Monday, May 12, 2014

Condo Reform in Ontario

NDP government wants changes to the Condominium Act to better protect consumers.  To recap;
  • An independent  Condo  office  to hear  disputes quickly  & cheaply  instead  forcing  condo  owners  into the courts  
  • Mandatory  licensing of condo  managers
  • No  more "weasel clauses"  buried  in condo purchase  agreements: condo  buyers  should  be able  to know exactly  what  they  are  buying  and  how  much  it will cost,  and  they  should get  what  they  were promised
  • Standard plain-English  language  for condo  Declarations  and purchase  agreement  
  • No  more  rogue  boards: greater  transparency,  financial accountability, better governance, education and support for condo  boards.  
  • No more falling glass, leaky  windows or paper-thin  walls: update  Building  Code  and  reform  TARION  to  protect condo residents along  with  all  new  home  buyers
That all sounds good!    Good for the consumers!   Great for Buyers!

I wrote about this previously in a Condominium Investors forum

The questions to clarify first are;

We will be creating a QUASI judicial board staffed by WHOM? Judges, Lawyers? Political Appointees?    We will need to build Government Offices house all the Hearing Rooms and Dispute Mediation Councillors .  DO we need to be licensed and insured to appear in front of these committees?

How will this be paid for?   Ahhhhhh ...  a small surcharge of $5 - $10 per month, in the beginning and then....  application fees per program applied for.  

I agree with Licensing Standards and a complaint process for Condo Boards and the Management Companies that provide onsite management.  That is a Small Claims Court function where claims of injustice are heard by Lawyers and Judges.

There is a reference to Building Standards, Tarion and Falling Glass.  All these things are governed by the EXISTING Condominium Act, Tarion Warranty and Building Codes that exist in each City.  Does this mean that Toronto has poor building codes?  I think not. The Ontario government and Tarion already have a relationship. Buildings pay for Performance Audits for Engineers to examine drawings and determine if what was purchased as delivered.  Committees of Developers, Builders, Tarion and the COndo Board plus their lawyers MEET in person to discuss Audits and inspections.

Rogue Boards and Transparency;  The biggest problem is that Purchasers of condominium suites want to bend the Rules and Regulations to suit their needs after they move in, instead of investigating the BY LAWS with the ir lawyer. prior to purchase.

The BIGGER QUESTION to ask is "Do we want another level of Government [ like the Landlord Tribunal ] to hear dispute resolution matters between condo boards and the owners at the expense of those very same condo owners?"

Whatever is created in haste is difficult to unravel.

"Once Done.  Cannot be undone.... "    Captain Jack Sparrow