Condo Stats – Grand River & Golden Horseshoe Edition

analytics.jpgAs a self-proclaimed condo geek, I’m always interested in statistics about the condo industry. About a week ago I decided to do a quick search of the electronic land registry system to see how many condominiums were in my area.  I have been known to procrastinate on occasion so I also looked up all of the other counties and regions located with the Golden Horseshoe and Grand River Chapters of CCI. For those interested, the numbers as at June 16, 2017: Continue reading

Not-so-super superintendent?

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Many high-rise condominiums have superintendents or “supers”. In some condominiums the duties of the super are limited to basic maintenance obligations. In others the super is more like superman, with duties ranging from handyman to complaints investigator.

Sometimes the super isn’t so super. The first step when a relationship isn’t working should be to discuss it with the other party. The same is true for employees. Regular performance evaluations are a good way to do this. The condominium and super can discuss the expectations, the performance, and areas for improvement. The super can raise issues that might be interfering with his performance, like a resident who takes up all of his time. If the super’s performance deteriorates between performance reviews, it might be necessary to have additional meetings, followed up with letters. If the performance of the super does not improve the board should consider disciplinary action.  Continue reading

Canada Day Celebrations!

canada day.jpgI love this time of year. AGM season is almost over. It is hot and sunny; perfect weather for golfing, relaxing by the pool, or going to the beach. And Canada Day is just around the corner! With the 150-year celebrations planned across the country this year’s festivities should be spectacular. More flags. More fireworks. More friends. More family. More celebratory drinks. However you like to celebrate, this year should be a memorable one!

Unfortunately, large celebrations often mean more condo disputes. “My neighbour’s flag blocks my sunlight”. One of the tenants lights fireworks off his 12th-floor balcony. And of course, one of the most common complaints regardless of the time of year, noise and loud parties. No one wants to stop people from having fun, but it can be difficult for a board to balance the competing interests in a condo setting. Here are some suggestions to make this year’s festivities fabulous.

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Update: New Dates for Condo Act

timeYou’ve probably heard by now that the dates have changed for implementing changes to the Condominium Act, 1998 (“Condo Act”), and various other pieces of legislation under the Protecting Condominium Owners Act, 2015 (also known as “Bill 106”). The start date was planned to be July 1, 2017 for some of the changes, but the Ontario government recently announced that the date has been pushed into the fall. Not surprisingly, the administrative authorities will be designated first with the implementation of most of the other changes coming in afterward. The new timeline is described below in more detail.

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Development: Unique Condo Uses

new developmentI’ve been working on a large number of condo developments in the past few weeks so I thought I’d take a few minutes to discuss some interesting uses for the condo concept.

Before the Act was amended in 1998 there was only one type of condominium – the standard condominium. It was used for residential, commercial, or mixed uses, or for high-rises, townhouses, and single-detached homes. The amendments created two main types: leasehold and freehold. Freehold has four subtypes: standard, phased, common elements, and vacant land. These new types added even greater flexibility to the condo concept allowing developers to get creative with their developments.

For those interested, I have a three-part article being published in CCI-London & Area’s newsletter if you want to learn more about the types of condominiums.

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Is lien work really for lawyers only?

liensThis post is likely to be unpopular with my colleagues, but it needs to be said.

Lien work is gravy work for lawyers. It takes us very little time from start to finish, it can be easily delegated to staff, and it can be very lucrative because most boards don’t know or care what is charged since the owner foots the bill. As a result, many law firms spend thousands of dollars a year on advertising their lien work. Take a look at the advertisements in the condo industry magazines for the past year. I bet you find at least 2 firms advertising their special lien software or collection “guarantees”.

In recent weeks you’ve probably read an article or two about the appropriateness of non-lawyers registering and discharging liens. The discussion stems from a single Small Claims Court case where an owner sued a property management company after it registered and discharged a lien against her unit. The owner (a paralegal) felt that it was inappropriate for the management company to use an in-house paralegal to register and discharge the lien.  She brought an action in the Small Claims Court seeking the return of the legal fees she paid ($819.25) for the lien and punitive damages.

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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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