Imagine that you have just purchased your dream condominium. Your Lawyer has been instructed to complete the necessary paperwork to ensure that you will be inscribed as the official owner of the newly acquired property. The first step in this process is for an Estoppel Certificate to be requested. This bizarre document contains many important details. In this post we will examine Estoppel Certificate Mysteries.
Perhaps your attorney has conducted a thorough title search to search for liens on title and the title appeared to be clear. Only once you have moved into your new residence do you discover that the prior owner did not pay the required maintenance fees to the property management office. How could this have happened? Details such as maintenance fees, paid or unpaid and what they cover or included in the way of services to be provided are contained therein. The Estoppel Certificate package will detail the amount of condo fees (common expense and reserve fund) for which the unit owner is responsible. It will also outline timely options for payment of maintenance / condo fees: annual or monthly payments. As well as methods of payment: post dated cheques, or automatic bank account withdrawal. Within the Estoppel Certificate package one should find the following items: Bylaws of the condominium corporation, building policies, use of facilities rules, hours or operation of management office, allowable hours for moving in / out and for booking of elevators and equipment. Also, complete contact details for management and security, as well as the building Superintendent may be contained within the package.
According to an article on Wikipedia: “An estoppel certificate provides confirmation by the tenant of the terms of the rental agreement, such as the amount of rent, the amount of security deposit and the expiration of the agreement. Further, the estoppel certificate may give the opportunity to the tenant to explain if she may have any claims against the landlord, which may affect a buyer’s or lender’s decision to complete the proposed transaction.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estoppel_certificate
If you did not receive an Estoppel Certificate, then you would not have even known what the maintenance fees were. This vital document contains details about building policies for moving in and out, times that the garbage rooms are in operation and information about amenities and rules about being a resident in the condominium building.
To ensure that you are fully informed about all parts of the process for effective and legitimate transfer of the deed to your property you need to be sure that you have retained the services of a competent Real Estate Lawyer who is known to have an impeccable reputation.[tc-logo-slider logo_cat=”Clients”]
Before you make the largest purchase of your life, by buying a condominium you need to be sure that you have all of the relevant details. A condominium is not ever going to become someone’s total or autonomous property.
By the very definition of a condominium you can easy know that a condominium is a collection of units in a building that have been apportioned according to size and level or floor. The higher floors seemingly being known as the most valuable. Who would not want to live in the Penthouse? The view is phenomenal. Unless you need to walk to your unit, the top floor is the most illustrious place to live in a condominium building.
As a prospective purchaser you need to know that, even if you may seem to own your unit, you do not have sole authority over it. If you want to renovate your condominium you will need permission of the building management. Perhaps you want to install a new floor or have work done on your in-suite plumbing. Before you hire a contractor you will need to obtain an estimate and a work plan for the renovations. You will need to complete a form(s) provided by the building management and provide details, such as insulation or padding for new flooring; specifically stating the thickness and density of the padding. Likewise, a similar process is mandatory for plumbing and other renovations that could potentially encroach on the units of other unit owners in the building. While your floor and your plumbing exist within your unit, the correct padding for flooring will ensure that no one is disturbed by your walking in your own unit. Your plumbing must be properly installed to prevent leakage to other units.
You will want to assess the attitude of the management staff for your building before you buy a unit in a set building. You should request a meeting with the Manager of the building, in advance of buying your new or resale condominium. Knowing all of the forms to be completed for renovations, booking the party room, billiards room, media room and / or other amenities is of utmost importance. You do not want to live in a building that is housed in massive bureaucracy.
You should request an Estoppel Certificate far in advance of buying a condominium. This document will include by-laws or internal policies of the condominium corporation and list particulars, such as the deposits required to rent facilities like the elevator or party room and also state the maintenance fees for your unit. You can call the local tax department to find out the monthly and yearly property taxes for your unit.
You should request a copy of the Management Agreement. This document will explain the obligations and / or duties of the building management. Cleaning and maintenance of the building; including facilities will be detailed herein. You may need to specifically inquire as to what repairs, if any are provided by the building management. Generally no repairs within a condominium unit will be completed by the building Superintendent. Other than refinishing of the front door of your suite the Superintendent will not repair any part of your condominium. Replacement of smoke detectors and HVAC filters is usually standard maintenance covered by the Management. Some buildings have a combined agreement for cable television, which is incorporated into the maintenance fee. Not all buildings offer this perk.
In the rare case hydro (water), HVAC and insurance for your unit may all be covered in the maintenance fee. To be sure, you should probably bring a Real Estate Lawyer with you, along with your Real Estate agent before you officially present your offer to purchase. This will enrich your chances of knowing all you can and should know before you sign on the dotted line to buy a condominium.
One other item of consideration is which property management company will be managing a condominium. Usually builders have a broad agreement with a property management company to be installed for all building they construct. Once in place, it is nearly impossible to vote them out. This because positions on the Board of Director’s are for a most 2 (two) years, while a Management Agreement is often for 3 or 5 years. This means that the management company will likely outlast many officers of the condominium corporation.
The company hire to clean and maintain facilities at the condominium is hired under contract by the management company on behalf of the Board of Directors. The same is the case for the waste removal and exterior building maintenance and also the situation for the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent. The security company or concierge services is hired under a similar arrangement. It is highly recommended that you thoroughly research any and all of the companies that will directly or indirectly providing services to the condominium building where you plan to buy a condominium. Once you a resident you will are stuck with whoever is working there and the policies, which govern their work.
On the following links you will find useful information about legislation that governs condominiums, in Ontario, Canada.