condo unit and is currently collecting in a veritable swimming pool right behind your fridge!

Someone’s going to be on the hook for those damages and repairs of all this water – but who, exactly? You, as the unit owner? The condo corporation? Condominium management services? You might not have the answer – but luckily, your condo’s bylaws will.

Five Key Points to Help You Determine Who Pays for What

The Byways of Bylaws

A condo corporation’s bylaws essentially work to determine how that condo community is run. They’ll also typically help to sort out exactly who is on the hook financially for any sorts of repairs that might need addressing within the complex – or, more specifically/unfortunately, within your unit.

Need an example? No problem – let’s pretend. Say you got a brand-new dishwasher, and you went ahead and installed that bad boy in your condo unit. Everything went great, right up until the point when you ran a load of dishes through your new cleaning machine and your kitchen suddenly turned into a lake.

Here’s where the bylaws come in: if the newly-established Condo Lake was determined to be the result of your “handiwork,” guess what? You’ve got to cover the costs for any associated damages. However! If you really actually did a good job and the flood was the coincidental result of a deeper problem with the building’s plumbing, then you’re more than likely going to be getting a fresh new kitchen floor, courtesy of your condo board.

What About Common Areas?

For the most part, things are fairly cut and dry when it comes to repairs within individual units – but what about the upkeep of common areas and public spaces? Who’s responsible for fixing all those unsightly scuffs, drywall dings, burnt-out light bulbs, carpet stains, and on and on and on? Well, your condo corporation is – but these little tiny repairs are actually a lot more troublesome to deal with than you might expect.

If your building has a handyman or general contractor on retainer, none of these problems are of any concern. However, if you need to bring someone in special to handle these repairs, that sort of service often comes along with a minimum charge, and these can add up super quick.

The solution here, then, is to approach these repairs in batches. That way, your building gets the most bang for its buck when you make these little repairs happen, and you’re not paying $250 a pop every time someone bangs a dresser into the hallway wall on moving day.

The Issue of Negligence

Let’s go back to talking about that newly-installed dishwasher again. In this make-believe scenario, the manufacturer-supplied hose used to connect to the water supply was made of cheap material and burst, causing water to leak down to the unit underneath, damaging that owner’s ceiling and floor.

While this may seem like a simple case of unit owner negligence – causing all associated maintenance and remediation costs to fall to the “offending” unit owner, it’s not quite as cut and dry as all that.

Defining Negligence

To determine negligence, what must first be proven by the condo board is that the unit owner who installed the new dishwasher failed to do their due diligence both in picking their new appliance and in installing it. However, negligence is when one fails to exercise a degree of care considered reasonable under specific circumstances, which then results in unintended injury or damage to another party.

Here, the condo board must establish beyond a shadow of a doubt that the unit owner is solely responsible for the leak – and in the above situation, we’re not able to determine if the unit owner was being negligent as it’s not clear:

  • If the owner purposefully damaged the pipe so it would leak,
  • Whether other units in the building installed a similar machine with the same result,
  • Who was responsible for the pipe, and
  • Concerning number of other missing pieces, including whether the building’s bylaws laid out specifics surrounding materials and installation processes.

Remember, we are all human and it’s natural to assume that the products that come with an appliance are fine to use. If a common product was used – and others in your building have the same quality of product – then it’s hard to prove that the unit owner acted in a negligent manner. However, if they used a different product that wasn’t designed to connect a dishwasher to its water supply, then this points towards (but doesn’t necessarily confirm!) negligence.

Transparency is Key

When it comes to condo building maintenance and upkeep, the big takeaway here (as it often is with condo management) is to put a premium on transparency. Take all those minor common area repairs, for example.

Lack of communication could cause condo owners to grow antsy and even frustrated as they sit there, waiting for that drywall ding outside their door to get repaired, wondering why the condo board isn’t doing its job. All that anxiety and negativity can be headed off early by having communications in place that let residents know when the next batch of repairs is slated to happen.

This carries through to your condo management company, as well. When it comes to finances and monies, it’s important that your management company be completely transparent about accounting practices – that way, your board can always see what is happening, determine if there are any issues, and plot out the best course of action if anything needs to be done or addressed.

Be sure you understand your condo’s bylaws – and the financial responsibilities that they imply. Get in touch with us at Catalyst Condo Management to learn more about how your condo’s bylaws determine who pays for what today!



Category : business

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