When reading the information on this website, you may come across language you are not familiar with – words and phrases that are commonly used in writing and talking about condominiums and condominium legislation.
Below are definitions that are found in The Condominium Act for some of these words or phrases (in alphabetical order). The words in italics are the definitions from the act. They are followed by a plain-language explanation.
NOTE: The definitions found in the act always supersede the plain-language explanation.
A reference on this website to “the act” means The Condominium Act. A reference to the regulations means the Condominium Regulation, made under the act.
A condominium corporation must hold an annual (yearly) general meeting within six months after the end of each fiscal (financial) year.
Bare Land Unit
"bare land unit" means a unit defined by the delineation of its horizontal boundaries on a plan and without reference to any buildings, structures or fixtures on the plan.
The boundaries of a bare land unit are shown on the condominium plan without referring to any building, structure or fixture. Although the units are referred to as bare land units, it does not necessarily mean there are no buildings on them. Detached or semi-detached houses may have been built on the units before registration under the act.
Board of directors
"board" means the board of directors of a condominium corporation.
A board of directors manages each condominium corporation.
The first board is appointed by the declarant (the developer) when the declaration and plan are registered. At the first general meeting, the unit owners other than the declarant have the right to elect two directors to the declarant’s board.
After the declarant has sold a majority (more than 50%) of the units, the unit owners (including the declarant) elect new directors to replace the declarant’s board.
The new board is made up of unit owners and representatives of unit owners, elected at each annual general meeting.
“by-law" means a by-law of a condominium corporation including any amendments to it.
The by-laws govern the management and affairs of the condominium corporation. Section 167 of the act lists the areas that can be covered by the by-laws.
By-laws must be reasonable and cannot conflict with the act or the corporation’s declaration.
The board can pass, amend and repeal by-laws, but the by-laws do not take effect until they are confirmed by the unit owners and registered at the Land Titles Office.
“common assets” means:
The common assets can be personal property (ex: lawn movers, snow-clearing equipment) or land that is not shown in the plan (ex: a tennis court on nearby land) owned by the condominium corporation.
The common elements include all the property shown on the plan except the units.
The title to each unit includes a share in the common elements (ex: the elevator, swimming pool, hallways, roof). Usually, the common elements are for the use of all unit owners, but the declaration can restrict the use of some of the common elements.
"common expense" means
Common expenses are the costs of running the condominium corporation (ex: snow removal, lawn care, carpet cleaning in common areas, repairs). The unit owners contribute to the common expenses in the proportions shown in the declaration.
The declaration may state that some unit owners don’t have to contribute to all the common expenses (ex. if a swimming pool is for the use of only some unit owners, the other unit owners might not have to pay a share of its costs).
"condominium conversion" means the creation of one or more units that include or form part of a building that, at any time before the registration of the declaration or amendment that created the units, was occupied in whole or in part by any person, including a tenant, other than a person:
The act includes protection for prior tenants and buyers of units in pre-existing buildings that are occupied before being registered as condominiums (ex: an apartment block owned under a single title is registered as a condominium and separate titles are issued for each unit, allowing them to be bought and sold).
"condominium corporation" means a condominium corporation created or continued under this act.
The registration of a condominium declaration, plan and by-law creates a condominium corporation (ex: Winnipeg Condominium Corporation No ___).
The members of the corporation are the owners of the units. The corporation acts through its board of directors to manage the property for the benefit of the unit owners. Its mandate, duties, capacity and powers are covered in Part 6 of the act.
"declarant" means a person who owns the estate in fee simple in land, or the leasehold estate in land, in respect of which a declaration is registered under Part 2 (Condominium Registrations).
The declarant is the person who owns or leases the land when the declaration and plan creating the condominium corporation are registered. Usually, this is the developer who built or renovated the development.
"declaration" means a declaration registered under Part 2 (Condominium Registrations), as amended from time to time, and includes a proposed declaration.
The declaration, along with the plan and the first by-law, is registered to create the condominium corporation and divide the estate in land into units and common elements.
The contents of the declaration are set out in section 13 of the act. This document gives a person who is considering buying a unit important information about the unit, the common elements, how the corporation is or will be operated and the rights and obligations of unit owners.
