You’ll likely have many questions when you’re shopping for a condominium, especially if you are a first-time condo buyer. Here are a few of the frequently asked questions about buying a condo.
What do my condo fees cover? Your monthly condo fees pay your portion of the cost to maintain and repair the common property. These costs may cover snow and garbage removal, landscaping, cleaning, utilities, amenities, insurance, security systems, and property management.
A portion of your condo fees will also likely go toward the building’s reserve fund. A reserve fund ensures that the condominium has enough money to pay for major repairs to, and replacement of, the common elements over the life of the building. These may include the roof, roads, sewers, sidewalks, elevators, plumbing and other building systems.
To find out exactly what is and is not included in your monthly condo fees, check your disclosure statement if you are buying a new condominium, or your estoppel or status certificate for resale condominiums. It’s a good idea to review the condominium’s operating budget as well.
You can also find out more about your fees by speaking with the vendor, property manager, board of directors or the developer prior to purchasing a unit. Ask for confirmation in writing of what the condo fees cover.
What can happen if I don’t pay my condo fees? Don’t even think about withholding your condo fees! They are neither optional nor negotiable. For example, if you don’t plan to use your building’s swimming pool, you must still pay a share toward its care and upkeep. Likewise, being frustrated with the board of directors, property manager or another unit owner isn’t justification for you to stop paying your fees.
In some provinces, the condominium corporation can register a lien on your unit if you do not pay your share of the common expenses. It may also be entitled to charge interest and collect any reasonable legal costs and expenses it has incurred while trying to collect the debt.
Suspension of voting rights can be another consequence of withholding condominium fees. In some jurisdictions, you are not entitled to vote if you are more than 30 days behind in your payments.
Can I rent out my condominium? Many condominium buyers purchase their units as an investment and plan to rent them out. While most condos allow owners to do this, you should confirm this by reviewing your condominium’s governing documents.
Condo corporations usually have rules about providing contact information and the name of the tenant to the corporation, and providing the tenants with the condo corporation bylaws. You should also familiarize yourself with landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities in your province or territory.
To help answer your questions about condominium ownership, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has a publication called Condominium Buyer’s Guide. This free guide has information specific to each province and territory. Access this online guide at cmhc.ca/condo guide.
Content courtesy of http://www.torontosun.com
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