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Condo terms

Agreement of Purchase and Sale
A binding contract that contains all of the terms, conditions and obligations involved in purchasing a condominium suite.

Board of Directors
The Board of Directors are elected by the condominium's homeowners. Condominium by-laws outline the number of directors and the length of the term they serve.The board looks after the running of the condominium. It makes sure that money is collected, bills are paid, and violations of the rules and by-laws are addressed. The Board is also responsible for reviewing the condominium's bank statements and preparing and distributing a budget. Even if the Board of Directors chooses to contract a professional management company to run the day-to-day affairs of the condominium, the Board of Directors is still ultimately responsible for management of the condominium.

The by-laws are rules regarding a condominium corporation's internal operations. They establish procedures and rules that promote the safety, security and welfare of owners, property, and assets of the corporation. You should be familiar with the condominium's by-laws as it will contain information about any restrictions - for example pets, renting, number of occupants, making renovations, etc.

Common Elements
Common elements are the components of the condominium in which homeowners share joint ownership. This may include parking areas, roof, recreational areas, hallways etc.

Condominium Act
Ontario's Condominium Act regulates development, registration and the running of condominium corporations within the province.

Condominium Corporation
A Corporation without share capital, created under the Condominium Act for the purposes of administering the operation, maintenance and repair of the common elements and assets of the condominium. The Corporation is guided by a Board of Directors consisting of homeowners.

Condominium Ownership
The ownership of a condominium involves 2 aspects:
- Separate ownership and title of your home (and sometimes parking)
- Shared ownership and costs of maintaining and repairing the common elements, which are shared by all homeowners.

The declaration is a document that creates the condominium corporation. It defines the boundaries for each home and the common elements. It allocates responsibility for the repair and maintenance of the homes and common elements; outlines the condominium' s provisions regarding occupancy and use; specifies common expenses and each owner's proportionate interest in the common elements; and details each owner's percentage share of the overall common expenses.

Disclosure Statement
In Ontario, the developer of a new condominium must provide a buyer with a disclosure statement before the sale agreement is binding. This includes, among other things, a summary of the condominium's features/amenities, the condominium's governing documents and budget for the first year after registration. This should give some indication of the rules, regulations and financial situation of the condominium corporation before buying. Ontario provides a cooling off period of 10 days during which buyers can review the information contained in the disclosure statement and rescind their agreement to purchase if they are not comfortable with their original purchase decision. Ensure you obtain and carefully review the disclosure statement within the specified timeframe.

Exclusive Use Common Elements
Particular areas within the condominium' s common areas which homeowners have the exclusive right to use and enjoy. Examples may include balconies, patios, parking, etc.

Final Closing
The final closing date refers to the date after the condominium is registered and upon which owners obtain title to their home.

Interim Occupancy
The occupancy of a proposed unit before buyers receive title to their home. During this period, the buyers will pay an occupancy fee (much like rent).

Maintenance / Condominium Fees
Also referred to as common area expenses. Maintenance fees are a monthly charge for the utilities, regular upkeep, management, administration and insurance for the common element areas. The fees vary according to project and home size. Each homeowner's portion of these expenses is set out in the budget statement, which lists the percentage for which each unit is responsible.

Occupancy Closing
Purchasers of new condos will generally be required to occupy their unit before the developer is able to transfer legal ownership to it. This is called occupancy closing. During this period, the developer may charge the purchaser a monthly occupancy fee until legal ownership is transferred after the condominium corporation is registered.

Occupancy Date
The date is established by builder and defines when a buyer must take occupancy of your home. Be aware that this date is subject to change and with proper notice the builder may adjust the occupancy date as required.

Occupancy Fee
The monthly payment (just like rent), payable to you, for living in your home prior to final closing. It consists of 3 components:
- Estimated Monthly Maintenance Fee
- Estimated Monthly Realty Taxes
- Estimated Monthly Interest Component

Property Manager
The property manager handles the day-to-day running of the condominium, such as hiring of staff, maintenance and repairs. The property manager is under contract to the condominium corporation. A representative from the property management company usually attends board meetings. Some condominiums may not have a property manager. These are sometimes referred to as self-managed condominiums. The Board of Directors, with the help of volunteers, will assume responsibility for the day-to-day management in these cases.

Realty Taxes
Each suite, including parking and locker units, is separately assessed annually by the city based on current property value. Realty taxes are the responsibility of each individual owner.

The process by which the condominium's declaration and description are formally approved and the condominium corporation is formed.

Reserve Fund
A fund required to be set aside by the Condominium Corporation to cover the major repair and replacement of the common elements and assets of the condominium.

Reserve Fund Study
A study to determine whether the amount of money in the fund and the amount of contributions collected, to date, are adequate to cover forecasted maintenance and repairs.

Special Assessment
When a condominium incurs expenses for projects or repairs that have not been budgeted for, the individual homeowners are assessed for the cost of the repair or the intended project. A well run and maintained condominium rarely has the need for special assessments. A prospective buyer would be wise to learn if the condominium has had a history of special assessments.

Status Certificate
A document containing information regarding the operational, legal and financial status of the condominium corporation. This document can contain the declaration, by-laws, rules and regulations,insurance information, reserve fund balance, other financial disclosures, legal description of the unit and management contract (if applicable). It may also include information about any legal filings or judgments against the condominium. A buyer should always review the status certificate.

Title Transfer/Final Closing
Refers to the date after the condominium is registered and upon which you receive title to your home.

All the space within the set boundaries of your home, as specified in the declaration.


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