There are several different types of properties that qualify as condominiums, and also different types of condo ownership depending on the kind of property and what parts of the property are shared. Usually the kind of condo and the type of ownership are related. It's important to understand what kind of property you're purchasing, what parts you own exclusively, and what areas are owned jointly.

Standard Condominiums

Any condo that doesn't fall into one of the categories below is considered to be a Standard Condominium, and thus they can include a broad range of styles and types.

Standard condominiums generally consist of buildings that are subdivided into separate units designed for single family residence, with some elements of the building, property or surrounding land being classified as shared or "common" space. Some of these common spaces might be further designated for private use (such as private parking spaces), but also include true shared spaces such as hallways, lobbies, recreational facilities, building exteriors, visitor parking, etc.

Phased Condominiums

Sometimes condominium properties are built by developers in phases. For a period of up to 10 years, additional buildings, units and shared facilities can be added in stages as part of a single condo corporation. If you are buying a condo that is part of a phased project, it is a good idea to get a copy of the Phased Development Disclosure Statement that must be registered as part of the condo plan by the developers. This document will contain valuable information on all phases of the project, including the number of units to be added, any new shared facilities that will be a part of each new phase, and the extent to which the developer will contribute to the common expenses during the development of each phase and throughout the entire project.

The biggest advantage to Phased Condominiums is that larger projects don't have to be completed in their entirety before the units can be made available for sale and possession. This benefits both the developer, who can have positive cash flow throughout a large project, and the condo buyers, who does not have to wait as long before they are able to move into their new home.

Since a developer can abandon completion of a phased project after any the completion of any stage, or decided to modify the way future phases are designed or constructed, each phase of the project must be self sufficient. An earlier stage of the development must not be dependant in any way on a later stage for operation and use.

Common Element Condominiums

With Common Element Condominiums, you own both a parcel of land and any buildings on it. These condos don't have "units" in the strictest sense, and the developments may appear as gated or un-gated communities of single-family style homes. However, with these types of communities there is always some part or area of the development that all residents share joint ownership of. This "common element" could be a golf course, a recreational centre, a swimming pool, or any other shared facility meant for the private use or benefit of residents. These common elements might also include things like streets, street lights, parking facilities, or particular entrance features.

Sometimes there are rules or restrictions covering what changes can be made to the exterior of your home in Common Element Condominiums. These are often referred to as Architectural Restrictions, and are designed the keep the external style of the community consistent. These restrictions could include limits on paint colours, external renovations or additions, roofing materials, parking rules, and landscaping guidelines.

Vacant Land Condominiums

These are vacant "units" of land that are purchased without structures on them, allowing the owner to construct buildings of their own choosing within the regulations of the Condo Corporation. Like with Common Element Condominiums, there are shared common spaces or elements within the development that are have shared maintenance, such as roads, green spaces or amenities.

As an example, public roads built and maintained by the city cannot be gated, so gated community developments are either Common Element Condominiums or Vacant Land Condominiums depending on whether they are purchased before or after structures are built.

In order to qualify as a Vacant Land Condominium, at least one of the units must have no buildings or structures on it, which means these developments could contain a mix of empty lots and already constructed homes.

Like with Common Element Condominiums, Vacant Land Condominiums may involve community Architectural Controls or standards for the building exteriors that each owner must adhere to as part of their joint ownership.

Leasehold Condominiums

This type of condo ownership refers to properties that cannot be sold in the traditional sense because the land the properties are part of are leased, such as land owned by the Crown, or controlled by institutions such as hospitals or universities that cannot sell their lands.

As a Leasehold Condo "owner", rather than own the unit or property, you own a leasehold interest in the land that covers the whole of the proposed condo property. Your consent as the "lessee" with leasehold interest will be required if any changes are made to the development.

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