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3 things to know for prospective condominium owners in Ontario

Condominium ownership comes with many benefits. But it also comes with rules and regulations that may govern everything from the cost of monthly maintenance fees to what type (if any) pets you can keep.

As a potential condo owner, knowing some of the basics about condo governance helps you be more aware of the rights and restrictions you may face. It may also help you decide whether condo life is really for you before jumping into a purchase.

10-days to change your mind

Some of your condo owner's rights will depend upon whether you buy a new unit or a resale. When you buy a new-build condo, you may take advantage of a 10 day "cooling off" period during which can cancel the purchase, but some stipulations apply.

If you cancel, the developer must give back any deposit held in trust that you put down. In addition, a developer does not have the right to cancel your agreement without getting your approval or without a court order.

New condo warranty and deposit protection

Buying a new condo unit in Ontario also entitles you to a warranty. In Ontario, this warranty program is administered by Tarion. If you run into defects, unauthorized substitutions, workmanship or other warrantied matters with a newly-built unit, Tarion can help you resolve the matter.

Buying new also means that Tarion protects your deposit (up to a certain limit) in the event that the developer goes bankrupt or fundamentally breaches the contract before building is complete. 

Status certificate: Don't overlook it

If you buy a pre-owned condo, you don't get that same cooling off period to back out of a purchase. But you can make the purchase conditional on a successful review by a lawyer of the updated status certificate. This document reveals the rules, financial health and other important details about the unit and condo corporation.

Laws that govern condominium ownership can be complicated. If you're thinking of buying a condo, know your rights before you buy. Enlist the advice of an experienced lawyer and have any documents thoroughly examined prior to signing.


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