At Baker Real Estate Incorporated, our sales representatives field a lot of questions about condominiums. One of the most commonly asked is “What do I actually own when I buy a suite in a high-rise building.” You should know that you own your unit and the exclusive use of your balcony or terrace, if the design comes with one. You also own a percentage interest in all of the building’s common elements such as the lobby, pool, fitness facilities, theatre room, etc. That percentage is determined by the square footage of the suite you choose, and your maintenance fee is calculated from that. In essence, you share the upkeep, repair and maintenance of these amenities with your neighbours.

A professional company manages the condominium and is responsible to the board of directors. The condo corporation’s duties include handling these items, as well as administering the reserve fund, which is there to cover any expenses incurred in the upkeep, repair, improvements and landscaping of the building over time.

Condominium suite owners have the same rights as a low-rise owner, in the sense that you can mortgage your suite, sell it or lease it. Condominium regulations, however, may prevent people from renting to different people for short periods of time and essentially using the suite as a hotel. Be sure you check into this element of ownership before you make your decision.

This gives you an overall idea of what you own when you purchase a condo, but it is your responsibility to research your individual situation. If you have any questions, ask them up front, before buying. You should know exactly what is included in your purchase price so you have a pleasant closing and resident experience. Be sure to have a look at CMHC’s Condominium Buyer’s Guide at