Why I Ignore Condo Status Certificates (But You Shouldn’t)

When you close on a Condo (new or used) you are buying the key and the right to live in the unit and enjoy (or not enjoy) a certain lifestyle. Things that most lawyers (myself included) don’t look at (cost and liability issues) that you should:

  1. Insurance Deductible – Ensure the Insurance deductible (the sum that would normally become the responsibility of the “at fault” unit owner or billed to the condo (all owners) is not exceeding five thousand dollars.
  2. Check the Rules to ensure the opening hours of the facilities that you use or that your unit is near.
  3. Check the Rules about pets, smoking, and the number of occupants.
  4. Examine the budget of the condominium corporation with the view to allocating the reserve fund to something intelligible, such as dollars of reserve fund per unit.
  5. Inspect budget year over year and any unusual line items that would add material sums and require explanation. Unusual items might be mortgage payments to the builder for guest suites or rental sums that would normally be items owned by Condominium, such as. roofs and elevators.
  6. Determine if the condominium corporation has any cost sharing arrangements with adjacent buildings, commercial units, etc. and attempt to see whether these arrangements are fair
  7. Make inquires of the realtor as to whether the unit is different than other units in “the stack”. Changes, such as, replacing carpeting with hardwood floors may invite complaints and the attention of the condominium corporation which would legally require you to remove these changes.
  8. Attempt to speak with the Property Manager or Real Estate Agent and attempt to contact one of the Directors and determine whether there are any issues that they are aware of in the building or relating to your suite or floor in particular. Bear in mind that most Directors are volunteers and do not appreciate being harassed.
  9. Obtain condominium owners insurance which may require you to provide a “standard unit bylaw” and other information to the insurer.
  10. Visually inspect parking spaces for both location and damage. Many condiunum corporations require owners to pay for clean up of oil stains or cracks.
  11. Use an experienced realtor. Some are on the Board or buy /sell many units in the building. If so they can very useful sources of info.