Changes to the Condominium Act: A Guide to the New Condominium Guide
Post by Annie Bailey
Effective January 1, 2021, the Condominium Act, 1998 (the “Act”) will be amended to require condominium developers to provide potential purchasers of pre-construction and newly-built condominium units with a “Condominium Guide.” If you are a developer or a potential purchaser of a pre-construction or newly-built residential condominium unit, this new Condo Guide is very important for you. For others, including those who currently own a condominium unit, are purchasing a unit in an existing condominium, or work in the condominium industry, the Condo Guide is a valuable educational resource. The purpose of the Condo Guide is to provide potential purchasers of condominium units with reader-friendly, understandable information on the process and risks of buying a pre-construction or newly-built condominium unit, as stated by Ontario’s Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. The Condo Guide will assist these potential purchasers with making informed decisions about their purchase. Some of the topics covered include:
- Condominium corporations;
- Buying a pre-construction unit (including delayed occupancy and interim occupancy);
- Warranty coverage with Tarion;
- Governing documents and why you should read them;
- Condominium living (including owner rights and obligations);
- Common elements and common expenses; and
- Condominium governance, finances, and management.
The Condo Guide was prepared by the Condominium Authority of Ontario (the “CAO”) and approved by the Minister of Government and Consumer Services. This process ensures that all potential purchasers will receive a copy of the same government-reviewed information.
You can access the Condo Guide here: https://www.condoauthorityontario.ca/resources/condo-buyers-guide/
The Act gives the Minister (and by extension, the CAO) discretion to create different versions of the Condo Guide that apply in different circumstances and to different types of condominiums. The version of the Condo Guide that has been released so far applies only to residential condominiums. So if you are purchasing a commercial condominium unit, this Condo Guide does not directly apply to you. However, the general information in the Condo Guide may still be useful for commercial condominium unit owners. We may also see different versions of the Condo Guide released in the future.
The Condo Guide is an additional document that developers (or those acting on behalf of a developer) must deliver to potential purchasers along with the already-required Disclosure Statement when potential purchasers sign an Agreement of Purchase and Sale for pre-construction or newly-built condominium units. Regulations under the Act have not yet been released specifying how the Condo Guide must be delivered, so for now, it is likely best for developers to deliver it in the same manner in which they already deliver the Disclosure Statement.
After receiving the Condo Guide, Disclosure Statement, and fully signed Agreement of Purchase and Sale, potential purchasers have 10 days to review the documents (ideally with their lawyer) and to decide if they wish to proceed with their purchase. This is known as the “10-day cooling off period,” and potential purchasers may rescind their Agreement of Purchase and Sale by written notice within this timeframe if they so desire. While the “10-day cooling off period” is not new, the requirement to include the Condo Guide is new. Developers, please speak to your lawyers about these upcoming amendments to ensure you are providing proper disclosure to your purchasers after January 1, 2021. You must provide the Condo Guide to all new residential purchasers entering Agreements of Purchase and Sale in the new year, even for projects that went to market before January 1, 2021. Purchasers, you can expect to receive this Condo Guide if you purchase a pre-construction or newly-built residential condominium unit in the new year.