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Chapter 5: Checklists, Tips and FAQ's

Information that will help you find a condominium that is right for you.

Tips for Buying a New Condominium

Look over the unit’s drawings and specifications so you’re clear about the floor measurements. Do they reflect the actual floor area of the unit or do they include the exterior and interior wall floor space areas as well? Verify where the unit’s boundaries are and that your unit factor is reasonable.

Find out whether or not you can have changes made to the placement of walls, windows, doorways and types of doors (such as a pocket door) and what the costs would be.

Inquire whether the building and/or your unit will be accessible to someone with limited mobility. What universal design features will the unit include?

Find out if there are plans to reduce the ceiling height anywhere in the unit to allow for ductwork and other mechanical and electrical services. This can have an impact on the esthetics of the unit and the eventual location of lighting fixtures and furniture as well as wall decorations and fittings.

Check the future location of heating and air-conditioning equipment, ventilators and hot water heaters. Again, this can affect how much space you’ll have and the attractiveness of your unit.

Ask the developer key questions about construction quality, such as:

  • Have any special steps been taken to limit noise between units?
  • How are the units heated, cooled and ventilated?
  • How are odours controlled?
  • Is the building energy-efficient? If so, what special equipment or systems would need to be maintained?
  • Has water efficiency been incorporated into the unit’s fixtures?
  • Who operates and maintains the heating and air-conditioning systems?
  • What options are there for suite wall and floor finishes, cabinets, and plumbing and lighting fixtures?
  • How has the building construction taken into account environmental considerations?

Check with the developer and municipality about construction plans in the neighbouring area. Is the building part of a larger complex? What are the plans to build other structures, such as a high-rise, nearby? Could new buildings change the view from your unit significantly?

Be clear about what is and isn’t included in the purchase price so you can compare overall costs with other condominiums. For example:

  • Are there amenities, such as pools and parking, and how are they paid for?
  • Are finishes in the units included in the purchase price?
  • Are there other charges over and above the purchase price you should be aware of?
  • Are utilities (gas, electricity and water charges) covered in the monthly condominium fees or are they separately metered? (You don’t want to end up paying part of your neighbour’s utility bills.)

Verify, as best you can, that your monthly condo fees are realistic. Condo fees often increase after the condominium’s first year of operation because the developer may have agreed to pay for certain expenses in the first year, such as a concierge’s salary, but not in the second year. Fees can also increase after the first reserve fund study has been completed.

Investigate whether there are any “hidden” costs. For example, some developers take out long-term leases on building fixtures, such as furnaces, to save on capital costs. These costs are inevitably passed along to owners.

Check if the unit comes with a new home warranty, which ensures that the building is properly constructed and meets legal regulations. You should know what the warranty covers and for how long. Coverage on major components can run for as long as five to seven years after a building is completed. For more information on new home warranties, see CMHC’s online guide Homebuying Step by Step.

Evaluate the current state of the construction project. Is it likely that the project will be completed by the date set out in the purchase agreement from the developer? It’s important to assess this before making your moving and financing arrangements. There can be an unexpectedly lengthy wait before a new condominium project is completed and you can move in.

Request a “disclosure statement” from the developer in those jurisdictions where legislation stipulates a developer must provide you with one before the sale agreement is binding. A disclosure statement will give you some indication of the rules, regulations and financial situation of the condominium corporation before you buy and includes, among other things:

  • a summary of the condominium’s features and amenities;
  • the condominium’s governing documents; and
  • the condominium’s budget for the first year after registration.

Find out if your purchase agreement lets the developer extend the occupancy date. This is especially important if you are making arrangements to vacate your existing home by a specific date based on the original closing date. You should also check your provincial or territorial homeowner protection legislation to learn your rights if your agreed-upon occupancy date is missed.

Consult with your lawyer before signing any documents.
 

Tips for Buying a Resale Condominium

Find out exactly where your unit’s boundaries lie and if your unit factor is reasonable.

Hire a home inspector to evaluate the condition of the individual unit you are thinking of buying, as well as the building as a whole.

Consult the condominium’s technical audit (a building-wide inspection) and/or reserve fund study, if possible, to determine the condition of the building and common property. (Also complete the Physical evaluation checklist.)

Review the financial documents the corporation is obliged to keep. These include:

  • the annual operating budget;
  • end-of-year financial statements; and
  • the estoppel or status certificate.

