Condo Chat: What do you want to see for future amendments?

stencil.default (3)Today I thought I would write about something a little different – it’s my wish list for the next round of amendments and changes to the regulations. Here they are in no specific order:

  1. Amalgamation for condominiums that are not standard. The amendments to the Act that have come into force make me believe this might be on the horizon, but the regulations still require the condominiums to be standard ones.  I understand the rationale for not combining different types of condominiums, but why restrict the ability only to standard condominiums? Six common elements condominiums should be able to amalgamate without much difficulty.
  2. Public database for managers. Many professional organizations, like the Law Society of Ontario, have a public database that people can search for  information on the licensees. It would be nice if the CMRAO had the same for managers. This would make it easier for people to search for information, such as their licences, about their managers without calling the CMRAO.
  3. Director training in formats other than online. This one is already possible as the authority has been delegated to the CAO. There are condominiums losing knowledgeable and experienced directors because they do not want to (or cannot) complete the training online. Why not allow a organization like CCI to offer training? The CAO could require accreditation of all programs just like the Law Society of Ontario does for the program to count toward our a lawyer’s continuing education requirement. ACMO still plays a role for managers. CCI has been a pivotal organization in educating directors for decades across the country. Why not allow them to continue to do what they do?
  4. More time to call a requisition meeting. The amendments to the Act make it very difficult for a condominium that receives a requisition to hold the meeting within the 35 day period required by the Act. While there is a provision that allows the condominium to send the preliminary notice out to owners 15 days before the notice of meeting, instead of 20 days, this still isn’t enough time in many cases. Currently, the Board only has a few days to review the requisition with its lawyer, find a location for the meeting, confirm the availability of everyone who needs to be there, and have the manager to prepare and distribute the preliminary notice to all of the owners. This is a transitional period issue as the timeline will change once further amendments are in place, but the transition period is taking much longer than expected so it would be nice if this amendment was prioritized for the next round.

These are just a few of the issues I’d like to see prioritized for the next round of amendments. Only time will tell when the next phase of amendments will come into force as there has been no press release from the new government with respect to its plans for the condominium industry. I’d love to hear from you. What do you want to see in the next round?

Amendment Issue: Requisition Meetings

lecture

I previously wrote about the changes coming to section 46 of the Act related to requisition meetings (https://ontcondolaw.com/2017/03/27/changes-are-coming-requisitions/). To recap, the biggest changes are: 1) a prescribed form for requisitions; 2) a prescribed process for communicating with the requisitionists; 3) a longer period of time to call and hold the meeting; and 4) the elimination of the owners’ right to call the meeting if the condominium refuses to do so.

The changes to section 46 of the Act that address requisition meetings have not yet come into force and a date has not been released. This means section 46 (as it was prior to the amendments) continues to apply while other related changes have been implemented, such as those for calling and holding meetings of the owners. Therein lies the problem. Continue reading

End of Year Recap: Top Posts of 2017

2017Like I did last year, I thought that I would again share the five most popular posts of 2017. With so much talk this year about marijuana, prostitution, electric vehicles, and other hot topics, I assumed that those topics would dominate the list, but that was not the case. Interestingly, three of the top five posts were also on the list for 2016 (albeit in different positions). Will the trend continue next year? Only time will tell.  Continue reading

Recap: Requisition Meetings

meetingI’ve had a few questions about requisition meetings recently so I thought I would take some time today to make a few comments about them.

First, a requisition does not always mean that the owners distrust the board or think they are doing a bad job. Often, in my experience, the owners simply want more information than they feel they have been given. Sometimes the information requested was previously provided to the owners, which can be a big source of frustration for directors and managers. Try not to take it personally. The information may have been misplaced or forgotten, or they may not have understood the information provided and need clarification. Whatever the reason, consider the meeting an opportunity to discuss issues and find creative solutions to problems.

Second, preparation is the key to a successful requisition meeting. There is nothing more frustrating to the owners than attending a requisition meeting only to find the board does not have answers to any of the questions asked by the owners in the requisition. This will lead to a heated and lengthy meeting. Take a few hours before the meeting to review the relevant documents, talk to the necessary contractors or professionals, and consider preparing any visual aids or handouts that might assist.

Third, pick a venue that works well for a requisition. If the requisition is likely to result in a volatile meeting, such as where the removal of directors is sought, pick a neutral location such as a common room or your local library. Don’t hold the meeting in an owner’s unit. Also, consider if security guards or off-duty police should be hired for the meeting to ensure that all attendees are safe. This shouldn’t be necessary for most meetings, but I have been to meetings where I was glad they were there!

Finally, consider if other people, such as contractors and professionals, should be invited to the meeting. If the requisition mentions issues with a major repair project, it might be a good idea to have the engineer present. Sometimes a lawyer might be a good idea, such as where there are complex legal issues to discuss, but other times the lawyer’s presence might create a hostile environment for the meeting. It isn’t necessary to have a lawyer attend or chair the meeting; the lawyer should only be invited if his or her presence will assist in some way.

For more information, see my previous posts on requisitions:

 

Requisitions – not all bad

We want to remove the board because we want to fire the manager

Changes are Coming – Requisitions

Changes are Coming – Requisitions

 

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One of the most contentious sections of the Condominium Act, 1998,  is section 46, which is the right of owners to requisition a meeting of owners. Given the number of cases on the requisition right (most of which dealt with improper denials of valid requisitions), it is no wonder section 46 was one of the sections targeted by the government for a significant overhaul. In fact, section 46 will be repealed in its entirety and replaced with a very different process.

The amendments to the Act are designed to reduce disputes regarding the form and content of requisitions. The process is more clearly described and prescribed forms will be required. If a dispute arises, it will be up to the Tribunal to make a decision and if the Tribunal is not established, it will be up to the Superior Court of Justice to make a decision (which is the process used now in most cases).

Continue reading

End of Year Recap: Most Popular Posts

clock.jpgAs the end of the year approaches, I like to look back at the lessons that I’ve learned (both in my personal and professional life). Over the next two weeks, I’ll share some of those lessons with you. For now, I thought that I’d share the most popular posts of 2016. Surprisingly, none of this year’s most popular posts were actually written in 2016.

5. Making Entry to a Unit

An oldie, but a goodie. This post from 2014 describes the requirements for making entry to a unit or exclusive use common elements: reasonable notice; at a reasonable time; and for purposes related to the objects and duties of the corporation.

Continue reading

“We want to remove the board because we want to fire the manager”

So, this won’t be like my usual posts where I share a recent case or discuss a section of the Condominium Act, 1998. Today I’m going on a rant about the relationships between owners, directors, and managers.

Last night I attended another requisition meeting. Nothing out of the ordinary about a requisition meeting; the best managed condominiums can have them from time to time. They are often a result of owners feeling in the dark about an issue and wanting more information. However, in this case the requisition was to remove a majority of the directors, which usually signals bigger issues. I can’t identify the parties involved because of privilege, but one of the reasons the owners sought removal of the directors was that the owners wanted to terminate the property management company and the directors refused or failed to do so. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen this as a reason for a requisition to remove the board of directors. It seems to be a trend in recent years. Continue reading