The recent changes to Ontario’s Condominium Act bring more protection for the rights of suite owners, which is a wonderful thing. Those rights include the ability to elect board members, vote at owners’ meetings, review corporation records (put request in writing and give reasonable notice), request a meeting of owners and that an issue be added to the agenda, obtain a court order to force the corporation to carry out a duty required under the government act, and remove a director with a majority of votes.

These rights are yours as long as you uphold your responsibilities to pay your condo fees; maintain and repair your suite; follow the condo corporation’s declaration, by-laws and rules; resolve disputes in the appropriate manner; and elect the board that runs the corporation. These rules and by-laws are in place to protect everyone’s safety, privacy and general quality of life.

The main thing you have to do is check your condominium declaration, which will help define your responsibilities with your individual suite. Be sure to get insurance specific to the condo, which should insure “attached” items in your suite such as counters, cupboards, vanities and the like (including any upgrades they purchased). If these become damaged, suite owners are responsible for repairing or replacing them, which can be a major expense.

As for the amenities and common elements in the building, you own a percentage interest in those, and you share the upkeep, repair and maintenance of them with your neighbours. To find out more about the rights and responsibilities of condominium owners, check out Consumer Protection Ontario’s website on “Owning a Condo” at www.ontario.ca/page/owning-a-condo. And remember that common courtesy, respect and kindness are expected of condo owners at all times.