Tuesday, November 19, 2013


You can almost hear Politicians shouting REFORM!

The Ontario Government is tackling Condominium Reforms in an attempt to address what some feel are NEEDED reforms and adding another judicial body for oversight that will hire STAFF, create an appeal process, create Rules and Regulations of their own, in the fashion of a Rental Tribunal. Then, of course, there will be an application and filing fee. 

This CONDO OFFICE is proposed to be funded by a contribution (additional fee for Condo Owners) of $ 1- 3 dollars per unit per month. This quickly amounts a war chest of $20 Million per year.   Have Taxes / Levies ever reduced after introduction? 

Key recommendations include:
  • Creation of a Condo Office, an arm’s length umbrella organization that could provide functions such as education and awareness, dispute settlement, condo manager licensing, and a condo registry.
  • Improved consumer education and protection
  • Updated financial management rules and dispute resolution mechanisms
  • Stronger qualification requirements for condo boards, including mandatory training for first-time members
  • A new licensing program, managed by the condo office, to ensure that condo managers are properly trained and qualified.
  • http://ppforum.ca/publications/ontarios-condominium-act-review-stage-two 

Bob Aaron in a recent News paper article stated;

The full, 72-page report, available online at ppforum.ca, provides a hint of what condominium law will look like if and when the report’s final recommendations are passed into law.
Of the report’s more-than 200 recommendations, the most significant one in my opinion is the creation of a new umbrella organization known as the Condo Office. This new body would have four main functions: education and awareness, dispute settlement, licensing condo managers and maintaining a condo registry.
While creating a Condo Office would no doubt be an excellent solution to a number of industry problems, it seems to me that great care should be taken in establishing yet another quasi-judicial body like the Ontario Municipal Board and the Landlord and Tenant Board, both of which have come in for considerable criticism over the years. 
I have my doubts about a proposed monthly “levy” on all condominium units in the province. Current estimates are $1 to $3 a month from each condo unit — and that’s just in the first year. At the higher end, that translates into an annual budget of $21.6 million, plus user fees. http://www.aaron.ca/columns/2013-11-09.htm

While I appreciate in light of recent fraud and some occasional miss-management, the majority of issues tend to be the education of the Condominium Buyers/Owners and their compliance with Rules and Regulations. Condo Management companies do need to be licensed and regulated.  Yes, Consumers need to be protected, but condo owners also need to GET INVOLVED and participate actively in their buildings management and reputation. Lawyers at closings are not explaining the significance because simply put, their client declined being charged to print the documents received electronically.  Conduit.

The amount of money is small but it always starts that way. If you want to discuss something with your Condo Board; Put your request in writing and they will respond.  Articulate your concern or complaint.  There is already an oversight process and that is the Small Claims Court System that lawyers have successfully used since the 60's (with the creation of Condo Ownership) You can call a Requisition Meeting over any issue with signatures from 15% of the owners.

Ms. Audrey Loeb from Miller Thompson published a comprehensive overview of Condominium Ownership and what it entails. Worthwhile reading for the Investor and every condo purchaser. 

Having served on a few Boards, I realise the biggest issues are transparency and communication. What needs to be managed is articulation of why decisions are being made instead of silence. Posting those results in newsletters and Web pages. Clear communication in elevators.

Why take money away from potential owner's repairs to add them to government levy's? Purchasers also have a personal obligation to inform themselves of the Rules of Ownership. What are your obligations?

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