Toronto Condo Renovations: Everything You Need To Know


The condo market in the GTA is as hot as ever. Even though sales of condos have fallen by 26% year-over-year as of April 2018, the prices of condos are still on the rise. The reason? According to the president of Realosophy, John Pasalis, it has to do with the decrease of new listings coming onto the market.

During the same period when condo sales dropped by 26%, listings fell from 21,571 in April 2017 to 16,273 in April 2018. And the drop in supply isn’t necessarily tied to a lack of market supply. Instead, it has to do with the mentality of sellers.

“While it’s difficult to say why new listings for condos are down, my instinct is that a larger number of people who are upsizing from their condo are deciding to hold on to their current unit to rent out as an income property rather than putting it up for sale,” Pasalis wrote in a recent report.

Whether you are looking to renovate your condo to rent, resell or simply make improvements for your own enjoyment, the process of renovating your condo is very different from renovating a house.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about condo renovations in Toronto and the GTA.


1. Get your condo corporation involved

Renovating a condo has one big perk compared to renovating a home. You most likely won’t need a building permit (but you might need an electrical permit so be sure to check).

What you will need to do is get approval from your condo board. By involving your condo board early on, you will be able to streamline to process and avoid potential problems that may arise.

The first step in getting permission from the board is to submit a proposal. Reach out to your property manager, who will be able to give you the low-down on how to get approval from the board.

2. What can you renovate?

While it might seem like an annoying step in the process, submitting a proposal to your condo board is actually going to protect you. There may be areas of your building that you are not allowed to renovate because of potential damage to the condo. It’s all about protecting your property and safety.

Determining what you can and can’t renovate before you start your renovation can help you accurately plan and helps to keep your project running efficiently.


3. Determine when you can work

While Toronto’s Noise Bylaw restricts the use of construction equipment from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm on weekdays and 9:00 am to 7:00 pm on Saturdays, condos often have different restrictions in place.

You may find that your condo restricts hours to 9:00 am to 5:00 pm during the week and doesn’t allow weekend hours. It’s important for you to know what days and hours you’ll be allowed to have work done on your condo. This will also help ensure you get an accurate quote from contractors.

4. Do you need insurance?

While you own your condo, you don’t own the entire building. And because of this, you may be required to get insurance or pay a damages deposit to the condo to cover any potential damages that happen to shared areas like elevators and hallways.


5. Book the elevators and any needed parking spots

Much like when you first moved into your Toronto condo, you will need to book the elevators for any days that you will need during your renovation. You will also need to look into booking visitor parking spaces for your contractors. Toronto parking is always at a premium, so booking in advance will save you time and money on your condo renovation.

6. Determine how to transport and dispose of materials

It’s not as easy as renting a big container, parking it in your driveway and using it to dispose of all the materials that are produced while renovating. You don’t have the luxury of a driveway or excess space when it comes to a condo renovation.

You’ll need to spend some time figuring out how you will get materials, tools and other equipment into and out of your condo. Odds are your condo will have specific rules about how to bring in and dispose of materials and it’s in your best interest to follow these rules.

Make sure your contractor knows about your condo’s regulations and they will be able to adhere to the rules.


7. Dealing with plumbing and electrical issues

Another issue that is unique to condo renovations is how you deal with planned renovations to plumbing and electrical systems. Plumbing systems are often shared between units in condos, so you may not be able to move sinks, toilets or showers. You may be able to extend the piping in some places, but any planned plumbing changes should be included in your proposal to the condo board. And because plumbing renovations may require the water to be turned off for the entire condo, these changes will need to be approved by the condo board.

While electrical work will be less likely to affect your neighbours, there are many of the same concerns with electrical work. You may be limited in what you can change and add. So again, be sure to add all electrical work to your proposal.

8. Find an experienced contractor

The best way to ensure you cover all your bases is to find a contractor who has experience with condo renovations in Toronto. As mentioned before, condo renovations are very different from home renovations. By finding a contractor who has experience renovating condos in Toronto, you will set yourself up for a successful renovation.

Images from our Marina Del Rey Penthouse Renovation.