Definitions

Australia
Here is a link to definitions used in Australia. Many of their terms are different than what we use in Ontario.
http://www.strataman.com.au/terms.html#m2o

Accessory suites
Accessory suites are small condo units in luxury buildings used to house the wealthy owners servants, nanny's, personal medical personal, offices or even just storage space. Usually located on the lower, less desirable floors.

ACMO

Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario. An industry group for condo managers. Membership is voluntary.

Affordable housing—income based
Pre-1995 housing programs were designed around the idea that paying more than 25% or 30% of income for housing is unaffordable for low-income households. (This is the old definition.)

Affordable housing—market based
Housing costing 80% of average market price or below. This market-based definition is adequate for those with an ability to pay rent that falls just outside market range (shallow need). But it isn’t good news for those with very low incomes and a very low ability to pay (deep need). Household income is not a reference point in the definition of affordability. (The new definition.)

Affordable housing—Big-A
Housing for our society’s poorest members, often built with the support of governments. (Industry term)

Affordable housing—Small-A
Housing refers to the needs of people earning $31,000 to $87,000 per year. (Industry term)

AGM
Annual General Meeting.

Anchor price
The minimum price a homeowner will sell at as they need/want to recoup their costs. The prices drop below the anchor price when the banks foreclose.

Assignment units
Units bought in the preconstruction phase by people who intend to flip — or “assign” — them to new buyers at a significant markup before having to pay final payments, including land transfer taxes.

Developer rules usually forbid listing assignments on the public MLS system.

Astroturfing
Meaning a fake grassroots campaign designed to create the image of public consensus where there is none.

In an Astroturfing campaign, MPs, journalists and “influencers” will be inundated by highly organised letters and emails, social media posts and in some cases even postcards from overseas, to try to convince them to support one position or another.

Back charges
A billing that is made to collect an expense that is incurred in a previous billing period. This may be an adjustment that is due to an error, or it could be for collecting an expense that was not billable until a later period due to timing. In condos, it often is used to describe a fee charged to an owner for items such as being late paying their monthly fees, or an unexpected extra expense such as cleaning up after an owner's dog soiled the hallway carpet  or an owner plugged a common plumbing drain.

Bank indebtedness
This amount is owed to the bank in the short term, such as a bank line of credit.

Bailment
Bailment is a word found only in property law. It encompasses all kinds of transactions in which possession, but not ownership of personal property is transferred from one party to another. Bailment transactions: handing over clothes for dry cleaning, car for repairs; renting a car, or a tool; taking out a library book; storing something on the property of another person.

All bailments have terms, but those terms need not amount to a contract. There can be gratuitous bailments. Many bailments are contractual. The important point is that, whether or not there is a contract formed, the person receiving possession under the bailment must return the property according to the terms of the bailment.

Brampton loan
A fraudulent loan where the income and employment of the purchaser has been falsified by a broker so the applicant becomes eligible to assume a mortgage. It is called a Brampton loan as that is where a lot of these fraudulent applications originated.

Bungalow townhouse
A real estate term for a single-floor unit in a stacked townhouse. This unit has a single floor with a two-story unit sitting on top. There may be another single-story unit below ground level. (basement.)

Business rule
The board is required to carefully consider the options apparently open to the corporation at the time of the decision being made; the board must then choose one of those options, keeping in mind that that choice will have to stand up to subsequent scrutiny as being a decision that is within the range of reasonableness.

Chargeback
In certain circumstances, a condo corporation may be able to charge extra costs back to an offending unit owner. It gets tricky whether the corporation can add these costs to the common elements or if the condo has to take the owner to small claims court to collect.

Coffin homes
Hong Kong apartments are being subdivided into many tiny spaces to accommodate those otherwise priced out of the city's spiralling housing market. These tiny units can be as small as 20 square feet. (A 4X8 sheet of plywood is 32 square feet.)

Common Element Condominium Corporation (CECC)
A CECC consists of only common elements. So the land, roads, streetlights, water mains, playgrounds and amenities are run as a condo while the individual detached homes, or townhouses, are privately owned and maintained at the owners expense. They are like the American HOAs.

