What are Condominium Documents?

We normally write about new cases or legislative changes on the blog, but sometimes we write about the basics for those just starting out in their condo journey. Today's post is about condominium documents: declaration, description, by-laws and rules. The next post will describe the process to amend them.  Declaration  The declaration and description create the condominium. Some like to think of it as the "constitution" of the condo. The declaration describes the property governed by the condominium. It may also have restrictions about leases or sales of the units, occupation and use of the units and common elements, and maintenance and repair obligations. The declaration can be 20 pages or more than 80 pages. Description The description is like the "map" of the condo. It has four parts. Parts 1 and 2 illustrate the boundaries of the units, exclusive use common elements, and other interests on the property, such as easements. Part 3 is architectural plans, if any, and Part 4 is structural plans, if any. Parts 1 and 2 are usually only a few pages, but the architectural and structural plans can be hundreds of pages. By-laws If the declaration is akin to the constitution of the condominium, the by-laws are like statutes enacted by the legislature. The by-laws define governance matters, such as how meetings are conducted, and other matters, like standard unit by-laws, borrowing, mediation, and remuneration of directors. A by-law can only include subject matters authorized by the Act. Rules The rules cover day-to-day issues, like parking, garbage, and other uses of the property. The rules are the "regulations" of the condominium. The rules must either promote the safety, security or welfare of owners and the assets of the condominium or prevent unreasonable interference with use and enjoyment of common elements, units of assets of the condominium. Summary on Condo Documents Many use a pyramid to describe the relationship between the condominium documents. All condominium documents must be consistent with the documents above them in the pyramid. All, except for the declaration, must be reasonable. All, except the rules, are registered on title to the units at the land registry office. All may be amended, but only the by-laws and rules can be repealed. Our next post will describe the processes used to amend the condominium documents.