Thinking of Buying a Condo?
Is it finally time to make that move to a condo? Maybe you’re thinking of buying one as an investment or as a way to get into the market as a first-time buyer? Either way, you should be aware of the new rules the Quebec government has implemented to establish more regulation, transparency and communication between condo boards and co-owners (referred to as the syndicate of co-owners).
Condo boards were previously not very well regulated. Unfortunately, this led to many buildings having little to no contingency funds to pay for unexpected repairs or replacements. This often left many unsuspecting co-owners having to foot some pretty hefty bills (special assessments). Let’s review the changes that are designed to protect condo owners.
Bill 16 (December 2019)
Buildings must now keep a maintenance log that identifies which insurance policies are in place, as well as information about important work and repairs that have been done (for example roof, common equipment repairs, etc) and a schedule of future work to be carried out.
Syndicates must keep a register of all co-owners and lessees. The register must also have the minutes of the meetings of the co-owners and of the board of directors, resolutions in writing, the by-laws of the condo and any amendments, as well as the financial statements of the building.
The board of directors are required to provide all co-owners with notice of any meetings taking place and any resolutions to be passed within 30 days.
Bill 16 has also made it mandatory for syndicates to maintain a contingency fund and to be more transparent with the building financials. A contingency fund study must be conducted every 5 years by a member of a professional order. This is to ensure that the building has enough money set aside to cover future common area repair and replacement costs.
The board of directors is required to consult the co-owners before making any decisions about the common expenses. Syndicates must also keep an up-to-date certificate of the state of the finances and the condition of the building, and these documents must be given to any co-owner who requests a copy within 15 days.
Bill 141 (October 2020)
This bill aims to guarantee better insurance coverage for condo buildings. Moving forward, a mandatory appraisal of the building must be conducted every five years and the syndicate must take out replacement value insurance—that is, up to the real cost of reconstruction. This aspect came into force as of April 15, 2021.
The syndicate and the co-owners are also now obliged to purchase liability insurance. The minimum amount of liability insurance and the self-insurance fund, as well as the criteria regarding whether or not a deductible is considered unreasonable, will be determined by the government.
When purchasing a condo with the help of your real estate broker, you should ensure that your offer contains specific clauses that require the seller to provide you with the documents required by law within a specific number of days. Your broker should also ensure that someone from the condo board is available to answer any questions you may have.
After reviewing the paperwork with your broker you can then move forward with your purchase, confident that you are well protected. But if you see something you don’t like, you have the option to cancel your offer and walk away.
If you would like more information or help with buying a condo in Montreal all you have to do is call 514-700-2604 or send an email to email@example.com. And if you have no plans to move, then the Homeowners Advisory Club is for you. It’s the first real estate concierge service designed to help you protect and maximize the value of your home over time.