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Toronto Condominiums & Lofts: Condos & New Homes FAQ’s

 

 

For a more detailed explanation of condo terms, Voting in Boards of Directors and Changes in condominium bylaws down load attachment below

 

  • Buy new or resale home?
  • What does CONDO mean?
  • How did the condo building craze come about?
  • What is a LOFT-style unit?
  • How to find a condo in Toronto?
  • What type of home ownership is better for me?
  • What are the ground rules for pet owners in a condo?

Do I buy a new or resale home?

There are advantages and disadvantages to buying both new and resale homes. Here are some of the characteristics that may help you make your choice.

New Home Advantages

  • You are able to upgrade or choose certain items such as finish materials, flooring, ceramics, cabinets, plumbing and electrical fixtures. Upgrades are added to the Purchase Price.
  • The latest building code, electrical and energy-efficiency standards apply. The New Home builder warranty (Tarion) is available in Ontario. This can be important if a major system, such as plumbing or heating, breaks down.
  • Title Insurance is available on your purchase.
  • Prices are standardized for all purchasers from the same builder.
  • You will be the first occupant.

 Resale Home Advantages

  • The used home is in an established neighbourhood.
  • Landscaping is usually done and fencing installed.
  • Finished Basements or other improvements have been installed.
  • Maybe a built-in swimming pool and / or air conditioning.
  • There is no applicable GST.
  • WYSIWYG  What you see is what you get.

New Home Disadvantages

  • Neighbourhood amenities, such as schools or shopping, may not be complete if the house is a new development.
  • There may be construction noise and traffic.
  • Lessened chance to open windows due to dust and noise.
  • There may be little to no landscaping or trees.
  • The 5 % GST applies to new housing. However, there is a rebate, to a maximum of 2.5%, on homes which cost less than $450,000. New Toronto Land Transfer tax will apply* in addition to Ontario Land Transfer Tax.

Resale Home Disadvantages

  • Maintenance costs will likely be higher than for a new house.
  • You will require a professional home inspector to check for structural or other problems, such as a leaky basement or faulty roof.
  • Choices of finished are relative to the age of the home.
  • You may need to redecorate, or even renovate.
  • Repainting Cost is a probability.

What exactly is a CONDO?

A condominium is not a type of house but a form of ownership. The owner has title to a single unit, as well as a share in the common elements such as elevators, pool and exercise or surrounding land. Lockers for storage and parking spaces may be deeded or assigned.

Condo Housing Types

  • Row or townhouse Homes
    One of several single family homes joined by common walls. These can be condominium or freehold units. The newest construction available is for detached condominium houses in semi gated communities.
     
  • Link Homes
    Houses, freehold or condominium, joined by garages or carports which provide access between the front and rear yards. Builders sometimes join basement walls so that link houses appear to be single family homes on small lots.
     
  • Highrise condominium
    Multi-story residential building containing condominium units. A condominium is not a type of house but a form of ownership. Newer developments may have main floor retail or commercial space.

 

 

How did the condo building craze come about?

Condo's were previously the domain of outlying areas like the Etobicoke City Centre area, ie The East Mall and West Mall. (427 and Burnhamthorpe/ Rathburn. With infill neighbourhoods long in decline ie. the Massey Ferguson Properties, King/Spadina area, west of the office towers, & the King/Parliament Neighbourhood on the east side of the busy downtown - are NOW hot development prospects, where more than 4,000 residential units are under construction. Adjacent downtown neighbourhoods are also showing signs of the residential building craze. The largest build downtown is the City Centre of Toronto adjacent to the Skydome.

  • A major catalyst is a flexible system of planning regulations developed in 1996 that allows more residential development in areas traditionally zoned for light industrial and commercial use. This new "reinvestment" regulation encouraged more importance on the built form than the type of use in that work/live situations would be included also. 
  • Changing demographics is another factor in the boom, e.g. empty nesters, young professionals and suburbanites tired of long commutes into Toronto represent a sizable chunk of downtown condo buyers.
  • First Time Buyers seeking not to be shut out of home ownership.
  • Continuing low interest rates and increased employment in the core.

 What is a LOFT-style unit?

A newer form of housing gaining popularity in the core is the loft-style unit, which is the same legal style of ownership as a condominium. The west end of Toronto has number of conversion projects of older factory sites as redevelopment choices, IE Watson’s Candy Factory on Sorauren Ave. They usually entail an open concept space with a double height ceiling in the main areas, with a loft style bedroom and ensuite bath on the second level. A true loft usually has limited ceiling height on the second level. Examples of the modern loft are on Manitoba Avenue [Parklawn at Lakeshore Blvd West] with conforming ceiling heigts on the first and second floor.

