“The condominium is not a new concept, in fact, the term originated in Roman Law. This type of co-ownership was introduced in Ontario roughly 40 years ago, and the Condominium Act dates to 1967 and now contains 189 sections that cover ownership, common elements, vacant land, leasehold condominiums and more” – RECO (Real Estate Council of Ontario).
To own a Condomium, /kändəˈminēəm/ is to have ownership of a specified amount of space (the unit) in a multiple dwelling or other multi-occupancy building with tenancy in common ownership of portions used jointly with other owners (the common elements like hallways, lobby, amenities, etc).
Basically, a resident of a condominium (either freehold or leasehold) enables them to share in the ownership and operation of a residential complex, while having negotiable title to an individual unit. The remainder of the property (building or complex) is held jointly as tenants in common. A unit owner can sell their respective unit, but the unit ownership and tenants in common ownership of the common elements must be sold as a package and cannot be severed by separate deed.
The condominium legal structure is established through a declaration and the condo description (diagrammatic representations including surveys of the land and improvements). When both declaration and description are registered a condominium is created. A corporation without share capital is automatically formed upon incorporation in which members are the unit owners.
The condominium corporation has a duty to effect unit owner compliance under the Act and has the power to own, acquire, encumber and dispose of real and personal property according to the Act, declaration and by-laws The corporation does not provide limited liability and as such the unit owners are personally liable for all the debts and obligations of the condominium corporation.
Phew, that was a bunch of not so entertainingly written mumbo jumbo, but now you know!