Once rare in Ontario, they are becoming more common.

Common-Interest Development (CID)
is the fastest growing form of housing in the world today. They are commonly known as condominiums, timeshares, planned unit developments and Home Owner Associations along with other titles and descriptions.

Community Development Districts (CDDs)
Community Development Districts are special entities approved by local governments that have power to borrow money through bonds for construction and roads and repay the debt by assessing property owners within the district. CDDs are also responsible for maintaining their own infrastructure.

Concierge
For most condos is means a security guard who sits behind a desk in the lobby. It sounds better than security guard.


Condo commandos
1. Unit owners who engage in conduct that interferes with the management
    of the condominium corporation.
2. Condo board zealots who terrorize owners. (Often called Condo Nazis.)

For example, the anti-condo/home owner association activists use the term to describe pretty much every condo board member in the country and they’re all worthy of scorn.

To others, condo commandos are those board members who attempt to use the condominium association for personal gain, using threats and false complaints to abuse particular owners.

And to some, condo commandos are the busybodies, whether on the board or not, who take note of every slip and infraction in the community to use as gossip or to harrass the owners they do not like.

Condo board zealot
A director whose personality is too intense for the good of the condominium community.

Condo crashing
Entails members of the public entering private condo premises to use the amenities such as washrooms, showers, swimming pools and fitness rooms. At a basic level, it is when homeless trespass in order to sleep in the lobby or staircases.

Condo hotel
A hotel where some or all the rooms have been legally transformed into condominium units which are sold to investors, and where it is intended that the condominium units will be part of the hotel’s rooms inventory to be rented to the public and operated by the hotel management.

Condominium instruments
These are the declaration, bylaws, plats and plans, and all amendments, that are recorded to establish a condominium.

Condo-motel
A condo-motel is a motel set up as a condominium association, where members can own one unit or mulitple units, and then rent them out on a short-term basis. Typical renters for a condo-motel could include tourists and travelers. But, increasingly, the condo-motel is becoming home to thousands of low income households and transients in urban areas.

Condo Nazis
They are board members, owners or residents that spy on everyone and report all of the rules or bylaws infractions that they see, or imagine, to the property manager or the board of directors.

Condo police
There is no such thing. There is no government or legislated authority to investigate wrongdoing by the board of directors or property managers.

Condotel
A condominium project that is operated as a hotel with a registration desk, cleaning service and more. The units are individually owned. Unit owners also have the option to place their unit in the hotel's rental program where it is rented out like any other hotel room.

Curtain walls
Ceiling-to-floor glass exterior walls that are provided in commercial skyscrapers and in the premium-priced condominium towers.
(See window walls)

 
Disgruntled owner
An owner who is unhappy with the manner in which the condo is being managed. The opposite of a "Happy Camper."

Dog suite
A suite that's without a view, located on the ground floor, sits beside the garbage chute and/or over the garbage pick up area. Many are poorly designed units where you walk through the kitchen to get to the living area or have a big portion of your square footage designated to halls and/or corridors.


These low-level balconies at the Four Seasons Residences face a brick wall.

Dual-key units
A single condominium unit that has been split into two parts with some shared amenities. Designed for an extended family or for living quarters and an office.

Dwelling room units
A code word for rooming or boarding houses.

Economic evictions
When a landlord increases the rent by a huge amount in order to get rid of a troublesome tenant.

Entrenched board members
Directors who are extremely difficult to vote out of office.

Exclusive use of common elements
A part of the common elements that can be only used by the residents of a single unit. This can include a patio behind townhouses, terraces, balconies and parking spots.

"expenditures that had no clear business purpose"
This is forensic accountancy-speak for suspected fraud or theft.

Extreme owner
A very demanding owner who tries to dominate the manager and the condo employees.
False front

A facade extending beyond and especially above the true dimensions of a building to give it a more imposing appearance.


False fronts use to be used by small retail businesses to attract customers. Nowadays renovated front lobbies are used by rundown condos to attract suckers buyers.

The friends and family plan
The friends and family of board members get jobs and contracts with the condo corporation.

