The Open Door Blog
Whether you own a new home or condo, are considering buying one, or just love to dream about it, the Open Door blog is here to share stories that can help you protect what is likely the biggest investment of your life.
The Open Door blog is published by Tarion, a non-profit corporation that administers Ontario’s New Home Warranty Plan and registers all new home builders in Ontario. Click here to learn more about us.
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You’ve been looking at floorplans and picking out finishes, but when it comes to buying your new condominium unit, what you really want to know is when you can move in. But, did you know that even when you get the green light to move in, there’s a good chance this isn’t the date that your home finally becomes yours? You may have to wait a little longer for that. Continue reading for a guide to occupancy terms and dates -- and what they mean to you.
Interim occupancy is the period of time between when you get the keys to your new condominium unit (when you can move in) and when you officially take title (when you own your home). The move-in date is set by your builder, with permission by your local municipality, once your unit is declared fit for occupancy. This is the start of your interim occupancy period, which can typically last between two to three months, but could stretch beyond this time as the builder completes the rest of the units and common elements in your condominium building.
Your interim occupancy period can typically last between two to three months, but could stretch beyond this time as the builder completes the rest of the units and common elements.
The interim occupancy period comes to an end once the builder has completed the condominium building and the condominium corporation is registered with the land registry office. It is at this time your builder will set your final closing date -- the date you take full ownership.
It’s in the best interest of the builder to get you into your new home and transfer ownership to you as soon as possible, but there can be delays that can affect you. Take Katie, for example, who moved into her new home in January. Aware of the interim occupancy date, she knew necessities like heating, electricity and water would be set up so she could live in her new home. What she didn’t realize was that she would be living in a construction zone. The lobby and hallways were left incomplete until the last residents moved in, and since the gym and other common areas weren’t ready, she didn’t have immediate access to the amenities her building would soon offer.
Interim Occupancy Fees
Another surprise for Katie was the interim occupancy fee. Since Katie didn’t own her new home just yet, she knew her mortgage payments wouldn’t begin. However, she wasn’t aware that once you move in and your interim occupancy period begins, you must pay your builder a monthly occupancy fee. The fee, as determined by the Condominium Act, covers three things: the interest on the unpaid balance of the purchase price of your condominium unit; municipal taxes estimated for your unit; and common expenses to keep the building running.
Your Warranty begins
You may not fully own your new home during the interim occupancy period, but you are protected by Tarion’s one-, two- and seven-year warranties. All of the warranties begin as soon as you are granted occupancy of your unit. However, it is important to note that the warranty on the common elements of your building won’t start until the condominium corporation is registered. To ensure your warranties proceed as they should, fill out your first warranty form within the first 30 days of occupancy.
Once the building is constructed, the builder will register it with the local land registry office and begin transferring titles to each new unit owner. To complete the transfer, you will need to pay the balance remaining on your final purchase price in addition to any adjustments (e.g., municipal charges). When you do, you will receive the title to your new home, your mortgage will be registered on your title and your interim occupancy agreement will finally end. And, your home is finally yours to keep. The interim occupancy period and the final closing date are important dates for you to know about, and understanding what they mean will make for a less stressful move into your new home.
The goal of this blog is to provide you with general information about the warranty process by sharing real experiences from new homeowners. The blog should not be relied upon as legal advice. For privacy reasons, we will not address or resolve current cases in a public forum, so any comments or questions that are posted on this site that describe individual cases cannot be discussed. If you have a question about your warranty or Tarion generally, we would be pleased to discuss your issue, in the context of your particular circumstances and in confidence. We exercise reasonable care to avoid offensive, illegal or defamatory content from being posted, as well as comments that are intended solely for self-promotion or considered to be spam.