Why you need title insurance for your condo

Jun 22nd, 2023 | By FCT

Living in a central location, enjoying the amenities, not having to shovel snow—there’s lots to love about owning a condo. But don’t forget: your condo needs protection just like a house would. In fact, condo units carry risks that freehold properties don’t because of how condo ownership works.

Condo corporations

If you own a condo unit (or a strata unit, if you’re in B.C.) you own the unit itself, and you partially own the shared spaces. You and the other owners need a way to manage the maintenance and repair of common spaces and elements, and to keep any one owner from making changes that the rest of you disagree with.

That’s why every condominium or strata has a corporation that represents the owners’ collective interests. Condo corporations are an essential part of making sure everyone involved is treated fairly, but they also introduce risks for unit owners. Sometimes, condo corporations make mistakes, which can leave unprotected owners on the hook for major expenses. Here are two common examples:

Uncommunicated special assessments

Condo corporations need to raise funds for unexpected expenses, which they do by voting on special assessments—one-time fees that the owners share based on unit size.

The corporation has to notify all the affected owners, but that doesn’t always happen in time. If you buy a unit with a special assessment the corporation hasn’t told you about, you can find yourself owing thousands of dollars soon after moving in.

In a recent example, a couple moved into their condo unit in Ontario, and a little while later got a bill for $20,542.09. It turned out that months before the couple moved in, the condo board had voted on a special assessment to top up its reserve fund. The couple’s condo status certificate hadn’t mentioned the fee. Fortunately, they had title insurance, which covered the full amount—without that protection, they’d have been stuck.

Municipal violations by the corporation

Risks like zoning issues, violations of restrictive covenants and unpermitted work from previous owners apply to nearly every property. In a condo or strata, the corporation is more likely to run into those issues than you are. But losses from municipal violations can and will pass down from the corporation to you.

For example, the owner of a condo unit learned that his building had several open permits from a previous owner’s construction. His share of the fee was $31,108.26 for an open permit on his unit, as well as two open permits on common areas. Since they were from a previous owner, his title insurance policy covered the full amount.

Protecting your condo’s title

Looking to buy a condo? Make sure to speak with your legal professional about title insurance from FCT. It’s the only way to protect yourself against losses like the above examples, as well as from other risks, like title fraud.

If you already own your condo but don’t have title insurance, it’s not too late. Speak with your legal professional about how an Existing Homeowner’s Policy can protect you and your condo, no matter how long you’ve owned it. You can also sign up for a policy, and get protection and peace of mind today.




Insurance by FCT Insurance Company Ltd. Services by First Canadian Title Company Limited. The services company does not provide insurance products. This material is intended to provide general information only. For specific coverage and exclusions, refer to the applicable policy. Copies are available upon request. Some products/services may vary by province. Prices and products/services offered are subject to change without notice.


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Categories: Property Owners

8 Responses to “Why you need title insurance for your condo”

  1. Ralph says:

    I’m looking for this insurance

  2. Sunny says:

    What’s the benefit of title insurance on a new condo construction? There’s no previous owner other than the builder. It’s a new building so it shouldn’t have any special assessment or tax owing.

    • Rebecca Christoforidis says:

      Hi Sunny,
      It’s true that the risk of monthly common expense arrears and special assessments is low on a brand new condo but title insurance on a new condominium offers protection beyond special assessments and common expense arrears. One coverage that immediately springs to mind is found in covered risk 14 which covers situations when “After the Policy Date, a Governmental Authority assesses supplemental real estate taxes not previously assessed against the Land for any period before the Policy Date.” On any purchase of a brand new home, there is always a risk of supplemental and or omit taxes. In addition, you get coverage for forgery or impersonation affecting your title after the closing date.


  3. Liliana Grunmann says:

    If I don’t get on time the renewal of the Land survey , do I need a title insurance until the survey is done for a condo .
    Only because the old land survey have expired 4 month ago

    Thank you

    • FCT says:

      This sounds a bit of a legal question and for a specific answer, we suggest you speak to your lawyer or notary about your specific case but there is no requirement for a survey for the issuance of a title insurance policy. We don’t see many survey related claims on condominiums but that doesn’t mean they don’t happen. Like we said in our blog, the coverage for condominiums under a title insurance policy extends far beyond survey issues and includes such things as lack of permits, fraud, and utility arrears.

  4. Robert Greaves says:

    We have been in our townhouse/condo for 9 years and are thinking about title insurance to protect us from possible fraud. How do we go about this process and what is the cost? Thanks.

    • FCT says:

      Hi Robert, thanks for reaching out! The cost of a title insurance policy varies based on the property itself. You can call 905-287-3380 or 1-877-888-1153 and we’ll be happy to get you a quote and walk you through the process.

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