Re: Unprogrammed suites
From: Ann Zabaldo (
Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2012 04:40:22 -0700 (PDT)
Hello Beverly -- I don't know what Canadian law or local law requires but here 
in the U.S. in my jurisdiction and surrounding areas The Declaration in the 
condo docs specifies what the project is and what will be built e.g.

1.43 acre site
1 attached building containing
43 homes w/ shared walls single roof
etc. etc.

It would be impossible to add another unit w/out a change in The Declaration.

While By-laws can be changed with some effort, The Declaration is almost 
impossible to change.  Do your legal documents contain something of this nature?

One other important thing ... how are the common expenses calculated for your 
community?  Is any part of the condo fee (are you are condo BTW?) or shared 
expenses calculated using square footage?   If people are refinishing or adding 
space and square footage is in the algorithm calculating the monthly fee this 
should change the household's monthly fee.  Also by building out more 
inhabitable space, the entire development would be gaining square footage of 
the built environment and that additional square footage would change the 
percentage interest of the household in the whole development.

Actions have consequences.  Start messing w/ this stuff ... it gets really 
complicated and maybe even illegal --  after all your project is a contract w/ 
the municipality that gave you the right to build on this site.  Did the 
household in question go through any kind of permitting process to add this 

Maybe I don't have the whole picture here and I'm not a zoning or construction 
specialist.  And I certainly don't know anything about Canadian law.  Just some 
things to consider.

The bigger issue you may have is having people in your community simply making 
decisions on their own about the built environment and its impact on the 
community as a whole.

Best --

Ann Zabaldo
Takoma Village Cohousing
Washington, DC
Principal, Cohousing Collaborative, LLC
Falls Church VA

On Oct 24, 2012, at 5:15 AM, R Philip Dowds wrote:

> Your condominium or HOA Bylaws should have something to say about additions, 
> renovations, subdivisions and other modifications of each dwelling unit — 
> something like Yes, No, or Maybe If, depending on the scope and nature of the 
> modification.  Do your Bylaws allow for running a for-profit enterprise out 
> of one's basement?  Rental real estate OK?  What about a psychoanalyst's 
> office?  Your local zoning, and/or the special permit you may have received, 
> could also govern what happens in this basement.
> On Oct 24, 2012, at 2:02 AM, Beverly Jones Redekop <beverly.jones.redekop 
> [at]> wrote:
>> .
>> It seems that one owner may be proceeding with a basement suite in his
>> townhouse. The suite's entrance would be through the home's backyard (20'
>> deep backyards).
>> Thank you,
>> Beverly
>> Groundswell Cohousing at Yarrow Ecovillage
>> Yarrow (Chilliwack), BC, Canada
>> _________________________________________________________________

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