Alterations and improvements policy

  1. This policy establishes guidelines concerning alterations and improvements that members are permitted to make to their individual suites and private outdoor spaces (balconies or porches).
  2. The board of directors has appointed a standing Maintenance Committee which will establish procedures for implementing this policy. The Property Manager and co-op staff will play a role in assisting the Committee in its work.
  3. The co-op recognizes that members may wish to make alterations and improvements to their living space to suit their household. At the same time, the board of directors has a responsibility to ensure that the proposed alterations will not have a negative impact on other residents, or on the operations of the co-op as a whole.
  4. In making alterations to their suites, co-op members accept the risk that unexpected life changes may result in them having to move out of the co-op earlier than expected and hence not fully benefitting from the cost of the alterations.
  5. Members are permitted to purchase additional appliances for their suites, including a dishwasher, washing machine, and condensing dryer. This policy also establishes guidelines concerning the purchase, installation, maintenance and replacement of member-supplied appliances.

Minor additions and alterations: Changes that do not require approval by the Maintenance Committee.

Temporary alteration:  A change approved by the Maintenance Committee that must be removed when the member moves out of the suite. The member is responsible for restoring the suite to its original condition.

Permanent alteration: A change approved by the Maintenance Committee and accepted by the board of directors. The member is not required to remove the alteration when moving out of the suite.


a. No approval is required for the following types of alterations:

  • Wall-mounted mirrors
  • Pictures, artwork
  • Additional window coverings eg. valances, drapes
  • Electrical switch plates
  • Dimmer switches
  • Bathroom shower heads (low-flow)
  • Bathroom fixtures – wall-mounted towel bars, towel-rings, soap dishes etc.1
  • Kitchen fixtures – wall-mounted knife racks, towel holders etc.
  • Kitchen cabinet interior organisers
  • Wall-mounted shelving in any room2
  • Wall-mounted shelving systems in closets
  • Wall-mounted shelving in the suite storage room.


  1. Although some brands of self-adhesive hooks claim to be easily removed, they often damage painted wall surfaces. Nail-and-hook or screw-and-anchor hooks and hangers are recommended when fixing any items to interior walls.
  2. Any shelves installed by residents should be made of materials certified as No Added Urea Formaldehyde (NAUF) or Ultra Low Emitting Formaldehyde (ULEF). All shelves available from IKEA meet this standard.

b. If a co-op fixture is removed, the member is responsible for safely storing it. On moving out of the co-op, the member must repair any damage to suite walls or ceilings, to the satisfaction of the co-op, and replace the original fixture (see OGHC Maintenance and Repair Policy).


Repainting is considered a minor alteration and does not require approval. Repainting is at the member’s own expense.

a. Surfaces That May Not Be Painted

  • Floors
  • Ceilings
  • Window frames (inside and outside surfaces)
  • Outside surfaces of suite doors or balcony doors, and door thresholds
  • Kitchen and bathroom cabinetry (including inside surfaces)
  • Kitchen countertops and bathroom vanities
  • Appliances supplied with the suite
  • Any other surfaces that were not already painted on move-in

b. Choice of Paint Colour

  1. The co-op’s standard interior paint colour is white (Sherwin Williams Marshmallow G4 Satin Finish). Members may choose any colour of paint for their suite walls. However, when they move out of the suite, the co-op will repaint the walls white.
  2. If members choose to repaint their suite walls using a colour which can be covered by one coat of white paint, no additional work (or charges) will be required on move-out.
  3. If one coat of white paint will not be sufficient to hide the colour the member has chosen, members will be required to apply a coat of primer over the coloured paint before moving out of their suite, or to pay for this additional task to be done by the co-op. Note: this proviso does not apply if coloured paint was applied to accommodate visual impairment on the part of a member or another household occupant.
  4. Members moving into a suite may agree (in writing) to accept the paint colour applied by the previous resident. In this case they accept that they may be required to apply a coat of primer before vacating the suite, or pay for this work to be done by the co-op.

c. Paint Type

  • Acceptable: Primers, paints and finishes with a low level of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC).
  • Not acceptable: oil-based paint, enamel paint, or textured paint; speciality paints such as chalkboard, whiteboard, and magnetic paint.

d. Recommended Paint Finishes

  • For bathroom and kitchen walls: semi-gloss
  • For other walls: low gloss
  • For trim or moulding: semi-gloss

e. Preparation and Process

  1. Members should not attempt painting or decorating their suite walls themselves unless they have the necessary knowledge, experience and skills to complete the work in a reasonable period of time, with an acceptable quality of workmanship.
  2. Drop cloths should be used to protect the floor. Switch plates and cover plates must be removed. Non-removable hardware such as window frames, electrical outlets, smoke detectors, thermostats, light fixtures etc. must be masked to avoid paint spatter.
  3. Members should keep suite doors closed to minimize the spread of paint odours to other suites and to the co-op common areas. Paint spraying devices are not permitted.
  4. Some equipment such as ladders and reusable drop cloths may be borrowed from the co-op. Contact the Maintenance Committee or designate.
  5. After the work is finished, any surplus latex paint should be taken to a recycling facility for re-use or safe disposal (see Recycle Manitoba for locations). Members who need assistance should contact the Maintenance Committee.

f. Application of Wall Coverings

  • Members may choose to apply wall-paper or other decorative finishes to their suite walls. However, cork tiles and mirror tiles are not permitted as they are almost impossible to remove without damaging the underlying wall surface.
  • Wall-paper and borders used must be dry-strippable. Painted walls must be sized (sealant applied) before the wall-paper or border is applied.
  • Wall-paper must be removed before the resident vacates their suite, unless the member moving in has requested (in writing) that the wallpaper be left in place. After the wall-paper is removed, the walls must be washed to remove any adhesive residue.
  • Any damage visible when wall-coverings are removed must be corrected by the member before the suite is vacated. Alternatively, the co-op will arrange for this work to be done at the member’s expense.

a. Background

  1. The co-op is responsible for supplying all suites with an approved standard appliance package (refrigerator, range or cooktop/wall oven, and microwave/range hood).
  2. Initial co-op residents were offered selected upgrades to the standard appliances for an additional fee, payable by the member.
  3. Both standard and upgraded appliances are the property of OGHC, which will maintain and replace them when necessary (see OGHC Maintenance and Repair Policy).
  4. Members have the option of purchasing additional appliances for their suites, including a dishwasher, washing machine, and condensing dryer. All member-supplied appliances must comply with OGHC standards as described below.

b. Requirements and Permission

  1. Members who intend to supply their own appliances must comply with OGHC standards for energy efficiency (Energy Star certified, qualified, or equivalent), water use, and venting. All clothes dryers must be condensing style (ventless).
  2. To ensure compliance with OGHC standards, and to establish a record of member-supplied appliances in the co-op, members must obtain Maintenance Committee approval before installing their appliances.
  3. To start the approval process, members submit a completed Member-supplied Appliance Request Form (Appendix A) to the Maintenance Committee.
  4. The co-op has published a list of acceptable appliances in all categories on the OGHC website. Members who choose appliances from this list will be approved without delay.
  5. Members who want to install an appliance that is not on the pre-approved list must provide evidence that the proposed appliance meets OGHC standards.
  6. The Maintenance Committee may withhold approval if the proposed appliance does not meet standards integral to OGHC’s environmental sustainability targets, or if permitting the installation would have financial or other implications for the co-op.
  7. Members are responsible for all costs associated with the purchase, delivery, installation, maintenance, repair and eventual removal of member-supplied appliances, including costs to restore the suite if alterations were made to accommodate installation of the appliance(s).
  8. Upon leaving the co-op, members may either remove the member-supplied appliance(s) or offer to give or sell them to the co-op, or to the incoming member. Neither the co-op nor the incoming member is obliged to accept or to purchase any member-supplied appliance.
  9. Incoming members who purchase an appliance from an outgoing member assume the responsibility for all costs of maintaining, repairing and removing the appliance.
  10. Any costs incurred by the co-op in removing abandoned member-supplied appliances will be deducted from Member Shares.

c. Delivery and Installation

  1. Members must co-ordinate the delivery and installation of member-supplied appliances with the co-op Property Manager or designate.
  2. Installation of member-supplied appliances must be done by a professional installer.

d. Replacement

  1. When a member-supplied appliance is no longer useable, the member may replace it with another member-supplied appliance by following the approval process outlined above.
  2. The co-op will not replace member-supplied appliances when they are no longer useable.

a. Members must receive prior written approval from the co-op Maintenance Committee before making alterations to their suite or private outdoor space which:

  • involve changes that require removing interior walls, closets etc.
  • alter the division of space within the suite (eg installing a fixed room divider or kitchen island)
  • require a building, electrical, plumbing or other municipal permit, for example:
    • changes to suite electrical wiring for lighting fixtures
    • changes to suite plumbing for bathroom or kitchen faucets
  • may have a negative effect on building air quality, water conservation or energy efficiency.
  • alter the overall appearance of the building, including the common areas and corridors
  • may increase the co-op’s maintenance costs, property taxes, or insurance premiums.

b. Members making an alteration request shall not proceed with any of the work before receiving written approval from the Maintenance Committee. There is no exemption from this policy for alterations either started or completed prior to members receiving written approval.

c. Any unapproved alteration is a violation of Article 5.2 of the OGHC Occupancy Rules. Members who make unapproved alterations assume all liability for possible costs and damages incurred by the co-op as a result of the alteration. They may be required to reverse the changes immediately.

d. The co-op will not reimburse members for their materials or labour at the time alterations are carried out, or when members leave the co-op.

