Condos in Trouble

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We’ve all heard the horror stories of condominiums with no money in their reserve accounts and significant repair projects that need to be completed. Work orders may have been issued by the municipality because the buildings are falling apart and becoming a danger to the occupants. At best, there are allegations of mismanagement by previous boards. At worst, there are allegations of fraud and theft. Many of the owners have defaulted in their contributions toward the common expenses and the condominium is unable to pay its contractors, which results in lawsuits due to unpaid bills. The local real estate agents know of the issues and the market values of the units plummet.

When the board attempts to fix some of these problems, such as levying special assessments, they often receive a requisition to remove them. The new board quickly changes managers, rescinds the special assessment, and lowers monthly fees. A requisition is received to remove the new board shortly after they are elected. Factions form and every issue creates further division among the owners. The problems are ignored or pushed aside while the groups fight for control.

So, what can be done in these terrible situations? The Act contains a few options to help condominiums get out of trouble. Continue reading

Not-so-super superintendent?

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Many high-rise condominiums have superintendents or “supers”. In some condominiums the duties of the super are limited to basic maintenance obligations. In others the super is more like superman, with duties ranging from handyman to complaints investigator.

Sometimes the super isn’t so super. The first step when a relationship isn’t working should be to discuss it with the other party. The same is true for employees. Regular performance evaluations are a good way to do this. The condominium and super can discuss the expectations, the performance, and areas for improvement. The super can raise issues that might be interfering with his performance, like a resident who takes up all of his time. If the super’s performance deteriorates between performance reviews, it might be necessary to have additional meetings, followed up with letters. If the performance of the super does not improve the board should consider disciplinary action.  Continue reading

Want to put an end to your condo relationship? Terminate the condo!

There are a number of reasons why it may be desirable for a piece of property to no longer be a condominium. Sometimes buildings fall apart and need to be demolished. Sometimes part of the property needs to be expropriated by the municipality to widen a road or construct a public service. Sometimes it may be desirable to sell a piece of the property to a neighbour or developer. Sometimes the owners cannot agree on the management or direction of the condominium. In some of these cases, termination may be the best option.

Part VIII of the Condominium Act, 1998 outlines the various options for terminating a condominium. A condo may be terminated for any reason with the consent of the owners and those with registered claims against the property (s.122), upon substantial damage to the property (s.123), upon sale of part or all of the property (s.124) or by court order (s.128). Each section of the Act has its own requirements and process.

Although the Act permits terminations of condominium corporations, there have been only a handful completed in Ontario. The Superior Court recently approved the termination of Simcoe Condominium Corporation No. 32.  Continue reading