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.
It is that time of year again: time to reflect on the most popular posts of 2018. Just like last year, I expected that this year’s hot topics (cannabis, electric vehicles, and the amendments to the Act) would dominate the list, but that was not the case with one exception (you’ll need to keep reading to find out what it is). Interestingly, one of the top five posts was also on the list in 2017 and 2016. Can you guess the topic? Continue reading
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.
In my last post, I wrote about section 98 of the Condominium Act, 1998, which permits owners to make changes to the common elements if: the board approves the proposed change; they enter into an agreement with the corporation; and notice is provided to all owners (if applicable). Today I’ll discuss the agreement in more detail.
Section 98 of the Act requires an owner to enter into an agreement with the corporation before making any changes to the common elements. The agreement must, at a minimum, do the following:
- Allocate the cost of the proposed change between the owner and the corporation;
- Set out the responsibilities for maintenance, repair after damage, and insurance of the proposed change; and
- Set out other matters required by the regulations, which currently adds a requirement that the agreement state who owns the change.
The agreement may be referred to as a “section 98 agreement”, “indemnity agreement”, or “alteration agreement”. The term used is not important; it is simply a preference of the lawyers and managers in the area. For instance, in Waterloo and surrounding areas the term “indemnity agreement” is often used, whereas toward London the term “alteration agreement” is more common.
In the last two weeks, I’ve had two people suggest that I write about section 98 of the Condominium Act, 1998, so that’s what I’m going to do today. (Thanks for the suggestions!).
Section 98 of the Condominium Act, 1998, addresses situations where owners want to make an “addition, alteration or improvement” to the common elements. The courts have defined “addition” as joining or connecting something to a structure; “alteration” as changing the structure; and “improvement” as the betterment of the property or enhancement of it. Continue reading