In your haste to finalize the offer to purchase, you may forget to ask the co-owner/vendor if since his purchase, improvements have been carried out in the apartment. This question is of the outmost importance as it will allow you, if this is the case, to find out if they have been carried out correctly and legally.
You must, without fail, verify if the syndicate has authorized the work related to the modifications or improvements to the private portions. These authorisations are granted either by the Board of Directors or by the meeting of the co-owners.
The nature of the work can be varied, for example, the replacement of carpets by a hardwood floor, the remodeling of a bathroom or the kitchen with better and more expensive furnishings and materials. If the vendor has neglected to obtain such authorisations or has not been candid about the extent of the work, you may suffer the consequences. Such turns of events occur, almost without fail, in the case where these improvements cause a prejudice to your new neighbours.
Also, you should subscribe personal insurance coverage, which will cover the costs related to the improvements in your apartment (for example, kitchen cabinets) either by yourself or the prior co-owners of your unit. To obtain such coverage, your personal insurer must be informed of the improvements, failing which, in the case of a loss, he may refuse coverage. In such cases, presenting a claim to the insurance of the syndicate is useless, because the Law provides that the latter is not responsible for the damages to the improvements in a private portion.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ! In order to determine what is an improvement to your private portions, you must go back to the original construction, which means as it was when the co-ownership was built. If the property is not recent, it is useful to obtain from your vendor a list of the improvements that he or the prior owners have carried out.
WHAT TO KEEP IN MIND : As soon as you become an owner, you must subscribe to an insurance policy covering the improvements to your apartment.
WARNING ! In some cases, developers convert buildings into co-ownerships, but leave to the purchasers the burden of carrying out, on their own, the interior design and execution of the work inside the apartments. In such cases, the cost of the work carried out by the first generation owners can be very high. The second purchaser and the subsequent purchasers should obtain all the information on what has been carried out over the years in relation with the improvements.