Condo Owners Association COA

COA Reports on Review

COA Reports on Review (11)

Saturday, 01 November 2014 00:00

Stages of Review

 

Ontario's Condominium Act Review - Have your Say

 

How Much Say do Condo Owners Really Have?

The Condo Owners Association is a "Stakeholder" in the Condo Act Review

We have identified a series of concerns.

 

All of our concerns relate to:

  • Consumer Protection
  • Governance and Accountability
  • Reserve Fund - Assistance and better mandates
  • Government Licensing for Property Management Firms and Property Managers
  • Better Dispute Resolution
Saturday, 01 November 2014 00:00

Condo Property Tax

Written by

All Tax Payers, Home Owners, Condo Owners, Condo Buyers and the General Public need to ask a basic question "How much will the Condo Act Review cost Tax Payers?The Ministy of Consumer Service hired the Public Policy Forum to oversee the consultations  of the Review Stages 1, 2, and 3.    The Condo Owners Association believe that the process is flawed and PPForum have overlooked or maybe avoided or buried some very precious recommendation in all stages of the Condo Act Review.    Unfortunately the Review carried over 90% of Condo Related Trades and many Associations who should have been involved; were not invited.   Ontario has over 1.3 million Condo Owners yet Ministry reports show under 2,000 Condo Owners who participated.  There was limited social media, news and awareness venues.    Condo Owners are being expected to search the net and/or the Ministry/Provincial website to locate their own information.   

Condo Act Review Public Awareness Campaign

Sadly, the Condo Owners Association believes it is impossible for the average Condo Owners or Condo Buyer to grasp the whole situation because it is way too complicated.   Rather than hiring the Public Policy Forum to meet with over 90% condo service trades, the Ministry of Consumer Services, should have implemented a full campaign for public awareness.  It is 2014, technology and social media could have made the Condo Act Review, Declarations, By-Laws etc. a household name for every Ontarian.  Knowledge is the key to working together to ignite better condominium communities.

The whole process as identified in the Ontario Government Newsroom announcement to "Build a Better Condo Act" needs to have another statement added to read "in favour of Who?"    There has been no transparency on the cost of this review and although it was announced on June 2012;  on April 2014 other than the Ministry announcing Property Management licensing, other announcements are non existent. Ontarians need to give though to:    "How many Condo Owners have lost money during this wait because of improper governance and accountability in their condominiums whether it be through their Board of Directors or Property Management.

How many overpriced contracted service trades as a result a Boards choice after securing only 1 tender have been approved and paid. It's been almost 2 years, how many condominiums and Condo Owners experienced unnecessary overpriced expenditures to the operating budget or possibly the reserve fund during process.   In Stage 1 of the Condo Act Review,  The Condo Owners Association suggested their version as   "An Independent Agency or Organization to Work with the Community"  however by Stage 3 of the Review the Public Policy Forum eliminated any further discussions when they did not invite either the Condo Owners Association nor the Canadian Alliance for Condo Owners Rights on the Expert Panel.    It was an absolute shame and certainly harmful to all Condo Owners and Condo Buyers.     Page 24 of Stage I Condo Act Review  http://www.ppforum.ca/sites/default/files/Full_Condominium%20Act_EN_0.pdf

New Construction Condominiums

Another side to this review has been completely ignored.   The new condo market is known to sell their units on a price per square foot basis with additional premiums on the floor of the building.  There is also added costs for lockers and parking.   Buyers hope that the value of the unit at the time of purchase is expected to rise by the time the building is completed approx. 2-3 years later and following occupancy and registration stages.   Sometimes the increase hasn't shown enough profit to cover the costs of reselling the unit after registration of the building considering a double Land Transfer Tax (if the unit is in Toronto), the legal and closing costs plus the real estate commissions and HST for services.

In these cases; many Buyers may buy time by renting their unit until the value increases enough to cover the costs and provide them with a profit.   However, if it is an investor they have to pay the full cost of HST on the purchase price at the time of final closing and if the occupancy period was 5 months, it is highly possible there may not have been any income received and the unit was vacant during this period.   While you add all of these costs, the window for profits tighten. On the other side of the resale market condominium; it is common to see a lower price per square foot.  There is also a large influence on unit value depending on the maintenance fee.

There are many condominiums where 1200 sq feet units sell for only $200,000 however their maintenance fee is $850.00 per month.   In these cases, the value of the building has taken a drop in price because the maintenance fee has increased too much.   Another negative impact would be the reserve fund.  Some buildings are sitting tight with over a million dollars in reserve funds yet others have depleted reserve fund and/or extremely low with potential special assessment on all unit owners. Real Estate is suppose to be a sound investment and a long term shelter for Ontarians to have equity as they pay down their mortgages and hope to realize more value in their property.

The fact that this Condo Act has taken 14 years to materialize and another 2 years for discussions is costing Taxpayers not just Condo Owners an estimated millions/millions of dollars in lost value.    The Condominium Act is supposed to provide a transparent, good governance, accountability and certainly best business practice as a form of protection for Condo Owners and Condo Buyers.    The Condo Owners Association believes it has failed.

The Condominium Act needs to be a mandated Act with impending fines for those Board of Directors who do not adhere to the Act.  It cannot be self-governed;  the proof is staring all Ontarians and Politicians in the face because this Condo Act Review has identified severe problems to include abuse, proxy forgery, power struggles, unaccountability of Board Members, issues of Non-Licensed Property Management Firms and Property Managers, the list goes on.   There were concerns on implementing more Consumer Protection on new condominiums.  The Minister's Public Information Sessions and online submissions were filled with stories of mangers, Board Members, Owners and Buyers not understanding the Condominium Act, Declaration, By Laws or Rules and Regulations.   Multi-Million dollar Corporations are left unattended with an enormous platform for potential of abuse.

Standardized Declaration is Important

A standardized declaration in easy language is a must.  We have a Country of Multiculturalism; plus almost every condominium in the Province has a different declaration.  The reason:  they are prepared by the builders lawyers on new construction and there could have been insertions and/or deletions over time as well.   Plus, the Condominium Act is way too complicated;  even Lawyers and/or Judges have been found to question interpretations.    The Condominium Act is supposed to provide a transparent, good governance, sound business with best practices and a form of protection for  the Corporation who are the Condo Owners and Condo Buyers.    The Condo Owners Association believes it has failed and will continue to do after this costly review.

The Ministry of Consumer Services have entertained a Condo Office to handle dispute resolution through mediation and arbitration at an estimated cost ($3 per month)  which will HIT CONDO OWNERS with over $25 Million Dollars in expenses.

Condo Owners have to be their own voice through the Condo Owners Association (COA)  http://coatoronto.com/condo-office.html   The Condo Office is not the office, it is simply a CASH GRAB.   All Ontarians need to take time and let their MPP's know they oppose the Condo Office and they are concerned about the process of the review.

All Condo Owners and Condo Buyers need to register with the Condo Owners Association.  

Saturday, 01 November 2014 00:00

Public Policy Forum

Written by

Public Policy Forum Lead Condo Act Review 

The Condo Owners Association has submitted their concerns to the Ministry of Consumer Services advising them of the very poor representation provided by the Public Policy Forum.   Ontario’s Ministry of Consumer Services has provided funding to Canada’s Public Policy Forum to lead a public engagement to inform the review of the Condominium Act.  

 

The Public Policy Forum have based their reports on input from more than over 80% participants of condo service related trades.  They excluded numerous non profit Association who could have offered invaluable input to help Condo Owners.    There are over 1.3 million condo owners yet less than 1%  involvement from Condo Owners.    The Condo Act Review is "flawed" and Condo Owners must review the list of participants and submit their complaint to the Ministry as soon as possible. 

 

Poor Condo Owners Forced to Pay $25 Million Dollars on new Condo Office

COA believes the proposed "Condo Office" is a provincial government "cash grab".   The Condo Office is a new umbrella organization which would be set up with four ain functions.   See Page 7 of this Report 

Condo Corporations already pay millions of dollars for services and contracts which include a Property Management contract.  Why would they have to pay for the licensing of the trade for condo managers.  The Ministry's attempt at education and awareness is to create website with information and also to consider mandating new Board members on an education program yet what about the thousands of existing Board Members who have never had any proper training. 

The Condo Act Review already substantiated that dispute resolution is a problem because of a number of factors.  In general most condo owners don't want to ostracize themselves in their home by creating an open fight with their Board of Directors. There may only be a select few that are willing to take on that challenge plus the extensive cost factor to the Condo Owner who potentially may have to repay the condominium corporation costs if the dispute is ruled in favour of the Corporation is a huge problem.  The Condo Act needs to have regulatory fining process in place for those who do not abide by the Condo Act, it cannot be self govern and then expect Condo Owners to spend over $25 Million Dollars per year to have another extension to repair the damage that a self governed Condo Act creates.   

 

  1. education and awareness
  2. dispute settlement
  3. licensing condo managers
  4. maintaining a condo register

 

See Page 7 of this Report

 

 Although COA was involved with the  "Consumer Protection Working Group, there was a majority vote with Participants from condo service related trades and the final report is made on a majority opinion.  

Stage One Findings Report of Ontario's Condominium Act Review

 Stage Two report   

  

Please click on the links below for more details:

COA is not in favour of some of these recommendations on this report

See Consumers Protection Report

Condo Owners ask   "Who is the Public Policy Forum (PPF)  

Canada's Public Policy Forum   

 COA Endorses these changes  

  • Home Warranty Act needs a complete revision. 
  • Provincial Government consider a Condo Reserve Fund Bond to pay 1 to 1 ¼ % higher than Ontario Savings bond
  • Reserve fund studies need to conform to proper financial numbers.  Interest rates and inflation rates must be set by the Government. 
  • Improved Reserve funds interest rates with new Reserve Fund Bond
  • MPAC should consider deficiencies in the Reserve Fund
  • MPAC should consider different guidelines for property tax
  • Arrange restrictions for Smoking Cigarettes and Marijuana in condo buildings
  • Status Certificate - 10 banking days is too long of a period and jeopardizes sale
  • Meetings with extensive costs considered should be part of status certificate 

  

Did you know these condo facts?

