Fight over 14% budget increase leads to court battle

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Most unit owners would be upset to receive notice that their monthly condo fees were increasing by almost 15% the following year. Recently an owner was surprised when she received notice from her condominium of a 0% change in her monthly fees.  She was expecting an increase close to 15%. Was she pleasantly surprised? Apparently not as she commenced an application in the Superior Court of Justice against the condominium and one of its five directors.  Continue reading

CAT rules on access to proxies

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The CAT (Condominium Authority Tribunal) has released another important decision on the right of owners to access records. Cangiano v. Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corporation No. 962 is a dispute over the owner’s right to receive “legible and unaltered” copies of the proxies used at the AGM. The condominium refused to provide unaltered copies because the proxies contained personal information, but offered to provide redacted copies for $27.60. The owner sought an order directing the condominium to provide her with un-redacted copies of the proxies. Continue reading

Knowing the Signs…Election Times

When you think of an election what comes to mind? In my experience, an upcoming election means preparing for the barrage of campaign advertising, door-to-door canvassers, and social media posts from your relatives and friends that have questionable fact checking. A significant contributor to the visuals of an election are the seemingly inescapable candidate signs on tufts of grass by the local Starbucks or throughout your neighborhood. Condominiums share the unique complication of sharing a collective yard space that represents the building, tenants, and condo corporation, so management must be prepared to manage the political participation of their owners and residents while staying up to date with the current law. Continue reading

Upcoming events…Summer & Fall of 2018

stencil.default (1)You have probably settled in to your new condo life with prescribed forms for almost everything (with a few notable exceptions, like candidate disclosures). Don’t get too comfortable…there is still so much to come. You won’t want to miss some of the educational opportunities planned for the Summer and Fall of this year.  Continue reading

Condo Chat: What do you want to see for future amendments?

stencil.default (3)Today I thought I would write about something a little different – it’s my wish list for the next round of amendments and changes to the regulations. Here they are in no specific order:

  1. Amalgamation for condominiums that are not standard. The amendments to the Act that have come into force make me believe this might be on the horizon, but the regulations still require the condominiums to be standard ones.  I understand the rationale for not combining different types of condominiums, but why restrict the ability only to standard condominiums? Six common elements condominiums should be able to amalgamate without much difficulty.
  2. Public database for managers. Many professional organizations, like the Law Society of Ontario, have a public database that people can search for  information on the licensees. It would be nice if the CMRAO had the same for managers. This would make it easier for people to search for information, such as their licences, about their managers without calling the CMRAO.
  3. Director training in formats other than online. This one is already possible as the authority has been delegated to the CAO. There are condominiums losing knowledgeable and experienced directors because they do not want to (or cannot) complete the training online. Why not allow a organization like CCI to offer training? The CAO could require accreditation of all programs just like the Law Society of Ontario does for the program to count toward our a lawyer’s continuing education requirement. ACMO still plays a role for managers. CCI has been a pivotal organization in educating directors for decades across the country. Why not allow them to continue to do what they do?
  4. More time to call a requisition meeting. The amendments to the Act make it very difficult for a condominium that receives a requisition to hold the meeting within the 35 day period required by the Act. While there is a provision that allows the condominium to send the preliminary notice out to owners 15 days before the notice of meeting, instead of 20 days, this still isn’t enough time in many cases. Currently, the Board only has a few days to review the requisition with its lawyer, find a location for the meeting, confirm the availability of everyone who needs to be there, and have the manager to prepare and distribute the preliminary notice to all of the owners. This is a transitional period issue as the timeline will change once further amendments are in place, but the transition period is taking much longer than expected so it would be nice if this amendment was prioritized for the next round.

These are just a few of the issues I’d like to see prioritized for the next round of amendments. Only time will tell when the next phase of amendments will come into force as there has been no press release from the new government with respect to its plans for the condominium industry. I’d love to hear from you. What do you want to see in the next round?

Construction Lien Changes

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As you may have heard, the first round of amendments to the Construction Lien Act are scheduled to come into force on July 1, 2018. The purpose of this post is to provide a brief overview of some of the key changes as they may relate to condominium projects.

For starters, the Construction Lien Act will be known as the Construction Act. The amendments will not apply to all situations, including contracts entered into before July 1, 2018 (even if subcontracts were entered into after July 1, 2018) or the procurement process was commenced before July 1, 2018. There are other exceptions.  Continue reading

Disability & Dogs: Has the Pendulum Swung Back?

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A few years ago there was a lot of talk of a Superior Court case involving a woman and her dog. There was a 25 lb weight restriction. Her dog was well over 25 lbs. The woman initially claimed she needed the dog for her work with autistic children, but later claimed she needed the dog because of her own disability. She obtained a doctor’s note that indicated she required the dog for “emotional needs”. The condominium asked for permission to talk to the woman’s physician, but she refused so the condominium rejected her request for accommodation and initiated an application for an order requiring her to remove the dog from the property. The judge found there was insufficient evidence of a disability or any medical reason for the dog to reside in the unit. The judge also stated that the condominium fulfilled its obligation and that it could not be blamed for her refusal to cooperate in the process. The judge ordered the dog removed and awarded costs of $47,000 to the condominium.

The case was hailed by some as the solution to the generic one-sentence doctor’s notes  (i.e. ones from a walk-in clinic or other physician who has spent only a few minutes with the person; ones that do not describe the disability or how the dog is required to accommodate the disability). Others were more cautious about the applicability of the case to other situations. You can read a previous post about the case here: https://ontcondolaw.com/2015/06/24/dog-restrictions-and-disabilities/

Does a recent Human Rights Tribunal decision indicate that the pendulum is swinging away from the case?

Continue reading