Mississauga

Richmond Hill

Brampton

Mississauga

Richmond Hill

Address

50 Confederation Parkway

Concord, Ontario L4K 4T8

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Open

Monday to Friday - 8am - 5pm

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Saturday, Sunday and Holidays

Contact Information

Condo Buyer's Guide

ABC's of condo ownership.

First time buyers, investors and even repeat condominium buyers can often use a refresher course on the many facets of condominium ownership.
To help make that easy, we’ve compiled a series of Frequently Asked Questions and offer Answers below for you.

Questions

What is a condominium?
What are common elements?
What are exclusive use common elements?
What is the Declaration?
What is the Description?
What are Condominium By-Laws?
What are Condominium Rules?
What are Condominium Restrictions?
Who is the Property Management and what are their responsibilities?
What are the Management Team services?
What does the Board of Directors do?
What is Interim Occupancy?
What is an Interim Occupancy Fee?
What are the Interim Closing Costs and obligations?
What is a PDI?
What is The Pemberton “24-Hour Check”?
What is TARION Warranty Corporation?
When will our condominium building be Registered or become a Corporation?
When is a Board of Directors elected?
What is an Annual Budget?
What is a Reserve Fund?
What is a Reserve Fund Study?
What are my Rights as an Owner?
What are my Responsibilities as an Owner?
What Are Monthly Common Maintenance Fees/Expenses?
Do the common areas and buildings have an insurance policy?
Am I required to have Homeowners insurance?
What should my Homeowners insurance policy include?
What else should I be aware of?
What is the key release protocol?

FAQ's

General

What is a condominium?

The word ‘condominium’ refers to a form of property ownership that is made of two fundamental parts:

  1. Individual units – the suites themselves, and any or all parts of the property available for individual ownership and title transfer, plus

  2. Common elements – any part of the property that is not a unit element, which is owned by all of the unit owners as tenants in common.

Together they comprise the condominium property, which is governed by a Condominium Corporation created to manage the affairs of the property. Control over the Condominium Corporation is jointly held by the “shareholders” or owners of the individual suites, and is led by a Board of Directors which is elected by the owners.

A condominium’s affairs are regulated by the Condominium Act, 1998, and documents known as the Declaration, Description, By-laws and Rules.

General

What are common elements?

Common elements are those parts of the condominium development that are outside of the boundaries of the individual units.

Common elements may include, but are not limited to parks; roads and landscaping – gardens, lawns and trees; the elevators; corridors; lobbies; parking areas; garage; onsite mail room; plus entertainment, recreation and/or fitness facilities.

Other common elements include the mechanical and electrical systems and structural parts of buildings. The maintenance and repair are typically the responsibility of the Condominium Corporation.

General

What are exclusive use common elements?

Exclusive use common elements are those common elements of a building to which ONLY the unit owner or owners have exclusive use. The most obvious are balconies, terraces, patios, backyards, a parking spot or locker. Dependant up what is provided in the condominium’s Declaration, exclusive use common elements may be maintained or repaired by either the owner or owners who have their exclusive use, or the condominium corporation.

As a rule of thumb, any feature that is within a suite is owned by that unit, unless stated otherwise in the Declaration.

Declaration, by-laws, rules & restrictions

What is the Declaration?

The Declaration is the “constitution” of the condominium. It’s your governing documents. It outlines the division of ownership within the corporation by identifying the units, the common elements and the exclusive use common elements, if any. It also sets out the percentages of ownership each unit has in the property and the percentage that each unit contributes to the monthly common expenses. The Declaration will also indicate which costs will be the responsibility of the corporation and paid for by the owners’ contributions to the monthly common expenses.

Declaration, by-laws, rules & restrictions

What is the Description?

The Description is a detailed plan of the boundaries, layout and location of the units, common elements and exclusive use common elements in the condominium

The Declaration and Description can be changed, but it is a rare occasion. In the instance of changing the basis for a unit’s contribution of maintenance fees, this requires the support of 90% of all owners. Changing a non-financial matter in the Declaration, such as pet restrictions, would require 80% owner agreement.

NOTE: When you purchase a suite in a new-build condominium, the proposed or existing Declaration is included with the Disclosure Statement. If you’re buying a resale condo, it’s included with the Status Certificate.

Declaration, by-laws, rules & restrictions

What are Condominium By-Laws?

By-Laws define how the Corporation will be organized. They outline the responsibilities and powers of the Board of Directors, how meetings will be run and the collection of maintenance fees. By-laws are made by the Board of Directors and must be approved by a majority of the owners.

Declaration, by-laws, rules & restrictions

What are Condominium Rules?

