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  • Windows – Ownership

    Posted by Karen on February 5, 2022 at 11:30 am

    Topic starter Posted : 07/07/2020 11:07 pm

    @MarkH

    In the CondoChat on Saturday, July 4 we discussed the responsibility for fixing window issues. Most of the issues seem to stem from inconsistencies that have evolved over the years between legislation, bylaws and condominium plans (as registered in the Land Titles Office). I wasn’t a condo owner until ~2000, just when changes were being made to legislation that permitted a corporation to change the status of windows from unit ownership to corporation ownership; the change was voluntary. In our case, the redeveloper active in our buildings did not opt to take ownership of the windows into the corporation. This left owners responsible for fixing window issues which might be as much as 10 floors above ground, and issues stemming from windows (such as leaks into the wall below the sill) could be unresolved. Furthermore, there may be discrepancies between the responsibility for maintenance (as set out in the condominium bylaws) and ownership (as set out in the condominium plan). Resolution seems to be an expensive proposition, involving the courts, revising the condominium plan, and obtaining a 75% and 7,500/10,000 favourable vote of the owners. Meanwhile, the windows and surrounding structures may not be maintained by anyone resulting in decay and damage to the structure. In our case, windows dating from 1979 need to be replaced for energy efficiency and comfortable living.

    My suggestion: COFSAB should approach Service Alberta to make a change to the Condominium Property Act, clarifying that the unit boundaries on exterior walls lie on the inside of the wall, under the finish, and exclude the window and any frame materials from ownership by the unit. Put another way, the owner gets to clean the inside of the glass but not replace it in the event of breakage. The owner can decorate the interior of the unit with paint or wallpaper, but not change the wall structure from gyprock to rock or brick or other material.

    A significant implication would be that the responsibility for replacing windows when they fail would fall to the corporation and need to be included in the Reserve Fund Plan, but then the replacement could be negotiated and carried out in bulk at significant cost savings to individual owners.

    What do you think?

    Karen replied 6 months, 1 week ago 1 Member · 2 Replies
  • 2 Replies
  • Karen

    Administrator
    February 5, 2022 at 12:34 pm

    @GibsonT Posted : 08/07/2020 10:50 am

    GREAT DISCUSSION.

    I will bring this up with the COF Board.

    My only concern: we can’t even get Service Alberta to help Alberta condominium owners with a dispute resolution tribunal, promised since 2014. I think it would be hard to get their attention.

    In my building, the owners voted in 2000 to remove exterior doors and windows from the corporation’s responsibility. While the windows have lasted an amazing 40 years, they will not last much longer. I too fear the impact on building envelopes.

    In our building there are some window wall systems that cannot be updated by one owner, as the system links suites on a number of floors.

    It will be a challenge to engage owners to be proactive to try to manage the exterior doors and windows. It was a serious mistake for the Government of Alberta to allowed condos to keep exterior doors and windows out of the corporation’s responsibility.

    In our case I am inclined with work with a solicitor and engineer, to make a proposal(s) to owners to proactively deal with the issue, but I am not optimistic.

    The problem is NOT going away.

    Thanks for your post.

    Looking forward to hearing from others.

  • Karen

    Administrator
    February 5, 2022 at 12:36 pm

    More on Window Ownership

    @MarkH

    There’s an article in this weekend’s Calgary Herald on page D3 (Saturday, November 27, 2021) by Robert Noce on window ownership; One interesting comment: “I [Robert Noce] am surprised this question still gets asked in 2021. The law has been clear for 21 years. Consult your Condominium Plan … “

    One problem is that surveyors, not lawyers draw Condominium Plans, and clarity may not be there. Furthermore, some bylaws may pre‑date the changes in legislation and appear to be out of step with the Condominium Property Act and Regulation. And even more recent legislative changes may have changed the situation yet again. As Noce writes, “You may also want to consult a [skilled condominium ‑ AMH] lawyer to give you an opinion …”

    Another issue is that the wording of the legislation may not consider the linkage between walls and window structures. A leaky window can be replaced or re‑caulked with sealant. However, as noted by Terry‑g above, damage may have occurred in the wall structure, which is common property, throwing responsibility back to the condominium corporation.