Governance Documents

In addition to complying with all applicable requirements under the Condo Act, all owners, residents, employees of the condo corporation, guests and others must comply with the condo corporation’s governing documents. It is very important that you read and understand a condo corporation’s governing documents before purchasing a unit. If you are unfamiliar with the requirements set out in your governing documents, you may unknowingly cause issues, requiring the condo corporation to respond to enforce the provisions found in these documents. The governing documents include:

1. The Declaration;
2. By-laws; and
3. Rules.

The governing documents must be consistent with the Condo Act.

1. The Declaration is one of the foundational documents of the condo corporation. The declaration is often considered the constitution of the condo corporation and contains many important provisions. It will include:

  • The proportions, expressed in percentages, of the common interests allocated to each unit;
  • How much each unit will pay for common expenses, expressed as a percentage;
  • Which parts of the building will be exclusive use common elements, which are often things such as balconies; and
  • The responsibilities of owners and the condo corporation to repair and maintain the units and common elements.

The declaration may be changed with the consent of at least 80% or 90% of voting units depending on what the change is.

2. By-Laws describe how the condo corporation is to govern itself. The by-laws can be considered the administrative guide for the condo corporation. A condo corporation’s by-laws often deal with a wide range of matters. For example, by-laws may govern:

  • How directors are elected;
  • How common expenses are collected; and
  • When/how the condo corporation can borrow money.

By-laws must be both reasonable and consistent with the declaration, as well as the Condo Act. By- laws must be approved by the owners of a majority of the units, except where the Condo Act provides otherwise, and registered with the Land Registry Office.

3. Rules regulate the use of the units or common elements or assets in a condo corporation. The condo rules will dictate what individuals on the condo property can and cannot do. Rules must be reasonable and consistent with the declaration and by-laws, in addition to the Condo Act. Rules must either: promote the safety, security or welfare of the owners, property, or assets of the condo corporation; or prevent unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of units, common elements or assets. Examples may include:

  • Restricting smoking, vaping and/or the growing of cannabis;
  • Restricting short-term rentals; or
  • Limiting the number or size of pets allowed in the building.

Upon making, amending or repealing a rule, the board shall give a notice of it to the owners that includes:

  • A copy of the rule;
  • A statement of the date that the board proposed the rule will become effective;
  • A statement which says that the owners have a right to requisition a meeting; and
  • A copy of sections 46 and 58 of the Condo Act.

Owners who disagree with the rule may be able to requisition an owners’ meeting regarding the rule and then have a vote during the meeting to prevent the changes to a rule(s) from being passed. If the owners do not requisition a meeting, the rule becomes effective the day after 30 days have passed since the board gave the owners notice of the rule. For more information on owner requisitioned meetings, please see section 3.2 of this Condo Guide.

More information about the declaration, by-laws, and rules can be found on the CAO website here.