What is it?  Co-ownership Agreements are practical agreements to have in place when family members pool their resources to purchase investment properties or properties to jointly reside in as their principal residence. A Co-ownership Agreement sets out the terms and conditions, rights and responsibilities, options and obligations of the various parties. 

For the last several months, it seems like every other file that lands on my desk is a dispute over a co-owned property.  Housing has become an incredibly expensive asset in the Greater Toronto Area. This has led many to find creative solutions.  Co-ownership of homes that are the principal residence of the parties is becoming an increasingly common scenario and I repeatedly see disputes between siblings/parent/child relationships that involve co-owned properties. A comprehensively drafted and carefully curated Co-ownership agreement will undoubtedly save you time and money in the event of a dispute.  

Some of the essential elements of Co-Ownership Agreements are:

  1. The co-ownership Agreement should clearly outline what percentage of the equity each of the owners have, to avoid confusion at the time of sale with regards to division of net sale proceeds.
  2. Basic provisions are in place to resolve disputes.
  3. How will basic expenses be covered (Cable, Hydro, Insurance, etc.)?
  4. Which family members are allowed to occupy the residence? If guests are permitted, during what period and for how long?
  5. What expenses constitute as major expenses (e.g. renovations, new appliances, new roof, etc.)? And how will those expenses be shared.
  6. What would happen in a situation if a co-owner doesn’t pay their share of what is agreed upon?
  7. What happens when or more co-owners want to sell? How will the value of the property be determined etc.?

*The above is not a comprehensive list. It is imperative that all parties obtain independent legal advice prior to signing a co-ownership Agreement.  I have experience both litigating co-ownership disputes and drafting co-ownership Agreements. To book a free consult, please email: Jbalaram@lhlaw.ca 

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