e. Temporary alterations remain the property of the suite occupants. When members leave the co-op, they may sell additions or alterations to incoming members for a mutually acceptable price. However, incoming members are under no obligation to accept temporary alterations made to a suite and can require the suite be restored to its original condition. Restoration costs will be paid by the co-op members who are leaving (costs will be deducted from their Member Share).

f. Permanent alterations become part of the suite and hence the property of the co-op. When members leave the co-op, they may not ask for reimbursement for materials or labour from the member(s) moving into the suite.

g. In reviewing an alteration request, the Maintenance Committee will consider the following questions:

  1. Will the number of bedrooms be permanently reduced?
  • Co-op suites are intended to be interchangeable between market or affordable housing. For both types of housing, members’ monthly housing charges are based on the number of bedrooms in the suite, as originally designed. For affordable housing, the co-op specifies a minimum occupancy ratio of 1 person per bedroom.
  • If a 3-BR suite is modified to have only 2 bedrooms, it can only qualify as affordable housing if three people are willing to live there. Although there are only two usable bedrooms, the housing charges will be the same as for an unmodified 3-BR suite. Similarly, a 2-BR suite that is modified to only have one bedroom, must be occupied by two people in order to qualify as affordable housing. As a result, modified 2-BR or modified 3-BR suites are more likely to be accepted by members who qualify for market housing.
  • During construction of the co-op, initial residents were allowed to modify the number of bedrooms in their suites. The eight (8) residents who did so are not required to restore their suite to its original plan when they leave the co-op. However, the board of directors invites these eight members to consider restoring the number of bedrooms to the original plan, so that the co-op can offer the suite to a wider range of applicants. At present, no further requests to reduce the number of bedrooms in a suite will be accepted.
  • If the departing member chooses not to restore the original number of bedrooms, the co-op will permanently designate the suite as a modified 2-BR or a modified 3-BR suite, and market it as such.
  • Applicants for co-op housing who agree to move into a permanently modified 2-BR or 3-BR suite are not required to restore that suite to its original plan when they subsequently move out.

2. Will the alteration affect the visitability of the suite?

All co-op suites were designed to meet visitability standards. Does the alteration proposed negatively affect less-mobile visitors by reducing the width of hallways or passageways to less than 36”, or reducing the width of a doorway, or limiting bathroom access?

3. Will the change proposed negatively affect members living in adjacent suites?

Does the alteration reduce daylight, reduce air circulation, increase noise transmission or negatively affect another member’s view?

4. Will the work be of acceptable quality?

If members wish to do all or part of the alteration work themselves, they must assure the Maintenance Committee that a) all the materials to be used comply with the co-op’s standards and b) the members have the necessary knowledge, experience and skills to do the work. The co-op accepts no liability for injuries to members, non-member occupants or non-occupants during suite alteration work.

5. Will the work be completed in a reasonable period of time?

Suite alterations are disruptive to other co-op residents, so should be completed in a timely manner. This is a particular concern if members wish to do the work themselves, in their free time.


a. Alteration requests must be submitted to the Maintenance Committee using the OGHC Suite Alteration Request Form (Appendix B). Members can informally contact Committee members for advice if they are unsure whether an alteration requires co-op approval, or if they have questions about how to proceed.

b. When applying, members must indicate whether the alteration is intended to be a temporary or permanent change to the suite.

c. Alteration requests must provide sufficient detail to assure the Maintenance Committee that the work proposed will be done in a competent and timely manner. Members must provide dimensioned drawings of proposed permanent changes including plans, elevations and details showing materials and methods of construction.

d. The Maintenance Committee will review alteration requests and respond in writing within 28 days, indicating whether or not a proposal is acceptable to the co-op.

e. Conditions may be attached to the approval. If these are met, the application can be resubmitted. If an application is turned down, members may appeal to the board of directors.

f. If the alteration request is approved, the member(s) and the co-op will enter into a written, binding agreement to ensure that:

  • the work is done in a competent manner
  • changes to electrical or plumbing systems are carried out by a licenced professional and all necessary permits are obtained.
  • all persons doing the work have appropriate liability insurance
  • the member(s) is/are responsible for supervising the work
  • the member(s) is/are responsible for all costs associated with the alteration
  • in the case of default, the member(s) will pay the co-op’s costs to restore the suite to its previous condition

g. A copy of the approved application and agreement will be placed in the members’ Unit File. Members are responsible for applying for any necessary permits, with the co-op’s assistance. Members must pay any related fees and provide the Maintenance Committee with a copy of the permit.

h. To ensure an appropriate standard of workmanship, permission for a permanent alteration is conditional upon the completed work passing a final inspection by the Maintenance Committee or a designated agent of the co-op. Results of the inspection will be documented and a copy sent to the member(s).

i. If a permanent alteration does not pass final inspection, the co-op may:

  • approve the work as a temporary alteration to the suite, or
  • require deficiencies in the work be corrected, or
  • require the suite to be restored to its original condition immediately, at member cost.
Appendix A

Member-supplied Appliance Request Form

Appendix B

OGHC Suite Alteration Request Form

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