Toronto Condominiums FAQ

Everything you always wanted to know about buying, selling or owning a condominium in Toronto but were afraid to ask! Feel free to leave us your own question in the comments!

  1. What is the average cost of parking in a condo building?

    While this varies from building to building, an average ballpark figure is $20,000 - $25,000 for downtown condominiums. If a parking space is not included with your condo unit, you might have the option to purchase or rent one of these spaces separately.

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  2. What is a Status Certificate?

    The Status Certificate & Related Documents is a document available through the building property manager's office, which is frequently updated & contains information on the building's reserve fund, fees, condo board & structure. This document ought to be examined by a lawyer prior to purchasing a condo unit.

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  3. Is the condo market going soft?

    No! The Toronto condo market is booming. It is not as investor-driven as in some countries (i.e. most purchases are intended for occupancy by the buyers) and it is common for a well-priced condo to sell with multiple offers.

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  4. Which is the better investment, a house or a condo?

    It depends on your investment objectives and strategy. For example, a house might provide the opportunity to live in while renting out, while a well-located condo pays for itself (given average Toronto rental prices) while appreciating more slowly. We will analyse your own unique situation to help you decide!

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  5. What's the difference between loft and condo?

    The differences between a loft and a condo are often blurred, so it's difficult to give a black-and-white answer to this. Hard lofts, considered 'true' lofts, are often converted from commercial buildings and retain the characteristics we all associate with lofts (exposed ceilings, sweeping open concept space, live/work zoning, concrete pillars & columns, walls of windows etc.) However, some lofts merely add these touches and call the units loft-style. It is a matter of taste & aesthetics as to which you will find more appealing!

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  6. Why do prices for the same type of unit vary so much in the same building?

    Many factors can influence pricing, including ceiling height, finishes, extras & upgrades, exterior access, parking and the like. Also, the higher the floor of the building, the higher the price (i.e. penthouse suites can sell for significantly more than ground floor suites). Finally, remember that list price - asking price - is not always the same as what the units will actually sell for!

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  7. How do I find out about the rules & regulations, and how things work at my building?

    You can request a copy of your condo's by-laws from the property manager. Also, attending your condo board's meetings is a great way to find out what the building is planning, including reserve fund information, planned or proposed increases to maintenance fees and the like.

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  8. What is the difference between occupancy date and registration date?

    With newly constructed condos, there is an occupancy date at which time you will be charged occupancy fees, whether you have moved into the unit yet or not. It is the time at which the condo is deemed to be completed, though all your finishes may not yet be complete. When the building is fully registered and has closed, the suite is legally completely yours to occupy or dispose of as you please.

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  9. What is a reserve fund?

    The condo's reserve fund is the pool of money they have set aside (required by law) for repairs and replacements to the common elements of the building. It is built up through the payment of monthly maintenance fees and can be depleted when major repairs are needed.

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  10. What is a special assessment?

    A special assessment is a charge that may be levied against your unit by the board of directors of your condo corporation. It requires you to pay a sum of money to pay for repairs that the condo corporation can't cover from its reserve fund - for instance, a major overhaul of the garage. The board of directors will usually call a meeting of all unit owners to discuss a prudent course of action.

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  11. If something breaks in my condo, do I have to fix it or does the condo corporation take care of it?

    Your unit is considered to be your property - one of the benefits of ownership! Any repairs of the unit are your responsibility. Repairs outside the unit and regular maintenance like cleaning of hallways etc. are covered in your monthly maintenance fees.

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  12. What is a common element?

    When owning a condo unit, you are said to own the unit itself. Common elements include such things as building amenities (gym, sauna, party rooms etc.) and the hallways, elevators and the like - anything that will be shared by unit owners for common use.

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  13. What do my maintenance fees cover, and will they increase?

