Floods, foundation issues, balcony repairs and utility overages. Who is responsible? The tenant or the condo?

Pointing fingers isn’t getting you anywhere. Your tenants are just as frustrated with you as you are with them. The problem isn’t each other, it’s the lack of clarity. 

If you don’t have this outlined within your bylaws already, make sure you add them. And if you do, it could be time for a refresher and a review. 


In the Tenant’s Domain 

Most condo boards define the tenant’s territory based on crossing their front door and anything past it is their responsibility.

They want new appliances? It’s on them. 

Their toilet floods? Unless there’s a building-wide issue, it’s on them.

They want to paint, put up new curtains and update their faucets? Again, it’s on them.

But what about a full renovation that includes new floors, moving walls, updating plumbing? For the most part, this falls on the unit owner but can (and should) require the condo board’s approval. 

The condo board is looking out for the common good of all residents, they’re protecting everyone’s experience, and renovations can be noisy and lengthy. They can also compromise the structural integrity of the entire building, so oversight on the condo’s side is recommended.


Where it Gets Complicated 

While we just said the tenant’s responsibility starts at their doorway, this might include some fine print. 

One glaring example is the balcony. Because this is a part of the building’s structure and repairs need to be properly engineered, most condos take responsibility for any repairs needed. 

Another example is in-unit utilities. Depending on how your utility lines are divided, some of the building-wide lines might run through a unit and you may need access to complete repairs.

This includes your stacks, which if not properly maintained, can cause an issue that one resident is feeling the brunt of. On the surface, it could seem like the resident’s responsibility, but if you look closer, it could be a buildup on the building’s pipes where it connects into the unit.


It’s the Condo. Period.

If you haven’t guessed it already, those condo-wide utility lines and stacks fall to the condo to maintain and repair. 

In short, anything that is needed for electricity, water, heat or air conditioning that the residents rely on in the hallways and common areas is the condo’s responsibility. This even includes the bases for the in-unit utilities. For instance, if the main electrical lines are compromising reliable electricity in the units, the condo will need to have them repaired. 

On top of utilities, the condo is also responsible for: 

  • The roof
  • The building structure and foundation 
  • The parking garage 
  • Any common area landscaping, including snow removal
  • And any amenities like the gym, pool and community rooms

All of these items should be reflected within your budget each year. You should be prepared for monitoring, ongoing maintenance, small repairs and a contingency fund for any large expenses — all of which are paid for by your condo fees.


Get the Most of Your Budget

There is a whole pile of ways a maintenance contract can save you money. In fact, we wrote a whole article on it — Save Money on Condo Building Maintenance. But some of the most noticeable ones are:

Monitor – Your maintenance team can monitor your condo and note anything that needs immediate attention or might need to be considered within the next year or so. 

This is included within our services and means that you’re not left with an issue that’s boiled over and needs immediate attention. You can plan and budget to tackle these when you’re ready with advanced notice.

Maintain –  We maintain bits and bobs around the condo building like replacing light bulbs or painting scuffed walls. 

This saves you the added cost of emergency phone calls as we stay on top of the building year-round and catch items before they become a problem.

Repair – If it doesn’t fall within our contract, we’ll suggest vendors to help you with items like electrical or recommend one of our complementary services like stack cleaning.

Again, we’ve got your back and are on the lookout for anything that might need attention now and down the road. 

Ready to find out how we can help you keep up the condo end of the bargain?

Request a free consultation.