Alternatives to Condo Living

April 2023

While condominium living remains the most popular form of home ownership in Toronto, co-ops and co-ownership offer a similar lifestyle.

When purchasing a condo, or condominium, you are a part-owner of a condo corporation.  You own your unit, receive a deed, and share an interest in common elements with all corporation members.

This differs from purchasing a co-op which means owning shares in a private company that owns the building and provided with exclusive rights to occupy a specific unit.  This may include exclusive use of a storage unit or parking space.  One of the differences in co-op living is that potential owners are pre-screened by the board.  A lower purchase price is likely.  Financing may be more difficult to obtain or at a higher mortgage rate since the purchase is for shares in a building rather than ownership of a specific unit.

Co-ownership is a little different.  It allows you to own a percentage of a building in areas where condominiums are not allowed.  Your name goes on title for the building and you receive exclusive rights to a unit.  Property taxes are paid as part of monthly maintenance fees as with a co-op.  Heat and hydro costs are often included in monthly maintenance fees.  Where the city will not allow older apartment buildings to be retrofitted and sold as condominiums, co-ownership allows buildings to be repurposed and sold to those who desire condominium living.  Buyers typically purchase after seeing a retrofitted space rather than relying on building plans which can be changed prior to taking possession.  The boards of co-ownerships may be required to approve new buyers.

Unlike condominiums, neither co-ops or co-ownerships require that a reserve fund be maintained.