If you are shopping for an apartment, ask yourself if it is located in a divided or undivided co-ownership. Although these two concepts are similar, as they ultimately aim to share the same building by several people called co-owners, the legal and financial implications are not the same. These two types of co-ownership thus have very different terms of ownership, ownership and liability between the co-owners of a building. A look at the main distinctions between divided co-ownership and undivided co-ownership.
The conversion of a immovable to divided co-ownership (condos) is subject to strict formalities and municipal by-laws, which can restrict the conversion or make it subject to certain conditions.. Unfortunately this does not always prove possible, more particularly because of the very high costs such a process implies (such as subdivision taxes known «Parkland taxes» applicable in certain boroughs of Montreal or other municipalities) and vested rights in favor of tenants.
In undivided co-ownership, the rights of withdrawal and of first refusal may disrupt the course of a real estate transaction. It is important to know that other co-owners may take precedence over a potential purchaser. The title of the latter could be precarious for some time: a buyer who acquires rights in an undivided co-ownership without first receiving the approval of all the undivided co-owners is therefore liable to have his share redeemed and thus be excluded from the indivision.
A phased co-ownership allows the developer to spread the design of a real estate project over several years, and to modulate the pace of construction work according to the evolution of unit sales. This formula implies that the developer, rather than establishing once and for all the co-ownership he wants to create, proceeds in stages.
The co-ownership he creates as part of this real estate project evolves, during construction, before reaching its final form. Because of the complex legal structure, only lawyers and notaries who are fully knowledgeable in the applicable rules of the field should act.
A phased co-ownership is also beneficial to consumers. From the time the first buildings are developed, buyers usually know what to expect about the direction of the project, its location and the nature of the buildings to come. This protection is important because if, for example, a developer were to suffer a setback, his successors would be required to honour the original plans and respect what was represented to first-time buyers.
By purchasing a condo (apartment) in a residential tower, you automatically become an owner in a vertical co-ownership. You can also be in a divided co-ownership, if you purchase a house (semi-detached or townhouse), built on the same lot than other individual homes. It is then called a horizontal co-ownership.
In divided co-ownership, the right of ownership is divided, among the co-owners, by "fractions", each comprising a materially divided private portion (e.g. an apartment, a parking or storage space, and sometimes even a plot of land) and a share of the common portions. To each fraction is attached an undivided right of ownership in the common portions, and sometimes the right to use the common portions for restricted use.
The fraction is the result of the division of a building to create a co-ownership. In other words, the addition of all the fractions constitutes, by the effect of the publication of a declaration of co-ownership, the co-ownership building.
The characteristic of divided co-ownership is to divide the building into various lots that will be the exclusive property of the co-owners (private portions), and for others that will be the property of all the co-owners (common portions). These lots are identified by an individual number, which was assigned during the cadastral operation. Each of the private lots of the co-ownership thus constituted becomes a unique property. The distinction between the common and private portions is essential, particularly from the point of view of maintenance, which is the responsibility of the syndicate of co-owners for the common portions and of the co-owners for the private portions.
Buying real estate is for most people the most important investment of their lives. Such a decision must necessarily be well planned and thoughtful. But when this purchase concerns a dwelling in divided co-ownership, the operation is even more delicate and requires additional prior checks. Despite all this type of housing is attractive, because it allows easier access to the property, due to a lower cost to buy, if we compare it to that of a single-family home. Young households and tenants benefit. As proof, more and more of them are opting for the"condo"formula, which allows them to finally be owners much faster.
You have taken the decision to purchase an apartment in a co-ownership. It is often an excellent investment and an easy way to have access to home ownership. In many instances, it will be the investment of a lifetime.
This purchase will involve you, from day one, in the community of co-owners for years to come. Be aware: this decision should not be taken lightly to ensure that your purchase will not become a nightmare.
After months of searching, you have found an apartment completely renovated and decorated with great taste. Finally, you will buy the property of your dreams with training room, roof terrace, swimming pool and indoor parking. You certainly know that making the leap can be both an exciting and complex step. Only it is a divided co-ownership apartment. That is why, at the time of submitting the offer to purchase, a doubt intrudes into your heart. All kinds of questions intertwine in your mind: