When you purchase a pre-construction condo, you may be able to occupy your completed unit even while the rest of the building is still under construction. This is called interim occupancy, and it can begin as soon as the building is deemed safe for occupancy by the city. A common source of confusion for condo purchasers is the difference between interim occupancy and ownership of a unit.
The fact is that occupancy does not mean ownership. Your unit may be ready for you to move into, but you will not receive title to your unit until construction of the building is complete and the condominium is registered with the municipality. For a list of important things to know about buying a pre-construction condo unit, visit this page.
Interim occupancy duration
An interim occupancy period can last anywhere from a few weeks up to a year or more. The length of interim occupancy typically depends on the stage of construction when you took occupancy of your unit.
The municipality will issue an occupancy permit when it determines that your unit is ‘fit for occupancy’. Fit for occupancy is based on the requirements of the Ontario Building Code and does not mean 100% completion. The occupancy permit allows the builder to give you occupancy of the unit, and your interim occupancy period begins. Interim occupancy does not necessitate that you move into your unit but you may choose to.
Construction of other units and the common elements in the building may be going on while you have occupancy so it may require a great deal of patience to deal with potential disruptions. Your interim occupancy period will last until construction of the building is finished and the condominium is registered.
The interim occupancy fee
During the interim occupancy period, you will be required to pay a monthly fee to your builder, whether you move into the unit or not. This interim occupancy fee is based on guidelines set by the Condominium Act and includes the interest on the unpaid balance of the purchase price, estimated monthly municipal taxes for the unit, and the projected common expense fees for the unit.
Interim occupancy fees are only applicable during the interim occupancy period, and they are not credited to the final purchase price of your condo. Consider interim occupancy fees as rental payments for your unit.
Tarion can support you through your interim occupancy
The warranty on your condo unit begins when you take interim occupancy. You can report any issues with your unit to your builder and Tarion by filling out and submitting a warranty form through MyHome, Tarion’s online service for homeowners. Be sure to register for MyHome as soon as possible after you take occupancy, and be aware of deadlines for submitting warranty claims. You can also request assistance from Tarion if you have any problems resolving these warranty claims with your builder.
The final steps before official condo ownership
You won’t legally own your unit until the builder registers the condominium with the municipality. After that:
- A condominium corporation is created and the unit owners elect a Board of Directors to manage the condominium corporation.
- The land is divided into units and common elements and ownership of the unit is transferred to you.
- You stop paying interim occupancy fees and start paying your mortgage, monthly maintenance fees and taxes.
- The warranty on the common elements of your building begins.
Congratulations! You are now a homeowner. It was admittedly a long process, but one you’ll agree was well worth the wait. For more information, visit Tarion’s Learning Hub.