New Help Guides & Factsheets!

I received an email from the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS) today about some free resources it recently created. The MGCS has released two very useful (and free) guides on the amendments to the Condominium Act, 1998, and the Condominium Management Services Act (CMSA):

In addition to the two plain language guides, the MGCS also released four documents to assist people in dealing with requests to records, both core and non-core.

Our firm had previously prepared flowcharts for our clients, but these ones are definitely nicer looking! That said, it would have been nice if the record flowcharts included the deadline for the requester to reply to the board’s response. The forms indicate that a reply is required, but the more times it is said the more likely people are to remember that they must reply or their request may be deemed to have been abandoned.

To access the above guides and factsheets visit:

http://mailchi.mp/bd62beeb85b5/new-requirements-for-the-condo-sector-in-2018-and-helpful-guides-to-the-recent-condo-law-changes?e=de7b6cdd50

FAQs: Owner Edition

Like any blogger, I regularly receive emails from people about my posts. Sometimes it is managers. Sometimes directors. Often it is frustrated owners with no where to turn for answers. Sometimes there is a legitimate reason for their frustration (i.e. the board made a decision contrary to the Act), but often it is because the owners have misinterpreted a provision of the Act or the declaration, by-laws or rules. I thought that I would take a few minutes today to answer some of the most common questions that I receive from owners in hopes that it eases the tension in some condominiums.

Question: “My board changed management companies without a vote of owners. Can they do that?”

Answer: Yes, in most instances. The board is responsible for managing the affairs of the condominium, which includes the manager. In some circumstances, such as where the condominium goes from self-managed to professionally managed, the board may want to get a legal opinion before making the change to ensure it does not trigger any of the notice requirements of Act.

Question: “One of the board members quit. The other ones replaced her without a vote of the owners. Can they do that?”

Answer: Yes, in most instances. Section 34(2) of the Act permits the board to appoint a qualified person to hold office as a director until the next AGM as long as a quorum remains in office. For instance, a 3 member board has 1 person resign. The other 2 can appoint a director. If 2 people resigned the remaining director would need to call an owners’ meeting to elect new directors pursuant to section 34(4) of the Act.

Question: “The property manager wants me to pay to get a copy of minutes and other documents. Can they do that? What is a reasonable rate?”

Answer: Yes. Section 55(6) of the Act permits the condominium to charge a “reasonable fee” for copying and labour charges. What is reasonable? There is no prescribed amount. It should depend upon the circumstances, such as the location of the record (i.e. electronic or paper copy) or its length (i.e. 2 pages or 100). Many management companies have a charge set out in their management agreements that sets out the fee that they will charge the condominium for record requests. That same amount is often used as the fee for the owner.

Question: “One of the directors sold his unit. He didn’t resign. Can he be a director if he doesn’t own a unit?”

Answer: Yes, if the by-laws allow it. Some condominium by-laws require directors to also be owners of the units, but some do not. You have to read your by-laws.

That’s all for now. I’ll answer some more questions next month.

Condo Reform #4 – Governance: Records and Meetings

Condominium communities are small democracies with their own set of unique challenges. Like many democracies, the board of directors is often criticized by the owners for the decisions made, or not made, but are rarely praised for their hard work. Given the wide range of values, interests, and characteristics of condominium inhabitants, it not surprising that governance issues account for a large proportion of the disputes that arise in condominiums.

Given the importance of proper governance to the financial health and stability of condominiums, the working group made several recommendations to improve the governance of condominiums. The recommendations were in five key areas:

  1. Access to Records & Information
  2. Meetings
  3. Directors and Officers
  4. Fines
  5. Owners’ & Directors’ Rights & Responsibilities.

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