Be clear about what is and isn’t included in the purchase price so you can compare overall costs with other condominiums. For example:

  • Are there amenities, such as pools and parking, and how are they paid for?
  • Are there other charges over and above the purchase price you should be aware of?
  • Are utilities (gas, electricity and water charges) covered in the monthly condominium fees?

Ask your experts to verify that there’s enough money in the reserve fund to cover the cost of major repairs and renewal projects.

Find out whether any special assessments are anticipated. For instance, an underground parking garage may need renovation or your building may be retrofitted for wheelchair access.

Investigate whether there are any “hidden” costs. For example, some developers take out long-term leases on building fixtures, such as furnaces, to save on capital costs. These costs are inevitably passed along to owners.

Ask what municipal services, such as garbage pickup and snow removal, the condominium receives. Even though you pay for these services through your property taxes, condominiums sometimes have to assign this work to contractors and you may pay for them twice. 

Check what, if any, new home warranty coverage remains on the unit.

Confirm that there are no legal actions against the condominium corporation.

Consult with your lawyer before signing any documents.
 

Checklist for Buying a New Condominium

  • Verify the unit’s floor area and boundaries and that your unit factor is reasonable.
  •  Find out if you can have changes made to the placement of walls, windows and doors and what the costs would be.
  • Inquire whether the building and/or your unit will be accessible to someone with limited mobility.
  • Find out if there are plans to reduce the ceiling height anywhere in the unit.
  • Check how the units will be heated, cooled and ventilated and the location of heating and air-conditioning equipment, ventilators and hot water heaters.
  • Ask the developer about noise- and odour-reduction measures, environmental features and options for suite finishes, cabinets and fixtures.
  • Check with the developer and municipality about planned construction in the area.
  • Be clear about what is and isn’t included in the purchase price so you can compare overall costs with other condominiums.
  • Find out if your monthly condo fees are realistic, what they include, and when they’re likely to increase.
  • Investigate whether there are any “hidden” costs, such as long-term leases on building fixtures, which will be passed along to owners.
  • Check if the unit comes with a new home warranty and the extent of the warranty.
  • Assess, as best you can, whether the project will be completed by the date in the purchase agreement before making moving and financing arrangements.
  • Request a “disclosure statement” from the developer in jurisdictions where a developer must provide one before the sale agreement is binding.
  • Find out if your purchase agreement allows the developer to extend the occupancy date and check your provincial or territorial homeowner protection legislation to learn your rights if your agreed-upon occupancy date is missed.
  • Consult with your lawyer before signing any documents.

Checklist for Buying a Resale Condominium

  • Find out exactly where your unit’s boundaries lie and if your unit factor is reasonable.
  • Hire a home inspector to evaluate the condition of the unit you are thinking of buying, as well as the building as a whole.
  • Consider having an indoor air quality inspection done to identify potential mold, airborne particulates, volatile organic compounds, poor ventilation and odours from other units.
  • Consult the condominium’s technical audit and/or reserve fund study, if possible, to determine the condition of the building and common property.
  • Review the corporation’s annual operating budget, end-of-year financial statements and the estoppel or status certificate.
  • Be clear about what is and isn’t included in the purchase price so you can compare overall costs with other condominiums.
  • Find out what your monthly condo fees include and when they are likely to increase.
  • Ask your experts to verify that there’s enough money in the reserve fund to cover the cost of major repairs and renewal projects.
  • Find out whether any special assessments are anticipated, what they are for, how much they might cost and when they will need to be paid.
  • Investigate whether there are any “hidden” costs, such as long-term leases on building fixtures, which will be passed along to owners.
  • Ask what municipal services the condominium receives, such as garbage pickup and snow removal.
  • Check what new home warranty coverage remains on the unit, if any.
  • Confirm that there are no legal actions against the condominium corporation.
  • Consult with your lawyer before signing any documents.

