There are some misconceptions about ‘Condominiums’ so here are a few facts that may answer some of your questions. Remember, you can always call us for further discussion.
Condos are not just big tall apartment buildings. Actually a ‘condo’ is not a building at all. It is a type of ownership. So a condo could be an apartment style building, or it could be a townhouse, or a detached home. All have some form of common element (gardens, lawn, parking area, lobby etc) that is owned by all the owners in ‘common’.
So the common elements and the rules connected to the structure are run by a Condominium Corporation. It can be a company hired by the owners through a Board of Directors, or it can be actually run by the Board of Directors for all the owners.
The fee you pay monthly (condo fee) is for the maintenance of the common elements. The corporation should plan for scheduled maintenance (snow removal, lawn cutting), building maintenance (if an apartment style building perhaps the roof, furnace, windows, brickwork).
Condo corporations are required (under the Condominium Act) to keep records of all financials, rules, legal issues. These are periodically given to owners. Owners also will have spots on the Board of Directors and can be directly involved in decisions made.
A Status Certificate is just a summary of the financial health of the Condo Corporation along with any future expenditures, legal suits and cash in reserve (Reserve Fund). A buyer’s agent should make a review of the Status Certificate a Condition of the purchase. Your lawyer will review that Certificate when received and give you his opinion as to the health (or status) of the Corporation.
Your monthly condo fee can pay for whatever the Condo Corporation decides to include in the fee. It will almost always include exterior maintenance (at least of common areas) and building insurance if apartment style building. Other inclusions could include parking, underground parking, cable TV, water, electricity, gas.