  • Over 1.6 Million Condo Owners in Ontario
  • Over 580,000 Condo Units
  • Over 6,750 Condo Corporations
  • 1,000's Commercial Condos

  

Do you realize the importance of changing the following?  

  • Electronic Proxy system is required.  Presently proxies are being forged to control votes
  • Condo Lawyers should be appointed by Corporation, not hired by the Board
  • By Laws should not allow customization Director qualifications or disqualifications
  • By-Laws should not be allowed if the change is in contravention to the Condo Act
  • All Boards and Condo Owner should be aware of the AODA
  • Board Members should not manipulate the Condo Act forms for personal intentions

 

Let's work together for important changes to Condo Act

Concerns on Condo Act Review 

These are some questions the COA had during the review process:
 

Click to view Condo Owners Association (COA) Stage Two Feedback

 

  1. Why is the Condo Act self governed with no fines for non compliance and illegal contravention of the act yet other acts offer protection with fines, ie Traffic Act, Health & Safety Act, AODA Accessibility Act etc.
  2. Expert Panel has over 95% of the Panel with representatives of Condo Service Trades and no representation for Condo Owners
  3. Initial suggestions/recommendations adopted by the Ministry based on input from OWNERS versus SERVICE PROVIDERS in their initial report
  4. The Condo Office is a Provincial Government CASH GRAB from Condo Owners and is completely unfair and unreasonable!
  5. The proposal to charge all condo owners by implementing a Condo Office at a monthly fee will cost huge dollars ( based on the number of Condos in the Province)
  6. Why are Condo Owners expected to pay for Property Managers licensing when they are employees of Property Management Firms
  7. Why are Condo Owners targeted to pay more money from a Condo Act review when this review is supposed to be about protecting and creating a better condo act
  8. Condo Owners need a standardized declaration in plain language, adopting multi-culturism so everyone can read and understand, the new Condo Act is more confusing!
  9. The Provincial Government should be working with the Condo Owners Association to open communication between Condo Owner
  10. New Condo Act continues to be be self-regulated yet evidence proves 14 years of present acts provides NO Protection for condo owners 
  11. Owners and Board of Directors shows a disconnect between the two (2) parties
  12. The condo act report has confirmed proxy forgery but there is no 3rd party holder of proxies to prevent tampering by Board Members or Property Managers who may be involved with the same to ensue their contracts
  13. Like the auditor, the Legal Counsel for the Condo should be elected/appointed by the owners and NOT the Board. Therefore, the lawyer works for the Owners and the Board will then need to hire its own lawyer. There have been too many problems for owners trying to get satisfaction from the Board
  14. The review process is taking far too much time.  Presently, the Ministry knows the 20% of the issues that are causing 80% of the problems. Therefore apply the 80/20 rule and implement some changes now versus a year from now
  15. Why did the government not involved MPAC on the review and analyse how MPAC evaluates Condos on their present structure for property tax assessment and adjust to consider reserve funds, refurbishments and upgrades.
  16. Why is there no ability for condo owners to find out about MPAC assessments online to compare their tax assessments as there is with single family homes
  17. Why was there no discussion in the condo act review on why there is COA Board member on Tarion or at least someone to represent Condo Owners ?
  18. Why did the panel not recommend less time for Status certificates considering 10 days is too long of a period of time for condo owners to wait
  19. Why is the fee for status certificates not paid to the Condo Corporation but instead to the Property Management Firms yet the documents belong to the Condo Corporation.
  20. Why did the review not address the need for Status Certificates to be broader and provide more info to a prospective owner/buyer. Also a history of maintenance fees for at least 3 years needs to be included.
  21. How come Board members can have meetings and delay approval for costly recommendations yet do not have to inform the Condo Owners at the beginning of discussion so they are prepared and alerted
  22. The developer needs to guarantee the maintenance fees for the first 3 years to prevent excessive maintenance fee increases after the 1st year
  23. Why has the Government not taken the Condo Owners Association advice to create a Reserve Fund Bond for Condominiums that pays an interest rate at last 1% or 1.5% higher than the Ontario Savings Bond
  24. As part of the Directors and Officers insurance, and to ensure that the Condo Board acts reasonably, there could be premium incentives for Boards who operate with and implement proper governance principles and policies
  25. Why does the Board of Directors have the ability to accumulate excessive surpluses and also are not mandated to obtain 3 quotes for any or all services
  26. Why would the Government limit courses to new Board Members when there is substantial proof that many Board Members have a lack of condominium knowledge
  27. The Government should be utilizing and help support Canadian Colleges and Universities to provide courses for Property Managers and Property Management Firms
  28. The Government should be utilizing and help support Canadian Colleges and Universities to provide courses for all Condominium Board members

The Condo Owners Association provides Government with reports and recommendations to protect Condo Owners. We receive confidential complaints from condo owners daily. While we do not have the resources to answer each complaint, we record and track the complaints.  We provide expert advice on countless Panels relating to the condo act review, consumer protection, intensification, property assessment & taxation, building codes, carbon monoxide detectors, atmospheric issues, storm water sewer systems, green energy, environmental issues, affordable housing, reusable energy and development discussion Groups. 

