Townhouse Condos

Most Condominium Articles you will find will be more geared toward high rise living, but there are many Townhouse Condominium Corporations throughout Ontario. In this article we will give Condo Townhouse residents information about the following:

Townhouse Condo Management
• Board of Directions
• Common Element Spaces
• Exterior Alterations
Section 98 Alterations and Agreement

Your Condominium Manager: In most cases, there is no office onsite, so the Condominium Manager will work offsite. The Manager will come to the complex regularly to inspect the property and do their best to mitigate situations before they become a problem for the residents. The Manager will be reachable by telephone and email. The Manager will oversee the day-to-day care of the property.

Your Board of Directors: Just like in high rises, there will be a Board of Directors. They will often meet once a month or every second month, and will oversee the financial health of the Corporation, and make the necessary major decisions. They will work closely with the Manger. Some Boards are very hands-on, and you might see them inspecting the property, maintaining common spaces, assisting with waste handling, issuing parking or pool passes, etc. Other Boards will be more hands off, and that is okay too. It really just depends on the needs and set-up of the complex.

Components that are commonly common elements in a
Townhouse Condo:

This can be very confusing in townhouse complexes, and you will need to review your Declaration and By-laws very carefully, as it could be different from site to site. The following are typically common elements in a townhouse condo:

• Exterior walls and finishes (siding, flashing, etc.)
• Eavestrough & DownSpouts
• Roofs
• Windows
• Front and Rear Yards (often including patios, steps, entryways, etc.)
• Exterior light fixtures
• Front and Rear Doors
• Garage Doors
• Driveways or shared parking spaces
• Pools/Playgrounds and other shared amenities
• Visitor Parking

Making exterior alterations:
Owners often want to make some changes to the exterior of their unit, to make their home better reflect them. This is
completely understandable. But Condominiums tend to
promote a uniform aesthetic so the property looks tidy and
cohesive. Before making a new garden, painting or changing doors, removing trees or shrubbery, or placing decorations, you should check in with your Board or Manager. There is a good chance you can do most of these things, but you might have to work within some parameters. For example, maybe you can repaint your front door, but you will have specific paint colours you choose from.

Changes made by Owners – Section 98 explained:
Section 98 of the Condominium Act comes up more often in Townhouse Condos. Section 98 deals with Owners making changes or alterations to the common elements, and most often common elements that they have exclusive use of, such as their backyard.

Let’s use the example of an Owner wanting to install a wooden deck in their backyard. Prior to doing so, the Owner should write to the Board & Manager to request permission to build a wooden deck. The Owner should give the Board as much information as possible: dimensions and height of the deck, will the deck be connected to the building structure, timeline, who would perform the work, confirmation that the Owner will have underground infrastructure identified prior to digging, etc. (Diagrams might be helpful) Ontario One Call


If the Board approves the wooden deck, they will likely want the Owner to take full responsibility for the deck going forward, and should the house change-hands, the responsibility would pass along to the new owner (and this would have to be disclosed in the sale).

A Section 98 Agreement: Sometimes a section 98 agreement is called an indemnity agreement or alteration agreement. The Board will ask the Owner to enter into a section 98 agreement, which is a legally binding agreement between the Owner and the Corporation. Typically, the Corporation’s solicitor will assist with the section 98 agreement, and the Owner would pay for this service.