Communal living


When you purchase a condo, you also receive unofficial membership in an established, vibrant community. You live in close proximity to others, with all of the benefits associated with communal living.


You see your neighbours more frequently. You’ll bump into them in the elevator or in common areas. You may discover that your new best friend is just across the hall! You’ll also have peace of mind while you’re on vacation knowing that your neighbours are close by.


Many condo residents report that they enjoy having the opportunity to experience regular, unplanned social interaction with their neighbours. Living in a condo development can help prevent the isolation that sometimes occurs in single-family dwellings.


While you can't pick your neighbours (condominiums typically share walls with neighbours, along with parking and other common areas) condo associations can set rules to keep the building clean and the residents happy. These rules might involve external decorations, noise, pet ownership, and guidelines for enjoyment of common areas.


You may become more active or more social! Many condo owners report finding themselves more likely to go out because their condominium building is in an urban area with entertainment and restaurants within walking distance.


Many condominiums include access to perks like pools, playgrounds, gyms, and community rooms that are difficult to afford alone but that are made possible by cost-sharing. Scheduled and unscheduled activities in the common areas can bring residents together to mingle and socialize.


You get to have a say in how things are run in the condominium corporation. You own your unit but all owners also share ownership of the land, building, and common areas. This means you share costs and the board of directors takes responsibility for making big decisions. As an owner, you have voting rights and can be elected to the board of directors.


What does it mean to own a condo and live in a condo?


A “condominium” refers to a form of legal ownership, as opposed to a style of construction. They come in various sizes and can be found in almost every price range.


Most people think of condominiums as units in high-rise residential buildings, but they can also be:

  • low-rise residential buildings
  • townhouse complexes or stacked townhouses
  • stacked townhouses
  • duplexes, semi-detached homes, and triplexes
  • single-unit dwellings

Condominium buildings are also occasionally mixed-use: partly residential and partly commercial.


When you purchase a condo, you own a private dwelling called a “unit.” You also share ownership of the common areas and assets of the condo community. 


Common elements typically include structural and mechanical aspects of the building, such as recreational facilities, walkways, gardens, lobbies, hallways, elevators, and other amenities. Some common elements – like balconies, parking spaces, storage lockers, driveways, and lawns -- may be for the sole use of the owner of a particular unit.


Condominium fees, which are usually due at the beginning of each month, may be adjusted from time to time to reflect increasing costs or the state of your reserve fund. These adjustments will generally take place in the following year’s budget. Any surpluses will likely either be applied to future common expenses or paid into the reserve fund.


NOTE: A percentage of monthly condo fees may be put into a reserve fund for future maintenance and repairs. Required by law in some provinces and territories, a reserve fund study is conducted by an engineer or other professional to estimate how much money condo owners should be paying into the reserve fund. It includes a detailed examination of all physical components, an analysis of when replacement or repair is to be expected, and an estimate of the related costs.