What is changing come November 1, 2017?

timeWe are only days away now from the next phase of amendments to the Condominium Act, 1998 (and other statutes) from the Protecting Condominium Owners Act, 2015 (Bill 106). The first phase created the Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO), which is the authority responsible for overseeing the Condominium Act, 1998 and improving condominium living in Ontario. With so many changes described in Bill 106 and talk about phasing in the amendments, the question I am most often asked is “What is changing next?” Continue reading

Resources available now on CAO website

timeWith only a few weeks to go until the scheduled implementation date of the first round of amendments to the Act, I thought that I would spend this week reviewing some of the material available on the websites for the Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO).

One of the goals of Bill 106 was to ensure owners have more information about condominium living. A large part of this will be handled by the condominium with extra certificates and notices to owners, but the CAO will also play a part by providing resources for owners. Most of the resources will be available online on the CAO’s website. Continue reading

Condo Managers: Licence Application Details Now Available!

appAs you probably know, the Condominium Management Regulatory Authority of Ontario (CMRAO) is set to start regulating condominium managers and management companies on November 1, 2017. The first phase will be the licensing of managers. The second phase will be the regulation of managers in February of 2018. From the information available so far, the regulation will be similar to other professionals in that there will be a complaints process that includes possible discipline if a manager has acted improperly in carrying out his or her duties. The details on the regulation of managers will be saved for another post; today’s post will focus on the licensing.

Who must apply?

All individuals and companies providing condominium management services, which includes:

  1. Collecting or holding contributions to the common expenses or other amounts levied by, or payable to, the corporation; or
  2. Exercising delegated powers and duties of the corporation or its board of directors, including: making payments to third parties on behalf of the corporation; negotiating or entering into contracts on behalf of the corporation, or supervising employees or contractors hired or engaged by the corporation.

Self-managed boards or others hired by condominiums (i.e. accountants, bookkeepers) may be exempt from the licence requirements, but care must be taken to ensure a licence is not required.

What type of licence do I apply for?

One of the most difficult questions for managers to tackle might be “Which licence do I apply for?” Because there are limits on the tasks that managers with limited licences will be able to perform, most managers will want to apply for transitional or general licences, if they qualify. On the other hand, no one wants to waste time (and money) applying for a licence that they won’t be granted by the CMRAO. Fortunately, the CMRAO’s website has a short guide to assist managers; there is even an interactive feature to help determine the most appropriate application if the manager is willing to answer a few basic questions.

How do I apply?

While the application forms themselves are not available as of the date of this post, there are detailed lists of the requirements for each type of licence:

http://www.cmrao.ca/licensing/applying-for-a-licence/general-licence/

http://www.cmrao.ca/licensing/transitional-general-licence/

http://www.cmrao.ca/licensing/applying-for-a-licence/limited-licence/

http://www.cmrao.ca/licensing/applying-for-a-licence/condo-management-firm-licence/ 

Given the time involved in some of the requirements (i.e. police check), I would start gathering the required information sooner rather than later. There is a $150.00 application fee for each manager’s application. This application fee is on top of the annual fees that managers will be obliged to pay to the CMRAO.

Annual Fees

Not surprisingly, there will be annual fees associated with the licences. For limited licences, the fee is $379.00. For transitional general licences and general licences, the fee is $607.00. For management companies, the fee is $799.00 plus $350.00/licensed manager employed. The fees for the first year will be prorated since licensing will be for the period of November 2017 to June 30, 2018. As an incentive to get applications in early, the CMRAO has indicated that managers who submit their applications between November 1 and December 15, 2017 and pay their fee thin 30 days of receiving their approval notice will receive a discount of 10% on their initial annual fee.

For more information, visit http://www.cmrao.ca. Given that we are only a few weeks away from mandatory licensing, I would check the website regularly for updates and the application forms.

Who can apply for a minor variance for the common elements? Condo or owner?

stencil.default (34)Recently there was an interesting decision released involving a parking dispute between a condominium and a unit owner. This isn’t surprising given that parking is a common problem in condominiums. The interesting part is that the decision was made by the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) and answered the question: can an owner make an application for a minor variance from a zoning by-law for common element parking spaces? (Spoiler alert – the answer is likely no).  Continue reading

The New Owner Occupied Position

Another interesting change coming is the replacement of the owner-occupied position on the board with the reserved position for owners of non-leased voting units. The term non-leased voting unit doesn’t seem much clearer than owner-occupied position, but maybe the change will reduce confusion about who is eligible to vote for the position (as opposed to who can be a candidate for the position).  Continue reading

Is it Time to Amalgamate?

stencil.default (33)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?”

Continue reading

Switching from Snail Mail to Email

MailThe first round of amendments to the Condominium Act, 1998, are scheduled to come into force on November 1, 2017. As you likely know, many of the changes will require more frequent (and voluminous) communications to owners. This extra paperwork could be very costly to produce in paper and deliver by mail. As such, now might be the time for most condominiums to switch to electronic means to deliver notices to owners. Electronic means is usually email, but it could be via fax, community website, or another method of communicating electronically.

What’s involved in electronic delivery of notices?

Continue reading