Condominium Purchase and Recurring Costs

Don’t Forget to Factor These Costs Into Your Budget:

  • Basic purchase price
  • Unit sale price
  • Upgrades (negotiable)*
  • Development charges*
  • GST or HST on the sale price*
  • GST and PST or HST on appliances and other items being purchased with the unit*
  • Utility hookup fees*
  • Landscaping fees*
  • In some provinces, two months’ common expenses to build the reserve fund*
  • Occupancy fees (if you move into your unit before the unit is registered) that may include estimated common expenses based on the disclosure statement budget; estimated realty taxes on the unit; Warranty program enrolment fees*
  • Costs at closing
  • Remainder of purchase price
  • Legal fees and disbursements
  • PST and GST or HST on extras or upgrades to unit finishes, equipment and systems if not included in purchase price*
  • Provincial or territorial land transfer tax, if applicable
  • Adjustments

* May not apply to resale units, since it was already paid and/or factored into the purchase price. There are exceptions. For instance, GST and the federal portion of the HST will apply in some cases.

Recurring Costs:

  • Monthly condominium fees or common expenses (or monthly occupancy fees if you move into your unit before it is registered)
  • Property taxes
  • Unit and contents insurance
  • Mortgage payments
  • Amenity fees, such as storage, pool and extra parking, if not included in the common expenses
  • Utilities (if not included in the common expenses)
  • Telephone, cable and Internet access (if not included in the common expenses)
  • A contingency for emergency repairs
  • Maintenance costs associated with the upkeep of your unit

Other Costs

Occupancy fees (if you move into your unit before the unit is registered) that may include estimated common expenses based on the disclosure statement budget; estimated realty taxes on the unit.
 

Physical Evaluation Checklist (for Resale Units)

Use this checklist to size up the physical state of the condominium.

Common Elements — Interior

  • Lobby is clean and in good repair.
  • Exterior doors, locks and security system are functional.
  • Recreational amenities (if any) are in good working order and clean.
  • Elevators are clean and functional.
  • Corridors are clean, well lit and odour-free; carpets are in good repair and paint is unmarked.
  • Stairwells are well lit; doors and door handles are functional.
  • Stairs have handrails and the stair edgings are marked for increased safety
  • Common basement or locker facilities are well lit, clean and dry.
  • No signs of water leaks or mold.
  • Parking structure does not show any evidence of leaks or concrete deterioration.
  • All areas meet your needs for ease of accessibility.

Common Elements — Exterior

  • Garbage and recyclables are in receptacles or dumpsters.
  • Snow and ice are removed from walkways and parking areas if viewing in the wintertime.
  • Amenities are clean and in good repair, including recreational facilities (such as playground structures) and landscaping.
  • Exterior walls are not cracked, corroded or water-stained.
  • Balcony railings are rigid and rust-free and balcony slabs are not breaking up.
  • Roadways, sidewalks and parking areas are in good shape with no standing water.
  • Block heaters (if any) are functional.
  • Lighting in pathway and parking lot is good.
  • Walls have no water stains, corrosion, loose siding or white marks on brick.
  • Lawn and fences are in good condition.

Unit

  • Favourable initial reaction to odours upon entering the unit.
  • Exterior door to unit is in good repair, with unmarked paint and functioning latch and locks.
  • Drywall is not dented or broken.
  • Paint is unmarked.
  • Flooring (including tile, hardwood and carpeting) is clean and in good repair, with no stains, holes or burn marks.
  • Smoke detectors are on each floor.
  • Interior doors are in good repair and open and close easily; latches or knobs are functional.
  • Windows open, shut and lock easily; glass is unscratched; no noticeable drafts or mold; seals are in place.
  • No visible water-stain marks or damaged drywall around windows, near floors or ceilings.
  • All light fixtures are operational.
  • Appliances (if included) are functional, clean and in good repair.
  • Plumbing does not drip.
  • Toilets flush and refill properly.
  • Bathtub and shower walls are clean and solid.
  • Bathtub has solidly installed grab bars for safe entry and exit.
  • Floor of bathtub is non-skid.
  • Electrical sockets function.
  • Kitchen cupboards are in good repair with functional doors and no signs of pests (insects or mouse droppings).
  • Basement is dry and odour-free with no evidence of water damage (which would indicate previous flooding).
  • Basement sump pump is functional (if applicable).
  • Unit heating and air-conditioning systems are working, in good repair and not of an age to be replaced.
  • Exhaust fans in kitchen and bathroom are operational.

Neighbourhood

  • The neighbourhood is sustainable.
  • The area is safe.
  • The area has features and services you or your family requires (for example, public transit, convenient shopping, parks, good schools).

