We are routinely asked to provide advice to our clients about the installation of security cameras on the common elements. Sometimes the cameras are installed by the condominium on the common elements to reduce vandalism and property damage. Other times an owner wants to install a camera on the common elements adjacent to his unit to protect the occupants of the unit. For both situations the primary concern is normally the privacy rights of the other residents, but secondary concerns are often possible damage to the common elements caused by the installation of the camera and compliance with the legal requirements of the Condominium Act, 1998.
There has been a lot of talk about electric vehicles in condominiums lately, despite the fact that electric vehicles still represent less than 1% of passenger vehicles in Ontario. The Ontario government hopes to increase the number of electric vehicles on the roads and has created new legislation to make it easier for owners and condominiums to install electric vehicle charging systems. The new regulations came into force on May 1, 2018. Continue reading
Today, in celebration of Earth Day (yes I know I’m late), I thought that I would write about an environmental issue that is becoming more common in condominiums: electric vehicles. An electric vehicle is one powered by electricity stored in rechargeable batteries instead of using traditional fuel sources, like gasoline or diesel. Some cars, called hybrids, use a combination of sources.
So you might be thinking “why is this an issue for condominiums?” Simple. There are many legal issues that need to be addressed before owners plug in their cars. Where is the vehicle charged? Who pays for the electricity consumed? What if the condominium doesn’t have a suitable location to charge the vehicle? Who pays to upgrade facilities so charging is possible? Can the condominium install charging stations to be used by all of the owners? These are only a few of the questions that I’ve been asked.
As 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.
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
One area that almost always causes confusion or outrage among the owners is additions, alterations or improvements (“changes”) made to the common elements, assets or services by the condominium. Section 97 of the Condominium Act, 1998, sets out the obligations a condominium must satisfy before making certain changes to the common elements, assets or services. Section 98 of the Act deals with changes made by an owner. I will address that issue in a later post.
There are a few of important points to note about section 97. First, it applies to changes to the common elements, but also assets owned by the condominium or services provided by the condominium. This is often forgotten. This section should be consulted if a condominium wishes to sell any assets it owns, such as parking units, or change a service that it currently provides to the owners, such as bulk television services. Second, you cannot read a particular subsection in isolation. A contract for work may exceed the 10% threshold for a substantial change, but it may not even require notice to the owners if one of the previous subsections applies. Third, even though notice may not be required by the Act, it is usually a good idea to notify the owners of important projects that are planned in advance so they are not surprised by the sight of construction when they arrive home from work one day.
I hope this diagram helps you when you are considering any change to the common elements, assets or services. Do I need approval?