Condo FAQ

If you live in a high-rise, townhouse or apartment style condominium, you will notice that each property will operate a bit differently from the next. However, in many ways condominiums will operate very similar with items like condo fee payments, maintenance responsibilities, insurance etc. Check out some of the questions we commonly get asked about living in a condominium managed by ICR Commercial Real Estate.

Noise and Bylaw Infractions

My neighbors are bothering me, what do I do?

  • If it is a late night party, fighting, etc. please call the local police service to intervene. Please keep in mind your individual safety.
  • If you have an understanding or relationship with your neighbor, consider approaching them to discuss the matter and your concerns. Find ways to cooperate and remain considerate of each other’s space and enjoyment.
  • Contact your Property Manager (in writing preferably) and indicate date, time and the nature of the disturbance

What will happen when I complain?

  • Your Property Manager will review and address the issue with the other residents. Every situation is a bit different and some discussion is required especially when it is among owners.
  • If the problem persists and the other resident is a tenant of the owner the unit, the Property Manager may be directed from the Board to follow through with an eviction.
  • If the problem persists and the other resident is the owner of the unit, the Property Manager will attempt to work with the resident to find methods to reduce or eliminate the noise.

What if the noise doesn’t stop?

Continue to document the occurrences and share it with the Property Manager as it can take sometimes several warnings to deal with an issue effectively. If you have called your local police service, be sure to include any file number or relevant information to the incident. Some matters go as far to involve legal counsel depending on the circumstances.

What can I do to reduce the noise I make?

  • Soft shoes and slippers make less noise than hard soled shoes or high heels.
  • Try to keep volume levels low on TV and stereo equipment and keep equipment such as speakers off the floor to limit the transference of sound.
  • A soundproof mat under your washer and dryer, exercise machine, stereo or piano / organ can reduce the noise to your neighbor below. Noise and vibrations go through floor boards and can be louder than you would expect.
  • Consider the noise level when watching TV or listening to music. Using headphones where appropriate.
  • Refrain from vacuuming, exercising and doing laundry late at night.
  • Try to avoid dragging furniture across the floor and consider using rubber or felt stoppers on furniture feet to absorb noise.
  • Simply practice a little thoughtfulness and patience. Keep in mind that the neighbour approach can be effective as well.

I received a warning letter. Why did I get one?

  • It is likely you received this letter because there are items needing to be addressed in accordance with the Bylaws. We recommend reading the Bylaws of the Corporation to become familiar with the rules and regulations.
  • Keep in mind that the Board of Directors can enact further Policies and Procedures in accordance with these Bylaws as well. Normally this relates to matters like visitor parking, pets, use of the common facilities etc. to ensure the property’s value is protected without bearing additional cost to all residents (in most cases). Remember that the bylaws explain what the responsibilities are of the corporation in addition to the responsibilities of each unit owner/tenant.

Insurance

I thought the condominium complex has insurance. Do I need it too?

Generally speaking your condominium has insurance on the building and the standard unit specifications (i.e. all the items in the units that were provided by the developer originally like cupboards, flooring, fixtures), common area liability, director and officers liability, etc. You need to have insurance on your contents, upgrades to standard unit specifications (e.g. you put in granite counters when the standard was laminate), deductible buy down (i.e. there is a fire and it damages your unit, other units and common area and the fire is considered an act or omission).  Then you will activate your individual insurance coverage and they will in turn pay the corporation’s deductible which can be as low at $5,000 or as high as $50,000 or more.

I am renting out my unit and I have insurance. Am I covered?

Check with your policy/broker to discuss coverages as a condo owner and landlord.

I am going to be away from my unit for an extended period of time. Am I covered?

Check with your policy/broker for any requirements that your unit be inspected regularly during your absence.

Pets

Are pets allowed?

Some condominiums allow pets with approval, others do not. Talk to your Property Manager prior to getting a pet.

Do you charge a Pet fee?

Some condominiums will charge a one time or a recurring pet fee. Your Property Manager will be able to confirm what type of policy is in place for your home.

What do you require before I get a pet?

Click here to fill out a pet application which will need to be submitted to your Property Manager prior to welcoming your new fuzzy friend.

Even if I have approval can I be required to remove pet from the condominium?

Yes, we encourage on behalf of Boards to exercise responsible pet ownership. Failure to control your pet, pick up after them and overall care, are all grounds upon which the Property Manager can require to pet to be removed from the property.

Maintenance Concerns

I have an issue in my unit what do I do?

Much of what is your condominium unit will be your responsibility. Typically doors and windows are also unit owner responsibility.  If it is a matter that can or will affect the common area or another unit, it may be the Condominium’s responsibility.  Check your Bylaws as well as your Rules and Procedures for additional information.  Contact your Property Manager if you have further questions or concerns.