The Board of Directors may make Rules to govern day-to-day living, providing the rules are consistent with the Condominium Act, the Declaration and By-laws. Rules help promote the safety, security and welfare of the owners. These may include use of service elevators, facilities or even whether owners may have pets. The owners are required to receive notice of the Rules and have a right of veto and can amend or repeal them.

Declaration, by-laws, rules & restrictions

What are Condominium Restrictions?

The Declaration, By-Laws and Rules will determine any restriction on how you may use your suite or the common elements, for example:

  • Restrict the size or number or types of allowable pets

  • Specify the color of your shades or blinds (usually white or off-white)

  • Require you to file certain documents with the Condo Corporation if you will be leasing out your unit

  • Restrict certain renovations to your suite.

Declaration, by-laws, rules & restrictions

Who is the Property Management and what are their responsibilities?

A property management firm, under the direction of the Board of Directors, runs the day-to-day affairs of a Condominium Corporation. The Property Management team’s primary purpose is to maintain, protect and enhance the property value of your condominium community, as well as to assist and diligently carry out policies as set out by the Board of Directors.

Their role is to ensure consistent communication with Board members and residents; diligently resolve issues; supervise work performed on the premises; and ensure abidance of policies set out by the Board.

Declaration, by-laws, rules & restrictions

What are the Management Team services?

Collection of common element maintenance fees: the funds required to maintain, improve and/or repair the common areas; pay common area utility expenses for items NOT separately metered or paid directly by condo suite owners; pay condo associated legal fees Manage all expenses generated in order to maintain a properly functioning condominium community. Other duties include:

  • Responding to resident correspondence and inquires
  • Suite key release to new owners at interim Occupancy, once receipt of funds is confirmed by the vendors’ attorney
  • Coordination of move-in schedules
  • Organization and/or attendance at condominium Board Meetings and Annual General Meetings, provision of Minutes, and coordination of elections

  • Preparation and distribution of detailed management reports

  • Development and implementation of energy management, preventative maintenance and construction/upgrade programs

  • Preparation of budgets

  • Prepare monthly financial statements and arrange for audits, as required

  • Cash and asset management

  • Reserve fund planning and investment management

  • Enforcement of the terms of the Declaration, By-Laws, Rules and Regulations
  • Building insurance
  • Development and implementation of policies and procedures
  • Management of the common grounds and areas.

Declaration, by-laws, rules & restrictions

What does the Board of Directors do?

The Board of Directors is responsible for carrying out the obligations of the Condominium Corporation, as set out in the Act and in the condominium Documents, as it relates to:

  • Property

  • Finances

  • Maintaining Corporation Records

  • Reserve Fund Study
  • All other matters relating to the condominium community

Interim Occupancy & Closing

What is Interim Occupancy?

This is the time from the date you are granted Occupancy through to the Final Closing date of your unit, when transfer of title to your unit is completed.. Whether or not you have moved into your suite, until the unit transfer date, you do not own your suite outright. During this time it is still owned by the developer.

Interim Occupancy & Closing

What is an Interim Occupancy Fee?

From Interim Occupancy and until Registration of the Condominium Corporation and Title is transferred to you, you will pay an Occupancy Fee to the developer. The Interim Occupancy Fee is determined by the following calculation:

  1. Interest on the balance owing on your suite’s total purchase price

  2. Maintenance fees applicable to your suite

  3. The estimated property taxes for your unit.

Your lawyer will be provided with information regarding the exact amount of your monthly Interim Occupancy Fee. Fees are not applied toward your mortgage (if any). Mortgages only come into effect when title is transferred to you.

Interim Occupancy & Closing

What are the Interim Closing Costs and obligations?

The following are some Interim Closing Costs to consider. Please refer to the specifics detailed in your Agreement of Purchase and Sale, and all accompanying Amendments:

a) The balance of any deposits due on your Occupancy date

b) Monthly Occupancy fees (usually paid by post-dated cheques)

c) Cost of an all-risks Tennant’s Package Insurance Policy in the name(s) of the suite purchaser(s).

d) Arrange for any and all utility hook-ups required for separately-metred items.

NOTE: At Pemberton Group new-build condominiums, Hydro registration is done for you.

Interim Occupancy & Closing

What is a PDI?

Your “PDI” is the Pre-Delivery Inspection. Your Customer Care Representative will walk through your suite with you before your Interim Occupancy date to itemize any “deficiencies” – i.e.: items that may be damaged, missing, incomplete or not operating properly.

The developer has 150 days (6 months) from the date of that inspection to complete any outstanding issues.

Interim Occupancy & Closing

What is The Pemberton “24-Hour Check”?

This is an additional effort made by Pemberton Group to catch and correct any other item that may have been missed during the PDI inspection.

You will have 24 hours from your Interim Occupancy date to re-inspect your suite for any deficiency not noted on the PDI. You must report any discrepancy found during your own 24-hour inspection to your designated Customer Service Representative.

Interim Occupancy & Closing

What is TARION Warranty Corporation?

The Ontario New Home Warranty Program Act administered by TARION Warranty Corporation manages the warrantees of new homes and condominiums and provides protection for condominium buyers of newly constructed residential units.

We recommend you review TARION’s helpful information and portals at: tarion.com.

You have up to 30 days to notify TARION Warranty Corporation of any new warrantable items, and items not listed on your PDI form or noted at the Pemberton 24-hour Check that are not yet completed.

The TARION Warranty 30-DAY and ONE-YEAR FORMS are available for review and download at: tarion.com. These forms are the official opportunity to report warranty items within 30 days of your date of Occupancy; and up to one-year following that date.

NOTE: The TARION Warranty 30-Day period and your appliance warranties commence on your official Occupancy Date.

Condominium Registration

When will our condominium building be Registered or become a Corporation?

A ‘Condominium’ is not technically formed until construction is completed and it passes the approval processes which enables it to be registered with the Land Registry Office. Only then can the title of your suite be transferred to you. The approvals process, however, begins once the first suite is occupied.

First it goes to municipal council, the regional planning department, and on to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Affairs. These checks and balances ensure that the building(s) uphold what was stipulated in the Draft Plan and Condominium Declaration. Once all the parties are satisfied that everything meets the requirements, the Condominium Registration is complete.

Condominium Registration

When is a Board of Directors elected?

The Condominium Act requires that within 42 days after the developer loses majority control of the development, all of the new owners are entitled to elect a Board of Directors. The Act also requires that once 15% of the units are owner-occupied, the owners of those units are entitled to elect one representative to the Board of Directors.

Condominium Registration

What is an Annual Budget?

Each fiscal year, the Board of Directors approves a budget that is prepared by management and is based upon expected revenues and expenditures for the next 12 months.

Condominium Registration

What is a Reserve Fund?

A Reserve Fund is a separate trust account which all Condominium Corporations are required to establish. A portion of the Common Expenses paid by the owners is transferred monthly to this account. The Reserve Fund is the unit owners’ savings for the major repair and replacement costs of the Common Elements which occur as a building gets older.

Condominium Registration

What is a Reserve Fund Study?

The contributions made to the Reserve Fund must be based on a Reserve Fund Study which establishes the amount the Board of Directors must ensure is contributed. Under the Condominium Act, all Condominium Corporations must carry out a reserve fund study by a qualified professional every 3 years.

Condominium Registration

What are my Rights as an Owner?

  • Vote at owners’ meetings
  • Elect Board of Director members
  • Upon written request and reasonable notice, you may review Corporation records (e.g. financial statements, meeting minutes, etc.)
  • Requisition a meeting of owners and request that an issue be added to a Meeting Agenda
  • Obtain a court order to force the Corporation to carry out a duty required under the Condominium Act
  • Remove a derelict Director from the Board with a majority of owner votes.

Condominium Registration

What are my Responsibilities as an Owner?

Condominium living is not the same as living in a single-family home. Repairs to Common Elements are the responsibility of the Corporation while repairs to the unit are the owner’s responsibility. What makes a condominium unique is not its physical structure, but the way in which owners have agreed to share the ownership of the Common Elements of the property, while retaining individual ownership of parts of the property which makes up the units.

Your responsibilities are to:

  • Maintain and repair your unit (according to the Condominium Declaration, By-Laws and Rules).

  • If repairs must be made inside your unit, the responsibility for the repairs is normally the unit owners’ responsibility.

  • Elect a Board to govern the condominium property who as a Board establish and make policy decisions, by taking responsibility on behalf of owners for the running of the condominium corporation.

Please consult your lawyer, and/or read through the Condominium Act, the Declaration, the By-Laws, and the Rules & Regulations, for specifics you are required to comply with.

Condominium Registration

What Are Monthly Common Maintenance Fees/Expenses?

Also referred to as Common Area Expenses, Maintenance fees are a monthly charge (your proportionate share) for the utilities, regular upkeep, management, administration, reserve fund contribution and insurance for the common element areas. The fees vary according to project and the size of the unit.

Each homeowner’s portion of these expenses is set out in the Budget Statement, which lists the percentage for which each unit is responsible. The condominium Property Manager runs the day-to- day operations and uses the funds collected to pay for the common operating expenses of the condominium.

Insurance - Common Areas & Building Structure

Do the common areas and buildings have an insurance policy?

Yes. The Condominium Act, 1998 specifies that the Corporation must insure its obligation to repair the condominium property to its replacement value. The directors must have the condominium assets appraised from time to time to determine that insurance needs are being met.