    Each condo building is different in terms of what your maintenance fees cover. This information can be obtained on the MLS listing for a condo or by obtaining a list of covered items through the property management company or condo corporation. In most condo buildings, common elements and building insurance are covered; some condos cover parking, locker, and/or many utilities like heat, hydro and central air.

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  14. How come the parking and locker numbers on the MLS listing for my condo are totally different from the actual spaces the building has assigned me?

    Good question! Some condo buildings have an internal labelling system for their parking spaces and lockers. This means there can be three different descriptions of these spaces: the legal descriptions as found in Land Registry, the numbers stated on the MLS listing, and the condo building's own designations. To prevent confusion, ask the property manager to visit these spaces prior to moving in.

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  15. Why do I see condos on the Toronto MLS listed for only $15,000 - $25,000?

    You're not hallucinating! Those are parking spaces being sold separately from condo units.

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  16. What is the difference between owned parking, exclusive parking and rental parking?

    Owned parking means that you are purchasing a parking space along with or separate from your condo unit. It's yours to sell as you please. Exclusive use means you are assigned a parking space that's yours, and only yours, to use as long as you own your condo. Rental parking is sometimes available for units that don't come with owned or exclusive parking - inquire with the property manager!

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  17. What can I do about construction delays?

    In your original Agreement of Purchase when buying a new condo, a building schedule is outlined with provisions for construction delays and the builder's obligation to you as a buyer. Please review the entire document carefully with your lawyer to determine what recourse if any you might have, as delays can be costly and tiresome!

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  18. What is the difference between a condominium and a co-op?

    Certain characteristics differentiate the two. Co-ops often have a much lower purchase price, but demand a much larger down payment - up to 75% of asking price! The major difference is ownership - in traditional condominiums, your unit is entirely owned by you and common elements are shared, whereas with a co-op each shareholder owns a piece of the entire building.

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  19. What is the difference between an exclusive and owned locker/parking?

    An owned locker/parking spot has its own deed separate from the deed for the actual condo. As such, the owner would be able to sell the locker/parking spot if they so desired. As for an exclusive locker/parking, the owner has exclusive use of it but it cannot be sold separately from the condo unit.

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31 comments on “Toronto Condominiums FAQ

  1. Hi Julie,
    I own a condo in GTA, recently management came up with a special assessment letter written in very bullish tone. Owners called in meeting to remove directors had majority votes but management didn’t accepted majority proxies as they had one information missing in short. They said special assessment is for garage repair. Now they are sending pre-lein letters to the owners didn’t pay special assessment. My question is can they do it without sending notice to late payments? No work is been started on garage and I have paid one instalment which was due in June and did not paid July and august installments. Letter is written by office lady and asking for legal costs, interest payments etc. In real no work is been done on repair but interest payments are demanded.

    1. Hi Ahmed, If you can not get answers from the Condo Mgmt than you should definitely contact and ask your real estate lawyer.
      The Julie Kinnear team

  2. Hi Julie, when we bought the locker in our condo building, the previous owner had hung clothes to cover all sides of the locker with pins, we don’t know how long the cloth had been up. The cloth is hung on the inside of the locker. No wire was cut or bent. We didn’t bother to take the cloth down. The locker is on our deed, so it’s owned and not exclusive use. We had a new property manager now, and she asked us to take down the cloth siting “fire hazard”. We took down the cloth that covers the door and part of those that cover the front, due to the locker being pretty full and it’s difficult to remove all cloth. Now they can see the content in the locker. The top of the locker is at least 18″ from the ceiling light fixture. They insist that we remove all cloth, not mentioning about the “fire hazard” any more but now siting a declaration that says “Article IV, (d), (ii) – no owner of a storage locker unit shall alter… and (h), (ii) no owner without prior consent in writing of the board cannot make any change to or installation upon the common elements” Are we in violation of this declaration? We don’t think we’ve altered, changed, or installed anything. Inside the locker is for us to use.

