What is an Assignment?
A Condo Assignment is a legal sales transaction whereby the Original Purchaser (the "Assignor") of a property sells, and thereby transfers, their interest and obligations under the original contract to a new Purchaser (the "Assignee"). This Condo Assignment takes place during or before interim occupancy. The "Assignee" will assume all of the "Assignor's" duties and obligations under the original Purchase & Sale Agreement. These rights and obligations are stated in the original Purchase & Sale Agreement and include terms such as payments of mortgage, taxes and maintenance fees during interim occupancy. Upon Completion, the "Assignee" is granted the Title to the real property and will incur all final closing costs.
An Assignment fee may be charged by the Developer and is normally a cost borne by the "Assignor" (the Original Purchaser).
Advantages of Assignments
Assignors: Can save money on occupancy fees, closing costs, property taxes
Assignees: Can sometimes get a land transfer tax benefit (depending on when the assignor bought the unit), may still be able to select their own finishes, colors & upgrades, can inherit extras such as credits on closing and may also benefit from HST credits.
Most people who buy a condo take ownership through the Land Registry System. Just before the day of closing, you transfer money to your lawyer and if you need additional funds via a mortgage, your lawyer will register your ownership of the property and the interest of the mortgage lender.
An Assignment means that you are buying a ‘right’ to own a condo that is not in the Land Registry System. Usually the condo has not been built or it is not ready for occupancy and the building has not been registered. This ‘right’ is just a paper transaction and not the transfer of the actual property. The closing of the Assignment occurs BEFORE the condo is registered. The individual who buys the ‘right’ will eventually close and register their ownership of the condo at some later date.
The number of Assignment transactions is growing rapidly. For sellers who bought a new condo from plans several years earlier and whose plans have changed, this is an opportunity to sell before they have to get a mortgage and incur additional closing costs such as that dreaded, double Land Transfer Tax. For buyers who want a brand new condo without having to wait years for construction to finish, or who can not find what they want in the resale market, it represents a lot more choice.
Most Assignments are sold on an ‘Exclusive’ basis. They are also more complicated than a regular sale because a mortgage can not be obtained on the closing of the Assignment, and will need to be postponed until the day of registration. Other issues such as occupancy, reimbursement of the seller’s deposits and more must be taken into account.