Directory of Toronto Loft buildings

Directory of West Toronto Waterfront and Etobicoke Buildings

How do I find a condo in Toronto?

Many condos and loft-style units in every price bracket available!!
Finding a Condo or New Home to buy in Toronto has never been so easy!

Condos in Toronto, Loft Buildings: Toronto's Complete Guide

What type of home ownership is right for you?

 

There are three basic categories of home ownership: freehold, condominium and co-operative.(co op)

Freehold Home:
Freehold homes offer the most privacy and freedom of choice of any other type of home. As owner of the entire structure and grounds, homeowners are free to decorate and renovate as they please. But with that freedom comes a lot of responsibility. All of the maintenance (indoors and out) is the sole responsibility of the owner, which can be costly in terms of both money and time. Freehold ownership is the most common type of home ownership.

Condominiums:
Condominiums are typically a less costly alternative to owning a detached house. With a condominium, you own, and are responsible for, the interior areas of your unit (everything from the plaster in). Maintenance of the building, grounds and common elements is handled by the condominium association, funded from monthly fees collected from the owners. Condominiums will have rules regarding noise, use of common areas, drapery conformity, renovations etc. Condo residents often enjoy less privacy than residents of detached homes.

With established condo complexes utilities are usually included. With newer developments units will be or are separately metered for hydro electric consumption. When you are in the process of purchasing a condominium unit, the existing owner will provide a current status certificate. This will advise you of the Condo Corporations Financial Position, future five year forecast of committed or anticipated repairs and improvements, and a copy of the Rules and Regulations.

It is imperative that these be reviewed to make sure you can live within the rules provided. This is a normal process during the Condition for examination of status period usually 3 days with your lawyer. ie some may contain pet restrictions or commercial vehicles on premises in parking areas.

Cooperatives:
Cooperatives (or co-ops) are comparable to condominiums, except instead of owning your unit, you own a percentage of shares in the entire building (or complex). As with condominium ownership, maintenance and repairs are paid for through the collection of monthly fees and you are subject to the rules and regulations of the co-op board. One drawback to living in a cooperative is that if you decide to sell your shares and move out, the co-op board has the right to reject your prospective buyer. Financing of these units requires a higher down payment and fewer lenders will participate; [They] cannot secure the mortgage against real property but only against your equity in shares of ownership, thus a promissory note and a Personal Property assignment.

It is important to note that detached homes can also be a condo gated community. Examples of this exist in Mississauga at the Watercolours Complex. Homes averaging 1.0MM are completely detached from their neighbours yet there is a Condo Board to maintain the grounds. This type of ownership typically suits affluent Empty Nesters  

What are the ground rules for pet owners?

Some condominiums prohibit pets of any kind. Others may prohibit the number, type or size of pets. All condominiums have rules governing the keeping of pets which if broken can lead to an order for the permanent removal of the pet from the complex. If you have a pet make sure you understand what the rules are.

 

COMPLIANCE:

Condominium corporations will have a set of rules and those who apply them in a consistent and fair manner should have little difficulty enforcing them against those few owners who won't live up to the board's standards. In those cases where it becomes necessary to take legal action, condominiums can utilize s.49 of the Act which, among other things, allows the corporation to apply to a Judge for an order directing the nonconforming resident to comply with the rules.

The ability of condominiums to enforce their rules received a tremendous boost from the Ontario Court of Appeal when it rendered its decision on the case of York Condominium Corp. No. 383 v. Dvorchik, (1997). This case involved a high rise condominium that had a rule which prohibited pets in the building which weighed more than 25 pounds. The corporation had successfully enforced this rule against an owner in 1988, and was disappointed when in a 1992 decision, another Judge refused to uphold [it] on the grounds that it was unreasonable. On appeal, the corporation was successful in obtaining an order for the removal of the pet. What is significant about this case is the strong statement made by the Court of Appeal in rendering their decision.

The Court of Appeal stated that, "...a court should not substitute its own opinion about the propriety of a rule enacted by a condominium board unless the rule is clearly unreasonable or contrary to the legislative scheme. In the absence of such unreasonableness, deference should be paid to rules deemed appropriate by the board charged with responsibility for balancing the private and communal interests of the owners. "

Court went on to state that, "...The threshold for overturning a board's rules reasonably made in the interests of unit owners is a high one..." *

*Comments provided courtesy of Stanley Gelman QC (Solicitor)

 

 


Attachment 1: Buying_a_Condo.pdf

 
 


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