We hear complaints about the new record request process regularly from our clients and owners. The process is cumbersome with the new prescribed forms and timelines. The process takes longer than it did before in many cases (in part because it takes time for people to fill out the forms correctly). Many clients are confused about when they can and cannot charge the requester for labour and copying charges. All of these feelings are completely normal.
The regulations are confusing. Parts described in ten pages could have easily been described in one or two pages if charts were used instead of long, repetitive paragraphs referring the reader to check various other sections of the Act and regulations before they can determine the answer to what was a seemingly straightforward question. Before you know it you’ve spent 20 minutes trying to figure out the answer to a question that used to take 2 minutes.
There is a solution to all your record request problems: The condominium and owner can agree to modify the process. Hooray! Continue reading
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
Those working in the condo industry often complain that real estate agents and lawyers do not adequately advise their clients before they purchase units in condominiums. With the substantial changes recently made to the Condominium Act, 1998 (the “Act”), and more to come in the following months, it is sure to be a complaint we continue to hear for the foreseeable future. Today, I thought that I would provide a few tips for real estate agents and lawyers acting for those looking to purchase a unit in a condominium. Continue reading
While we all get a handle on the new forms and requirements (and wait for further amendments still to come), I thought I’d do an update on a post I did a few months ago about common mistakes or misconceptions. Here are some of the most common issues we’ve encountered so far:
Myth: The preliminary notice of meeting is only required for annual general meetings.
Truth: The preliminary notice of meeting is required for ALL owners meetings, including annual general meetings, requisition meetings, and special general meetings. The only time it is not required is where the meeting is called solely to fill vacancies on the board where a quorum has been lost. For more information, see section 12.2(5) of O.Reg. 48/01.
Myth: There is one form for disclosure by candidates and directors.
Truth: There is no prescribed form for disclosures by candidates or directors. That said, many law firms and management companies have created disclosure forms. Be careful when using these forms. The disclosure obligations for candidates and directors are NOT the same so different forms should be used for candidates prior to election and directors after their election or appointment.
Myth: Nothing bad will happen if we don’t file our returns with the CAO or pay our $1/unit/month assessments.
Truth: There are a number of possible consequences for failing to file the returns or pay the assessments:
- The CAO can levy late fees for not filing returns on time (see section 9.6 of the Act).
- The Registrar of the CAO can also order a person to comply with the return and assessment requirements (see section 134.1 of the Act).
- A corporation that has not paid its fees is incapable of maintaining a proceeding before the Tribunal or a court, except with leave of the court (see section 23.1 of the Act).
- A person who fails to complete returns or pay assessments may be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of $25,000 for individuals and up to $50,000 for corporations!
Stay tuned for more common misconceptions and myths.
I’ve had a few files recently where questions surfaced about the new restrictions on who can and can’t solicit proxies for owners’ meetings. When can a manager solicit a proxy? When can’t a manager solicit a proxy? It appears some people may be unaware of the changes to the rules governing the solicitation of proxies for owners’ meetings, especially by managers and others on their behalf. Continue reading
A lot has been written about the obligation of candidates to disclose information and make certain statements prior to their election or appointment to the board of directors. The Act requires candidates to satisfy the disclosure obligations prior to their election to be qualified as directors (see section 29(1)(f) of the Act). Whether the disclosure may be made orally at the meeting or in writing depends upon a number of factors, including when the person notified the condominium of their intention to be a candidate and the condominium’s by-laws. There is no prescribed form for making the required statements in writing, but many law firms and management companies have created forms for candidates to complete prior to the election. The requirements for candidate disclosures are described in section 11.6 of O.Reg. 48/01. Continue reading
There is just over a month to go until the amendments to the Condominium Act, 1998, come into force (unless the implementation is delayed again). The industry is abuzz about the amount of work the amendments are going to create with all of the returns, notices of change, certificates, disclosure obligations, etc. So you might be asking “Why would anyone want to create more work for themselves and amalgamate now?”
I’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.
Most 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
As you probably know by now, the government intends to release draft regulations to go along with the amendments to the Act. The purpose of releasing the draft regulations is to allow for public comment. The first draft regulation, which was released in December, addressed the mandatory licensing of managers.For the first draft regulation, the deadline for comments has passed.
The second draft regulation, which was released this week, is aimed at common condominium issues: communications from condominiums to owners and mortgagees; mandatory disclosures and training for directors; meetings and voting; and record retention and access to records. The government posted the full draft regulation and a reader-friendly version on its website. The deadline for public comments for the second draft regulation is March 30th, 2017. In the next few posts, I’ll describe some of the key features of the second draft regulation.