What Are Non-Resident Owners’ Rights and Responsibilities?

In most condos, tenants occupy 10% to 70% of the units, which means that condos are 90% to 30% owner occupied. In Ontario, non-resident owners probably constitute on average at least 25% of all condo owners. In some areas, particularly downtown Toronto and Vancouver, they constitute over 50% of condo owners.

Right to Information

First, non-resident owners have the same right to information about their property as have resident owners. Here, however, a problem arises that requires these owners’ cooperation:

Some condos maintain a confidential email list of non-resident owners and they are sent the same important information that is posted on the property’s bulletin boards. Yet, only a small proportion of non-resident owners avail themselves of this service. They rarely send in their email address, even if requested to do so. As a result, most non-resident owners are not well informed about their property.

Right  to Attend Meetings

Second, non-resident owners have equal rights of attendance at the AGM and requisitioned meetings. Yet, very few attend. And it is even difficult to obtain a proxy vote from them. In buildings with less than 70% of resident owners, requisitioning a meeting becomes extremely difficult so that problematic situations cannot be remedied. It is even difficult to obtain a quorum for the AGM in such buildings. (Click here for Owners’ Meetings and Voting)

Consequences of Non-Involvement

Therefore, when a condo has a majority of owners who are non-resident or week-enders, this condo has a much greater risk of experiencing problems of unethical boards and managers and, down the road, financial problems including very high fees and  building deterioration.

As an illustration of non-resident owners' lack of involvement in their property, of the 1,144 letters received by this website between July 2009 and the end of December 2011, only 5 were from a non-resident owner: This is less than 0.5% of all letters!

The above numbers probably mean that non-resident owners are not as likely to notice problems arising  in their condos as do resident owners. This also means that, in condos where only a small proportion of owners are resident, these owners have a far greater burden of responsibilities and problems that isolate them than in condos where a majority of owners live there. 

As well, it should be pointed out that condos with high levels of tenancy generally experience many more problems related to noise, pets, cleanliness, and parking. These problems are even more likely when owners locate tenants through an agent. However, some diligent owners choose their own tenants and do so carefully and follow-up before renewing their lease.

The former president of an older condo that is deteriorating because of a lack of resources to make necessary repairs lamented that,

“non-resident owners don’t care because they’ll never live here; they get their rent money and they don’t want to allow boards to increase fees for repairs and maintenance. The place is turning into a slum because each time a brave board tries to raise fees, these invisible owners show up and throw the board out. So now all they get are bad boards and they deserve them but the rest of us are stuck here and don’t deserve this, especially as it has become harder to sell our units because who wants to live here?”

He wanted to seek a Court order to have his building placed under administrative supervision but he couldn’t afford the legal fees. There are many condos in this deteriorating situation, both in Ontario and Quebec.