Pre-Construction Safeguards

As the initial excitement of booking your pre-construction unit starts to fade, you might find yourself second-guessing the fine print. Don’t worry—you’re not locked in just yet. All pre-construction projects in Canada come with a 10-day cooling-off period. You have a valuable window of time to reconsider your decision without financial consequences. Coupled with legal frameworks like the Tarion Addendum and the Condominium Act, as well as bank insurance safeguards, this period provides a multi-layered financial safety net for your deposit. 

Policies to project your pre-construction investment

1. 10-Day Cooling-Off Period

The 10-day cooling-off period acts like an immediate safety net for prospective condo buyers, offering a valuable cushion for those second thoughts that might crop up after signing an agreement. Legally mandated, this period allows you to withdraw your commitment without facing any financial penalties, offering a low-risk window for some high-stakes decisions. During these crucial 10 days, you have the opportunity to consult with a real estate lawyer and ensure the agreement is fair and practical. 

2. Tarion Addendum

Any agreement of purchase and sale for a new condo must include this addendum, ensuring that buyers are given comprehensive information about the project they’re investing in. The addendum includes various aspects of the development, from the proposed timelines for construction to the specific features and finishes you can expect in your new home. 

Beyond serving as an informational guide, the Tarion Addendum provides a layer of legal protection for buyers. It is designed to be in line with the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act, offering a host of warranties that can protect you against defects in workmanship, violations of the Ontario Building Code, and even delays in construction.


3. Condominium Act

Established legal frameworks like the Condominium Act further serve to protect buyers by outlining the rights and obligations of both parties. 

More than just a guide, it’s a set of laws that govern a variety of critical aspects like condo management, financial planning, and operational procedures. Whether it’s how your condo fees are allocated or what legal recourse you have if things go awry, the Condominium Act is your go-to rulebook. By standardizing the rules around condo governance and financial management, it aims to create a fair and transparent buying experience. 

4. Bank Insurance and Trust Funds

When you put down a deposit on a pre-construction condo, it’s not just tossed into a general pool of funds. It’s usually placed in a segregated trust fund, ensuring that your money is isolated and protected from the developer’s operational expenses. But what adds an extra layer of security to this arrangement is bank insurance. This financial safeguard ensures that in the event of bankruptcy or any other unforeseen circumstances affecting the developer, your money can be returned to you safely.

What Happens if a Project is Canceled?

1. Full Refund

If the pre-construction project is canceled, the developer is bound by law to refund your deposit in its entirety. This legal mandate ensures that your financial commitment to the property doesn’t turn into an outright loss. While it’s a worst-case scenario for both parties involved, the developer can’t simply walk away. They are responsible for managing all the legalities of refunding every buyer’s deposit.


Knowing that you’ll receive a full refund can make the risky venture of investing in a pre-construction condo significantly more secure.

2. Accrued Interest

Apart from getting back your initial deposit, you are also entitled to receive any interest that has accumulated on that sum while it was in the developer’s possession.

The interest is typically calculated using a predefined rate mentioned in your contract. That’s why it is important to read this section carefully to understand how much you’re likely to receive.

The inclusion of accrued interest compensates for the time value of money, ensuring that not only is your initial deposit returned but also that it hasn’t been sitting idle.

3. 10-Day Return Policy

Canadian law is very strict when it comes to the timeframe of the refund process. The developer must return your deposit, along with any accrued interest, within a span of 10 days after the project’s cancellation. The 10-day policy ensures that you won’t have to wait for an indefinite period to get your money back. This is especially important because, for most people, such a large sum of money tied up can be a significant financial strain.

With a legally mandated time frame in place, developers often have systems prepared to expedite the refund process, making it easier and less stressful for buyers.


In the next blog we will go into detail about the 10-day cooling off period and different measures you need to take to ensure you are protected. Continue reading our pre-construction buying guide here