Here we will learn on how condo home inspections are done.
When people think of strata properties, typically people think of a condo, or a townhouse. The big difference of a strata property vs a non-strata property is responsibility of what is considered ‘common property’.
What gets defined as common property is typically anything that is exterior of your owned unit. In other words, if you can touch it on the inside of your owned unit, it’s your responsibility. If you can’t touch it, it is considered common property. This is a VERY loose definition, and it’s wise to review the bylaws of any strata to determine exactly what is considered ‘common property’.
Typically, the cost for repairs of items deemed as common property are shared with all owners in a strata complex. This is part of what strata fees are used for. If the strata fees that are collected are not sufficient to pay for a repair, then the owners will have to come up with the funds as a whole to pay the outstanding amounts. This is referred to as a special levy, or special assessment.
Generally, inspectors have trouble issuing a full inspection report of a strata as a whole. This is due to the fact that there is limited access to all common areas, which limits the amount of information you can obtain about the condition of a component.
For example, if an inspection is being done on a townhouse, it’s hard to determine if any part of the roof is leaking in the entire complex because you cannot access everyone’s attic. You can only access the attic of the unit you are currently inspecting.
A best practice when looking to purchase into a strata complex is reviewing the strata minutes.
They are documentation of discussions of note that concern the whole of the strata. Most times, 2 years worth of strata council meeting and AGM or SGM minutes are available for review. While they are a lot of reading, they can indeed reveal on how well a strata is being operated.
Further, I find that many times strata complexes always have many little repairs that are done. From my experience, there is always some water leak somewhere inside a unit, or some sort of flashing repair needed on the exterior. Law of averages state that with such a large complex spanning an area, there is always something that is going to go wrong.
So when reviewing those strata minutes, I’m not always on the lookout on what has gone wrong, but if a strata council has responded appropriately, and taken action towards fixing, or improving at item. As long as they are ‘on top of things’ so to speak, and able to manage the pool of money properly, then things will go well.
When a strata council is unable to work with the money they have, or unable to manage the upcoming issues, is when things go wrong.
In my next post, I will speak on traits of strata complexes, and how they may affect living in the building in terms of cost, or building performance.
Core Property Inspections