  3. Hi Julie,
    I am about to take occupancy of a 1 bedroom ground floor condo unit and during PDI have discovered that there is only one operable window in the bedroom. The other part of the unit is the living dining area and has a window and a door to the street. The window is not operable and the door has no screen. Is this legal? If I need to get fresh air, I would have to open the door that has no screen, which would not make feel safe. Where would I find info to see if a window is warranted?

    1. Hi Ann, You should be in contact with your real estate agent that you purchased your condo with and or your real estate lawyer to see of there is anythin in the status certificate of the building and our contact the Condo Corporation directly to ask about the windows. Good Luck!
      The Julie Kinnear Team

  4. Hi. We’re buying a condo with my brother. But the condo is not built yet. We already made a deposit. My brother back out but i want to continue the purchase. What do i need to do to remove his name?

  5. Hi Julie,
    My condo has decided to tell me I did not pay one of my hydro bills since February 2013. They only advised until October 3, 2014. Is there such a law with condos that they have taken too long to request this? Is there something such as stale dated in this situation?

    Thanks.

    1. HI there, You will have to take this up with your condo board and or you can call your real estate lawyer. In most cases you are 100% responsible for your own hydro bill so if you pay it thru your montly condo expenses than you need to speak with your condo.

  6. Hi Stephanie,
    What is the first thing you would do after receiving the key from your agent for your own condo unit? (contact the property manager?…)

    1. Hi Reehee,
      If you have purchased the condo and have received the keys than its time to move in!! How exciting.
      Depending on the locks it is a consideration to have locks changed.
      Enjoy your condo!
      Stephanie

  7. HI,
    I’m just wondering about condo laws about renovation of lobby(common areas). What are the rules on this. Does there need to be a vote? also, what percentage for the go ahead and so on. I am in a condo that the board is making a final decision on a 350,000 dollar renovation with no input from the condo owners. what are the rules on this? i am in toronto. Thanks

    1. Hi Amanda, We would suggest that they contact your property management company. The condo Board is voted in by the condo owners, and we would imagine any project that large would have been discussed during their Annual General Meeting.
      Good luck, Have a great day!
      The Julie Kinnear Team

  8. Hi Julie,
    I purchased a pre-constructed condo and it is soon to be ready. I heard from family and friends that it would not be beneficial, or very difficult to sell my property within first year of ownership. I really would like to sell it right away without much loss. Could you explain the pros and cons of this. Thanks Julie

    1. Hi Filip,
      We have had a lot of success working with clients who sell their newly built condo that they bought pre-construction.
      We have sold them while they have been built and the owner has taken possession yet still in the paying the occupancy fees stage as well as when they are registered.
      Pros and cons are varied – without knowing property details :
      Pro is if you want to sell then that can happen.
      Pro – often sellers make money or don’t lose much
      Pro – condo market could go down before it goes up, right now the market is more stable, who knows about the future
      Pro – if this is not a liability on credit rating could buy something else and will have more cash for down payment elsewhere buy.
      Pro – If don’t want to move in and wait for occupancy fees done an actually registered on title find out if allowed to rent it in that time. If not allowed to it is expensive to carry and better to sell the rights contract.
      Con is selling right when many other owners are selling theirs could create a glut on the market/ makes it softer sales.
      Con of selling when not registered could worry some buyers as they would be worries about how much occupancy fees they’ll have to pay.

  9. Hi,

    I’m interested in buying a condo and found a place that I like. I have two rabbits, who are a part of my family. They are clean, spayed, eat veggies and remain in their cage.

    As any home buyer would do, I checked with management regarding the pet policy. The condo listing had it as “Pets Restricted” and when I spoke to somebody from the condo management’s office, I was told that no pets are permitted.

    I find the place to be a perfect fit and would like to purchase the place if I can come up with a win-win agreement. I’m willing to provide a deposit to cover any potential damages that my rabbits can cause, and I’m also ready to take full ownership and responsibility of their actions.

    I would like to know what are some of the choices that I have to pursue this win-win?

