If you’re thinking of buying a resale condo, you should do your research on the unit and condominium corporation before you make any decisions. You can access key information on any condominium corporation in the province through the CAO’s Public Registry. For more in-depth information about the unit and condo corporation, you should consider requesting a status certificate.
A status certificate is a document that contains information about a specific condo unit and the condo corporation to which it belongs. Status certificates are particularly important for prospective buyers of resale units because they contain information about the unit and corporation, financial details (like what the common expenses fees for the unit are), and a copy of the corporation’s declaration, by- laws, and rules. Any person can request status certificate for a unit from a condominium corporation at any time.
Status certificates include a lot of important information, including:
- A copy of the corporation’s declaration, by-laws, and rules
- A statement of the common expenses for the unit and whether the unit owes money to the corporation
- If the common expenses for the unit have increased since the current year’s budget was prepared, a statement of the increase and the reason
- If an assessment has been charged against the unit since the current year’s budget was prepared, a statement of the assessment and the reason
- The address for service for the corporation (e.g., the address where the corporation receives mail)
- The names and addresses for service for the directors and officers of the corporation
- The status certificate will also include information about any other legal issues that may affect the condo or corporation (e.g., whether there are any legal judgments against the corporation, or if the corporation is involved in any ongoing litigation). A condo corporation can charge up to $100 (including all applicable taxes) for the status certificate. The corporation must provide the status certificate within 10 days of you submitting your payment. It is important to note that the status certificate “binds” the corporation. Here is an example of what that means:
- A potential purchaser requests and receives a status certificate for a unit from a condo corporation. The status certificate indicates that there have been no assessments against the unit.
- The purchaser then buys the unit.
After buying the unit, the corporation realizes that there was an assessment for $2,000 to repair the parking garage and that they made a mistake in the status certificate. The owner is not required to pay the $2,000 assessment amount, because the corporation is bound by the certificate they issued. You may want to ask a legal or real estate professional to help you review the status certificate to make sure you understand everything that is included.
10 TIPS for buying a resale condo
- Make sure you understand exactly what is and isn’t included in the purchase price.
- Carefully review the unit’s layout, boundaries, and unit factor. Take a tour of the condominium corporation’s grounds and amenities to see if the corporation is a good ft.
- Request and carefully review the status certificate for the unit before making any decisions.
- Pay close attention to what is included in the unit’s common expenses and the total amount you would be required to pay, and be realistic with what you can afford.
- Confirm that there are no legal actions against the condominium corporation. If a corporation is ordered to pay money in a legal action, those costs may be covered by your condominium corporation’s insurance, or the owners may be required to pay those costs through a special assessment.
- Determine what parts of the unit and/or common elements you can and can’t change. This information should be available in the status certificate (pay close attention to the corporation’s Declaration and Rules)
- Consider hiring a home inspector to inspect the condition of the unit and the common elements.
- Determine if the unit is still covered by a new condo warranty provided by Tarion. Tarion has three different warranty periods that cover different types of defects, the longest of which is seven years.
- Ask about whether the unit and common elements of the corporation are accessible. If the common elements are not accessible (e.g., they are not navigable with a wheelchair or there are no automatic/electric door openers), the corporation may be required to make changes to make them accessible.
- Speak to a lawyer and/or real estate professional before signing any documents.