NOTE: All references to Section numbers refer to sections in The Condominium Act (SM 2011, c. 30, Sch. A).
What is a common expense?
A common expense is:
A condominium corporation pays the common expenses from a fund that can be used only to pay these expenses. This is called the common expenses fund.
The common expenses fund is a common asset of the corporation.
Must all unit owners contribute to the common expenses fund?
Yes, all unit owners must contribute to the fund. This includes unit owners who have waived (given up) their rights to use the common elements, as well as those who are not allowed to use all (or part) of the common elements due to restrictions in the declaration, by-laws or rules.
Section 141(1) and (3)
Who decides the amount needed for the common expenses fund and each unit owner’s contribution?
Each fiscal (financial) year, the condominium corporation decides the amount required for the common expenses fund. It also determines the contribution of each unit owner, based on proportions (percentages) set out in the declaration.
The declaration may say the common expenses paid by unit owners are different for different types of units (ex: the owners of commercial units may not have to contribute for a swimming pool that can be used only by owners of residential units).
Section 13(1)(h), 139(2) and (3)
When does a unit owner have to pay the common expenses?
A unit owner’s contributions to the common expenses fund are usually paid in instalments. If the due dates for these instalments are not included in the corporation’s by-laws, the board decides when the payments are due.
A declarant who owns units must begin contributing to the common expenses fund as soon as the other unit owners are required to contribute.
Section 141(2) and (5)
What is a special assessment?
If there isn’t enough money in the common expenses fund to cover all the expenses for the fiscal year, the condominium board may approve a special assessment. It means that unit owners have to make additional contributions to the common expenses for that year.
The board decides how much each unit owner must pay for a special assessment the same way it decides how much they must pay to the common expenses fund. The board can approve a special assessment only if the by-laws allow it, and the board finds the common expenses fund won’t cover the common expenses for that year.
The board must give each unit owner a written notice showing:
What happens if a unit owner doesn’t pay common expenses?
If a unit owner does not pay his or her share of the common expenses, the condominium corporation has a lien against the owner’s unit and its share in the common elements for the unpaid amount, interest and reasonable collection costs.
The lien expires three months after the due date of the unpaid amount, unless the condominium corporation files a notice of the lien in the Land Titles Office for registration.
Condominium corporations may also have a by-law stating that any unit owners in arrears (behind) in their common expenses for at least 30 days may not vote, or give or withhold consent, until their common expenses are paid.
Section 162(1) and (2), 167(1)(y)
Need more information?
For more detailed information on financial matters that relate to condominium corporations, see: