Lawyer Information

Meet Shaffiq Dar - Real Corp. Law 
In 2004, Shaffiq joined a law firm specializing in real estate and corporate law, where he also articled after completing his Bar examinations. He was called to the Bar of Ontario in 2007 and thereafter joined a highly reputable Bay Street firm as an associate in the Financial Institutions and Real Estate Practice Group.

Shaffiq worked with major financial institutions and had the opportunity to handle complex transactions. His clients also included several mid-sized enterprises as well as their owners/operators. Building on his Bay Street experience, Shaffiq founded RealCorp Law in 2011 and his practice now focuses on Real Estate Law, Corporate Law and Estate Law. 

Much of his clientele is referred to him by satisfied clients or other professionals who work in the markets that he serves. Shaffiq is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Ontario Bar Association and the Canadian Bar Association. 

Shaffiq is a well reputed Mississauga Real Estate lawyer, who has also helped numerous clients for Pratham Kalia over the years.
Below Shaffiq will help answer some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Any advice on choosing a Real Estate Lawyer?
Before you retain a lawyer for your real estate transaction, you should contact the lawyer and ask him/her for a breakdown of the legal fees and other closing costs. Check to make sure that the lawyer has experience with handling real estate closings. Do your own homework and check out the lawyer’s website and reviews from previous clients. Buying a property is one of the most significant purchases that most people make and retaining an efficient lawyer with experience and expertise in the field will ensure that your transaction proceeds smoothly and that you obtain good title to your property.

How do we choose a Real Estate Lawyer that also has experience with Builder New and Resale Condos?
Purchase of pre-construction condominium is highly specialized. You should always choose a lawyer who has handled such transactions before and who is willing to review the Agreement of Purchase and Sale and to discuss all the pertinent provisions of the Agreement with you. Remember that typically a pre-construction purchase will close 2-3 years after the date of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. 
The breakdown of Legal Fees and what are the typical charges? 
On a standard residential real estate purchase, the closing costs consist of:
  • Legal fees – you can contact the lawyer and obtain a quote on the fees.
  • Disbursements – this consists of items such as title search costs, couriers, photocopies, bank charges etc.
  • Registration charges – there is a fee of $76.55 for each document to be registered on closing. In most transactions, there would be 2 documents to be registered – the Transfer and the mortgage.
  • Title Insurance – this is based on the purchase price and whether the lender is an institutional lender or a private lender. Most lawyers, who have experience handling real estate transactions, will be able to give you an estimate of the title insurance premium.
  • Land Transfer Tax - this is also based on the purchase price. If you are a first-time home buyer and will be occupying the property as your primary residence, then you may be eligible for the first-time home buyers’ rebate on Land Transfer Tax.
What are the typical rates for Mortgage Registration and Transfers? 
There is a fee of $76.55 for each document to be registered on closing. In most transactions, there would be 2 documents to be registered – the Transfer and the mortgage. In some transaction, the lender may require a Notice of Assignment of Rents to be registered or if documents are being executed under a Power of Attorney, then the Power of Attorney would have to be registered prior to closing. 
What is Title Insurance and is it required? 
Title insurance is not mandatory. You may opt for a lawyer's opinion on title or you may choose to purchase a title insurance policy from one of the various title insurance companies operating in Ontario. You should discuss with your lawyer the advantages of obtaining title insurance and what the costs of the same would be as compared to obtaining the opinion on title.

How does Title Search help the Buyer and what is it? 
Prior to the closing of your purchase transaction, your lawyer is required to carry out certain title searches. These searches are to verify that the Sellers named on the Agreement of Purchase and Sale are in fact the owners of the subject property and whether there are any encumbrances on title such as existing mortgages, construction liens, tax liens, etc. Your lawyer will also search for writs of executions against the Sellers. Your Agreement of Purchase has 2 important dates in it – there is the Closing Date or Completion Date and then there is the Title Search Date or the Requisition Date. Ideally, you should retain a lawyer at least one week prior to the Title Search Date in order to allow the lawyer sufficient time to complete all the required searches and to contact the Seller’s lawyers before the Title Search Date.
Are there HST Rebates when Buying a Builder New Condo, if so where can a Buyer get more information? 
The Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) is included in the Purchase Price and any rebates that you may be entitled to are to be assigned to the Vendor on Final Closing. (Note: you will be eligible for the HST rebate if the Property will be the primary residence of yourself or an immediate family member, you are a resident of Canada, and will occupy the property within a certain time after Closing). If you will not be occupying the property as your primary residence, then you will not be eligible for the HST rebate and will be required to pay to the Vendor on closing an amount equal to the HST rebate amount in addition to the Purchase Price. If the property is rented out, then you may be eligible for a rental property rebate instead and will have to apply for the same directly from Canada Revenue Agency post-closing. You can get more information from Canada Revenue Agency.

What is a Condo Status Certificate and what why does a Lawyer review this? 
The Status Certificate is a document provided by the condominium corporation which sets out the all the important financial facts of the condominium. It will usually be part of a package that includes the condominium declarations (rules, regulations and bylaws), insurance information, financial statements and an analysis of the state of the reserve fund. It will also let you know if there are any pending lawsuits against the condominium corporation, and give you a bit of insight into how the building is being managed.

Each condominium unit has its own status certificate, and includes details specific to that unit: the maintenance fees, what's included in ownership (legal description of the condo), and any prepaid fees or arrear amounts the current owner of the unit has. Your lawyer will review the Status Certificate to determine whether there are any unpaid common expenses and to verify that the correct common expenses amount is given in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale.

The lawyer will also confirm that the legal description of the unit (and if applicable, of the parking and locker) is given on the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. After a thorough review of the Status Certificate, your lawyer should be able to tell you whether any increase in the common expenses or any special assessments are expected in the near future, whether the condominium corporation is involved in any litigation and what the balance of the reserve fund is. Many condominium corporations have specific rules relating to pets, short-term rentals, smoking etc. and your lawyer should be able to draw your attention to these.

What are some Red Flags in a Condo Status Certificate?  
If the Seller is in default on the payment of common expenses, then this will be stated on the Status Certificate and your lawyer will have to ensure that all common expense arrears are paid on or before closing. The Status Certificate will disclose when the last reserve fund study was completed and what the estimated increases in the contributions to the common expenses will be over the next 3 years. If the condominium corporation is involved in any litigation, that will be disclosed in the Status Certificate. If there are any special assessments which have been levied against the unit or are expected to be levied in the near future, this will be disclosed in the Status Certificate. 

Shaffiq Dar 
Real Corp Law.
Barrister, Solicitor & Notary Public
Phone: 905-569-7920

Courtesy to Shaffiq Dar for the answers provided

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