 

Questions to Ask Advisors and Condominium Experts

Before you purchase a new or resale condominium, you should consult with a number of advisors and condominium experts. The following questions will help you assess their qualifications. Of course, condominium markets vary and the intensity of a particular market can influence how much time a buyer may choose to take to question experts and review documents.

Questions to Ask a Real Estate Agent

How Much Experience do you Have in Helping Clients Buy Condominiums?

Buying a condominium is very different from buying a traditional house so it’s important that your agent specializes in condominiums. Ask the agent how many condominium buyers she or he has represented in the last 12 months and be sure to get three buyer references (who are unrelated to the agent). If you’re buying a new condominium, an experienced agent may be able to help you to secure upgrades and better terms from the developer.

Will you Represent my Interests Only?

You can opt to deal with the vendor’s real estate agent, but you should really enlist one who will act only on your behalf.

How Familiar are you With the Neighbourhood(s) in Which I want to Buy?

A neighbourhood specialist will know the desirable areas and can readily advise you on pricing as well as the benefits and drawbacks to the neighbourhood.

How Much Time will you Give me to Review Important Documents?

There’s a lot of paperwork when you buy a condominium. Ensure that you and your lawyer have plenty of time to go over it before signing.

When Drafting a Purchase Offer for a Condominium, What Clauses do you Normally Include to Protect the Purchaser?

A realtor skilled in condominium purchases should know to include protective clauses unique to condominium buying, such as making the offer conditional upon a satisfactory review of the condominium's documents. In jurisdictions offering this service, you may want a provincial condominium review specialist to examine the documents.

Are There any Fees or Charges I Need to Know About?

If you deal with the vendor’s agent, there should be no charge to you, as the agent will be paid a commission by the vendor. An agent acting exclusively for you should not charge a fee because he or she normally shares in the vendor’s agent’s commission.

Questions to Ask a Lawyer

How Much Experience do you Have With Residential Condominium Transactions?

Ensure that the lawyer specializes in residential (not commercial) real estate law and has plenty of experience in reviewing condominium offers to purchase, and purchase and sale agreements.

  • Have you dealt with this developer before?
    • It’s advantageous if your lawyer has some knowledge of the developer of the project.
  • Do you deal with both developers and condominium buyers and sellers?
    • Law firms often represent either developers or condo buyers and sellers, but not both.

At What Point do you Get Involved in a Residential Condominium Purchase?

Find out the key stages in the purchase process when your lawyer will be needed.

What Parts of a Purchase Agreement Tend to be Problematic?

An attorney skilled in condominium law should be able to identify areas in a contract that warrant special attention.

What will You Expect from me?

Find out what your role will be in the process and what documents you’ll need to provide the lawyer.

Do you Charge a Flat Fee or an Hourly Rate?

It’s best to know this ahead of time so there are no surprises. If the lawyer charges by the hour, ask for an estimate of his or her total time so you can work this into your budget.

What Costs will be Incurred at the Time of Closing or Before?

If you need a mortgage, you may have to have an appraisal done. Land transfer tax must be paid at closing, if applicable. A lawyer should be able to provide a complete list so that you can be prepared.

Questions to Ask a Property Manager

A good property manager can have a significant impact on the quality of life in a condominium community. He or she ultimately serves the owners so it’s in your best interest to find out as much as possible about this individual and/or company before purchasing in a particular building.

Property managers also tend to be very busy people so you may want to set up an appointment with one by phone or e-mail. Here are some questions to ask a property manager to get a better idea of his or her experience, personality, professionalism and communication skills.

  • How long have you been the property manager for this condominium? How long have you been working in the property management field? How are vacations and other time away from the job covered?
  • If employed by a property management company, how long has the company been in business? What are other properties managed by this company?
  • Can you provide concrete examples of where your organizational skills and follow-through benefitted this condominium community?
  • How have you shown leadership when meeting the needs of residents, the board of directors, staff and contractors?
  • How do you communicate with owners on a timely basis? E-mail? An interactive website?
  • Can you give an example of where you have learned from a mistake on the job?
  • What business skills and experience do you bring to the position?
  • How has your attention to detail made a difference in the building’s day-to-day operations?
  • Have you, or are you working toward, the Registered Condominium Manager designation?
  • How do you stay current with changes in the industry?

