If you have ever heard about a condominium property with a very low common element fee, perhaps around $100 per month, it’s possible you are hearing about a Common Elements Condominium, or CEC.
You may even own a CEC and not be aware of it.
So what is a CEC? It is a type of condo corporation that has no actual units.
Admittedly, the concept is confusing. How can you have a condominium with no units?
The general idea is that the portion of the property you live in is primarily freehold, while the shared elements – often a road, golf course, or ski hill – form the common interest that is shared amongst the condo owners.
A good example is a part of Oakville known as Bronte Creek. It can be found on the southeast corner of Colonial William Parkway and Dundas and is an area made up of executive townhomes.
Once you turn off Colonial William Parkway onto a street called Napa Common, you are no longer on a municipal road. The streets in Bronte Creek, which normally end in the suffix ‘common’, are owned by the condo corporation and as such are shared by the owners of the freehold townhomes.
These owners share the costs of maintaining the road, in this example, including repairs and snow removal.
While the subdivision of Bronte Creek is still considered part of Oakville and benefits from other municipal services such as water, sewage, and waste pickup, the roads themselves belong collectively to the condo corporation.
The land that the townhouses are built on in Bronte Creek is divided into parcels. These parcels are then sold to property owners who, upon sale completion, also become part owners in the condo corporation. This independently owned section of land is known as a Parcel of Tied Land (POTL), named as such to indicate that the land is tied to the condo corporation.
In other words, by owning a parcel of land which is tied to the CEC, you are also considered a part owner in that corporation. The monthly fees paid by the owners are managed by the directors of the condo corporation, similar to other types of condo ownership.
The parcel of land that you own is permanently attached to your common interest in the CEC corporation. The freehold component of the property, your townhouse, cannot usually be separated from the condominium corporation because it is tied to the common elements to which you have shared ownership.
If you would like more information on whether what you own or are looking to purchase is in fact a Common Element Condominium, you can search the public registry on the CAO website or email Dana Gain directly.
Reference: Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO). Condominium Types.
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