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Things to know about condominium ownership in Ontario

Condominium ownership comes with many benefits. It also comes with rules and regulations that govern everything from maintaining your unit and how much your condominium fees will be every month to what type (if any) pets you can have.

As a condo owner, knowing some of the ins and outs of condo governance may help you to become more aware of your rights. It may also help you to make a decision on whether or not condo life is suited to you before you purchase a unit.

New units

When you buy a new condo, you may take advantage of a 10 day "cooling off" period during which can cancel the purchase, but some stipulations apply. 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.

Buying a new condo unit in Ontario also entitles you to get a warranty. There are corporations that can give you such coverage and to help you to come to an agreement with a builder if there should be any disputes about the purchase.

Preowned units

If you buy a preowned condo, you don't get that same cooling off period to be able to put a stop on your purchase. Your agreement should be conditional on being satisfied with the contents of the status certificate which is supposed to advise about the condition of the common areas and assessments.

Managers need a license

If your condo corporation has a manager running the day-to-day operation of your building, he or she must have a license from the Condominium Management Regulatory Authority of Ontario as of Nov. 1, 2017. To obtain this license, potential managers need to take courses sanctioned by the province, garner some experience and pass an exam. Condo managers are bound by a code of ethics and could be punished if found in violation of any ethics rules.

As a condo owner in Ontario, laws protect you in three ways:

  • The Condominium Management Services Act sets rules condo management companies and managers must abide by.
  • The New Home Warranties Act encompasses a warranty program to protect you against defects in the building, gives you protection for your deposit and tells you how to go about resolving any disputes you may encounter with sellers.
  • The Condominium Act oversees the creation, ownership and governance of condominium corporations.

Laws that govern condominium ownership can be complicated. It is prudent to enlist the advice of an experienced lawyer to look over any documents prior to purchasing a unit -- whether new or existing.

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Merovitz Potechin LLP
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Ottawa, ON K1Z 8R1

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