A condominium (or condo) is similar to an apartment in structure. A condo complex, just like an apartment, is composed of many living units. Unlike an apartment, the individual tenants own the units. The parking lot and other common areas of the condo complex are owned jointly. There is normally a homeowners association that handles the care and upkeep of the jointly owned areas. An elected board of directors runs the homeowners association.
What Types of Condominiums Are There in Toronto?
Condominiums can come in many different structures. The most standard structure is a multi-unit building that has condos of a common corridor. Condos can also be structured like single-family homes. These are referred to as “detached condominiums” or “site condominiums.” The difference between the two is that the homeowner’s association maintains the exteriors of detached condos; while the individual owners control the exteriors of site condos. There are also non-residential condos that house offices or retail stores.
What Do I Own When I Buy a Condominium?
Condo owners own the entire condo unit, including all interiors of their individual condo. They will share ownership and responsibility for all of the costs relating to operating the joint areas of the condominium site. This part ownership includes a claim to common features such as lobbies, hallways, pools, recreation rooms, lawns and gyms on the premises. Depending on the condo arrangement, you may or may not be responsible for the exterior of your condo unit.
Are Condominium Regulations the Same Across Canada?
The condo regulations differ between each province and territory. There will be different legislation depending on where you are seeking to buy a condo. If you are considering buying a condo in Canada, consider utilizing the services of a real estate professional to determine which regulations you need to follow. If you are buying a condo in a province or territory different than your own, you will need to deal with a professional who is familiar with the legislation in that area.
What Rules and Restrictions Might I Encounter in a Condominium?
Since owning a condominium is a legal agreement between yourself and the homeowner’s association, there may be specific rules you will have to follow while you live there. These rules are called the “by-laws” of the condo. There can be vast differences between the regulations of two different condos. These regulations can include limits on the number of occupants, pet restrictions, rules on parking arrangements and schedules for the condo amenities. Check with the homeowner’s association and read all by-laws before purchasing a condo.
Who Takes Care of the Building and Grounds?
This depends on the type of condo that you purchase. Regular condominium owners are only responsible for the interior of their units. The exterior walls, lawns, common areas and parking lots are maintained through fees obtained from all of the residents collectively. Other types of condominiums, like detached condos, require the individual owner to take care of their immediate surroundings. This includes the property that the detached condo is on, and the lawn, garden and driveway of the unit. Common areas like parking areas and recreation rooms are taken care of with association fees.
What Insurance Will I Need?
Both the condominium company and the individual condo owners hold condo insurance. As an individual condo owner, you will need insurance to cover your personal property. This type of policy should include coverage for appliances, furniture and jewelry. Insurance should also be obtained if you make improvements to your individual condo unit. These improvements can include installing new built-in cabinets in your condo, or refinishing the floors. You’ll also need personal liability insurance as a condo owner.
Can I Rent My Condominium in Toronto?
Renting out a condominium is a common practice. In fact, many condo owners buy a unit as an investment with the intention of making it a rental property later down the line. Many condo corporations will allow their residents to rent out to another party, with certain restrictions. However, before proceeding with a sublet situation, you should confirm this with the condo by-laws and regulations. In some exclusive condo communities, residents must occupy their units themselves.
New, Re-sale or Conversion—What Are the Differences?
New condos are newly constructed. The advantage to getting a new condo is that all of the units and amenities are brand new. Converted condominiums are constructed in buildings that previously had other functions. Condos can be built in old warehouses, retail stores or industrial buildings. With a conversion, the condo unit will be brand new while the exterior building is older. Re-sale condos are units that are being sold by previous residents. These units are normally in older buildings. New Condominiums Buying a new condo has several advantages for an owner. A new condo unit will feature modern fixtures and new amenities. If a condo is purchased before the property is built, an owner may have the option of customizing their unit. Purchasing a new condo can be accomplished in one of two ways: through a developer during the construction phase or through the management company shortly after the condo complex is built. In high demand areas, condominium complexes are normally sold out before construction is completed.
Conversions are built in the interior of old commercial and industrial buildings. There are several advantages to buying a conversion condo. It is very similar to buying a new condo unit, because the construction of the individual units is new. Conversions offer unique floor plans, and are centrally located in major metropolitan areas, close to entertainment, mass transit and other amenities. Converted units are normally less expensive than normal condo units of the same size. Existing/Re-sale Condominiums For many condo buyers, purchasing a re-sale condo is an attractive option. When you buy a re-sale condo, you can see what the condo community looks like and feels like before you buy. This can help you determine if you will be a good fit for the condo community. Re-sale condos can have significantly lower deposits than new condos. Additionally, an older condo purchased through a resale may have a larger unit size than a new condo.
Affordability—How Much Will it Cost
Condos are generally less expensive that a single-family home in the same area. However, specific prices will depend on the real estate market where you are looking. The price of your condo will also depend on the type of condo you are buying. New construction condos will be more expensive than conversion or re-sell condos. The most affordable type of condo will be a re-sale condo in an older complex. Before buying, make sure to evaluate your financial situation and find out how much you can afford to pay each month on a mortgage and condo fees.
Condominium Contributions—What's Included in My Fees?
Monthly condo fees are required in all condo complexes. Your monthly condo fee will be used to cover the maintenance of the common areas. It is also used to create an account that is drawn from for major repairs to the condo complex grounds and buildings. There is a standard method of calculating condo fees, which is normally governed by legislation in your area. Condo fees are not something that can be arbitrarily set by the condo company. Extraordinary Expenses Occasionally, there may be an increase in condo fees due to unforeseen circumstances. For example, if there is a need for major repairs to the condo complex then there will be a need to charge the tenants. Each owner in the complex will be issued an assessment charge that will reflect his or her amount of ownership in the property. In some cases, the assessment charge will be paid by unit owners in one lump sum. Other times the payment is made as a small addition to the monthly condo fees.
Questions to Ask in Choosing a Condominium
Before you start hunting, ask yourself what type of condo (townhouse, loft, hi-rise, etc) is right for you. Also narrow down the areas in which you wish to live. If you are moving into new construction, make sure to inquire about the current state of the building and when the units will be complete. For re-sale condos, ask about the condo community and what it is like to live there. Confirm the monthly fees and know what those fees cover. How do I Know if a Condominium is in Good Financial Condition? Each condo is responsible, by law, to maintain a Condominium Reserve Fund. A portion of the monthly condo fees pays into this fund. Each condo complex will provide a financial statement at the end of the year, or on a quarterly basis, to notify residents of the state of the reserve fund. If you are buying a re-sale condo, you can obtain copies of these statements to review with your financial advisor or realtor. New condos and converted condos will also have financial statements available for you to review.
How do I Know if a Condominium is in Good Physical Condition?
If you are buying a new condo, there will be an inspection report of your unit and the entire complex provided to you before the sale is closed. This will give you and your realtor a good idea of the current state of the physical property. A third party home inspector can inspect re-sale condo units. The person re-selling the condo will sometimes cover the costs of this inspection. In addition, the condo company will provide an inspection report of the entire complex if requested.
Below you will find a comprehensive list of all available condominiums: