Living Highrise

Before you make the largest purchase of your life, by buying a condominium you need to be sure that you have all of the relevant details. A condominium is not ever going to become someone’s total or autonomous property.

By the very definition of a condominium you can easy know that a condominium is a collection of units in a building that have been apportioned according to size and level or floor. The higher floors seemingly being known as the most valuable. Who would not want to live in the Penthouse? The view is phenomenal. Unless you need to walk to your unit, the top floor is the most illustrious place to live in a condominium building.

As a prospective purchaser you need to know that, even if you may seem to own your unit, you do not have sole authority over it. If you want to renovate your condominium you will need permission of the building management. Perhaps you want to install a new floor or have work done on your in-suite plumbing. Before you hire a contractor you will need to obtain an estimate and a work plan for the renovations. You will need to complete a form(s) provided by the building management and provide details, such as insulation or padding for new flooring; specifically stating the thickness and density of the padding. Likewise, a similar process is mandatory for plumbing and other renovations that could potentially encroach on the units of other unit owners in the building. While your floor and your plumbing exist within your unit, the correct padding for flooring will ensure that no one is disturbed by your walking in your own unit. Your plumbing must be properly installed to prevent leakage to other units.

You will want to assess the attitude of the management staff for your building before you buy a unit in a set building. You should request a meeting with the Manager of the building, in advance of buying your new or resale condominium. Knowing all of the forms to be completed for renovations, booking the party room, billiards room, media room and / or other amenities is of utmost importance. You do not want to live in a building that is housed in massive bureaucracy.

You should request an Estoppel Certificate far in advance of buying a condominium. This document will include by-laws or internal policies of the condominium corporation and list particulars, such as the deposits required to rent facilities like the elevator or party room and also state the maintenance fees for your unit. You can call the local tax department to find out the monthly and yearly property taxes for your unit.

You should request a copy of the Management Agreement. This document will explain the obligations and / or duties of the building management. Cleaning and maintenance of the building; including facilities will be detailed herein. You may need to specifically inquire as to what repairs, if any are provided by the building management. Generally no repairs within a condominium unit will be completed by the building Superintendent. Other than refinishing of the front door of your suite the Superintendent will not repair any part of your condominium. Replacement of smoke detectors and HVAC filters is usually standard maintenance covered by the Management. Some buildings have a combined agreement for cable television, which is incorporated into the maintenance fee. Not all buildings offer this perk.

In the rare case hydro (water), HVAC and insurance for your unit may all be covered in the maintenance fee. To be sure, you should probably bring a Real Estate Lawyer with you, along with your Real Estate agent before you officially present your offer to purchase. This will enrich your chances of knowing all you can and should know before you sign on the dotted line to buy a condominium.

One other item of consideration is which property management company will be managing a condominium. Usually builders have a broad agreement with a property management company to be installed for all building they construct. Once in place, it is nearly impossible to vote them out. This because positions on the Board of Director’s are for a most 2 (two) years, while a Management Agreement is often for 3 or 5 years. This means that the management company will likely outlast many officers of the condominium corporation.

The company hire to clean and maintain facilities at the condominium is hired under contract by the management company on behalf of the Board of Directors. The same is the case for the waste removal and exterior building maintenance and also the situation for the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent. The security company or concierge services is hired under a similar arrangement. It is highly recommended that you thoroughly research any and all of the companies that will directly or indirectly providing services to the condominium building where you plan to buy a condominium. Once you a resident you will are stuck with whoever is working there and the policies, which govern their work.

On the following links you will find useful information about legislation that governs condominiums, in Ontario, Canada.

Condominium Act Ontario

Condominium Owner Rights and Responsibilities

Bill 106 – Protecting Condominium Owner’s Act

Posted on: December 4, 2016, by :