One of the biggest differences between living in a condo and living in a house: the rules and regulations.
I find a direct correlation between the age of the condo board president and the number of ridiculous rules, but I digress…
You know what they say: rules are meant to be broken…
I heard a rumor the other day that the new property manager at my condominium was going to outlaw all BBQ’s in the building.
Something about propane tanks in the elevator….I dunno, I wasn’t paying attention as I was too busy grilling crown rack of lamb on my terrace…
But then a colleague of mine said, “Hey Fleming, looks like your BBQ days are coming to an end! Did you get that notice?” Apparently, this issue is more than just a rumor and it really seems like the building is going to crack down on BBQ usage.
Nevertheless, I shrugged, and said, “Over my dead body.”
Hopefully my dead body won’t be charred from an accidental propane explosion…
Every time a condominium corporation is formed, a “declaration” is drawn up along with rules & regulations, and about two hundred pages of stuff that nobody wants to read.
Within those pages, however, are details on how you are going to live your life if you want to be part of this particular condo tribe.
But that doesn’t mean that people always follow the rules…
Here are my top-five broken rules in Toronto condominiums:
How many condominium owners in Toronto have a BBQ? And how many of them are actually allowed? Almost 99% of condos in Toronto do not allow BBQ’s, but that somehow infringes on every Torontonian’s God-given right to barbecue to their heart’s content after enduring such long, harsh winters. Next time you’re standing on the 28th floor patio of any CityPlace building (hopefully owned by a friend, and not you…) look at an adjacent building and count all the BBQ’s! Same goes for the glut of condos at Yonge/Sheppard.
People just don’t care. They own BBQ’s and have the attitude, “If I get caught, I get caught.” I for one subscribe to that motto.
My brother has a gorgeous 330 square foot patio, and I keep telling him to get the most expensive Weber barbecue he can find. He asked me how he would get the propane tanks past the concierge, and I told him to get a baby stroller, put the propane in, and wrap it up with blanket.
Two words: Pure Genius!
I’m willing to endure the nuisance of having several kindly-worded letters sent to me by the property manager in order to keep my BBQ. They will have to sue me in a court of law, and then physically remove my BBQ before I give up. And consider that I have a 440 square foot, open-air terrace where BBQ’s were formally allowed when I purchased the unit.
Just think about all those illegal BBQ’s on the 60 square foot balconies across the city…
I was at Aqua down at 410 Queen’s Quay on Saturday, and at the front door they have posted “Building Rules” which judging by the list of only four must be a summary of the most important rules.
Rule number-one is regarding pets, and it reads: “Pets are allowed, but only pets upwards of 30 lbs. Please ensure when you purchase your puppy that it will not grow past 30 lbs.”
They say we are in a recession, but I’m pretty sure the industry of pet-weight-forecasting is simply BOOMING what with the rules and regs down at Aqua! And how many staffers are on hand to conduct weekly pet weigh-ins?
I’ve seen countless buildings that post rules about pets not pissing in elevators, on carpets, in stairwells, or on their owners’ feet, but that doesn’t stop these “cute” friends of ours from acting unruly.
If you happen to be on the second floor of 230 King Street, if it smells like a kennel, that’s because it basically is…
3) Storage In Parking Spaces
Space comes at a huge premium in condominiums, and on the weekend, I met two guys who downsized from an 1800 square foot townhouse into an 825 square foot loft. I asked them how they managed to miniaturize their lives, and they said, “We wanted to have less stuff.”
Most condo owners store their possessions in every nook and cranny, and the parking space presents an excellent, yet controversial location.
Straight from the horses mouth: “Please be reminded that parking spaces are intended only for motor vehicle parking and any personal items are subject to removal.”
The most common item “stored” here are winter tires, but I’ve seen bicycles, camping gear, boxes upon boxes, and countless bicycles.
The idea is to keep the condo’s integrity by not giving carte blanche for people to act as if their parking space is a storage locker reminiscent of grandma’s yard sale. We want clean, tidy, orderly common elements, and owners are constantly notified by management to remove any personal items.
When I first moved into my condo, I put up one of those signs that reads “Parking For Leafs Fans Only.” My property manager made me remove it. I guess she’s a Habs fan…
This one should probably top the list, but it’s seldom thought of. As per the property manager in my building, “Although you can paint or decorate your suite as you wish, the Board of Directors must first approve any other changes to your suite (ie. flooring, etc.) Please detail all of the work that you wish to undertake in writing for the Board’s consideration.”
Consider that I own my unit, and I’ll do with it what I please, thank you very much…
I find it comically ironic that they cited “flooring” in the paragraph above, since I happen to have Djuro Babic and the Serbian crew coming to install white oak in my condo on Friday.
I can’t imagine submitting an application or request to the Board so they can fumble around and take their sweet time approving something that would never get turned down anyways.
If I wanted to knock down some walls or rearrange some plumbing, then perhaps it’s worth a talk. But for them to say “although you can paint or decorate your suite as you wish” is an insult. The mere mention of “decorating” as if they are doing US a favor is a joke.
This isn’t an apartment building; we own our condos. I urge people (as a condo owner, not as a Realtor) to do as they please in their own units.
Stop me if I’ve already told this story! Last year, I brought a heavy bag full of garbage downstairs and asked the evil Jawad if he could open the garbage room door. If Sebastien was there, I wouldn’t have had a problem. But overzealous Jawad asked me, “What type of garbage is this?” I returned, “Is there more than one type of garbage?”
He began to look through my bag and he pulled out a large piece of 2×4 and some plywood. He told me, “You can’t throw this out here. This is not the right type of garbage.”
I asked him what he proposed I do with it, and he said, “You call the garbage man, guy. You know, the guy who come and take it away.”
I guess he meant that I should pay a company like 1-800-GOT-JUNK to take away my garbage, even though I pay maintenance fees to the building and property taxes to the city for privileges like garbage removal.
Long story short, I told Jawad if he didn’t open the door, I would saw up the wood into small enough pieces for the garbage chute. He told me I couldn’t, I told him I would, and in the end, I slept well knowing that from now on, I didn’t have to physically take my garbage down to the garbage room so long as I could hack it into small enough pieces to fit down the chute.
Some rules can be bent, and some can be twisted.
But why not skip the formality and just break them altogether?