Does your corporation have a maintenance and repair responsibilities table?
A maintenance and repair responsibilities table is a document which sets out what owners are responsible to maintain and repair after damage and what the Corporation is responsible for. Section 43 of the Condominium Act, 1998 provides a list of the documentation that is required to be turned over to the Corporation by the Declarant (the developer). One of those items is this maintenance and repair table.
In our experience, we often find that this table is missing from the documents to be turned over by the Declarant and Corporations sometimes will not develop this table on their own. Having a maintenance and repair table is important because it outlines what the maintenance and repairs responsibilities are of the owner and what the Corporation is responsible for. Being proactive and developing this table early on will avoid issues down the road when an owner learns that he/she was responsible to maintain an item which had resulted in damage to the unit.
The table is based on the maintenance and repair provisions in the Declaration. That is why maintenance and repair responsibilities will vary from one Corporation to the next. Although the Declaration will provide what portion of the units and common elements that owners and the Corporation are required to maintain and repair, sometimes the wording is not clear-cut and in many cases the Declaration does not itemize and specifically allocate responsibility for every item. For example, Declarations occasionally do not overtly indicate who is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the HVAC and various components, fireplaces and flues, pipes located within and outside the unit boundaries and components of windows and balcony doors.
Oftentimes owners may fail to maintain their unit or a portion of the common elements (ie: exclusive use) due to a lack of understanding as to the extent of their maintenance obligations. This can result in friction and disputes between owners and the Corporation. For example, what happens if an owner does not maintain an item that he/she is responsible for and due to this lack of maintenance, damage is sustained to other units or the common elements? What if an owner alleges that he/she was not responsible for the maintenance of this item or simply was not aware that he/she was responsible? Can the Corporation charge back the owner the costs of the damage or the insurance deductible? The answer to these questions will depend on the circumstances but the maintenance and repair responsibilities chart should, at least, assist the parties with the interpretation of the Declaration. If owners are clearly aware of their responsibilities, then Corporations can optimistically lessen the headaches and legal battles associated with determining who is responsible for what.
If a Corporation has been provided with a maintenance and repair table from the Declarant, it should firstly have the table reviewed to determine if it has listed all the items that the Corporation feels should be included. Once finalized, the table should be distributed to the owners. If a Corporation does not have a table, now is the time to create one – at least one that sets out the owners’ maintenance responsibilities.
Although the table is not a binding document such as the Declaration, By-laws and Rules, it is a tool for assisting owners by providing them with a clear direction as to what they are responsible to maintain and repair.