The insurance premiums are part of the Common Expenses that all owners pay. While the insurance covers the full replacement value of the units and common elements, it does not cover the improvements to a unit or the personal property of the owner, nor will it cover a unit owner’s responsibility for any insurance deductible.

Insurance - Individual Condominium Units

Am I required to have Homeowners insurance?

Yes. Purchasers must provide proof by way of a Binder or Certificate of a Tenant’s Policy to be in effect as of the Interim Occupancy Date. At the Unit Transfer Date the policy must be converted to a Condominium Unit Owners Package Policy.

Insurance - Individual Condominium Units

What should my Homeowners insurance policy include?

Your homeowners’ policy should include the following:

  • Unit Improvements and Betterments: As a unit owner you are responsible to insure anything included within unit that is not standard. This protects any significant investment/upgrade in your property such as wooden or marble floors, customized built-ins and/or wall finishes, etc.
  • Personal Property: It is advisable to have a Replacement Value clause on the contents to cover personal property and contents both in your unit and in locker(s), if applicable, as well as coverage for any special extension for items such as jewellery, fine art, collectables, etc.

  • Additional Living Expenses and Fair Rental Value: If your residence becomes uninhabitable following a covered loss, your homeowner policy could cover additional living expenses while you wait for repairs to be made or until you return to your home.

  • Legal Liability: Covers you for bodily or material damages that a third party may suffer as a result of your daily activities or on the property.

  • Charge back of Corporation Deductible : Deductibles which may be charged back to the unit owner for damages caused by an act or omission by the owner or those for whom you as the owner are responsible for

  • Moving Coverage for Personal Property: Be sure to let your professional moving company know if you have this coverage as part of your homeowners policy, as it may save money on needless duplication

It is recommended that you make sure you are properly insured and there are no gaps in coverage between your insurance and the corporation’s insurance.

Other

What else should I be aware of?

Cooperation and communal responsibility is an important component of your condominium community. Condominium living requires that we be aware of our neighbours and cooperate to preserve everyone’s quiet enjoyment and privacy. This is important, not only because it provides a pleasant atmosphere in which to live, but ultimately because it goes a long way toward protecting the value of your home.

Noise Issues: Noise as well as vibration transmission is magnified while traveling through the building structure. Very different from a single detached home. This is why it keeping noise in check is important.

Floors: If you have hardwood flooring, be sure to check your homeowner manual for maintenance requirement regarding adequate humidity and prevention of moisture condensation.

Door: The outside of your suite’s front door is a condominium common element, while the inside of the door is yours, so you may paint the inside any colour that suits you. To maintain proper air flow within the building environment you may not add weather stripping. The door must not be left propped open, as this against Fire Code and can nullify the insurance policy in case of fire.

Moving: Scheduling your moving date and time is done with Property Management, and should be done as soon as possible – at least 24 hours in advance of your preferred date. They will do their best to accommodate you. You/your movers are responsible for removal/recycling of all cardboard boxes and other moving materials.

Leasing of Units In-Line with What Is Allowed for Your Particular Condominium: Be sure you know at what stage and understand any lease length parametres regarding when you may or may not rent-out your unit. When allowable, typically you must provide Property Management with a copy of the Lease agreement together with the tenants’ complete contact information.

Mail During Interim Occupancy: During Interim Occupancy, your mail will be available for pick up at a local postal outlet. The exact location will be provided by your Customer Service Representative in your Key Package. The Concierge will also have this information. NOTE: You will be required to present identification with your NEW address in order to receive your mail.

FOBs, Remotes & Keys: The owner(s) of each suite will receive at a minimum: 2 Suite Keys, 2 FOBs, 2 Common Area Keys, 1 Locker Room Key, 2 Mail Box Keys, 1 Garage Remote. (If you have 2 lockers or 2 garage spots, you will receive 2 keys and 2 remotes).

Parking Spots & Lockers: Parking spot and locker numbers will be provided at your PDI, if available, or to your lawyer prior to Interim Occupancy.

Key Release Protocol

What is the key release protocol?

Keys will be released once all Interim Occupancy closing documents and funds are received by the vendors’ lawyers, NO EXCEPTIONS. Once Management receives confirmation from the vendors’ lawyers to release keys, they will do so immediately, until then NO keys may be released.

NOTE: Property Management/the Concierge will only release keys to the Purchaser(s) or persons previously authorized in writing. A valid photo ID is required, and the name must be identical to that on the Authorized Key Release Form. The Authorized Key Release Form must be presented at the time of key pick up whether you are the purchaser or the designated person.

While these Questions and Answers have been offered to help provide general information, it is advisable to consult your lawyer and/or refer to your Agreement of Purchase and Sale and any and all Amendments for specifics that relate to you. E.+O.E. January 2016