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

The Battle Rages On…

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A few years ago I wrote about a case that had dragged on for over six years.  It involved a former director and a condominium. The director took various steps without legal authorization from the board, including terminating the manager and commencing a legal action against the property management company and its president. The director also commenced an action against the condominium and accepted service of his own claim so the other directors were not aware of the claim. This was all within 4 months of being elected by the owners. Not surprisingly, the owners requisitioned a meeting to remove him. That didn’t stop him. He started 5 legal actions in 2010, all of which were dismissed with costs. He appealed, which was also dismissed. Continue reading

Electricity and Water Reporting Obligations: the Who, What, Where, Why & When

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Photo by Rodolfo Clix on Pexels.com

We recently spoke to some managers about legal updates related to laws applicable to condominiums, other than the Condominium Act, 1998. One being the Electricity Act, 1998, and specifically Ontario Regulation 506/18, which outlines the reporting obligations related to energy consumption and water use. There were questions about the “who, what, where, why and when”, so this post is intended to provide a very brief overview of the basics on a condominium’s obligation to report its electricity consumption and water usage.

Who:

Condominiums with a) 10 or more units; and, b) at least 50,000 square feet of gross floor area, must comply with the reporting obligations set out in Regulation noted above. Continue reading

Entering a Unit for Enforcement Purposes

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Photo by George Becker on Pexels.com

One of the most popular posts of all time on our blog is “Making Entry to a Unit” from 2014.  It described the requirements set out in section 19 of the Act:

Right of entry

19 On giving reasonable notice, the corporation or a person authorized by the corporation may enter a unit or a part of the common elements of which an owner has exclusive use at any reasonable time to perform the objects and duties of the corporation or to exercise the powers of the corporation. 1998, c. 19, s. 19.

One of the areas lawyers argued about was whether the condominium could use section 19 of the Act to make entry to inspect a unit for enforcement purposes (i.e. to confirm the presence of a dog, too many occupants, noise). My view was always that section 19 says the condominium can make entry to a unit to perform its objects and duties and exercise its powers. Since section 17(3) of the Act states that the condominium has a duty to ensure the owners (and others) comply with the Act, declaration, by-laws and rules, the condominium should be able to use s.19 to make entry to a unit to inspect for compliance with the Act, declaration, by-laws or rules. Continue reading

Mark Your Calendars: Annual Report Filing Deadline is March 31, 2019

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Its already that time of year again! Mark your calendars for the upcoming filing deadline for annual returns, which is only one month away. The filing deadline is March 31st, 2019.

Each year, condominium corporations are required to file an annual return with the Condominium Authority of Ontario (“CAO”). Annual returns must include the following information about the corporation:

  • the date of registration;
  • the corporation’s legal name;
  • the type of corporation;
  • the address for service;
  • the municipal address, if one is contained in the declaration;
  • the total number of units (if not a common element condominium corporation);
  • the total number of eligible voting units (i.e. excluding parking/storage units pursuant to section 49(3) of the Act);
  • the maximum number of votes that could be counted at a meeting of owners (if a common element condominium corporation);
  • the name of each director and date of election or appointment;
  • the name and address for service of the management company, if any;
  • the start and end date of the fiscal year;
  • a statement of whether there has been an inspector appointed pursuant to the Act (and the name and business address of the inspector and the date of appointment, if applicable); and,
  • the date of the last annual general meeting.

An annual return may also include an electronic mail address for the corporation if one is available.

For any condominium corporations created on or after January 1, 2019, annual returns must be filed within 90 days of the date the corporation was created. For all other condominium corporations, annual returns must be filed by no later than March 31st, 2019. All returns can be filed online through the CAO’s website.

This year, the CAO will be imposing a $200.00 late filing fee on all overdue returns, effective April 1st, 2019.

So don’t miss this deadline-mark your calendars for the week before March 31st, 2019 to avoid any late filing fees!