Condo Jargon And Lingo Explained


Have you ever looked at an official condominium contract and said, “Can someone please explain this to me in English?” You’re not alone. Legal contracts are never fun, light reading, and the real estate jargon can make them even more confusing.

But Megaworld at the Fort wants you to feel informed and empowered–we value the trust of all our condo residents–so we’ve prepared this simple definition of terms. If any of the definitions have a word in boldface type it means you can find an explanation for it within this glossary.

Administrator. Think of him as the building manager, who can help explain policies, intervene when there is a conflict between tenants, and approves permits.

Annual General Meetings (AGM). Also referred to as an AGC, condo owners convene to hear reports from administrators (like a breakdown of what the association dues were used for) elect a new board, and deal with any pressing issues.

Areas of Common Use. Please see Common Property/Elements.

Association Dues. All condo unit owners pay association dues, which go to maintaining the areas or paying for services that everyone enjoys. This can include the electricity bills (the elevator doesn’t run on batteries, you know!), the salaries of security personnel and cleaning crews, and repairs.  Also called Contributions or, colloquially, condo fees.

Bylaws.  In a nutshell, this is a fancy word for “rules and procedures”.

Caveat. It’s a unit owner’s obligation to pay Association Dues.  If a delinquency develops, the Condominium Corporation has the right to file a caveat (notice or warning) against the title. Don’t take caveats lightly: these can be enforced the same way as a bad mortgage.

Common Property/Elements.  These are the areas and facilities that everyone has the right to use: elevators, lobbies, gym, swimming pool, spas, playgrounds, garden paths, etc. It also includes the plot of land that the entire condominium building stands on. Some condominiums will have function halls that you can use for parties, but you’ll need to reserve the area.  Also calledAreas of Common Use.

Condominium. A type of group housing where each homeowner (that’s you!) owns an individual unit space and shared ownership of Common Property. Condominium corporation. When a plan is deposited with a land titles office, an administrative body is automatically created. This administration serves the members of the corporation (which are the owners of the individual units).

Condominium Plan.This is a very detailed “map” of the condominium property that shows the perimeter of the master lot, where each building will be located, and the unit measurements. It’s initially registered at the land title’s office, but you can use it to your advantage to choose which unit you want to buy. For example, do you want the unit to face the North or South? Do you want to be on one of the higher floors? Tel your property consultant your preferences and she’ll see if there’s an available unit.

Contributions. Please see Association Dues.

Disclosure documents. Responsible real estate developers like Megaworld give prospective condo buyers documents that show the investment details and due-diligence estimates.

Estoppel Certificate. This is a certificate given by the Condominium corporation that shows the status of your payment of Association Dues.  If you are buying a condo unit from another person, ask for this document so that you know there are no arrears.

Exclusive use. Some Common Property such as the lobby and elevators can be used even by the guests. However, there are some that can only be used by condo unit owners, such as “Residents-Only Parking”.

Extraordinary general meetings. Essentially, they’re emergency meetings that can be called by the Administrator to address an urgent matter, especially one that needs a Special Resolution.

Proxy. Can’t attend a meeting? You can give another person the right to act or cast a vote on your behalf, but you need to provide this written authorization.

Reserve fund. A “nest egg” so to speak that is set aside from the Association Dues to provide for major repairs and replacements. The reserve fund is set by the Reserve Fund Study, which estimates what needs to be done in the next 25 years to keep the property in the best condition. Findings of the study are usually presented at the Annual General Meetings (AGM).

Special Resolution. Important community decisions such as enacting or amending bylaws, or transferring or leasing common property, needs the agreement of a majority of not less that 75% of the total population.

Special assessment. If there is a big repair or replacement that’s not covered by the Reserve Fund, condo residents may be asked to contribute to a special fund to fix the problem.

Unit boundaries. In essence, the limits of your personal property. Anything beyond it belongs to either to your neighbors or considered common property. This is crucial when you start talking about the corridors or patios just outside the door, since it decides whether you have the “right” to put a row of potted plants.

Unit rentals. When you lease a unit, you also give your tenant access to and use of the common property. That’s why you’re required to give a written notice of intent to the Administrator. These are just some terms you might find in the contracts or association policies.

If you have any questions, just approach your condo administrator. The Megaworld at the Fort team will always be there to attend to your concerns.

Author: Megaworld at the Fort

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Megaworld is the country’s leading residential condominium developer and pioneer of the LIVE-WORK-PLAY-LEARN-SHOP township concept.

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