The occupancy period
If you have bought a condo unit before construction started, especially
if you bought a unit on one of the lower floors, you will most likely
required to occupy the unit long before you receive the title to your
The lower floors are usually finished first and the builder will want
the purchasers to move in as soon as possible so he can start earning
some cash flow from all the money he has sunk into the new project.
This is the period of time from when you move into your unit and when
the condo corporation gets registered. During this time, you do not own
your suite outright as it still belongs to the builder.
A condominium is not technically formed until it is completed and
passes the approval processes that enable it to be registered with the
Land Registry Office. Only then can the title of your suite be
transferred to you.
The approval process, however, begins once the first suite is
occupied. It can take six months or longer, depending on the size of
the complex and how well the construction proceeds.
High-rise condos are usually fairly tall buildings in which the lower
floors are finished well in advance of the upper levels.
The post office will not start mail delivery until 1/3 of the units are
occupied so for the first months that you are in your new home, you
will need a mailing address.
You don't yet own your unit, you are just occupying it so you must pay
the developer "occupancy fees" which is the equivalent to rent until
such time as the condominium corporation is officially
registered. This fee is determined by the interest portion of the
balance owing on the purchase price (usually payable on the
registration date) based on a one-year mortgage rate of the Bank of
Canada, plus the estimated maintenance fees for the suite, plus its
portion of the estimated real estate taxes.
This is similar to paying rent until you own your suite — but it is not
considered rent, and it is not money that can be applied toward your
Once the title is transferred, you take out your mortgage and the
builder/developer receives the money. The benefit to the suite owners
is that you get to move in more quickly and not have to wait until
You have a substantial amount of notice before your occupancy date.
There are interim closing costs to consider, including the amount of
money that will bring all deposits to the required percentage of the
purchase price, plus adjustments, monthly occupancy fees, the price of
upgrades, and enrollment of your suite with TARION
During interim occupancy, you must have your homeowner’s insurance in
place, and you have to arrange for utility hook-ups as if you own the
home. Your appliance warranties kick in upon occupancy, because you are
actually using them, and your Tarion warranty is in place.
Renting your unit
can't rent your unit because you don't own it. However, the developer
has a subsidiary that is a rental company or he has an agreement with a
third-party and if you pay them a fee, they can rent your unit for you.
during the occupancy period
How difficult this period is depends a lot on the developer. The better
ones try very hard to insure that the building is ready for occupancy
while the mediocre ones make it seem as if you were roughing it in the
The first people who move in during the occupancy period have it the
hardest. The hallways are not complete, there is construction going on
above them and usually the amenities are not finished so there is
construction below them as well. If you are a shift-worker, you may not get much sleep.
Dust, dirt and constant daytime noise can be a nightmare. There may be power
outages and the water can be shutoff, often without any notice.
You may be sharing elevators with construction workers. There may be
water leaks, perhaps minor and perhaps major flooding.
There may be minor problems with your unit that was not picked up
during the Pre-Occupancy Inspection. A stove vent may not work or the
fan may have been installed backwards.
Some owners have no sense of humour and get really upset when all the
elevators are down and they live on the 19th floor. They also don't
think that the lack of heat in the winter or no air conditioning in the
summer is very funny.
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