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Real Estate Tips
Buying a previously-owned condominium
When you buy a previously-owned condominium, you are not protected by the disclosure and trust provisions of the Condominium Property Act.
It is your responsibility to obtain the necessary documents and information. It is best to consult with your lawyer.
When you buy your condominium from the owner of the unit, you should obtain and examine the following documents before you make your offer to purchase:
• the condominium plan plus any additional sheets attached to the plan (endorsement, registration etc.) that may be made on the plan
• the certificate of title for the unit
• information about any restrictive covenants (agreements)
• the condominium bylaws; and
• the phased development disclosure statement.
The seller, a Land Titles Office, a registry agent, the real estate agent, the condominium corporation or manager, or your lawyer may be able to help you obtain the documents.
Alternatively, you should make your offer to purchase subject to obtaining the documents and the purchaser being satisfied with their contents.
You will need to know the condominium plan number (letters and /or numbers) to obtain these documents from a registry agent. Plans registered after 1975 have a seven-digit number. Those registered before 1975 have a combination of letters and numbers.
They may also have names such as “Whispering Pines”.
The condominium corporation must provide you with the following information within 10 days of your written request:
• an estoppel certificate
• any governing policies of the condominium
• the particulars of any legal action or claim against the corporation
• details of any written demand made upon the corporation for $5,000 or more
• a copy of the corporation’s current budget
• a copy of the most recent financial statement and year-end statement
• a copy of the latest minutes of general meetings of the corporation and of the board
• details of any management, recreational and lease agreements
• a copy of the approved capital reserve fund plan and annual report, including a statement identifying the amount of the capital reserve fund
• a statement setting forth the unit factors and the criteria used to determine the unit factor
• the particulars of any post tensioned cables that are located on the property
• information on any structural deficiencies that the corporation has knowledge of at the time of the request in any of the buildings on the condominium plan
• a copy of the corporation’s certificate of insurance, showing the amount of insurance on the complex; and
• a copy of any lease agreement or exclusive use agreement with respect to the possession of a portion of the common property, including a parking stall or storage unit.
The corporation may charge a reasonable fee for these documents.
An estoppel certificate is a signed statement from the condominium corporation that certifies the information provided is correct. The estoppel certificate tells you:
• the current condominium contribution assessed to the unit
• the schedule for paying the condominium contribution (e.g. monthly, yearly)
• whether the previous owner has paid his/her share of the contributions and what remains unpaid; and
• the amount of any interest owing on any unpaid condominium contributions.
The corporation may charge a fee for the certificate. Your lawyer can deduct any unpaid contributions from the purchase price.
As with the purchase of any building, it would be wise to have a building-inspection report on the unit, if available, or you can make your offer to purchase conditional on obtaining a satisfactory report.
Make sure you also ask for the corporation’s most recent newsletter, as well as the names of the corporation’s current board of directors and manager, if any, along with contact numbers.
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