The Variety of Condominium Corporations in Ontario


A recent discussion with real estate agents compelled me to put this simple piece together. My explanation of a Vacant Lot Condominium was conflated (not entirely incorrect, but not entirely accurate) with a Phased In condominium. For those looking for some basic understanding of the condominium types, this succinct page should serve you well.

Prior to the amendments of 1998 to Ontario’s Condominium Act, condominiums were generally registered, and known, as Standard Condominiums. The amendments permitted the addition of several new types. Today, there are two general categories of condominiums: leasehold or freehold. There are a few subcategories as well.

Categories of Condominium Corporations

Leasehold

These are condominiums where the land upon which the units are situated is not owned by either the condominium or the unit owners. Rather, it is land that is owned by an entity that is not permitted to sell the land, but is permitted to lease it (certain institutions, by virtue of their charter, may not sell the land, such as hospitals, churches or universities). As such, the unit owner and the condominium merely own that part of the structure that is set out in the Declaration.

Freehold

This category is in contrast to the leasehold. The Declarant (the developer that registered the condominium with the registry office) owns the land and is in fact conveying that ownership to the unit owner.

Categories of Freehold Condominiums: Standard, Phased in, Vacant Lot, Common Elements.

Standard Condominiums

This is the most common type, and was the only type of a condominium until legislative changes in 1998. Any condominium that does not fall in the other categories is a standard condominium, and traditionally consists of a unit, common elements, and some exclusive elements. Ownership, as generally described in Declarations, begins at the outer half of the centre of a wall for the condominium, and so forth.

Vacant Lot Condominium

VLC resembles a traditional subdivision the most. At least one unit must be vacant when this is registered. No multi-dwelling units are permitted. The unit owner is to maintain and repair the entire unit, while common elements are maintained by the condominium (such as sewers, roads, water systems and recreational areas). The municipality, unlike a subdivision, does not assume ownership of the foregoing. Generally, condo fees may be lower because of reduced responsibilities of the condominium.

Phased In Condominium

This is built in phases by the developer; units may be sold once the Declaration and Description have been registered. Additional units must be built within 10 years, but developers are not obligated to do so. Therefore, the existing phase(s) must be able to sustain themselves if no additional phases are forthcoming. Standard Condominiums are most likely phased in.

Common Elements Condominium

Only jointly owned land is part of the condominium, and to which condo fees apply, such as recreational areas and roads. The parcels of land owned by each owner are not part of the corporation. These are called parcels of tied land (POTL), and are tied to the condominium through the ownership of the interest in it. Repair work and maintenance to units may only be carried out if there is a separate contract with the unit owner.

Note: please note that this does not, by any means, exhaust an appropriate discussion of condominiums; these are but mere introductory comments. Please seek legal consultation where required.

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