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Condo.... Condominium... Strata... What's in a Name

We all know that a condominium, or condo, refers to a single building structure that contains numerous individually owned units along with common elements or areas that are collectively owned. That’s the practical explanation and it applies right across Canada, regardless of which province you are in.  How we talk about them differs slightly depending on which province you are in. “Condo” or “condominium” in Ontario, “strata” in British Columbia, and “syndicates of co-ownership” in Quebec.

“Condominium” is also a legal term that is used in most of the Canadian provinces and in the U.S.  In B.C., as well as in Australia and New Zealand, the legal term is “strata title”.

Because KANDY Outdoor Flooring expands home experiencesTM today by providing and installing outdoor flooring for condo balconies in both BC and Ontario, (with our franchise expansion we’ll soon be in other provinces as well) you may notice that we often use both condo and strata. We don’t mean to confuse you, but we’re just conscious of being accurate with the language we use regardless of which jurisdiction you might be in.

Wherever you are, there is likely to be some sort of homeowners’ association that manages the condominium through a board of directors that is elected by the membership. Here, too, you will find different terms, depending on the jurisdiction. “Unit title”, “section title”, “commonhold”, “strata council” “tenant-owner’s association”, “body corporate”, “Owners Corporation”, “condominium corporation”, or “condominium association”.

Regardless of the term, these organizations generally set and manage the bylaws or rules of the condominium, has the responsibility of dealing with the corporation’s financial health and ensuring the safety, proper maintenance, upkeep and protection of all of the shared or common elements, including the building exterior, hallways, foyers, heating systems, elevators, etcetera.

You might not know that condo balconies are sometimes “exclusive use common elements”. This means that that they are used exclusively by the condo owner but actually owned by the condo corporation. The corporation and strata council or condo board have your best interests at heart, even if it is sometimes frustrating, because they’re taking care of the entire building and protecting your investment. It’s always a good idea to read the bylaws for your condominium corporation and know what the rules are.

We know that KANDY’s outdoor flooring, for example, fits within almost all condo board and strata council bylaws because it doesn’t adhere in any way to the floor, wall, or any other part of the structure, maintaining the integrity of the building, deck or balcony construction.  But it really is your responsibility to know the rules in your building.

If you’re interested in your ownership rights beyond what your board or council is telling you there are umbrella organizations. In BC, you can check out the Condominium Home Owners Association of BC. In Ontario look for theCondo Owners Association. Both organizations offer a wealth of information that can be helpful to condo owners – rules, rights, and reference material.

Enough of the technical stuff. Now go enjoy your condo lifestyle!

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