    Any thoughts or comments that you can provide will be apprecaited.

    1. Hi Sekhar, If you are working with a Real Estate Agent you can have them call the Listing Agent and or the Condo Management Co. to find out what the restrictions are. An example would be weight of dogs and or amount of animals per unit. Only the Property Management of that building can answer this question for you.
      I hope it works out for you and your bunnies!

  10. Hi Julie,
    I have numerous issues with my neighbour. The worst being they allow their dog to run loose in the hallway. It recently attacked my dog when I exited my unit. It also chases the children on my hall etc. After 3 years, hundreds of e-mails later and animal control complaints the condo sent a notice to remove the dog. They didn’t remove the dog. The file has now gone to the lawyers so no one will give me any information. How long until the dog is actually removed because at this point, it still continues to run loose in the hall.

  11. Hi, I live in a Tridel condo near Scarborough Town Center. The condo management team in my building (they are not from Tridel)is awful and really not helpful! My air conditioning/heat was not working since last May, the air conditioning company they sent (charged on my bill) came twice last year and this year still couldn’t fix that. Well, good thing was they didn’t charge me then. They blame to the electricity and request me to find an electrician.
    I found one and paid $140 for the check, the electricity was fine. So finally we decided to hire one contractor by ourselves, the new contractor we hired fixed the problem in 10 mintues. We’ve been paying 650/month for condo management fee and they did really bad job

    Now the central fan which controls both the bathroom fans is not working. We went to the condo management to ask them for replacement, they said that’s not their responsibility, we need to buy ourselves. We went to homedepot and canadian tire, there is no matching size and the condo management even not tell us where to find the right one.

    The manager in the condo management office was really rude. He was not listening and was not helpful. I would like to complain them, could you please tell me is there anywhere that I could complain?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Grace, You should contact the lawyer that helped you with the purchase of your condo and ask if there is a Board of some type that would handle complaints for a Condo Management office.

  12. Dear Julie, I have read all questions and your answers; I am pretty much convinced that you can assist me. Actually, I am an investor and I bought few Condos in Toronto (8 to 10 Condos in total) i.e. ICE2, Triviso, Westlake, 210Simco etc. and I made sure that all Condo investments should have an assignment clause. One of my friends just mentioned that according to new Condo law just passed couple of months ago “we are not allowed to sell or assign condo before closing” means we have to mortgage the property and then try to sell. IS IT CORRECT???
    Many thanks, Obaid

    1. Hi Obaid,
      It may be a condo by-law for that particular building. Each developer has their own rules. Some charge more for the option, some write it into their contracts as an incentive to early investors etc.
      We hope this helps, The Julie Kinnear Team

  13. Am I required to give my condo corporation a copy of the lease i have for my tenant? they are requesting it, after i have provided them with all the contact info for my tenant.

  14. I own my condo and today I tried to unlock the door to get into my suite and the lock mechanism just keeps spinning. You cannot lock or unlock the door from the hallway but I can lock in from inside my suite. Who is responsible for repairing the lock; myself or the condo corp?

    1. Hi there thank you for reaching out to us in regards to your sticky door lock, unfortunately that is the responsibility of the owner and not the condo corp. Let us know if you have any other questions.

  15. Hello, I have a friend who has two pets (in a condo)and is being asked to remove one by management citing the “Condominium by laws”. I have also read all by laws must be submitted to the Land Registrar. No such by law was outlined, however this is in the “Rules” and ” Declaration” of the condo. Which hold president?

  16. To whom I can complain about board of directors?
    They already incorporated HST in maintenace fee and they dont have right for it yet…made up telephone expenses, increasing expense for cleaning for 8% instead to look for another cleaning company or they just made fake numbers in order to increase maintenance fee…

    Thank you

    1. Hi Mirko, Depending on where you live I would contact your local city councillor to find out what steps can be taken in this regard. Hope this helps. Have a great day!

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