As we blogged on July 14, 2020 – The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services intends to proclaim a “Condominium Guide” into force effective December 1, 2020. Submissions from the public on the proposed contents are due August 14, 2020.
We made brief submissions on further potential headings for the Condo Guide table of contents. These include status certificate and pre-construction condo purchase topics, first year deficiency and funding issues, conversion condominiums, and touch on the requirements for condo insurance, owner insurance and an explanation of standard unit vs. improvement coverage
In our view, the suggested contents are comprehensive and hopefully the plain-language content will be too!
In making our short notes, we had longer thoughts. Here are some items we hope get fleshed out in the Condo Guide content:
- Give the property manager the benefit of the doubt – management is a much more complex job than a unit owner could imagine. Also recognize that the board of directors are forced to make various difficult types of decisions, including financial ones, based upon much more information than is available to owners.
On condo purchases:
- Do not rely only on the status certificate or disclosure statement alone – read the declaration, by-laws, rules carefully because they may have substantial implications contrary to your intended wishes.
- Before closing, check the description plans for your unit(s) to ensure you receive what you expected.
- Exercise exceptional care if buying a condo in a building converted from an office or factory, since sound, HVAC and construction deficiency problems are common in those scenarios.
On pre-construction purchases:
- Understand adjustments. They are unknown and add many thousands of dollars to the funds required to purchase. They are NOT part of the purchase price and therefore not funded by a mortgage. Adjustments are extra money a purchaser needs to provide independent of the mortgage on closing.
- Check Tarion’s disciplinary notes as they may pertain to the declarant.
- Declarants may take advantage of permitted extensions to the initially expected closing date as set out in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale – that can affect arrangements to terminate an existing tenancy or home sale.
- If a declarant has under-funded initial contributions to the reserve fund, unit purchasers often must make up substantial additional contributions during or after the first year following registration.
- Be aware that Ontario’s minimal Building Code requirements may result in expensive building deficiencies, rectified or compensated by litigation – or more likely, paid by you and your fellow owners.
- Carefully inspect the unit and complete the pre-delivery inspection by the deadline. Tarion’s warranties are tricky, will not cover all items and require you to be vigilant to assert claims by the deadline date.