21 November 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Understanding the Status Certificate When Buying a Condo

In Toronto when you make a purchase on a condominium, there should (almost) always be a condition in your offer on the ‘review of an up to date status certificate and accompanying documents’.

Why is this so important? There are way too many reasons to cover in this blog post, so I will highlight the most common concerns and what you need to be aware of when reviewing. (NOTE: you should always have a third party, like an experienced Realtor familiar with condo documents or your real estate Lawyer, review these documents).

The most often talked about concern is the financial status of the condominium corporation you just bought into. That’s right, you are now a legal shareholder in the liabilities and assets of said condo corporation! What is the amount in the reserve fund? Are fees projected to rise in the next budgeted year? Are any special assessments being considered? What does the budget look like? There are so many things to understand and to the untrained eye, it can be a daunting review.

How about the rules and regulations or by-laws of the condo? Consider this scenario as an example: while visiting the property before you purchased, you noticed that the neighbour’s balcony had a barbeque on it. You love to barbeque, so you are excited about doing so yourself! Don’t assume that this is permitted. It needs to be spelled out if it is.

How about pets and the associated obligations with owning them? Certainly no one can tell me what I can or cannot do inside my own unit? Wrong! Not only can a condo spell out what types of pets are permitted, but you also must adhere to sound and noise requirements. If your parakeet likes to squawk all day, you could be in for a rude surprise. One of you, maybe even both of you, could be asked to leave.

Here’s an interesting one that’s often overlooked by the uninformed: playing loud music inside your unit. Condo noise by-laws are different than those of the City of Toronto. Most parts of the city spell out that your neighbour should keep the music down after 11 PM. Not so in a condo. If your neighbor complains, regardless of the time of day, you need to dial it down. After all, each unit owner is entitled to quiet and reasonable enjoyment of his or her unit. This applies to video gamers as well, with the heavy bass of gunfire blasting at 1:00 AM! Landlords should always make sure that their leases include “that the tenant agrees to abide by the condo rules and bylaws”.

So, as you can see, a thorough understanding of the status certificate and documents is crucial when making a condominium purchase. Make sure that you are aware of the rules and by-laws, and also make to bring to your Realtor’s attention anything that might conflict with your interests. Keep in mind that condo living can be great, but it’s not for everyone!

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