Furniture
Contractors who bill the condo for so many hours that they are always around, just like the lobby furniture.

Ghost host
Someone who short-term rents their long-term leased units for profits without the knowledge of the owner and in breach of rental agreements and building by-laws.

Gig economy
A workforce characterized by single project[s] or task[s] for which a worker is hired, often through a digital marketplace, to work on demand.

Most workers in the gig economy have no minimum wage, no unemployment benefits, no paid sick days, no pensions, and even no maximum or minimum working hours. They live at the whim of the platform(s) they’ve chosen to affiliate themselves with.

Green limo
One sales team for a new condo project near a Go Train station calls the Go Train the "green limo".

Group renting
The practice of dividing apartments into smaller rooms and renting them separately.

Help-rejecting complainers
Problem-solving is not the purpose of the exchange. Its purpose is to allow the subject to gain sympathy from others in his inadequacy to meet the situation. Complaining allows them to achieve desired outcomes such as sympathy and attention not practical advice.

Homeowner association (HOA)
A homeowner association is a corporation formed by a real estate developer for the purpose of marketing, managing, and selling of homes and lots in a residential subdivision. It allows the developer to exit financial and legal responsibility of the organization by transferring ownership of the association to the homeowners after selling off a predetermined number of lots.

Some associations are—not quite literally—suburbs or towns complete with private roads, street lights, services, utilities, amenities, commonly owned buildings, pools, and even schools.

Inclusionary zoning
Municipal bylaws requiring new developments of more than a set number of apartments to price 20% or so of those units at rates affordable for people earning an average income or less.

Interim occupancy
The time between the occupancy date given to the purchasers of units in a new condo development and when the condominium is registered and they receive title to their units. During this time the purchaser occupies a unit that is still owned by the developer and pays an "occupancy fee", a form of rent, until the condo corporation is registered.

Investor units
Small bachelor or one bedroom units designed to flipped at registration or be rented out.

Investor-grade product
A developer industry term for inferior build quality accepted by investors, intended for rental units.

Jingle mail
The sound that keys in an envelope make when a homeowner walks away from an underwater mortgage. Jingle mail, or strategic defaults, weaken the housing market and increase loan losses among the banks.

Kangaroo court
A kangaroo court is a mock court in which the principles of law and justice are disregarded or perverted.

Lease
A lease is an agreement between a landlord and a tenant that gives the tenant an exclusive interest in a property.

A lease creates an interest in the property. For the term of the lease, you have some ownership rights in the property as agreed to in the contract. You have the right to keep anybody, even the landlord, out of the property. Because you have an interest in the property, you can transfer your lease to another person. This is what happens when people sublet an apartment.

Lessons learned
A positive spin on expensive screw-ups. "Sure a lot of mistakes were made but we learnt from those mistakes."

Licence
A license is permission from the owner to a licensee to do something on the owner's property such as rent a room. A license does not grant any interest in the property.

Live/Work unit
Usually a townhouse unit in a residential condo townhouse complex that faces a busy street. They can also be two-story units that sit under a condo tower. The unit can be used as a residence or as a commercial unit. There are restrictions on the type of business that can be run out of the unit. They also have been built to commercial standards such as having fire sprinklers.

Lobby lawyer
A resident who sits in the lobby giving free "legal advice" to the other residents.

Lobby lizard
Bored residents who spend much of their waking hours sitting in the lobby watching the people come in and leave. They may be retired, unemployed or collecting a disability pension.

Lock-off suites
A studio or one-bedroom suite in a basement, built by the developer, that homeowners can either rent out to help pay their mortgage, or use themselves.

Loft
A large, usually unpartitioned condo residential unit featuring huge windows and very high ceilings.

Hard loft
A large, usually unpartitioned condo residential unit in a conversion from a factory, warehouse, or other commercial or industrial space. They feature huge windows and very high ceilings and old wood beams and wood or bare concrete floors.

Soft loft
New construction condos designed to mimic hard lofts.

