What is a condominium and why is it different?
From The Condo Guide
It is a creature of statute, created under the Condominium Act of Ontario, as, among other things, a means of consumer protection by the imposition of certain time and disclosure requirements on the purchase and sale of new condominiums. A condominium is not necessarily just a high-rise apartment. Condominiums can include townhouses of all shapes, sizes and heights, semi-detached or detached units, and can be industrial, commercial or residential. Condominiums can also be in the form of common-element condominiums (ie. a number of homeowners sharing a central recreation facility), phased condominium corporations, vacant land condominiums or leasehold condominiums.
How does it get there?
The developer takes his/her land and plans through many stages, and for residential, including enrollment under Tarion (formerly the Ontario New Homes Warranty Program), negotiation of the agreements with the various governmental authorities and utilities. Finally, he/she will receive the necessary approvals to start building. At the same time, he/she is preparing with his/her lawyer the declaration, description, disclosure statement, etc. Once the facility is constructed and inspected by the municipality, purchasers may be given occupancy or possession, but not title. After all the paperwork has been approved, the Ministry of Housing inspects and approves the project for release. The developer then registers the appropriate documents and advises purchasers that it is time for the final closing, and the purchaser would then get the deed.
What do I own personally?
In the majority of the cases, you own the inside of your unit to half way through the walls, floors and ceiling, and your proportionate share of the common elements as set out in the condominium documents.
One of the questions that frequently comes up relates to the issue of whether you own the parking spot or storage locker that may come with the unit. If a parking spot or storage unit is included, do you own it, or is it an exclusive-use arrangement? In order to get title to these elements, it must be set out in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. If it is exclusive use, the parking spot or storage locker is owned by the condominium corporation and used exclusively by you, pursuant to your agreement and subject to the by-laws and rules of the condominium corporation.
What is a Status Certificate?
You obtain a Status Certificate from the condominium corporation because it will provide a wealth of necessary information to be able to make educated decisions. Here are a few highlights: a) statement of common expenses of the unit and, if any, default in payment; b) any increases since last budget and reasons; c) any assessments levied; d) outstanding judgments and legal actions, if any; e) budget and financial statements; f) copies of all agreements affecting the condo; g) reserve fund info; h) contemplated and actual financial, service and physical changes; and many other items. Have a look at sec 76(1) of the Condominium Act or ask your lawyer for a copy. The cost of obtaining a Status Certificate from the condominium corporation is $100.
Why a condominium?
Condominiums offer a much different lifestyle selection to the consumer than freehold, and their composition is only limited by the imagination and ingenuity of builders and developers. There will be as many different choices as there are creative people. What do I mean? How about a 4,000-sq.-ft. freestanding home on a one-acre estate lot that is freehold, but the owner is part of a condominium that participates in a water and sewer treatment plant and maintains its own security force? How about owning the house but condominium-izing the golf course or the olympic-sized swimming pool? Today, the condominium is becoming one of the ways to have your cake and eat it too.
Perhaps the most difficult part of writing these articles relates not the actual writing, but thinking of a topic to address. So help me! Mail, deliver or fax letters to the magazine or to us, use the website www.schwarzgillen.com, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and give us your questions, concerns, critiques and quandaries. I will try to deal with them in print or electronic form. Good luck and happy condo hunting. I’ll talk to you next issue!
The Condo Guide Magazine is an excellent source of housing information for those looking for information on new condos in Ontario, Canada. We offer the most up-to-date information on new condominiums across the greater Toronto area.
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