Can you be on the hook for repairs before you even move in?
Jan 13th, 2022 | By FCT
Amelia and Henry Wilson* bought a condo unit in Invermere, B.C, looking forward to settling into the quiet lakeside town. But two weeks after moving in, the Wilsons received an unwelcome housewarming gift—a bill for $3,508.67 from a special levy.
How does a special levy work?
A special levy—also called a special assessment—is a condo fee that gets added on top of the regular fees for some specific purpose. Usually, it’s for building repairs or a new improvement. Special assessments come from the condo board and owners are obligated to pay them based on their lot entitlement. Most condos have by-laws about what sort of notice and explanation the condo board needs to give about the special levy, as well as transparency in how they spend the money.
In the Wilsons’ case, this special levy was for roof repairs to the building. The previous year, a report had come out showing the need for repairs. The condo board held a follow-up meeting to discuss the work, and the special levy to fund it. There was just one problem: this meeting happened a month before the Wilsons moved in, and the condo board didn’t release the minutes for six weeks after the meeting. That’s when the Wilsons learned that they owed the fee.
They felt cheated by the large expense that would have factored into their negotiating if they had known about it. But the Wilsons had recourse: a residential title insurance policy from FCT. Since the condo board’s by-laws said they had to provide meeting minutes within three weeks, the fact that they waited six meant they had violated those by-laws. As the special levy wasn’t disclosed properly, we were able to cover the Wilsons’ entire loss of $3,508.67 and let them get back to enjoying their new home.
Title insurance is so important because many of the risks it protects against are impossible to predict, as well as expensive. Don’t get caught out by a property’s unexpected issues—get more protection with a residential title insurance policy from FCT.
* Name changed to protect the privacy of the insured
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