Who Is Responsible for Maintaining Condo Building Windows and Doors?
Windows and doors are structural elements that we often take for granted— until, of course, one becomes damaged. Then we become painfully aware of how much we depend on them to prevent unauthorized individuals from entering our building or to shield us from harsh weather.
But who is responsible for replacing windows and doors in a condo building? How do you know which windows and doors are private property and which are common elements? And when should you turn to your condo board or management company?
We receive questions like these from our Catalyst condo residents on a regular basis, and so we thought it might be helpful to dive a little deeper into the topic.
Let’s get right to it!
Are Windows and Doors Considered Common Elements in Condominiums?
For the most part, yes. The Alberta Condominium Property Act states that all windows and doors located on the exterior walls of a unit are the responsibility of the condo board— even if the windows and doors are solely used by the unit in question.
There is an exception to this rule, however. Condo buildings built before September 1, 2000 may be exempt from this regulation, as this is when the Condominium Property Act was amended.
It’s always a good idea to check your bylaws and speak with your condo board or management company to confirm any details.
Does This Mean I Never Have to Worry About Damaged Windows or Doors?
Not exactly. Individual unit owners can still be responsible for replacing door screens, window screens, hardware, weather stripping, and other elements.
What If I’ve Informed My Condo Board About a Damaged Door or Window And They Haven’t Responded?
Since your board (or management company) is responsible for this aspect of condo building exterior maintenance, they will be liable for any damages that result from a failure to repair the window or door in question.
Condominium tenants should keep a record of all repair requests. It may also be helpful to take photos to document the condition of the window or door the repair request pertains to. By keeping a record of any maintenance concerns, tenants can protect themselves in the event a dispute arises.
What if I want to change/replace a window or door that’s within my unit?
There are a couple stipulations tenants should consider before replacing or altering windows or doors. The first is that board approval is required for any window or door that can be seen from a common area (ie. outside or from a common hallway). Adjusting these elements without approval from your condo board could result in a fine or other penalties.
The second thing to consider is that all alterations to common windows and doors must be completed by an insured contractor with WCB coverage. You will also need to obtain any applicable permits. (In Calgary, for instance, the city requires condo owners to obtain a permit for any changes to window or door roughing.)
Tenants who obtain approval from their condo board to change or repair common windows or doors but fail to meet these subsequent requirements can still be fined or subjected to additional penalties.
Do These Rules Apply to Other Condo Common Elements?
You bet. Decks, patios, fences, and gates are just a few examples of other common elements tenants should refer to bylaws about before making changes/repairs.
Remember, your condo board (and/or property management company) are your greatest resource. If you find yourself wondering “What repairs are condo owners responsible for?”, it’s always best to reach out. Following the necessary maintenance and repair processes is the only way to avoid fines and other punitive actions.
If you live in a Catalyst property and have questions related to replacing windows and doors in a condo building, we encourage you to contact us. One of our friendly and knowledgeable Team Members would be happy to assist you.