Condominiums play an important role in the real estate market. We need strong condominium communities with long term sustainability.  

 

HOW CAN WE MAKE CONDOMINIUMS BETTER 

  1. Condo Information Power Point from COA
  2. Reserve Fund Bond Power Point from COA
  3. COA presents real estate values
  4. COA reports Condo Values vs by Maintenance Fees
  5. COA input on Property Management Licensing  

   

COA POWER POINT PRESENTATIONS

  1. COA Volunteers and Divisions Help Condo Owners
  2. COA Explains Impact of Condo Act at Carson Dunlop Condo Event
  3. COA Presentation at the Toronto Home Show - Exhibition Place

 

COA PARTICIPATES ON VARIOUS STAKEHOLDER GROUPS  

  1. Property Management Study - Home Owners Protection Centre
  2. Carbon Monoxide Detectors - Fire Protection - Fire Marshal Ontario
  3. Residential Intensification Study - View Panel - Consumers Council of Canada
  4. Stormwater Sewer Systems and Waste disposal - City of Mississauga  

 

CONDO OWNERS ASSOCIATION PROVIDES PUBLIC AWARENESS    

  1. Click for President Founder Condo Radio Show
Saturday, 01 November 2014 00:00

Property Management License

 Ministry of Government and Consumer Services

 Announces Mandatory Qualifications for Condominium Managers

 

The Ontario government has announced mandatory qualifications and licensing for Condominium Managers and Management firms.  Many condominium owners and residents may be more familiar with the terminology "property managers" and "property management office" in their condominium complex.   These managers are not mandated to have training or an understanding of the Provincial Condo Act, condo declarations, rules and regulations of a condo, by-law and or other important information relating to the finances, building maintenance, operations etc. of a condo corporation.  COA is thrilled to see changes however condominium managers and management companies need to have a government licensing structure.  See COA in Wikipedia

    

Facts on the contracted Property Management Services 

COA receives numerous questions about the role of Property Management and Property Managers

  1. Board of Directors for the Condo Corporation calls a Property Management Firm to obtain a quote for Property Management services.
  2. Property Management Firm provides a quote to include Managing the building and possibly handling the accounting for Accounts Payable, Receivable and Reserve Fund
  3. If the Property Management Firm is successful in securing the contract, they then provide an employee to the building who is called the Property Manager
  4. All Liabilities of the Property Management contract are with the Property Management Firm and the Condo Corporation
  5. The Property Management Firm assigns a Property Manager to the Condo Building and that Property Manager takes direction from the Property Management Firm and also has to abide by the requests of the Board of Directors to make sure they don't jeopardize the Property Management Firm contract
  6. If work order quotes are required many Property Managers ask their Property Management Firms for guidance and/or recommendations.
  7. Our Provincial Government has mandated licensing for both Property Managers and Management companies  See CMRAO Licensing

 

Saturday, 01 November 2014 00:00

COA on Condo Act Review

Written by
Monday, 01 April 2013 04:00

COA Gets Involved

Written by

The Condo Owners Association has made a huge impact providing expert opinion, recommendations and solutions on various "Stakeholder Groups" on behalf of residential and commercial Condo Owners and Condo Corporations   We offer our sincerest appreciation to those listed below and all of the other Governmental Agencies, Non Profit Agency and Private Corporations who have reached out to invite the COA to participate:  

  1. Ministry of Government and Consumers Services
  2. Consumers Council of Canada
  3. Ministry of Finance
  4. Homeowner Protection Centre
  5. Fire Marshal Office
  6. Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services
  7. Canada's Public Policy Forum
  8. City of Toronto
  9. City of Mississauga


 

STAKEHOLDER - Reports some links below:

  1. Consumers Council of Canada Residential Housing Intensification Study
  2. Fire Marshall Safety for Ontarians Advisory Committee
  3. Carbon Monoxide Safety for Ontarians
  4. Homeowner Protection Centre Condominium Property Management Regulation
  5. City of Mississauga Storm water System Review 
  6. Ontario's Condominium Act Review Stakeholder Roundtable
  7. Ontario's Condominium Act Review Stage One Findings Report
  8. Ontario's Condominium Act Stage Growing Up Ontario Condo Communities
  9. Condo Act Residents Report - COA presents   


COA Ontario Reports/Power Points links below:

  1. How Condo Owners Association Helps Condo Owners 
  2. COA Explains Impact of Condo Act at Carson Dunlop Condo Event  
  3. COA Makes an Impact for Condo Owners at Toronto Home Show - Exhibition Place  
  4. COA recommends a Provincial Reserve Fund Bond for Condos 
  5. COA letter to Premier Wynne regarding problems with Status Certificates


