Most condominium corporations contract out the day-to-day operations of the condominium to a property management company under the direction of the condominium's Board of Directors. The cleaning of common areas, payment of common area utility bills, operation and maintenance of the central space and domestic hot water heating and air-conditioning systems, snow and garbage removal and the collection of monthly maintenance fees may fall under the jurisdiction of the Property Manager. There are usually limits on the property manager's authority. For example, anything that requires a major expenditure, or an expenditure not accounted for in the annual budge, may have to be approved by the Board of Directors. The property manager is not usually responsible for items or operational problems within individual units, unless they are related to the common elements (e.g. heating systems, roofs, windows, exterior walls).
Some condominiums prefer to deal with the management of daily maintenance themselves. These are sometimes referred to as "self-managed" condominiums. Under this management style, the Board of Directors - and in some case, volunteers who are residents or owners - will carry out the day-to-day tasks of operating the condominium.
It is important when considering the purchase of a particular condominium, to ensure you are comfortable with the management style, whether it is a contracted Property Manager, or self-managed. This may have implications on both condominium fees and any obligations you may have towards the operation and maintenance of the building.
The condominium unit owner is responsible for some maintenance duties and the condominium corporation for others. These responsibilities vary from condominium to condominium, and should be clearly laid out in the condominium's governing documents.
Maintenance duties for the unit owner can include:
- Internal unit plumbing, appliances, heating, air conditioning or electrical systems that are contained in and serve only that unit
- Cleaning window surfaces that are accessible from inside the unit
- Cleaning some parts of the common elements like balconies and patios that are assigned to or exclusive use of, the unit holder
Maintenance duties for the condominium corporation can include:
- Common plumbing, electrical and heating and air-conditioning systems
- Roof and wall repairs
- Windows and doors - repairs and replacement
- Grounds cutting, watering
- Recreational amenities
- Parking areas
- Any other part of the property that is not part of a unit
Sometimes the responsibility for maintenance and repair can be shared. For example, a heating and air conditioning (HVAC) system may be part of the common elements, but the unit owner may be responsible for some tasks such as changing filters.