This is something a lot of people don’t look into before buying a condo, but buying a condo means you are sharing walls, and often air, with your neighbours. This can cause a lot of headaches, and if you are new to the world of condos you may be in for a shock. Condo bylaws are arbitrary ‘laws’ designed by a board of condo owners in an effort to make a building more comfortable for everyone.
What are included in these bylaws?
Condo bylaws often include regulations regarding pets, whether you can have private laundry facilities, what you can have on your balcony (or not have) and what the rules are regarding air conditioning units. In an effort to make buildings look presentable, condo bylaws often prohibit people from using anything other than proper window coverings (this means no sheets or flags) and they may prevent you from putting in a window-based air conditioning unit in. Make sure you read through the bylaws when buying a condo, each buildings bylaws will be different.
Do they really have the power?
Yes. Condo bylaws are regarded as law and since you are given the opportunity to review them before you purchase a condo, you are fully aware of regulations when you buy. Attempting to ignore bylaws may end with you in court. Members of condo boards switch out (or are voted back in) every two years, approximately. Regulations change and adapt as required, and if you do have a legitimate issue with a bylaw you can challenge it through proper channels. This often means getting signatures from fellow owners and presenting a petition to the board at its next meeting.
Buying a condo has many perks, but there are downsides. Do your research!