Low-rise, multi-unit residential buildings
Low-rise, multi-unit residential buildings take many forms:
Townhouses
are generally 2 to 3 1/2-storey structures that share a fire-resistant sidewall with a neighbouring unit. They typically have a front and a back.

Stacked Townhouses
share a sidewall and have units stacked vertically (typically two or three). Like the townhouse type they have a front and a back.

Back to Back Townhouses
share a rear wall as well as a sidewall and have two fronts.  Each unit also has its own entrance to grade.

Stacked, Back to Back Townhouses
share a rear wall as well as a sidewall and have units stacked vertically. This can include three units located on top of each other, two-level units stacked on top of one-level units, or two-level units stacked on top of two-level units. Other layout solutions may be possible. In the above types of residences each unit has an individual access to the outside as opposed to apartment buildings which have a shared building entrance and interior hallways providing access to the units. 

Low-rise Apartment Buildings
share interior corridors, vertical circulation and entrances, and have multiple units stacked vertically, typically with units on both side of a corridor (double-loaded) and sometimes only on one side of a corridor (single loaded).

Hybrid Building
combines lower units with direct access to grade as well as upper units that gain access from a shared corridor and entrance.

Residential units organized in the above types are constructed in rows or blocks. The Official Plan allows them in lands with Mixed Use, Regeneration and Apartment Neighbourhoods designations. They often fit under the four storey height limit for housing in neighbourhoods but each type may be restricted by policies which ask for neighbourhood fit, and ask for new development to have similar characteristics including building type etc.
(City of Toronto definitions)

Micro-condo
A bachelor unit of 300 square feet or less. The size may be small but the prices aren't cheap.

Mid-rise building
A 'mid-rise' building does not exceed a 1:1 ratio of height to street width. This means that the building cannot be higher than the width of the street it fronts onto. Mid-rise buildings are generally 4-11 storeys in height, and can contain any use, such as residential, office, commercial or a combination of these.
(City of Toronto definition)

Minute book
A binder or bound book containing permanent and detailed record of the deliberations of, and resolutions adopted at, a corporation's official meetings.

All condo corporations are required by law to maintain an up-to-date minute book which should be accessible to all owners at the firm's legal address.

Missed opportunities
A weasel expression meaning a series of expensive mistakes. Same as "lessons learned".

MLS
Municipal Licencing and Standards Department.
They are responsible to insure that all buildings in Toronto meet the city's minimum standards.

Non-landed property
Landed property in Singapore refers to residential property where the owner has the title to the land. This normally refers to terrraced, semi-detached or detached houses, but it does not refer to strata-titled villa compounds.

Non-landed property refers to apartments and condominiums, which are strata-titled, where the owners own the land in common.

Nuisance
The law of private nuisance is bottomed on the fundamental rule that every person should so use his own property as not to injure that of another, as expressed in the maxim ‘Sic utere tuo ut alienum non laedas’,  and that anything which annoys or disturbs one in the free use, possession or enjoyment of his property, or which renders its ordinary use or occupation uncomfortable, is a nuisance and may be restrained.

Occupancy fees
The monthly fees or "rent" that the purchaser of a condo unit in a new development pays the developer from the time he moves in until the time the condo corporation is registered and the purchasers gain title of their units.

Occupancy Permit
An Occupancy Permit or Partial Occupancy Permit indicates compliance with the Ontario Building Code. In order for occupancy of certain buildings to be permitted following new construction pursuant to Section 11 the Building Code Act, the building must meet a list of minimum requirements set out in the Ontario Building Code.

Owners Corporation (OC)
Australian term
An owners corporation (formerly body corporate) manages the common property of a residential, commercial, retail, industrial or mixed-use property development. You are likely to be a member of an owners corporation if you own a flat, apartment or unit.

post-truth
an adjective defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’.
(Oxford's 2016 word of the year)

Post-truth politics
noun, stating that we are now in an age where truth in politics carries far less weight as in belonging to a time in which the specified concept (truth) has become unimportant or irrelevant.

Undivided co-ownership
The building as a whole belongs to both the owner and the owning tenants. No part of it is owned exclusively by any one of them.

