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So You Want to Purchase a Condo?

The term “condominium” generally describes a system of ownership for a multi-unit building whereby, the land is divided into common elements and units. Each unit is owned by the person or corporation that purchases it.

Common Elements
The “common elements” are shared parts of the condominium owned by all the unit owners as tenants in common. Any part of the property that is not a unit as shown on the description and is located inside the boundaries of the condominium plan, is a common element. The ground; landscaping; lobbies; elevators and fitness facilities are all common elements unless they are defined as part of the unit in the declaration.

The Condominium Corporation
The condominium corporation is the legal entity representing the collective interests of the unit owners.

Common Expenses
Every unit owner is required to pay that owner’s proportionate share of all the expenses of the condominium corporation. Common expenses are payable monthly. Sometimes a special assessment of unit owners may also be needed. A special assessment is a non-routine levy by the board, usually for unanticipated expenses and is charged and payable as a common expense in the same proportions as the common expenses.

Status Certificate
A status certificate can be relied on as a source of more or less full disclosure of the financial condition of the corporation. It has become the routine, prudent practice for lawyers and real estate agents to add a purchaser’s condition to the OREA condominium form of agreement whereby the seller must deliver a status certificate to the buyer or buyer’s lawyer within 10 or so business days after acceptance of the agreement. Having received the full disclosure provided by the status certificate and appropriate legal advice, the buyer can then proceed or decline to proceed based upon full knowledge of the current legal and financial status of the condominium corporation.

If you are purchasing a condominium, contact our Elizabeth Street office by phone at 705-526-3791 for a quote or speak directly to one of our lawyers.

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