Newfoundland and Labrador Fact Sheet

Governing Legislation

What legislation and regulations govern condominiums in Newfoundland and Labrador?

Warranty Programs

Do provincial legislation and/or regulations require that developers of new condominiums provide a new home warranty to buyers?

No, but developers may offer one through a third-party home warranty program.

Taxes & Additional Costs

What provincial and federal taxes do condominium buyers pay on their units?

Buyers pay Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) on new units but not on previously owned units.

Buyer Beware:

If you are purchasing a resale condo, the federal portion of the HST will apply to your purchase if:

  • You are buying the unit from someone who acquired and used the unit primarily (more than 50 percent) for business purposes (unless this was to earn long-term rental income);
  • You are buying the unit from someone who has claimed input tax credits for improvements to the unit; or
  • The unit has been substantially renovated. (To find out what qualifies as a substantial renovation, see Substantial Renovations and the GST/HST New Housing Rebate.)

Are there any GST/HST rebate programs for condominium buyers?

Like other homebuyers, purchasers of condominiums can apply for a GST/HST New Housing Rebate. This rebate reduces the GST and the federal part of the HST on a declining scale, depending on the purchase price of your new home. (For eligibility information, see GST/HST New Housing Rebate.)

Labrador residents may also be eligible for a rebate of the provincialportion of the HST paid on building materials used in the construction, repair or improvement of the condominium. For details, see Sales Tax Rebate Program: Building Materials for Homes in Labrador (PDF)

Are buyers of new and re-sale condominiums responsible for any charges levied by the Province?

Yes, buyers must pay a deed registration fee based on the value of their property. If they have a mortgage, they are also responsible for paying a mortgage registration fee based on the amount of money secured. For details, see Schedule of Fees Prescribed by the Minister of Government Services, Registry of Deeds (PDF).

Reserve Fund Requirements

Do provincial legislation/regulations require that all condominiums in Newfoundland and Labrador have a reserve fund?

Yes. For condominiums with fewer than 10 units, the amount in the reserve fund must equal 100 percent of the corporation’s annual operating budget. The reserve fund must be fully funded within five years of:

  • December 1, 2011, if the condominium corporation was created before December 1, 2011, or
  • The date the condominium corporation was created if this occurred after December 1, 2011.

For condominiums with 10 or more units, contributions to the reserve fund are determined by a reserve fund study. A reserve fund study projects the cost of major repairs to the common elements and assets of the corporation (or the cost of their replacement) for a minimum of 30 years. Reserve fund studies must be completed every 10 years by a qualified individual such as an engineer or Certified Reserve Planner.

Condominium Registration

How is a new condominium corporation registered?

The developer submits a declaration and description of the property to the Registrar of Condominiums.

The declaration describes how the condominium is organized and operated. It also specifies details such as each owner’s proportionate interest in the common elements and their percentage share of the overall common expenses.

The description includes details about the boundaries, shape, dimensions and location of units in relation to the overall property.

When the Registrar of Condominiums registers the declaration and description the condominium corporation is created, which is a legal entity. The developer — who is the owner of the condominium corporation — is now free to issue deeds or transfer documents to purchasers.

Sale of Units

What rules does the developer have to follow when selling units?

The developer must attach a disclosure statement to an agreement of purchase and sale. However, if the disclosure statement is not available at the time of entering into the agreement, the developer must provide it to the purchaser no later than five days after receiving it.

There is a 10-day “cooling off” period. If the purchaser changes his or her mind and wants to cancel the agreement, he or she must notify the developer in writing. The developer must return the purchaser’s deposit, without penalty or charge, within 10 days of:

  • the purchaser receiving the disclosure statement, or
  • the date the agreement was signed by the purchaser and the developer, whichever is later.

After the sale of the first unit, the developer must prepare a budget statement that covers the first 12 months of the corporation’s operation. He or she must also pay his or her monthly share of the common expenses and contributions to the reserve fund for unsold units. As well, the developer’s lawyer must hold in trust the proceeds from that sale (or from subsequent sales, if necessary) until there is an amount equal to at least 10 percent of the budget statement. If there is a shortfall at the end of the 12 months, the developer must pay the difference to the corporation. (See Are there legislation/regulations that stipulate(s) what happens if a developer has inaccurately estimated the operational costs of a condominium?)

What documents is the developer obliged to provide to the buyer?

The developer must provide a disclosure statement that includes a general description of the property. This covers the number and types of buildings and units on the property, its amenities and all conditions that apply to these amenities. If construction has not been completed, the disclosure statement must include a schedule of the proposed commencement and completion dates for the amenities.

Disclosure statements must also include:

Statements setting out:

  • the name and municipal address of the developer and the municipal address of the property;
  • whether a building on the property or a unit has been converted from a previous use;
  • whether one or more units may be used for commercial or other purposes
  • the portion or number of units that the developer intends to lease;
  • whether the bylaws of the corporation have been registered;
  • whether the common property of the condominium corporation has been mortgaged or transferred;
  • all outstanding judgments against the corporation and the status of legal actions to which the corporation is a party; and
  • whether, to the knowledge of the developer, the corporation intends to amalgamate with another corporation or whether the developer intends to cause the corporation to amalgamate with another corporation within 60 days of the date of registration.

Copies of:

  • the existing or proposed declaration, bylaws or rules;
  • (in the case of amalgamation) the proposed declaration, description, bylaws and rules for the amalgamated corporation, if available;
  • the budget statement;
  • the corporation’s budget for the current fiscal year if more than one year has passed since the sale of the first unit; and
  • the reserve fund study.

What documents must a condominium corporation provide a purchaser of a re-sale condominium?

