Condo Buyers Should Always Review the Status Certificate
"Condo ownership has some unique characteristics you should know about before you start your search.
And, unlike a house, condos usually have rules restricting the size and types of pets, noise, balcony/patio furniture, decorations and even drapes or flooring material. Find out what’s allowed and what’s not, and be comfortable with those rules when considering a purchase.
Another unique aspect of condos is a document called the status certificate with important information about the condo corporation and the specific unit you are interested in. The condo corporation must provide it to you (for a fee of up to $100) when you ask for it. So, when you do find a condo you like, it’s very important to make your offer conditional on a review of the status certificate by your real estate lawyer, preferably one with experience in condominium transactions.
The status certificate contains the condominium’s declaration, bylaws, and rules enforced by the condo’s board of directors. The status certificate also indicates the monthly fees for upkeep of the common areas — including building maintenance, landscaping and snow removal — and the utilities.
If the condo you’re looking at includes a parking space and/or locker, the certificate will tell you whether you own the space yourself, or whether it’s a common element owned and assigned by the condo corporation. Be sure to review the declaration documents with your lawyer to ensure that the numbers assigned to the unit, parking spot and locker (if any) correspond to the numbers stated on the agreement of purchase and sale.
And finally, the certificate also contains the financial records for the condo corporation. This is important information because if there is insufficient cash in the reserve fund to cover costly future repairs, your monthly condo fees could go up or you may have to pay a special assessment."
Source: Joseph Richer, Toronto Star / RECO
“Toronto’s Condo Authority”