 

COA Ontario submits Reports to Ministry of Government and Consumers Services   

  1. COA recommendations  to Ministry to Build Better Condo Act 
  2. COA Feedback of Stage 1 of Condo Act Review  
  3. Supporting Letter to Public Policy Forum
  4. COA reports Concerns on Condo Values affected by Maintenance Fees
  5.  COA input on Consumer Protection Working Group
  6. COA reports Flaws on Stage 2 Condo Act Review
  7. COA illustrates Flaws on Stage 2 Chart
  8. Condo Review Stage 2 Chart
  9. Stage 2 Participant List Over 95% Condo Trade Input
  10. COA reports No Representation for Condo Owners on Stage 2 Structure


 

COA submits Letters to Hon Premier Kathleen Wynne

 

   

Stage 1

Does the Condo Act Review help or hurt?

 These are initiatives of the COA during the review process:
 

The Condo Owners Association has submitted concerns on Stages 1 and 2 of the Condo Act Review to enforce Consumer Protection for Condo Owners.

Cover Letter  (PDF Click Here)

COA Feedback of Report  (PDF Click Here)

COA has again reviewed Stage 1 Stakeholder Roundtables as presented by the Public Policy Forum.  An overview of our notes as presented to the Forum elaborating additional information is listed below.   The overall experience for Stage 1 of the process was very beneficial.   Our participation in the Residents Review panel confirm our mutual concerns with Condo Owners but how many were adopted and where do we stand today.

Dispute Resolution

COA is extremely concerned about the position of Property Managers and Property Management firms. The Property Management firm is the contracted provider of property management services which is administered by their employee (known as the Property Manager)   Many times Condo Owners are blaming the Property Managers and not the Boards because they do not understand the command of control.  Board of Directors often hide behind the Property Managers so they can shift the blame.  Property Managers and their respective Property Management firms have a direct relationship with the Board of Directors and are at arms length with Condo Owners.  They depend on this relationship to ensure their substantial service contracts (in excess of $150,000+).   The Board of Directors have a fiduciary duty to represent the Owners and the Condo Corporation.  Owners must be well informed that all of their problems are a result of the Board.

The inefficiencies in the Act’s current mediation and arbitration approach is not effective because Board of Directors are often working with Property Managers to create maneuvers against Owners with falsifying documents, proxies to cover their tracks.  They may also work together to prevent Owners from receiving records of the Corporation therefore so Owners go into a mediation and arbitration without written facts and proof to substantiate their complaints.   Board of Directors are too quick to involved corporation solicitors because they use them as an intimidation factor against Condo Owners. 

Priority Issues

  • Condo Owners are uninformed about their rights and responsibilities, as well as specific rules and regulations
  • Condo Directors and Property Managers are in a direct position to abuse their rights and responsibilities, as well as specific rules and regulations
  • Corporation Solicitors use a “precedence of previous rulings” to maneuver the ambiguity of the Condominiums Act to prevent owners from exercising their rights to documents of the corporation, view proxy’s in their original form etc and they depend on other Provincial Acts (ie. Privacy Act) to prevent Condo Owners from obtaining information
  • Corporation Solicitors, Directors and Property Managers have and use their power of election and contractual services to intimidate owners.

Potential Solutions 

  • Develop a form of insurance protection for Condominium Owners as part and parcel of Director & Officers  (D&O) insurance
  • Condo Corporation is responsible to pay the  mediation expenses and a reimbursement from the Condo Owner will be mandated in the event that the Mediator deems in favour of the Corporation because this is as Consumer Protection Act
  • Reporting system similar to the Better Business Bureau for Owners to report Board of Directors in non compliance to the Condo Act.
  • We have concerns on the mechanics and potential conflicts of interests relating to Dispute Resolution because of internal controls of Board of Directors;  it will be very difficult to have an impartial body

Areas of Further Discussion

  • Change the rules on forcing the Board to call a Special Meetings on any grounds is very important to balance fairness in the Condominium.  A minimum of 5 Owners should have the ability to request a meeting with the Board within a 14 day period or at the regular Board meeting if it is soon;  to present an outline of their complaint in writing.  In the event that the 5 Owners have not received a satisfactory response; they then have the option to request the Board to call a Special Meeting.  This will force more Board governance and prevent extensive mediation and arbitration costs.
  • Owners have the right to claim against the Directors & Officer Insurance in the event that the Directors are found to be in non compliance of the condo Act.
  • It is difficult to have an internal DRO (Dispute Resolution Office)  for each Condo Corporation because of the power of manipulation by the Board of Directors and Property Managers
  • Board of Directors who ignore the Condo Act must be held responsible for legal fees and dispute resolutions fees and these costs must be covered by the Directors and Officers Insurance

