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My condo board doesn’t want to pay for a broken window. What do I do?

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My next-door neighbour had the outer pane of his window shattered by a rock. The condominium corporation replaced the window and billed my neighbour, claiming the replacement was the obligation of the unit owner. My neighbour pointed out that, according to the condo declaration, the window was a common element and the obligation of the condominium corporation. Management then advised that the original window was replaced with a double-paned version by a previous owner and that makes it the responsibility of the current owner. If there was no agreement between the previous owner and the condo corp. relating to the window change, as required by Section 98 of the Condominium Act, does not the replacement window remain a common element and up to the corporation to replace?

I agree with you. The replaced window remains a common element and the repair — or replacement — of that window remains the obligation of the corporation, unless a Section 98 Agreement transfers the obligation to the unit owner.

A replaced outer window is a common element and its repair is the obligation of the condo corp., writes Gerry Hyman.
A replaced outer window is a common element and its repair is the obligation of the condo corp., writes Gerry Hyman.  (Dreamstime)

Under the Condominium Act, a declaration may alter the maintenance or repair obligations of unit owners and the corporation but cannot make unit owners responsible for repairs to the common elements.

However, a recent amendment to the Act — which has not yet been proclaimed — includes a declaration that may make unit owners responsible for repairs to the common elements.

Our condominium rules state that an owner who rents out their unit will be charged $250 per month as an ongoing, non-refundable security deposit. The purpose is to render the unit owner responsible for the cost of repairing damage to the common elements caused by a tenant, rather than all of the owners being responsible for such costs as part of their contribution to the corporation’s common expenses. Is this permissible?

A rule must not be clearly unreasonable. A rule rendering a unit owner responsible for a monthly, non-refundable payment — notwithstanding that the owner’s tenant has not and may never cause damage to the common elements — would appear to be clearly unreasonable.

The corporation might consider amending the rule by deleting the requirement for the monthly payment. But it could add a statement that a unit owner will be responsible for all costs incurred by the corporation in regard to damage caused to another unit, or to the common elements, by the act or neglect of the unit owner or an occupant of the owner’s unit (including a tenant). The statement would include that such costs may be added to the unit owner’s contribution to the condominium’s common expenses.

Gerry Hyman is a former president of the Canadian Condominium Institute and contributor for the Star. Reach him on email: gerry@gerryhyman.com

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Minor renovations that make a major difference

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(NC) Renovations can be a daunting task. If your goal is to increase your property value, smaller upgrades can provide a higher return on your investment.

Here are some budget-friendly projects for key areas of your home that can boost your property value:

Kitchen. You don’t need a complete remodel to increase the value of this space – it can be as simple as focusing on one thing, such as cabinets or countertops. Refacing old cabinets by adding a fresh coat of paint, a new finish or updated knobs can bring new life to your kitchen. Adding new granite countertops is an easy way to modernize an older kitchen. Make sure to choose a countertop that fits with the price point and aesthetic of your home.

Bathroom. The bathroom is where most of us begin and end our day; modernizing it is a great way to increase your property value. New floors or shower tiles will give the illusion of a complete makeover. Updating the vanity, sink or mirror are also inexpensive options. Smaller bathroom projects like these can have high appeal to future buyers.

Windows. These are often overlooked in renovations. However, upgrading windows is a great idea for both aesthetic and energy-saving purposes. In cooler climates you can purchase windows with insulating properties, and in warmer climates you can purchase those that reflect sunlight.

Deciding on the right budget to suit your needs can be hard, but worrying about the financing shouldn’t hold you back. For an easy way to finance these renos, check out The Home Depot Project Loan, available across Canada.

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The hottest bathroom looks this year

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(NC) Thinking about renovating your bathroom this year? Whether it’s a simple update like a fresh coat of paint or new hardware, to a complete overhaul of your layout, there is a lot to consider when renovating. Read on for some of the latest trends.

Bold colour choices. Similar to what’s happening in the kitchen, bold colours are making their way into bathrooms, from deep blues to forest greens and even black. If you don’t love painting, consider bold wallpaper. It works particularly well in powder rooms, as the smaller space is a great area to experiment in without overwhelming the rest of the house.

Compact design. New designs are embracing less square footage by combining features, with fewer double sinks and more shower/bath combos. Installing glass doors instead of using shower curtains creates a more open look. Wet bathrooms are also growing in popularity and create a show-stopping look while maximizing small spaces.

Terrazzo time. Terrazzo is making a comeback with a modern twist. Today’s terrazzo comes in a wide variety of colours and uses an assortment of other materials to get its signature bits-and-pieces look. It’s a great alternative to stone and marble as it isn’t as expensive. Plus, it’s as durable as it is eye-catching, while requiring minimal maintenance.

Statement mirrors and art. Many people see the bathroom as a functional room and not a place for statement pieces, but this space is an extension of your home. An easy way to change the appearance is to update the mirror. Round mirrors in particular are very popular this year. Don’t be afraid to move pieces from other rooms in your home here to achieve a more interesting look.

Industrial chic. Exposed plumbing and hardware are being incorporated into new designs this year, a look that allows a number of unique metal finishes to be shown off. From matte black to copper and gold, try mixing and matching in your bathroom.

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Most popular handyman jobs for spring

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(NC) As the weather warms, it’s an ideal time to tackle home renovation projects. Here are the top jobs worth hiring a handyman for this spring:

Deck and patio repairs. If you have one of these outdoor spaces, it’s a safe bet that you’re planning on spending a lot of time out there over the summer. Since decks see so much action, they require proper maintenance and upkeep. Fixes can include warped or rotten wood, popped up nails or loose handrails.

Power washing. A small task that is often overlooked is maintaining the overall cleanliness of the outside of your home. Have the exterior, back deck and driveway power washed to easily freshen it up.

Window washing. From snow and rainstorms to heat waves, there’s a lot of muck that can build up on your windows. A professional will get those hard-to-reach places clean and make your windows and your sills sparkle.

Caulking and weather-stripping. Weather-stripping and caulking can have a significant impact on keeping cool air in and hot air out—and vice versa come winter. If there’s a significant leak it will also help save money on your energy bills.

Updating doorbells and locks. Keeping your home secure is always a priority. With so many new smart locks and doorbells available, consider an update that allows you to keep an eye on your home from afar. From video doorbells to smart security cameras[KM1] , it’s one less thing to think about when away from home.

Updating the backsplash. This small job makes a big impact. It’s a great way to inject some personality and make it look like you’ve done a lot more to the space than you have. If you want to go all out, have your handyman also paint your kitchen cabinets for a quick and easy kitchen makeover.

Find the perfect handyman for your spring jobs at homestars.com.

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