In many cases, people have exclusively use of portions of the building and other parts of it are their shared property. They also jointly pay property taxes on the building in its entirety.

Pied-a-terre
A temporary second residence, either for part of the year or part of the work week, by a person of some means.




The silly look
Pinholes
Tiny little round holes in copper water pipes that happen when the copper pipes and elbows get old. They first appear in the hot water pipes.

Plyscrapper
A high-rise building built with panels made of cross-laminated timber (CLT). These modular sheets are made from cheap, sustainable softwood that are glued or pinned together in layers—a bit like super-strong, super-thick plywood.

Political capital
Where a developer or a corporation seeks a favour from a government official or department instead doing required work, usually needed to meet municipal building codes.

Poor door
A separate entrance built for the residents of affordable rental units in a condominium in order to keep the riff-raff apart from the wealthier condominium owners.

POPS
Privately Owned Publicly-Accessible Space

When developers negotiate with the municipalities for approvals for new construction, the city demands that community benefits be provided. One of these benefits is the provision of spaces that are open to the public but owned and maintained by a private entity.

POTL (Parcel Of Tied Land)
A parcel of tied land is a privately owned individual unit that could be a townhome or detached home that is part of a Common Element Condominium Corporation (CECC).

In this arrangement, the homeowner owns his own home within a piece of land that is controlled by the common element condo. It is very much like the HOAs that are so very common in the United States.

Private estates
This is sales hype for a very expensive condo unit with a balcony or perhaps a terrace.

Private space

Private space is a section of a common area of a shared accommodation that is restricted to the use of one or more individuals who are sharing the use of a single apartment or house.

Unlike bed-sits, a private space is not enclosed by walls and doors but are designated by room dividers, shower curtains, bed sheets or blankets that give a minimum of privacy and security.

(In the above example, a space in a Vancouver condo living room—large enough to contain a mattress—rents for $630 a month.)

Proxies
A written form signed by an owner giving his or her voting rights to another party. A proxy can also count towards a quorum at an owner's meeting.

directed proxy
The proxy holder must vote the proxy as filled out by the unit owner. If the unit owner does not identify preferences for board candidates, the proxy holder is free to vote as he/she/it deems appropriate.

Proxy farming
When individuals or minority groups collect votes from fellow owners who can't or won't attend their buildings' annual general meetings, giving them a majority over those who actually turn up at the meetings.

Purpose-built rental
Buildings designed solely for renters. The whole complex, either apartment towers or townhouses, is owned by a single landlord.

PVC piping
Polyvinyl chloride, commonly abbreviated, PVC, is used in construction because it is cheaper than stronger and more traditional alternatives such as copper or ductile iron. Its life expectancy for hot water lines in high-rise buildings is from six to ten years.

RCM
Registered Condominium Manager.

Rent-geared-to-income (RGI)
RGI is about 30% of of a tenant's total income.

Reserve Fund receivables
This line in the Cash Flow page of the audited financial statements shows the amount of money that was not put into the Reserves. It is a "debt" that is owed to the Reserves from the Operating Funds.

Rider
A "rider" is a derogatory term describing owners who ride the 30-day period, to pay their monthly fees. Keeping track of the late cheques gives managers and corporation headaches. (Some PMCs in the industry justify higher overall costs of contracts due to having to deal with "riders")

To avoid this annoyance some condos charge a service fee for all maintenance cheques that are received later than the sixth day of the month.

Right-sizing
Buying a condo so small that the kids can't move back home.

Risers
The water piping that distributes water up through high-rise buildings. Can also refer to electrical cabling.

Rooming house
A working definition in Toronto is an accommodation in which more than four unrelated people live in separate units while sharing amenities like bathrooms and kitchens.

Roof anchors
A rigid point of support attached to the roof for securing the ropes and platforms used by window washers and maintenance workers. They must be regularly inspected by an engineer to insure they are safe to use.

Security guard
In Ontario all security guards must hold a valid licence and must be in uniform while on duty.

Serial tenant
Someone who rents one or more properties just to cash in on the short-term rental craze.

