Errors in Status Certificates

The Condominium Act, 1998 [Section 76 (6)] says that a status certificate binds the corporation as against the person who obtains the certificate. But a recent Ontario Superior Court decision says that, in some circumstances, the impact of the status certificate may be limited.

In 1716243 Ontario Inc. v. Muskoka Standard Condo Corp. No. 54, the status certificate prepared by the condominium corporation had failed to include the monthly common expense amounts related to two parking units which formed part of the property the purchaser was acquiring.

Relying upon the status certificate, the purchaser refused to pay the monthly common expenses for the two parking units (in the amount of $168.04 per month). The purchaser maintained that he was not, and never would be, obligated to pay the monthly common expenses attributable to the parking spaces.

The Court found that the purchaser was entitled to rely upon the status certificate and its inaccuracy, but only until the end of the fiscal year for which it was prepared. The status certificate included the budget on which the common expense payments were set, but stated that a new budget could result in increases which were undetermined as of the date of the certificate. So, the purchaser was only entitled to avoid the common expenses (related to the parking units) during the fiscal year in which the status certificate had been issued.

The decision clarifies that status certificates sometimes won’t bind a condominium corporation beyond the year in which they were issued. At the same time, this decision emphasizes the importance of ensuring the accuracy of a status certificate.