Licences for Property Managers

managerUnless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard that the government has created significant changes to the condominium landscape in Ontario. One of the biggest changes is that property managers will require licences to provide condominium management services in Ontario.  The regulation of property managers is designed to weed out the bad apples, which have received most of the publicity in recent years.  It is rare for an article to be published that praises the hard work and dedication most managers show to their clients.

Today’s post will provide an introduction to the key changes to the condominium management industry in Ontario.

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Condo Children

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What do you think about raising children in condominiums? It seems everyone has an opinion about it. Most write about the perceived cons of condo living, like having no backyard. Recently, I’ve read several articles (like this one and this one) that focused on the positives of condo living for children, like amazing amenities (i.e. pools, games rooms), unique opportunities (i.e. cooking classes, swimming lessons), and large, supportive communities.

While condo living can provide great opportunities for children and families, it can also create a host of problems for condo boards and managers. Noise complaints. Children running around at all hours. Pressing all of the elevator buttons. Some children are little tornados left free to cause destruction and chaos. With a little effort by everyone, condos can be a great place to raise children.

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Green Initiatives in Condos

solar panelsMost people these days are making a conscious effort to reduce their impact on the environment. Some activities are so common that they have become the norm. We recycle. We turn the lights off when we leave a room. Others activities, while currently less common, are rapidly becoming more popular, like electric and hybrid vehicles. While most boards want to be supportive of these new green initiatives, they also worry about satisfying their obligations to their condominiums. Well, the good news is that in most cases it is possible to implement green initiatives and comply with their duties. Continue reading

Electric Vehicles in Condos

electric cars.jpgToday, in celebration of Earth Day (yes I know I’m late), I thought that I would write about an environmental issue that is becoming more common in condominiums: electric vehicles. An electric vehicle is one powered by electricity stored in rechargeable batteries instead of using traditional fuel sources, like gasoline or diesel.  Some cars, called hybrids, use a combination of sources.

So you might be thinking “why is this an issue for condominiums?” Simple. There are many legal issues that need to be addressed before owners plug in their cars. Where is the vehicle charged? Who pays for the electricity consumed? What if the condominium doesn’t have a suitable location to charge the vehicle? Who pays to upgrade facilities so charging is possible? Can the condominium install charging stations to be used by all of the owners? These are only a few of the questions that I’ve been asked.

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If you can’t say something nice…

say something…don’t say anything at all. This is one of the first lessons most people learn as preschoolers. If they continued to say negative things about others, there were usually consequences, like a timeout or their favourite toy was taken away. This is how most people learned to communicate with others in an appropriate way.

Unfortunately, it seems like some owners could use a refresher on this basic rule.  I frequently hear of owners, managers, directors, or staff being harassed by an owner calling them inappropriate names, yelling at them, or using vulgar language. In some cases, the owner may not know they are being offensive, but in most cases, they do. Maybe they think there are no consequences for their inappropriate behaviour now that they are adults. Afterall, who is going to give them a timeout or take away their favourite toy? There are no condo police.

Fortunately, a recent case suggests that there are consequences for owners who choose to harass others living or working in the condominium.

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Recap – Motions at Meetings

motions.jpgIt is AGM season again. Rather than re-invent the wheel, I decided to highlight a post from two years ago about motions at meetings using Robert’s Rules of Order. I posted a Chart that I had made summarizing the motions that I see most often at condominium meetings.

I hope this helps with your AGMs. Please feel free to contact me with questions or if you would like me to present to your organization.

Recap: Requisition Meetings

meetingI’ve had a few questions about requisition meetings recently so I thought I would take some time today to make a few comments about them.

First, a requisition does not always mean that the owners distrust the board or think they are doing a bad job. Often, in my experience, the owners simply want more information than they feel they have been given. Sometimes the information requested was previously provided to the owners, which can be a big source of frustration for directors and managers. Try not to take it personally. The information may have been misplaced or forgotten, or they may not have understood the information provided and need clarification. Whatever the reason, consider the meeting an opportunity to discuss issues and find creative solutions to problems.

Second, preparation is the key to a successful requisition meeting. There is nothing more frustrating to the owners than attending a requisition meeting only to find the board does not have answers to any of the questions asked by the owners in the requisition. This will lead to a heated and lengthy meeting. Take a few hours before the meeting to review the relevant documents, talk to the necessary contractors or professionals, and consider preparing any visual aids or handouts that might assist.

Third, pick a venue that works well for a requisition. If the requisition is likely to result in a volatile meeting, such as where the removal of directors is sought, pick a neutral location such as a common room or your local library. Don’t hold the meeting in an owner’s unit. Also, consider if security guards or off-duty police should be hired for the meeting to ensure that all attendees are safe. This shouldn’t be necessary for most meetings, but I have been to meetings where I was glad they were there!

Finally, consider if other people, such as contractors and professionals, should be invited to the meeting. If the requisition mentions issues with a major repair project, it might be a good idea to have the engineer present. Sometimes a lawyer might be a good idea, such as where there are complex legal issues to discuss, but other times the lawyer’s presence might create a hostile environment for the meeting. It isn’t necessary to have a lawyer attend or chair the meeting; the lawyer should only be invited if his or her presence will assist in some way.

For more information, see my previous posts on requisitions:

 

Requisitions – not all bad

We want to remove the board because we want to fire the manager

Changes are Coming – Requisitions