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.