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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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

Reg#2 Released for Comment

feedbackAs 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.

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Changes are Coming – Changes by Condo

change.jpgAs you may know, section 97 of the Condominium Act, 1998 (the “Act”) addresses changes made to the common elements, assets, and services of the condominium. In the amendments to the Act, section 97 will be removed and replaced with a new section 97.

What’s changing?

The awkward language “addition, alteration, or improvement” will be replaced with “modification” (although the three words will form part of the definition of modification). Section 97 will also add a requirement that the board must conduct an assessment of the cost of any proposed modification where it is required to give notice to the owners.

Apart from the language, there are some other big changes coming to section 97. Continue reading

How do you choose your lawyer?

stencil-default-14I spent my Sunday afternoon in a job interview. Yes, you read that right. No, I’m not leaving my firm. We aren’t merging or being bought out. We are open for business as usual on Monday (you can give me a call if you don’t believe me)!

So, what exactly did I do Sunday? Stephanie and I interviewed, along with two other firms, to be the lawyers for a condominium. We met with the subcommittee tasked with making a recommendation to the board and presented a proposal that outlined our services and standard rates. They asked a variety of questions and we talked about ourselves, our firm, and our practice areas. This was actually the second interview. I was unavailable to attend the first one so Stephanie went solo to it.  Continue reading

New (Condo) Rules

It is impossible to draft rules that will work forever. The residents change. The community changes. Technology changes. The legal landscape changes. Everything changes. For these reasons, I usually suggest that boards review their rules regularly to see if any rules need to be changed, removed, or added.  Here are a few issues that you may want to consider next time you revise the rules: Continue reading