'Ask Legal Neil' - Buying a condominium in Bermuda

We have our first question for 'Ask Legal Neil': 

"I’m in the market to buy a condo. What should I look out for?" - Anon.

First of all, congratulations on taking this step! 

Condominium ownership is popular because of a generally lower initial cash outlay and fewer responsibilities than for a traditional householder.  A condominium owner is generally only responsible for the interior. External repairs, re-decoration, grounds maintenance and insurance are generally the responsibility of condominium management. 

Some points to consider are: 

How much privacy and freedom is there with the chosen condominium? 

Are the condominium rules, which may seem restrictive, encouraging good standards for the benefit of all condominium owners? For example, owners are often required to fit carpets and comply with auditory restrictions during defined night hours. 

How much are the maintenance expenses and is the building in good condition? Investigate the condominium company’s accounts for the last three years, for non-contributions and for financial health generally.

Are there upcoming costs which are expensive - for example, with the elevator, roof and other structural repairs? A well-managed scheme often has an accumulated reserve known as a “sinking fund”, which spreads out payment for expenses over time and between all owners in a development.

What do current owners and occupiers have to say? Find out the positives and negatives, and ask how effective management is. 

Have you secured legal representation? As with all complex matters of law, do not sign any legally-binding sale and purchase agreement without first obtaining legal advice.

Neil Molyneux is a member of the Property Practice Group at Appleby (Bermuda) Limited. You can contact Neil at nmolyneux@applebyglobal.com or +1 (441) 298 3298

The above content should not be used as a substitute for professional legal advice.  Before proceeding with any matters discussed here, persons are advised to consult with a lawyer.

If you have any questions you would like to ask Neil - on any and all legal matters regarding Bermuda property, please direct your questions to sales@propertyskipper.com

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