The corporation must provide an estoppel certificate that includes:

Statements setting out:

  • the common expenses for the unit and whether or not the current owner has defaulted in paying them;
  • any increases in the common expenses that apply to the unit  since the last budget and the reason for the increases;
  • any assessments the board has levied against the unit since the last budget to increase the contribution to the reserve fund and the reason for the assessments;
  • the corporation’s address, for the purpose of serving documents;
  • the names and addresses of the directors and officers of the corporation, for the purpose of serving documents;
  • the name and address of the corporation's management company or manager;
  • whether the bylaws of the corporation have been registered;
  • whether the common property of the condominium corporation has been mortgaged or transferred;
  • all outstanding judgments against the corporation and the status of legal actions to which the corporation is a party;
  • the amount in the reserve fund no earlier than at the end of a month within 90 days of the date of the estoppel certificate and current plans to increase the reserve fund where there are plans; and
  • additions, alterations or improvements to the common elements, changes in the assets of the corporation and changes in a service of the corporation that are substantial, and the reason for doing them.

Copies of:

  • management agreements;
  • the current declaration, bylaws and rules;
  • the corporation’s certificate of registration;
  • the corporation’s budget for the current fiscal year, the last annual financial statement and the auditor's report on the statements; and
  • the most recent reserve fund study and updates to it.

The estoppel certificate must also include a certificate or memorandum of insurance for each of the current insurance policies and any other information required by the regulations.

There is a 10-day “cooling off” period. If the purchaser changes his or her mind and wants to cancel the agreement, he or she must notify the existing unit owner in writing. The existing unit owner must return all money received from the purchaser, without penalty or charge, within 10 days of:

  • the purchaser receiving the estoppel certificate, or
  • the date the agreement was signed by the purchaser and the existing unit owner, whichever is later.

Estimating Operating Costs

Are there legislation/regulations that stipulate(s) what happens if a developer has inaccurately estimated the operational costs of a condominium?

Yes. If the amount of the common expenses incurred in the first 12-month budget period exceeds the total budgeted amount for that period, the developer must pay the difference to the corporation.

Rules for Initial Reserve Fund Savings

Is the developer of a new condominium obligated to put aside reserves as soon as the condominium is registered?

Yes, the developer must pay into the reserve fund for all of the units he or she still owns.

Governance Requirements

Does the Province require a condominium to impose any bylaws and rules?

No, but the condominium corporation will typically make its own bylaws and rules.

Does condominium legislation authorize the condominium corporation to borrow money?

Yes, a corporation may borrow money as long as at least 66 percent of the owners of the common elements agree to it.

Can a condominium corporation place a lien on an individual unit?

Yes, a condominium corporation may do so if an owner has failed to pay his or her share of the common expenses or other assessments.

The lien has priority over all other liens, charges and mortgages — except property tax — and may be enforced in the same manner as a mortgage. In other words, the condominium corporation has all of the usual remedies available to a mortgagee — including power of sale, foreclosure, possession and collection of rents. 

If the unit owner has a mortgage, the mortgagee (such as a bank) can pay what is owing under the lien to the corporation and add that amount to the owner’s mortgage. 

The lien allows the corporation to collect any interest and reasonable legal costs and expenses it has incurred while collecting or attempting to collect the unpaid amount.

Elections & Meetings

What are the requirements for electing the board of directors and for its meetings?

Members of the condominium corporation must elect at least three people to sit on the board of directors. Directors must be at least 19 years old.

Sometimes unit owners name others to act on their behalf in matters relating to the corporation. These “designates” can be elected to serve on the board.

There are special provisions for choosing the board of directors when the developer still owns units.

Directors must act honestly and in good faith, and exercise care, diligence and skill. A corporation’s bylaws may specify how the board of directors’ meetings are to be carried out.

Changing the Governing Documents

How does a condominium corporation change its governing documents?

To change its declaration or description, a condominium corporation must have the consent of at least 80 percent of the owners of the common elements. To change a bylaw, it must have the consent of at least 66 percent of the corporation’s members.

Making Payments

Can an owner stop paying condominium fees if he/she is unhappy with the condominium’s board of directors and/or property management?

No.

Rules About Special Assessments

Do provincial legislation/regulations have rules regarding special assessments? If so, what are they?

Yes, a condominium corporation may levy a special assessment for extraordinary common element expenses with the consent of owners of at least 66 percent of the common elements.

Expanding the Scope of the Condominium's Assets and Services

What about additional recreational facilities/services? Could a condominium corporation buy a golf course, for example? Could it change the services an owner expects to receive?

The condominium corporation may make substantial additions, alterations or improvements to the common elements or substantial changes to the corporation’s assets. These changes must be voted for by members who own 80 percent or more of the common elements.

Other Important Things About Buying a Condominium in Newfoundland and Labrador

Do provincial legislation/regulations govern renting or leasing a condominium unit?

No. While the legislation does not directly address the rental of units, it does require that any provisions restricting leases be included in the declaration. Other terms related to the rental of units are commonly included in the bylaws.

For information on landlords’ and tenants’ rights and responsibilities in Newfoundland and Labrador, see Your Guide to Renting a Home, Your Guide to Renting a Home, Provincial Fact Sheet — Newfoundland and Labrador.

What other constraints do provincial legislation/regulations put on condominium corporations, their boards of directors, bylaws and management?

  • Condominium corporations must prepare annual financial statements.
  • If a corporation has 10 or more units an auditor must be appointed.

Is there a process for handling disputes or complaints?

If both parties in a dispute agree, the matter can be handled by a mediator, an arbitrator or by the courts.

Resources

Canadian Condominium Institute (CCI), Newfoundland and Labrador Chapter
An independent organization that deals exclusively with condominium issues and represents all participants in the condominium community.
http://cci-newfoundland.ca/news-events/overview

 

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