Windows – Ownership
Topic starter Posted : 07/07/2020 11:07 pm
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?