Questions to Ask a Condominium’s Board of Director

Owners who sit on the board of directors have a close-up view of the condominium corporation. While their knowledge of legal, financial and property management issues will vary, it’s worth asking them the following questions if you have the opportunity.

How Much Money is in the Reserve Fund (and How is it Invested)?

You’ll want to ensure that the condo has sufficient funds to cover major repairs and renewal projects.

Have There been Special Assessments in the Last Five Years and, if so, What Were They for and How Much did They Cost? Are Any Other Special Assessments Expected in the Next 10 to 15 Years?

Special assessments are sometimes necessary but frequent, costly ones may indicate a deteriorating building or poor financial management.

What is the Turnover Rate in the Complex?

This will give you an idea of how happy people are living there.

What is the Turnover Rate Among the Board of Directors?

Repeated resignations among members may point to friction within the board.

How Familiar are Board Members with Condominium Legislation?

Provincial and territorial condominium legislation covers many important aspects about how condominiums operate, including the powers of the board of directors.

Have There Been any Situations in Which the Board has Drawn Upon Professional Help?

Board members’ knowledge of legal, financial and property management issues may be limited so it may be necessary to consult professionals occasionally.

Is the Condominium Corporation Involved in any Lawsuits?

If it is and it loses the lawsuit, a portion of all of the owners’ maintenance fees could go toward paying a settlement. This is one of the reasons why you should review the corporation’s liability insurance coverage.

Has the Condominium Corporation Made any Claims on its Insurance Coverage in the Last Five Years? If so, What for?

Insurance claims can tell you more about the condition of the property and may account for steeper condo fees.


Frequently Asked Questions

Where are my unit’s boundaries?

This will depend on your condominium. Sometimes, a unit boundary can be at the backside of the interior drywall of the unit’s dividing walls. Or, it might be the centre line of the unit’s walls.

It’s important to be clear where your unit’s boundaries are located before you purchase. You’ll want to know, for instance, whether you’ll be paying for window washing or repairs to your townhouse’s bricks or whether the condominium corporation will be. You can find information about your unit’s boundaries in your condominium’s governing documents.

If you buy a freehold condominium and own the land your home is on, your unit may be the entire house including the exterior walls, the roof and the lawn. You may want to hire a professional surveyor to review the condominium corporation’s site plan so you know exactly where your unit’s boundaries lie.

What is the difference between a freehold condominium and a regular condominium?

The biggest difference is what is included as part of the unit. With a freehold condominium, you own the plot of land and any structure on that land, such as a house or a townhouse. You are normally responsible for the care and upkeep of the entire house, including the exterior walls and roof, as well as the lawn, garden, driveway and garage. Your monthly condo fees go toward the upkeep of common property elements such as recreational facilities or visitor parking.

With a regular townhouse or house condominium, your unit typically consists of the interior of the house itself, while the exterior of the house and the plot of land on which the unit sits are considered part of the common elements. This means that repair and maintenance of items like exterior walls, windows, lawns, gardens and driveways may be the responsibility of the condo corporation.

Due to the fact that condominiums are governed by provincial and territorial legislation, terminology that is commonly used can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The term “freehold condominium” has different meanings in different provinces. In most jurisdictions, the term refers to a condominium where the unit holder owns the house as well as the plot of land on which the unit sits. However, in others, the term includes all condominiums where the land is owned by either the unit holder or the condominium corporation. This is to distinguish freehold condominiums from leasehold condominiums. With leasehold condominiums, the developer leases the land and the condominium corporation is essentially a tenant.

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:

  • removal of snow, garbage and recyclables;
  • landscaping;
  • cleaning (carpets in common areas and outside windows, for example);
  • heating and cooling systems maintenance;
  • amenities (such as a swimming pool or party room);
  • utilities;
  • cable and Internet;
  • insurance policies for the condominium’s common areas;
  • security systems maintenance and monitoring;
  • salaries of employees (if there is a superintendent or security guards, for instance); and
  • property management fees.

A portion of your condo fees will also likely go toward the building’s reserve fund. (Your province or territory may have another name for this, such as contingency fund or capital replacement reserve fund.) A reserve fund ensures that the condominium has enough money to pay for the major repair 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. For more information on reserve funds, see Is there enough money in the reserve fund?

To find out exactly what is — and is not — included in your monthly condo fees, check:

  • your disclosure statement (for new condominiums);
  • your estoppel or status certificate (for resale condominiums); and
  • the condominium’s operating budget.