Amending a declaration or plan is covered by sections 23 to 25 of the act.
Director of Residential Tenancies
"Director of Residential Tenancies" means the Director of Residential Tenancies appointed under The Residential Tenancies Act.
The Director of Residential Tenancies administers The Residential Tenancies Act.
"landlord" means a landlord as defined in The Residential Tenancies act.
A landlord is someone who rents out a unit to a tenant, under a tenancy agreement. Landlords have rights and responsibilities under The Residential Tenancies Act.
"plan" means a plan, and any amendments to it, registered in accordance with Part 2 (Condominium Registrations).
The plan is a technical document certified by a land surveyor and architect, which must be approved by the Examiner of Surveys at the Land Titles Office.
The plan includes a plan of survey showing the boundaries of the land and of each unit. Requirements are in sections 15 and 16 of the act.
"proposed unit" means the land described as a unit or proposed unit in an agreement of purchase and sale that provides for delivery to the buyer of a registrable transfer of land for that unit after the registration of the declaration or the amendment that creates the unit.
A proposed unit is one that has not yet been created by the registration of a declaration. The proposed unit may not yet be built, may be almost ready for occupancy or may be part of a condominium conversion.
A buyer of a proposed unit may have to rely on descriptions and promises rather than an inspection of the unit to know what he or she is buying. For this reason, Part 4 of the act (Sales of Units) places additional obligations on sellers of proposed units.
"rental unit" means a rental unit as defined in The Residential Tenancies Act.
A rental unit is a residence that a landlord rents out to a tenant under a tenancy agreement.
Examples of rental units include apartment-style units, mobile homes, duplexes, townhouses, single-family houses and condominium units.
"reserve fund" means a reserve fund established and maintained under section 143. (The Condominium Act)
Every condominium corporation must have a reserve fund to pay for major repairs and replacements of the common elements that will be needed over time but are not normally required each year. Examples of major repairs and replacements are found in section 143 of the act.
Unit owners contribute to the reserve fund in the proportions set out in the declaration.
The reserve fund is a common asset but no part of it can be refunded to a unit owner and the seller of a unit has no right to a return of his or her contributions from the condominium corporation.
Reserve Fund Study
"reserve fund study" means a reserve fund study referred to in section 148. (The Condominium Act)
Every condominium corporation must have a reserve fund study done by a qualified person and updated every five years.
The study determines the expected life span of the common elements and the amount required for the reserve fund based on the estimated cost of major repairs and replacements as they are needed.
The cost of the study is a common expense, paid for by the unit owners. Detailed requirements for reserve fund studies are found in the Condominium Regulation.
“rule" means a rule of a condominium corporation including any amendments to it.
Rules govern the use of the common elements and units for the purposes shown in subsection 169(1) of the act. Rules and their amendment or repeal are passed by the board, which gives notice to the unit owners.
If unit owners ask for a special general meeting within 30 days after the notice is given, the rule, amendment or repeal takes effect only if confirmed by the unit owners.
If unit owners do not ask for a special meeting, the rule, amendment or repeal takes effect 30 days after the notice is given.
A rule must be reasonable and cannot conflict with the act or the corporation’s declaration or by-laws.
"tenancy agreement" means a tenancy agreement as defined in The Residential Tenancies Act.
A tenancy agreement is a written, oral or implied agreement between a landlord and a tenant for occupancy of a rental unit.
"turn-over meeting" means a meeting described in section 75. (The Condominium Act)
A turn-over meeting must be held within six months after the declarant no longer owns a majority of the existing units.
Its purpose is to replace the declarant’s board with a new board elected by unit owners and the turnover of records, documents and items to the new board.
"unit" means a part of the land designated as a unit on a plan and includes the space enclosed by its boundaries and all the land, buildings, structures and fixtures within that space.
A unit is the part of the condominium property of which its owner is solely responsible for and has the exclusive use of.
A unit can be residential (ex: an apartment, detached or semi-detached house) or commercial (ex: a store or office).
The unit owner may occupy the unit or rent it to a tenant or lessee.
A unit owner is the person(s) who holds title to the unit (this includes a mortgagee in possession of the unit), but does not include a tenant (residential) or lessee (commercial).