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          Friday, July 25, 2014

Introduction

The term "condominium" refers to multiple ownership of a parcel containing several separate dwelling units, dwelling groups, or commercial developments.  The term is often mistakenly used in reference to row style housing; a type of land use not land ownership.

There are two main types of condominium projects:

A building condominium

A Building condominium is a building(s) divided into individually owned units.  Each unit is identified in the condominium plan.  The land, the outside walls, service areas, and joint use areas of the building are considered common property.  This type of condominium development does not require any subdivision of land and is referred to in The Condominium Property Act, 1993 (CPA) as a "regular" condominium. 

A bare land condominium

A Bare land condominium involves dividing a parcel of land into individually owned ‘bare land units'.  A proposed plan of survey to create a bare land condominium requires the subdivision of the land and subdivision approval pursuant to the The Planning and Development Act, 2007.  Buildings on each bare land unit are owned by the individuals.  The balance of the parcel around the units is common property.  Generally, buildings on private units or common property are not constructed until after the bare land condominium plan has been registered.  To ensure compliance with municipal bylaws, the municipality should discuss with the developer, any proposed construction of buildings prior to registration of the condominium plan.  All buildings and improvements on common property are owned by the condominium corporation.  Bare land condominiums are sometimes managed as exclusive communities, with control over local access.

What you should know

All condominium developments are governed by the CPA.  All condominiums, including apartment conversions, must form a condominium corporation including all unit owners.  Unit owners pay condominium fees to cover the costs of the corporation proportional to the value of their ownership in the condominium.  The corporation provides a forum for owners and manages the common property of the development, including utilities, roadways, landscaping, maintenance, services, and amenities, rehabilitation and replacement funds, and taxes.  Unit owners are responsible for individual utilities, repairs and maintenance within the units, unit taxes and mortgages.  The condominium corporation is also responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of all completed on-site roadways, utilities, and services.  A municipality may require an on-going contract with the condominium corporation, addressing waste disposal, snow removal and other municipal services provided to the condominium development.

As units are sold, the CPA governs the transition of common property from the developer to the corporation of owners.  The corporation must adopt bylaws and elect a board of directors.  Condominium guides and bylaws are available on the ISC website (link below).

Residential Uses

Building condominiums - A condominium plan may be registered for any multiple unit building, or group of buildings on a single parcel.  The building must be an approved development under the municipal zoning bylaw and constructed prior to creating and registering the condominium plan.  Existing buildings may be converted to condominiums, subject to municipal approval and the availability of rental property.  Each unit must have a parking space designated for its exclusive use.  Exceptions may be made where a zoning bylaw requires less than one parking stall per unit, e.g. in a seniors' condominium. 

Bare land condominiums - Typically a bare land condominium is designed for single unit dwellings (houses), semi-detached dwellings (duplexes), or attached dwellings (townhouses).  Each dwelling is entirely contained on one unit of land and the building and land are the responsibility of the individual unit owner. 

Commonly, condominium developments are focused around specific amenities (e.g. a community center, swimming facility, golf course, equestrian facility, or communal service in a rural municipality).  They are often designed for a population with similar interests or needs along the housing continuum (e.g. post-secondary students, seniors, executive suites). 

Commercial

Building condominiums - Any kind of multiple occupancy building or group of buildings can be owned as a building condominium.  Local commercial zoning regulations for use of the common property, parking, loading, hours of operation, and matters of subleasing will apply.  

Bare land condominiums - Bare land condominiums may also be created for commercial developments.  Examples include "big box" shopping centres, office or industrial campuses, where each participant builds their own building and obtains their own long term financing. 

Mixed Residential/Commercial Projects

Under the CPA, it is also possible to create a mixed-use commercial and residential condominium project.  Under this scenario, the corporation may be divided into different "sections" to accommodate the different interests of residential and commercial owners. 

Zoning

Building condominiums - Building condominiums are considered multiple unit dwellings for the purposes of zoning bylaw regulations which apply whether the building is an apartment or condominium.  If more than one building is involved, they are commonly regulated as dwelling groups.  Yard requirements, setbacks, parking and density standards apply to the whole parcel.  Where multiple buildings are involved, the zoning bylaw may specify separation between buildings.  

Bare land condominiums - The CPA considers bare condominiums plans to be a plan of subdivision, pursuant to The Planning and Development Act, 2007, meaning each unit and its any construction is subject to all zoning regulations.  Development on bare land units typically consists of single detached dwellings or dwelling groups (duplexes or townhouses), bylaws should specify standards for buildings and setbacks of structures on bare land units, as the land developer may not be the builder.  Where a municipality does not have special standards for bare land units, the zoning standards for that form of development (detached, semi-detached, etc) still apply, including lot (unit) size and frontage. 

Where a bare land condominium is created for a commercial use, e.g. a shopping centre, business centre, or industrial park, it is normally treated as a single parcel having a specific use.  For example in a light industrial project, the zoning regulations relating to light industrial apply to all units. 

Where a bare land condominium is created for a commercial use, e.g. a shopping centre, business centre, or industrial park, it is normally treated as a single parcel having a specific use.  For example in a light industrial project, the zoning regulations relating to light industrial apply to all units. 

Consistent with any development, bare land condominiums must have parking allocated in compliance with local zoning regulations.  Parking spaces designated for a specific condominium unit are transferred with the sale of the unit. 

Subdivision and Servicing

Building condominiums - Do not require subdivision or servicing agreements.  Like any other multiple unit dwelling project, a municipality's development levy bylaw may apply to a condominium if additional development densities require the municipality to invest capital into upgraded or expanded services.

Bare land condominiums - Do require subdivision, which results in separate title to each unit of land in the parcel.  A municipality may require the developer to negotiate a servicing agreement, before the approving authority can approve the project.  Items typically addressed by a servicing agreement include: 

  • off site fees for municipal capital works required to handle the additional development, where the capital costs were not covered by a previous servicing agreement when the parcel was created;
  • infrastructure requirements for services and utilities within the parcel, including roadway widths, turning radii, surfacing, street lighting, hydrants;  
  • roadway and sidewalk development on common property; and
  • costs associated with high traffic volumes and access to the parcel.

Dedicated Land and Municipal Reserve

Building condominiums - Do not require the dedication of land for environmental or municipal reserve as there is no subdivision involved.

Bare land Condominium - The requirement to dedicate environmental reserve (ER) or municipal reserve (MR) must be met, if it was not previously provided.  Common property within the bare land parcel is not considered MR or ER as it is privately owned by the condominium corporation, and is not open to public use.  ER and MR are always created as separate parcels from the condominium parcel.

For more information, contact:

Community Planning Branch
Municipal Affairs

Southern Region
420 - 1855 Victoria Avenue
REGINA SK S4P 3T2
Telephone: (306) 787-2725 
Fax: (306) 798-0194
E-mail:  Muninfo@gov.sk.ca

Central and Northern Regions
Room 978, 122 3rd Avenue N
Saskatoon SK  S7K 2H6
Telephone: (306) 933-6937 
Fax: (306) 933-772
E-mail:  Muninfo@gov.sk.ca


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