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”]
You need to ask yourself if you really want to live in a condominium. There are pluses or positives and minuses or negatives with every option. If you choose reside alongside many other people in an apartment like setting, then are some issues of concern that you should consider beforehand.
Every condominium building has a management company that administers the day to day activities of the building, including enforcing or not caring about policies.
Policies can include enforcing boundaries of smoking areas in compliance with local and Provincial by-laws.
Other policies can include facility maintenance, in compliance with municipal and Provincial standards.
Every condominium corporation will also have a Board of Directors that votes on issues related to the building. While the so called Board is meant to govern the policies of the building, as with many forms of government the administration of policies is a bureaucratic responsibility. Bureaucracy is managed by management, likewise at a condominium corporation.
Before you choose to purchase a condominium be sure you know how it is managed. Request a copy of an Estoppel Certificate for the unit your plan on purchasing, far in advance of submitting an offer. As management for a meeting, as a prospective purchaser. If granted a meeting, be sure to bring a set of questions you want to ask. Also, bring a notepad for noting answers to your inquiries.
Walk around the area surrounding the condominium building and find out for yourself how close amenities are to the property. You may purchase a nice looking condominium building, but you need to be sure that you will be able to live well while you reside there.
You will also want to find out what traffic patterns are like near the condominium building. Inquire about air quality outside and inside the building, pollution levels and smog in the area near the building. Depending on the direction your unit face you may receive a lot of wind and / or sunshine. Conversely, if you unit is across from a shopping centre, then you could have a lot of fumes from vehicles and pollution, as well. If your unit is above the so-called designated smoking are you may receive a lot a second hand smoke.
Be sure to ask as many questions about the overall living conditions in the building. Find out from prospective neighbours, on your future floor what their experiences are in living at the building and ask them if they recommend that you move in or buy elsewhere.
Here are some useful references to review before buying a condominium:
- Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation Condominium Facts