Housing

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Buying a Condo

Condominium living is a popular form of home ownership in the Halifax area with more and more units coming onto the market. Condos can range from apartment style units in a high-rise downtown building, to a townhouse unit in a suburban neighbourhood.

When you purchase a condo you are not only purchasing your private dwelling unit but you are also sharing ownership of the common elements of the building or complex where that unit is located. This ownership brings with it the responsibility to help cover the cost of property maintenance and replacement of the common elements of the complex such as insurance, utilities, services. etc. The cost of these items is paid in the form or monthly condominium fees. These fees may even be adjusted from time-to-time to cover increased costs or unexpected repair costs.

As a condo owner you are part of a shared community with shared responsibilities. You are expected to participate in the governance of the condo corporation and have the right to vote at general meetings on matters that affect the condominium such as election of board members, votes on budget items, special assessments, etc. Most condo corporations hire a property management company to run the day-to-day operations of the condo complex under the leadership of the board of directors.

Bylaws - Bylaws govern how the condominium corporation is run. They often address matters such as the election and practices of the board of directors, the collection of common expense contributions and how rules are passed.

Declaration - The Declaration is a lengthy document which, among other things, sets out many of the rights and privileges which a unit owner enjoys. Similarly, it contains many restrictions which may affect your use of the unit. For example, the Declaration may state that the unit cannot be used for the purpose of running a business, or that no interior alterations may be made without consent, or it may restrict your right to lease your unit, or prohibit the ownership of pets.

Estoppel Certificate - When you purchase a condo in Halifax you will be provided with an estoppel certificate. An estoppel certificate is a binding statement prepared by the corporation that indicates the standing of common elements fees and reserve fund assessments against the unit, whether they are up to date, paid in advance, or in arrears. the financial standing of the corporation, the reserve fund balance, whether any major capital expenditures or increases in fees are planned, and if there are any law suits pending against the corporation. 

Common Terms

Click this icon to download a copy of the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Condominium Buyer's Guide

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