Serviced apartments
A serviced apartment is a fully furnished apartment available for both short-term as well as long-term stays, providing all the hotel-like amenities, such as having room service, a fitness center, a laundry room, and/or a rec room. Most of them are equipped with full kitchens, Wi-Fi and washer & dryers inside.

Serviced apartments, corporate apartments, short-term stays, executive suites, temporary furnished rentals, corporate housing are all names that have been used interchangeably.

Short-term condo rental
A condo unit that is rented by the day, week or month; just like a hotel room. They are usually furnished and may have full maid service, cleaners and laundry services.

Some unit owners and commercial operators insist on a minimum of 30 day occupancies.

There are three types of short-term rentals:
Hosted accommodation:
Guest rents a room, resident lives in the unit.
Shared accommodation:
Guest rents the whole unit when host is away.
Commercial residential accommodation
Individuals and companies buy condo units to use them exclusively as unregulated hotel rooms.

Single-Room-Occupancy (SRO)
Cheap hotels or rooming houses where people rent a single room for short or long periods of time. In Toronto among the remaining examples are the Waverley Hotel, Parkview Arms and the Palace Arms.

Slate
A list of the candidates of a political group running for the board.

Snowball
When needed expensive repairs are pushed out into the future. The costs, like a snowball just keep on getting bigger and bigger.

Special Assessment
An unexpected request for funds from the owners. It may be a one-time payment or it could be a request for extra funds spread out over a period of months or years.

Streisand effect
The Streisand effect is the phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide or remove a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the Internet.



It is named after American entertainer Barbra Streisand, whose attempt in 2003 to suppress photographs of her home inadvertently generated further publicity.

Storm chasers
Fake contractors who will show up after a natural disaster when the rebuilding process starts. These people will offer repairs at a cheaper and quicker pace than what is actually possible and ask for the money up front. Once paid, they will either disappear immediately or do quick and shoddy work.

Strong leader model
English jargon for a municipal leader (mayor) that runs the city business with a small group of municipal councillors and city managers with the majority of city councillors having very little say. Discussions take place in private in un-minuted meetings. Decisions are presented to the whole council with very little transparency and no public scrutiny. (This is a model that is followed by too many condo boards.)

Transaction brokerage
The American system of real estate sales were the real estate agent doesn't represent the buyer or seller but rather they are simply brokering a transaction.

Underwater mortgage
A mortgage that is higher than the value of the real estate.
This can happen when the buyer has a low down payment and property values drop.

Unlucky brokers
That’s what Canadian banks and insurers call the mortgage merchants who get caught submitting fraudulent loan documents.

They’re called “unlucky” only because they can’t label them “fraudulent” in a landscape where regulators lack resources to investigate and prove fraud

Urban cottage
A small condo apartment in the downtown that urbanites use when visiting the city for weekends and rented out when not needed.

Vacancy decontrol
When a landlord refuses to repair rent-controlled units and harasses the tenants so they will leave and the landlord can increase the rents on the vacated units.

Vertical response time
Refers to the time it takes for Police, Fire and Emergency Medical Services to get from the entrance of your building to the resident suite or area inside the building requiring assistance.

Vertical trailer park

A slur by used by some NIMBY detached home owners to describe stacked townhouses.

Vertically-split condo
A single building split into a duplex by means of a firewall separating the two units. The two units share the yard, roof and driveway as common elements.

Whale
A super real estate broker who condo developers heavily depend on because they can get dozens of deep-pocket investors to buy units in a project.

Warehousing
Warehousing is when a family buys a condo apartment unit so they can house an elderly parent(s) cheaper than paying for care facilities.

Whisper campaign
A method of persuasion in which damaging rumors or innuendo are spread about the target, while the source of the rumors seeks to avoid being detected while spreading them (for example, a condo political campaign might distribute anonymous flyers attacking the other candidate).

Whisper campaigns are defended in some circles as an efficient mechanism for underdogs who lack other resources to attack the incumbent directors.

Window walls
A cheaper method of providing ceiling-to-floor glass walls in regular residential condominium high-rise towers. (See curtain walls)


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