If you are purchasing a new condominium unit in Ontario and you are ready to move in, you should be aware that just because you may be moving in, this does not mean the builder (or declarant) is ready to transfer ownership to you. In Ontario there are often two closings when you are purchasing a new condominium:
The Interim Closing; and,
The Final Closing.
During the interim stage you will “occupy” your unit but you do not yet have “title” to your unit. Title, being your ownership, will come later during the final closing. Your occupancy as a purchaser will be governed by an “interim occupancy agreement” which will usually be attached to your agreement of purchase of sale.
The reason for the two periods is the builder of the condominium complex will complete some units and some common elements before they have completed the others and before they are able to register the complex in the Land Titles Office. The builder cannot afford to let the finished units sit empty and continue to pay for carrying these units as it tries to complete the other units.
What Do You Have to Pay During Interim Occupancy?
At the interim closing the buyer will usually pay the declarant the balance of the “down payment” portion of the purchase price. This amount is the purchase price minus the buyer’s intended mortgage amount and the deposit moneys the buyer has already paid. Documents will be exchanged at this time, and the “interim occupancy agreement” will be signed if has not already been signed. The buyer will then begin to occupy the unit.
The declarant can charge the buyer a monthly occupancy fee for occupying the unit. There is a limit to the amount of this fee which is determined by a number of factors in an attempt by the Government to prevent the declarant from making a profit during this period.
A buyer can also choose to pay the full balance of the purchase price on assuming interim occupancy. A buyer may want to do this because it could help to reduce the interim occupancy fee. If a buyer wants to do this, there is a very short time period during when they may elect to do so.
What are Your Rights During this Period?
The Condominium Act, 1998 provides that the declarant has certain duties during the interim occupancy period. For example, the declarant has to “provide those services that the corporation will have a duty to provide to owners after the registration of the declaration and description that creates the unit.”
On final closing the buyer will receive title, if there buyer has a mortgage it will be registered on their title, more documents will be exchanged, and interim occupancy agreement will terminate.