Condominium Governance 

  • Concerns about Superior court rulings setting precedence and overriding present Condominium Act
  • Standardize Declaration for New and Existing Condominiums
  • Fining (a regulatory complain process for Owners Protection)  for Board of Directors in non compliance to the Condo Act
  • Fining process (a regulatory complaint process for Owners Protection) for Property Managers and Property Management Firms in non compliance to the Condo Act
  • Fining process (a regulatory complaint process for Owners Protection) for Solicitors of the Corporation for not abiding by fair business practice reflecting the Condo Act
  • Solicitors must be appointed by the Condo Owners similar to the Auditor appointment to ensure that the Lawyers represent the Owners
  • Board of Directors are refusing to provide updated owners lists (with email addresses) to Owners.  They must be accountable to provide the list within a 2 week period of the request
  • Board of Directors threaten and abuse Owners who are trying to obtain signatures for requisition meetings
  • Owners who have dishonerable intentions to remove the Board resort to unethical, slanderous accusations and dishonest tactics to promote signatures for requisition meetings
  • Board Members against other Board Member resorts to the same behaviour mentioned above
  • Proxies must be held by 3rd party and/or online voting systems and not available for viewing by the Property Manager or any member of the Board of Directors.
  • Scrutinees should be elected at the Annual General Meeting by the Condo Owners and not appointed by the Board of Directors.  The Auditor should oversee the scrutineers
  • Boards are changing qualifications to restrict off site owners from standing for election on the Board – they use forged proxies for the voting process
  • There needs to be a better mechanism between Boards of Directors on shared facilities for multiple condo corporations.   There also has to be a different allowance for buildings including commercial units and live-work units.
  • Special legislation must be set out for live-work residential units so Condo Owners do not abuse these units by operating full scale commercial businesses in live-work residential units to avoid commercial taxes and to purchase units at less value than a commercial condo unit.
  • Restrictive measures must be implemented to prevent Board of Directors from obtaining loans at high interest rates for energy retrofitting and green technologies.

Priority Issues 

  • Property Managers on behalf of Board of Directors requests are stamping Annual General Meeting packages with dates (20 days prior to meeting) but withholding the mail out so Owners are not receiving the packages until a few days or potential after the meetings
  • Board of Directors ignore Owners requests to the records of the Corporation;  if the Owner continues to request the records;  the Board enlists the assistance of the Corporation Solictor who also refuses the Owner access stating draft minutes are not records of the Corporation etc.
  • Excessive costs applied by Board of Directors relating to price per page for requested records of the Corporation
  • Board of Directors tampering with Board Meeting Minutes, AGM Minutes and records of the Corporation
  • Need to address abuse of Live-Work units and their avoidance on MPAC (Municipal Property Assessment Corporation) tax issues while using residential units for commercial purposes.

Potential Solutions

  • Standardized Declaration     Most building are universal in standard guidelines.  As prepared in accordance with the Condo Act
  • New Construction Standardized Declaration      As prepared in accordance with the Condo Act
  • ByLaws specific to each Condominium building
  • Qualifications and Disqualifications as set out in Condominium Act 1998 cannot be altered
  • Define Records of the Corporation ie does it include draft minutes, special requisition meetings etc.
  • Licensed Property Managers should sign off on all Minutes if they are present at the meeting within 15 days of the Meeting
  • Board of Director monthly approved minutes must be made available to Owners upon their request
  • All minutes of all meetings (including Special meetings) must be signed off and approved on a monthly basis by the Board of Directors and made available to Owners upon their request
  • Annual General Meeting Minutes in Draft form must be sent to the Condo Owners within 1 month of the Annual General Meeting to keep Owners informed
  • There has to be a mechanism for Condo Owners to register complaints on minutes of the Corporation that are incorrect or have been tampered

Areas for Further Discussion

  • Establish education for Condo Owners (could be an on-line interactive course) so they recognize the importance of good governance with Board of Directors and cost savings on maintenance fees
  • Develop a cost chart relating to building expenditures so Boards can use as a guide to understand proper pricing

Condominium Management  (COA disputes this name)

  • The terminology of condominium management DOES NOT exist in the present condominium structure – they are known as Property Managers and Property Management Firms
  • The confusion to change the name is Governance (board) Versus Management (Property Management)

Please Note:

  • ACMO is publicly announcing an approval from the Ministry of Consumers Services that they are the licensing entity for all Condominium Managers – COA finds this extremely detrimental to this Review process and a direct conflict of interest in ensuring that Condo Owners have Consumer protection under the new Condominium Act.

Priority Issues

  • Property Managers represent the Board of Directors and do not represent the Owners
  • Property Management firms must be held responsible for their Property Managers under employee relationship of employment
  • Property Managers quote Bill 168 unreasonably against Condo Owners
  • Property Managers are not mandated to abide by the Condo Act
  • Property Managers have knowledge and skills to manipulate the Condo Act to create a strong business relationship with Board and ensure their employer – Property Management Companies continued contract with that Condo Corporation

Potential Solutions

  • Develop a Provincial - RECO (Real Estate Council of Ontario) style of licensing for Property Managers
  • Mandate their profession through a specific Act geared to their profession (similar to the REBBA  (Real Estate Business Brokers Act)
  • Mandate an errors and ommissions insurance to protect condo corporations on misinformation
  • Mandates in the Act to prevent interaction ie.  Property Managers cannot be Directors or owners in the Corporation
  • Property Management firms must disclose referral fees or remunerations received from service providers they have recommended to their contracted Condo Corporations.

