Declaration, By-Laws, Provisions, Rules and Policies What’s the Difference?
In addition to the New Brunswck Condominium Property Act, each condominium corporation in the province is governed by its Declaration and By-Law along with any amendments made to either. Included in the condominium corporation’s By-Law are PROVISIONS RESPECTING THE USE AND OCCUPATION OF UNITS (this is one of the ARTICLEs in the By-Law) and the RULES AND REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE USE OF THE COMMON ELEMENTS (a Schedule attached to the By-Law, often SCHEDULE A).
The Declaration is a legal document that establishes the existence of the condominium corporation. It provides details about the boundaries of each Unit, identifies the common elements of the corporation, the use of the common elements and states which common elements are Exclusive Use.
The By-Law is a legal document that specifies the powers, duties and obligations of the condominium corporation and its Owners. It details how the Board of Directors is elected, how general meetings are held, banking arrangements, management of the property, assessment and collection of contributions toward the common expenses, and other typical business details for managing the corporation.
Included as one of the Articles in the By-Law are a set of Provisions Respecting the Use and Occupancy of Units. These provisions are intended to regulate certain activities with the units that could potentially inconvenience others or pose a threat to the condominium corporation and possible risk to the Master Insurance Policy. For example, in high-rise buildings it is typical to include a provision that no one shall remove or alter a load-bearing wall or no one shall install a garburator. Both pose a risk that could affect the whole building.
Included as a Schedule in the By-Law are a set of Rules and Regulations Governing the Use of the Common Elements. These rules are intended to regulate activities on any of the common elements, including Exclusive-Use common elements (parking spaces, storage lockers, balconies, patios). For example, most corporation have rules to limit pets (size, type, and where pets are permitted). Some corporations allow pets in hallways provided they are on a leash while other require owners to carry pets in carpeted areas. Smoking, noise, parking, and barbecues are all issues that are dealt with by creating Common Element rules to regulate use and limitations.
Many condominium corporations are now using Policies to guide the procedures for routine activities, such as garbage collection, moving, renovations, and other topics that can change from time to time. Policies can be discussed at the Board of Directors level, voted on, Minuted in the Board of Directors’ Meeting Minutes, and created to resolve certain issues. For example, today the Policy on garbage may detail where garbage is placed, what types of recyclables are collected and how, and how garbage shall be transported to the garbage drop off area. But garbage collection policies sometimes needs to be updated to accommodate emerging problems or to react to changes in Municipal guidelines. Corporations can use a Policy Handbook to inform residents of the current policies and updates as they become available. Certain policies can be distributed to Owners as needed. For example, the Moving Policy can be issued to a new Owner to inform them of the corporation’s policy on who to contact, where moving vehicles can be parked, use of elevators, time moving is permitted, and so forth. Many Policy Handbooks are electronic copies and the entire Handbook or certain policies can be distributed electronically or in hard copy.
Need help in compiling your condominium corporation’s Policy Handbook? Contact Condo-Link Services for advice on how to create an effective Policy Handbook. We can create your Policy Handbook for your corporation or offer advice on format, indexing, distribution, procedures for updating or amending policies, and more.