June 20, 2024

Every condominium corporation is governed by a set of documents that define the authority of the corporation and detail what board members and residents can and cannot do. Usually drafted by lawyers and hundreds of pages long, condominium governing documents are complex and may be challenging to decode. However, understanding the information within the governing documents is crucial to a successful condominium community living experience.

Read on to learn more about condominium corporation governing documents, governing document hierarchy, how to find your condominium governing documents, and more.

What are Condominium Corporation Governing Documents?

In short, condominium corporation governing documents are legally binding documents that explain how a community is governed. They set expectations for residents, board members, and vendors and establish how the condominium is run. Designed to promote harmony, offer guidance, and maintain consistency, all condominium residents are required to abide by and thoroughly understand their community’s governing documents. Failure to comply may lead to violations and other consequences.

Condominium Corporation Governing Document Hierarchy

While every condominium corporation is different, the following are typically included in governing documents and arranged in this hierarchy:

  • The Condominium Act. A consumer protection legislation that regulates condo life in Ontario.  Condominium owners, residents and corporations must comply with it and condominium governing documents must not contradict it.
  • Declaration. A Declaration sets out various matters of condominium ownership and should contain:
  • The common interests of each particular unit
  • A list of the exclusive use common elements for particular condo units
  • A list of the common elements
  • A statement of shared common expenses for the common elements.
  • By-Laws. By-laws are legally binding documents approved by the condo’s board of directors and voted on by owners. By-laws cover a wide range of matters but generally focus on property governance and how the condo board carries out its duties.
  • Rules and Regulations. Additional restrictions that help reinforce the Declaration and By-laws, the rules and regulations may include guidelines related to fences, parking, amenities, pets, and more.

How to Find Condominium Corporation Governing Documents

All condominium corporation governing documents, including any rules and regulations, are typically provided to homeowners at the time of closing. However, these forms can sometimes go missing. Here’s how to find condominium corporation governing documents:

  1. Reach out to Your Real Estate Agent  

Condominium corporation governing documents detail the living standards of a community and should be provided and reviewed by any new condominium homebuyer before closing. That means the real estate agent who oversaw your property purchase, buying process, and final transaction should have and be able to give you a copy of your condominiums governing documents by way of a Status Certificate.

  1. Call Your Management Company 

Many managed communities partner with a third-party professional management company to help fulfill board tasks and daily responsibilities. These companies can help with financial management, meeting planning and oversight, vendor contracts, maintenance, and more. Due to their industry knowledge and partnership with your community, you’re often able to obtain a new set of documents directly through their office or at least get guidance on how to accomplish this task.

  1. Ask a Board Member 

As elected community leaders, board members should be well-versed in condominium corporation governing documents and know exactly where to find them. They should actively encourage familiarity with governing documents to foster transparency, prevent conflicts, and support education. If board members have made themselves available to you, reach out and inquire about obtaining your governing documents.

Learn More About Condominium Corporation Governing Documents

It’s important to be familiar with condominium corporation governing documents and know how to get condominium corporation governing documents. The governing documents establish how your condominium is run and set expectations, and when these expectations are met, communities are in a better position to function more efficiently.

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