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.

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 doesn’t allow 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. This means the corporation may have the right to sell the unit to recover the money it is owed. 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 unfortunate 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.

Many banks include provisions in their mortgages that owners who are in default of their condo fees are automatically in default of their mortgage. Depending on the amount owed, they may be at risk of foreclosure.

Is there enough money in the reserve fund?

The condominium’s reserve fund provides financing for major repairs and renewal projects over the life of the condominium building. The fund essentially ensures that the condominium’s common elements will be maintained in good shape.

The amount of money that should be in the reserve fund depends on:

  • the condition and life expectancy of all of the common elements in the building; and
  • the estimated cost to repair or replace them over the life of the project.

Condominiums often rely on a reserve fund study to help them determine how much money should be in their reserve fund. Reserve fund studies are carried out by engineers or other professionals who assess the condition of the common elements of the building, estimating their remaining lifespan and their related repair and/or replacement costs. They then estimate what monthly or annual contributions will be necessary for long-term renewal.

Some jurisdictions have condominium legislation that requires that reserve fund studies be done on a regular basis. Others leave it up to the owners to estimate how much should be in the fund.

Regardless of where you live, it’s essential that you find out the current state of the condominium’s reserve fund. Check the disclosure statement or the estoppel or status certificate for this information.

How do new home warranties work?

Many new condominiums come with a developer’s warranty, backed by a third-party new home warranty.

As an owner of a new condominium, you’ll want to report any defects or omissions in your unit and co-operate with the builder’s warranty inspections. Some builders perform regular investigative service calls during the first year of possession; others prefer to deal with all warranty issues toward the end of that time.

If the developer fails to correct construction defects and deficiencies within a reasonable time frame, buyers can turn to the third-party new home warranty program to help resolve outstanding issues.

New home warranties don’t cover every item you might think is a defect so be clear on what the warranty does and does not cover, and for how long, before making a claim. Buyers of resale condominiums should find out what warranty coverage remains on the unit.

What property or general insurance coverage should I look for?

There are special considerations when insuring a condo as opposed to a residence held under other tenure. You’ll want to ensure that your individual unit and the condominium corporation as a whole are sufficiently insured.

A condominium corporation’s property or general insurance coverage may include:

  • one hundred per cent replacement cost of the corporation’s property, such as furniture, equipment and vehicles;
  • all-risk or major perils;
  • personal liability — against claims for bodily injury and/or property damage occurring on the condominium property;
  • directors’ and officers’ insurance — for claims made personally against a director or officer of the condo;
  • Boiler and machinery (equipment breakdown);
  • Fidelity — against claims for theft of money; and
  • Human rights defence costs — for claims made against members of the board of directors.

Your unit owner’s property or general insurance package should cover:

  • chargeback of the corporation’s deductible. It’s vital that you make sure that your policy covers you if there is a chargeback of the corporation’s deductible (sometimes $25,000 or more). This could happen if there were a flood in your unit that affected another unit, for example. The corporation’s insurance may cover damages to the common elements and possibly other units, with cost of the deductible being charged back to you as the unit owner that caused the problem.
  • liability;
  • personal property and contents (appliances, furniture, jewellery, items stored in lockers, for example);
  • improvements made to the unit (finishing a basement, installing new cabinets, for example);
  • loss of use;
  • loss assessment — property damage or liability (when the corporation’s insurance is invalid or insufficient); and
  • unit contingency (coverage if the condominium corporation’s insurance on your unit’s structure is insufficient).

Condominium insurance requirements vary across Canada. You should consult your provincial or territorial condominium legislation, your condominium’s governing documents as well as a condominium insurance specialist to ensure sufficient coverage.

Can I rent out my condominium?

Many condominium buyers purchase their units as an investment and plan to rent them out. Most condos allow owners to do this but you should confirm this by reviewing your condominium’s governing documents and provincial or territorial legislation.

You may also want to find out from the property manager what percentage of the building is owner-occupied. In some condominiums, a large percentage of the units are rented out and there may not be the same pride of ownership and sense of community and security that you may find in a building that is fully owner-occupied. Additionally, absentee owners may not have the same maintenance and repair priorities for the building as owners who actually live in the building.

Find out about key business and legal aspects of being a landlord in Your Guide to Renting a Home.

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