Condos in Trouble

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We’ve all heard the horror stories of condominiums with no money in their reserve accounts and significant repair projects that need to be completed. Work orders may have been issued by the municipality because the buildings are falling apart and becoming a danger to the occupants. At best, there are allegations of mismanagement by previous boards. At worst, there are allegations of fraud and theft. Many of the owners have defaulted in their contributions toward the common expenses and the condominium is unable to pay its contractors, which results in lawsuits due to unpaid bills. The local real estate agents know of the issues and the market values of the units plummet.

When the board attempts to fix some of these problems, such as levying special assessments, they often receive a requisition to remove them. The new board quickly changes managers, rescinds the special assessment, and lowers monthly fees. A requisition is received to remove the new board shortly after they are elected. Factions form and every issue creates further division among the owners. The problems are ignored or pushed aside while the groups fight for control.

So, what can be done in these terrible situations? The Act contains a few options to help condominiums get out of trouble. Continue reading

Condo Stats – Toronto & Area

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Earlier this year I posted updated statistics for the Grand River and Golden Horseshoe areas. Today, I’m focusing on Toronto and surrounding areas, including York, Peel and Durham.

As of August 8, 2017, Toronto had 2602 condominium corporations. Today, that number has grown to 2714. The last one registered is a 12 floor building with 642 units (about 180 of which appear to be parking or storage units).

As of August 8, 2017, York had 1240 condominium corporations. Today, that number is 1406! The last condominium registered has 372 units.

Peel had 1021 condominium corporations on August 8, 2017. As of today, Peel has 1054 condominium corporations. The last one registered is a mammoth with 975 units over 5 floors (in several buildings).

Finally, as of August 8, 2017, Durham had 285 condominium corporations. While it has the fewest condominium corporations, Durham continues to have impressive growth. It now has 308 condominium corporations. The last registered has 224 units.

As said in previous posts,  the total number is not the number of active condominiums. Some condominiums have been terminated or amalgamated so the “real” numbers are less than those above. I understand the CAO is working on obtaining a list of the “real” number so hopefully it will be able to start releasing statistics to the public soon.

That’s it for now.  Share this post and let me know what area you want statistics for next!

Voting: All condo units are not created equal

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As discussed in a post earlier this week, there has been some confusion as of late over the phrase “units in a corporation”. Does that mean all units? Only voting units? Owner-occupied units? Residential units? Fortunately, there is a section of the regulations that interprets the phrase. Continue reading

CAT says no to owner’s request to see email addresses

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Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on Pexels.com

The CAT released a decision confirming that owners are not entitled to receive email addresses provided by owners and mortgagees to the corporation. The case includes an interesting review of the relevant provisions of the Act and regulations related to the record of owners and mortgages and the exceptions to the right to examine records. The full case can be found on CanLii: https://www.canlii.org/en/on/oncat/doc/2019/2019oncat9/2019oncat9.html?resultIndex=3

Some highlights include: Continue reading

Condo in a Condo

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Our firm represents a growing number of condominiums that are units (or more commonly parcels of tied land) within larger condominium communities. Layer upon layer of condominium. The top layer is often a common elements condominium. The other layer could be high-rises, a cluster of townhouses, single-detached homes, or a combination of them all! As long as the developer complies with the requirements of the Act and its regulations (and other pieces of legislation) the condominium concept can be used in some very unique ways. Continue reading

Lessons from the CAT

legal caseOn April 5, 2019 I attended the ACMO / CCI 1-day Conference in Kitchener. I was asked to speak during the round table discussions and on the legal panel. My topic for the round table discussion was the Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT). Today I thought that I would share some of the lessons that we have learned so far from the CAT’s first twenty or so decisions. Continue reading

Loss of Quorum on the Board

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Many condominiums struggle to find enough candidates to fill the positions on their board. Other condominiums have a hard time keeping directors on the board after their election. Whatever the reason, there are times when a condominium may not have enough people to fill all positions on the board. What’s a condominium to do? This post will describe some of the legal obligations on the condominium and directors. It also includes some possible solutions to attract more candidates and keep directors once elected to the board. Continue reading

Back to School…Condo Resources

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Today, I thought that I would do something a little different and list some of the free resources available to those with condo questions. Your condo manager might also be able to help with some questions, like where to find the declaration, by-laws and rules (note: many condominiums have websites where key documents can be obtained free of charge). Here are a few of my favourite resources:

Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO)

The CAO is an organization (independent from the government) that aims to improve condominium living by providing resources and services. All condominiums in Ontario are obligated to file returns to the CAO with basic information about the condo, its directors and manager, and update the information when it changes. The information received by the CAO is available on the public database on its website. Continue reading

What’s in the Cards: The Future of the CAT

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Overall, people seem to be pleased with the CAT. The process is generally much quicker, easier, and cost-effective than Small Claims Court, which was the typical way of resolving record disputes before the CAT. Voluntary mediation was an option to resolve record disputes, but few used the process (despite its many advantages over court).

Many would like to see the CAT’s jurisdiction expanded in the near future to take on other matters, such as proxy and ballot disputes, requisitions, and liens. Unfortunately, the current government has not provided any details about its plans for the CAT. It could expand the jurisdiction, leave it as it is, or eliminate the CAT (the third option seems unlikely). We don’t know at this point. Continue reading

Elevators Let You Down?

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A recent case offers some insight into the standard expected of condominiums and others when it comes to injuries related to malfunctioning elevators in condos.

The Facts

The claim was brought by a unit owner and her mother against the condominium, manager, security/concierge, and elevator servicing company.  The plaintiffs alleged that the mother was visiting her daughter when she fell while exiting one of the elevators due to mislevelling of the elevator. The mother apparently sustained a broken left wrist and dislocation of her right shoulder. She sought damages of $2 million. The daughter claimed $200,000 for loss of care, companionship and guidance due to her mother’s fall.

The defendants all brought summary judgment motions asserting that there was no genuine issues for trial. Continue reading