Category Archives: Legal Real Estate Issues
Look at rules and bylaws outlined in a condo’s status certificate
Joseph Richer, RECO Registrar – Toronto Star
Q: I’m getting married in a few months and we want to buy our first home, likely a condo. Is buying a condo any different from buying a house?
A: First of all, congratulations on your upcoming nuptials! It is a milestone event in your lives, as is buying your first home together.
Condo ownership has some unique characteristics you should know about before you start your search.
For example, some condominiums are marketed as “adult lifestyle,” while others are more child-friendly and have amenities for families, such as playrooms or a playground.
And, unlike a house, condos usually have rules restricting the size and type of pets, noise, balcony/patio furniture, decorations and even drapes or flooring material. Find out what’s allowed and what’s not, and be comfortable with those rules when considering a purchase.
Another unique aspect of condos is a document called the status certificate with important information about the condo corporation and the specific unit you are interested in. The condo corporation must provide it to you (for a fee of up to $100) when you ask for it. So, when you do find a condo you like, it’s very important to make your offer conditional on a review of the status certificate by your real estate lawyer, preferably one with experience in condominium transactions.
The status certificate contains the condominium’s declaration, bylaws, and rules enforced by the condo’s board of directors. The status certificate also indicates the monthly fees for upkeep of the common areas – including building maintenance, landscaping and snow removal – and the utilities.
If the condo you’re looking at includes a parking space and/or locker, the certificate will tell you whether you own the space yourself, or whether it’s a common element owned and assigned by the condo corporation. Be sure to review the declaration documents with your lawyer to ensure that the numbers assigned to the unit, parking spot and locker (if any) correspond to the numbers stated on the agreement of purchase and sale.
And finally, the certificate also contains the financial records for the condo corporation. This is important information because if there is insufficient cash in the reserve fund to cover costly future repairs, your monthly condo fees could go up or you may have to pay a special assessment.
It’s always a good idea to have your real estate agent and lawyer review the status certificate with you. If you include a properly drafted condition with your offer and then you see something in the status certificate that gives you pause you may be able to walk away from the deal with your deposit.
Contact Laurin Jeffrey for more information – 416-388-1960
Laurin Jeffrey is a Toronto real estate agent with Century 21 Regal Realty.
He did not write these articles, he just reproduces them here for people who
are interested in Toronto real estate. He does not work for any builders.