Areas for Further Discussions

  • See new Potential Solutions Above
  • Manager fees are not directly related to the Corporation.  The Property Management Company negotiates a contract for services of property management for the Condominium.  This would include a Property Manager (employee) and sometimes an administrator (employee)   The employees income is NOT negotiated by the Board of Directors nor should it be
  • Services provided by the Property Management company also include accounts payable and banking of the Corporation.  These firms also recommend service providers and they do receive referral fees for the recommendations.  These referral fees are not and should MUST be disclosed to the Condo Corporation.

Financial Management

  • A limited amount of the operating expenses relate to repairs and maintenance
  • The majority of the budget relates to reserve fund, utilities and service contracts ie. Property Management company, security and cleaning contracts.
  • Stringent guidelines must be in place for green technologies so older condos do not find themselves in financial ruin spending to save and Owners not being able to afford their maintenance fees

Priority Issues

  • Builders accountability for deficit of 1 year is insufficient
  • Province to provide higher interest rate deposits/bonds on reserve funds and include an inflationary blanket recognizing that the performance audit does not reflect market times
  • It inappropriate to allow coverage from the reserve fund for new green technology initiatives.  Restrictive measures must be implemented to prevent Board of Directors from obtaining loans at high interest rates for energy retrofitting and green technologies
  • Insurance issues between Corporation and Owners re: corporation policy and owner policy
  • Board of Directors and insurance companies changing standard unit bylaws without notifying owners.  Lack of coverage on flooring and betterment problems will exist
  • Fan coils and special filters are not being changed regularly if left in the hands of the owners and take into account off site owners therefore compromising potential insurance claims and water issues
  • Warranty concerns because of insufficient coverage by Tarion under the New Home Warranty Act.  Unfortunately Tarion DOES NOT represent owners and there are far too many examples of problems resulting after the 2 year coverage and there are limitations to what is deemed as structural.
  • New buildings do not have enough security cameras and security keys so they increase the expenditures of the Corporation substantially within the first year
  • The reserve funds of the Corporation may be handled through recommended financial service providers by the Property Management firms;  is there a referral fee involved – disclosures must be mandated
  • The reserve fund is handled by a financial company that the Board of Directors has chosen;  is there a referral fee involved – disclosures must be mandated
  • Since there is not one financial source for Reserve Funds;  there is a higher risk of  misappropriation of funding and lower interest rates
  • Pooling of reserve funds may compromises the corporations unless it is Government administered.  Property Management firms obtaining referral fees must disclose full particuaalrs in writing.
  • Even though this is hard to legislate, green technology companies may provide overpriced quotes to Board of Directors and/or loan options
  • Concerns on overinflated costs pertaining to condominium refurbishment.  Designers and contractors for simple wall paper, painting and floor coverings ie. Porcelain tiles are compromising financial stability of reserve funds and corporations   (ie.  11 floors $745,000.00) and potential depleting reserve funds for cosmetic issues.

Potential Solutions

  • Builders must be held accountable for the first 3 years not 1 year
  • Property Management cannot be associated with the Builder during the full warranty period; conflict of interest concerns and full  warranty periods to include structural must be extended.
  • Create a Reserve Fund Bond (similar to a Government Savings Bond) exclusively for Condo Corporations at higher interest rates (this is an excellent benefit for additional Government funding)
  • Mandate mechanical performance inspection prior to common element design expenditures from reserve funds

Areas for Further Discussion

  • Explore Government Reserve Fund Bond to provide better protection of investment and stronger interest rates
  • Ensure accountability for Reserve Funds to avoid Board of Director and Property Manager abuse and kick backs (reserve funds need to be audited)