I sometimes pour grease down my drain. I have been told I should not do this. Why is that?

  • Fats and oils solidify in drainage pipes which consequently can cause sewer backups in your home as well as others.
  • Sewer lines within the complex are not property of the City of Saskatoon, but the condominium corporation. When sewer backups happen, it can result in property damage and substantial unexpected maintenance costs and in turn affect condominium fee increases.
  • To prevent this, used cooking oils should be collected in an empty container, cooled, covered and disposed of in the waste receptacle.
  • It is also recommended to refrain from disposing sanitary napkins, paper towel, diapers and baby wipes in toilets as these materials cannot be flushed.
  • If a backup is caused by your misuse of a drainage line you may be held responsible for cleaning and any damage caused to your suite, other suites or common areas by a backup of the drain line

I have an urgent maintenance issue that may affect other units and your office is closed. What do I do?

Contact our office at 306-664-6118 and you will be put through to our after-hours answering service. A property manager will be dispatched to resolve the matter if it is deemed an emergency.

What is an emergency?

Anything that would cause severe damage or discomfort (i.e. flood/water entry, no heat, no water, fire- call 911 first!)

The heat inside my home is not working. Do I contact you for these matters?

  • Depending on the type of condominium you have purchased, will depend if a heating concern is the condo’s responsibility or owner’s. If you have your own self-contained heating unit (i.e. a furnace) it would be considered your responsibility to service and maintain. If you are unsure, please contact your Property Manager.
  • The property management company does not conduct in-suite repairs for items such as finishing and appliances “in suite” as they are exclusive to your unit and not the condo corporation. The repairs and maintenance of any item within your suite are unit owner responsibility. You will need to contact a tradesman or contractor if repairs need to be done. Keep in mind that if you are not maintaining your unit, you can be held responsible for damages and repairs if your lack of maintenance affects another owner or the common property.

Move in / Move Out Procedures/Waste Disposal

What if don’t pay my condominium fees?

You will be reminded of your responsibility to do so. Interest charges may apply.  And an interest (lien) may be registered against your property which gives the condominium rights to take action (e.g. foreclosure) against the unit.  Call your Property Manager to discuss any difficulties you may be having.

Do I have to pay anything to move in or move out?

Depending on the Bylaws for your condominium or its policies and procedures, it may specify a fee for your (or your tenant’s) move in or move out.

How much notice is required to move out?

Preferably a week in advance or more is best.

I am not moving but I have some large furniture items I want to dispose of. Can I just put them in the receptacles provided?

  • Unfortunately, many waste service providers will not pickup bins with larger items in them. Items of this nature (such as furniture, appliances, and upholstery etc.) need to be taken offsite to the landfill directly. Please do not leave them outside or on common property until removal. Residents can be held responsible for the charges to correct an improper storage and/or disposal.
  • If you are looking to donate items, inquire about pickup and in some cases it may save you a trip or cost to deliver or remove.

Paying Condominium Fees/Administration

What if don’t pay my condominium fees?

You will be reminded of your responsibility to do so. Interest charges may apply.  And an interest (lien) may be registered against your property which gives the condominium rights to take action (e.g. foreclosure) against the unit.  Call your Property Manager to discuss any difficulties you may be having.

What is a Reserve Fund Study and why to my condominium fees go into this part of the budget?

A Reserve Fund is a monetary fund that is created for the repair or replacement of major components beyond budgeted for annual or operational expenses. It is held in a trust account with interest being earned. This money is “reserved” for capital expenditure items which include but not limited to: replacing shingles, siding, exterior chattels, roadwork, other common area alterations etc. These expenses are not all carried out at once given that some elements have a longer lifespan than others. Reserve Fund Studies (legislated by the Condominium Property Act) are required for condominiums. The study assists with forecasting and developing a long term plan to ensure the condominium has adequate funds for the appropriate expenses in the future. This fund is also available for any unforeseen expenditures not budgeted.

I plan on renting my unit out to prospective tenants. Who do I need to inform?

If you wish to rent your unit, owners are required to notify the Board and/or ICR as under Sec 75 of The Condominium Property Act. Please provide updated contact information for future correspondence regarding your unit (i.e. your forwarding address). In addition, you are required to provide the contact information of the tenants residing in the unit. This information is necessary if concerns need to be addressed or emergency situations arise. As an owner/landlord, you undertake the responsibility for the tenant’s actions as the Condominium Corporation does have the ability to apply for tenant evictions as would a Landlord in accordance with Sec 80 of The Condominium Property Act. Ensure your tenants are aware of any rules and policies enacted by the Corporation (including the Bylaws) as required by the Condominium Property Act. Also, contact your insurance broker to arrange additional Landlord coverage.

If you have additional questions about living in a condominium, please contact the Property Manager assigned by calling 306-664-6118 or emailing mailbox@icrcommercial.com.