Buying a Condo? Why Your Lawyer Must Get You An Estoppel Certificate!

An Estoppel Certificate is a document certified by the condominium corporation which provides important information about the specific condominium unit (including any titled parking stalls and storage lockers) and the condominium corporation, itself.  It is essentially a status report which, once issued by the condominium corporation, is binding on them.

An Estoppel Certificate must certify, at a minimum, the following four (4) things with respect to the condominium unit:

  1. The amount of monthly condominium fees;
  2. How and when the owner can pay the condominium fees;
  3. If there are any fees or arrears owing in respect of the unit; and
  4. The interest payable on any unpaid balance of condominium fees.

When purchasing a condominium unit, it is imperative that a buyer receive an Estoppel Certificate confirming that the previous owner has paid all condominium fees up to the date of closing, as well as any special assessments that are owing in respect of the unit.  If unpaid condominium fees are not cleared up by the previous owner, the new buyer may become liable for those debts.

Although not required, an Estoppel Certificate may also contain important information regarding the condominium corporation itself, including but not limited to:

  1. Any court actions commenced against the condominium corporation;
  2. Any unsatisfied judgments or orders that the condominium corporation is liable for;
  3. Any written demands made on the condominium corporation for an amount in excess of $5,000.00 that, if not met, may result in an action against the condominium corporation; and
  4. Any structural deficiencies in the building that the condominium corporation has knowledge of.

A buyer can, at any time, request an information statement from the condominium corporation before making the decision to purchase the condominium unit.

At KH/Dunkley Law Group, we communicate with the condominium corporation, well in advance, to identify any potential problems with the seller’s account.  Further, we obtain an Estoppel Certificate on behalf of our clients, 100% of the time, so as to ensure that our clients are not exposed to unforeseen liability for condominium contributions after purchasing a condominium unit.  If an Estoppel Certificate cannot be issued because there are arrears owing by the seller, we take appropriate steps to ensure those arrears are cleared up by the seller and a “clear” Estoppel Certificate is issued.

If you are, or someone you know is, purchasing a condominium unit, be sure to contact KH/Dunkley Law Group for more information about completing your purchase and protecting your interests.

KH/Dunkley Law Group

Written by Fanny Tam

Barrister & Solicitor with KH/Dunkley Law Group

Written by Khalil Haji

Khalil is the principal lawyer of KH/Dunkley Law Group. He graduated as a gold medalist from the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business, and then went on to obtain his Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Western Ontario (graduating in 2007). After he graduated from the University of Western Ontario, he practiced law at national firms in both Calgary and Toronto. He opened his own firm - KH Law - in 2010, where he practiced until forming KH/Dunkley Law Group.