Consumer Protection

  • New construction contracts prepared to represent the best interest of the builders is not protecting the rights of the Buyers
  • Proper disclosures of representation are not mandated so Buyers are unaware who is representing their interest in the buying process therefore they enter into the agreement with a strong lack of information relating to occupancy, interest rates to determine occupancy costs, structure of taxes and maintenance fees embodied in occupancy costs; length of time for extensions, rules pertaining to leasing and/or selling under assignments, turnover meetings and what is included in their purchase relating to responsibilities outside of their standard unit..ie balcony, windows etc.
  • The price per square foot relating to maintenance fees at the point of sale creates a huge problem because with delays on closing and inflation these fees have a substantial increase in the first year creating an affordability problem for Owners.  The Builder must include an inflationary protection for 3 years after registration.
  • 10 banking days for Status Certificates compromises sale transactions and Property Managers abuse the time period and 95% of the time wait the entire time before they provide it meanwhile the declarations and bylaw are already preprinted and held in property management.  The only hold up is the Status Certificate which is signed by a Directors however many times Directors turn over signing authority to their Property Manager.  Financial institutions to secure hundreds of thousands of dollars in mortgages require 5 banking days; therefore Status Certificates should be the same period of time – 5 banking days.    In reality Status Certificates can and have been prepared in less than a day.
  • Standardized declaration with key points exclusively at the front of the declaration to ensure full understanding by the consumer on standard points of most condominiums will protect and educate the consumer.
  • The present method of builders lawyers preparing different declarations for each condominium and all resale condos all having different declarations compromises the security and protection of the consumer.  By-laws can be geared to each specific condominium but the overall decaration in plain English must be prepared considering the importance of 1.3 million condo owners understanding their rights and their ownership of their unit
  • Short term rentals are increasing throughout the province identifying a hotel concept of 3 days – 8 days.. with no limitations on short term.  It is an ideal circumstance for builders when selling their units as they promote these benefits to out of country investors but it becomes a safety and security concern of Condo Owners.  It also increases wear and tear on common elements ie. Moving elevators, hallways and unit doors/door frames etc.
  • Real Estate lockbox and/or keys – Property Management and Board of Directors are compromising the safety and security of their buildings depending on the rules they are implementing relating to lockboxes and keys.  Some are taking Realtors Drivers Licenses / ID’s as a deposit for keys; lockboxes are place in unlit areas of the complex opening the Corporation for potential law suits in case of physical harm claims, keys are identified with unit numbers on them and held at security in unlocked areas; many condos do not keep a register of Realtors showing and so on.
  • Registered Sales agents under RECO and REBBA already have full disclosure mandates; the concern is unregistered sales personnel of Builder.  Keys or Lockbox should be readily available and physically onsite

Priority Issues

  • It is impossible for buyers to read their condo purchase and sale documents on new construction because they are confusing, prepared by the builders lawyers and protective to the builder.   Disclosure of representation must be confirmed and key issues of the contract must be at the front of the agreement.
  • Low price per square foot on maintenance fees at point of sale for new construction compromise Owners affordability
  • Property Managers are not cooperative with Status Certificates many times and do not require 10 banking days
  • Standards rules to protect the Corporation relating to lockboxes and keys recognizing the personal safety and security of the Realtors and the Corporation

Potential Solutions

  • Standardized declaration with By-Laws relating to specific differences of the Corporation
  • Builder has to guarantee an inflation % rate for maintenance fees increases and make up the difference on new construction to cover additional costs over a 3 year period
  • Minimum term on short term rentals and defined rules and regulations
  • Immediately implement up to 5 banking days on status certificate
  • Guidelines relating to keys/lockbox recognizing safe standards practices
  • Keys or Lockbox should be readily available and physically onsite.  The best practice to ensure safety is for Security to hold both key or lockbox or to install lockbox in the staircases closest to the unit.

Areas for Further Discussion

  • Sales Agents Staff of Builder must be licensed to trade in Real Estate under RECO and REBBA regulation
  • Full disclosure for representation must be mandated and affect Builders and Sales Agents Staff on site
  • 95% of Status Certificates are prepared by the Property Management office and does not require solicitor intervention.   Please see above notes.   The Certificate only requires 1 signature from the Board of Directors (or Property Management)         banking days is more than sufficient.
  • Status certificate must include discussions on special assessments because too many boards hold off on the decision process especially if they or a friend in the building is selling.  Buyers have a right to know what they can expect to include legal proceedings and fees to date.  Also, mediation and arbitration cases involving the Corporation should be noted.  Status Certificate to guarantee no special assessment for a certain time period.

Next Steps

  • The main concern of the Condo Owners Association is to ensure that Condo Owners are protected in this process.  We believe that the present forum has a higher contribution from service related trades who may be party to a conflict of interest on their recommendations.  We realize that the Ministry must embrace their professional experience and related suggestions but we also caution the Ministry when evaluating the final outcome of the review.  Many of the existing problems in Condominiums result from uninformed and uneducated Board of Directors, Property Managers and their Property Management firms and Corporation Solicitors.
  • Although there are problems with Condo Owners as well;  many become a problem as a result of their loss of rights, lack of protection for their unit; distasteful slanderous actions by the Board and the cold hard fact that they believe they have no where to turn
  • In reality, there is substantial FEAR in the Condominium communities experienced by a number of condo owners.  We believe the apathy amongst owners is caused by fear as well; sometimes if you know less you have no reasons to be upset.  Turning a blind eye is much easier for many especially if they already know they cannot do anything
  • We truly believe that once Property Management Firms and Property Managers are licensed under a delegated authority under the Safety and Consumer Statues Administration Act as a result of our Government working with the Ministry of Consumer Services and the Condo Act to protect Condo Owners Province wide; will ensure professionalism in the industry to create more consumer and Corporation protection
  • It is the responsibility of our Provincial Government in this Condo Review Process must ensure proper due diligence and lack of conflict of interest are identified as we move forward to ensure consumer protection for all Condo Owners
  • It is necessary for the Government of Ontario to have a regulated Consumer Protection Tribunal Process to protect Condo Owners