Physical decay

A condo corporation may be in serious financial trouble but even so a board may refuse to raise the condo fees because they believe they’ll risk getting voted out of office. They may have been elected by promising the owners that they would freeze the fees at the current level and the board may not be willing to be harassed or intimidated by disgruntled owners.

As a result amenities may have been closed for years, serious water leaks are ignored, worn out carpets need replacing and the balconies or the parking garage are no longer safe.

Perhaps the driveway and the visitors' parking areas need re-paving, the HVAC system is on its last legs and/or the hot water pipes have pin holes.

No one is thrilled about any of this but too few are willing to increase the fees so these defects can be repaired.

How bad can it get?

City inspectors may issue work orders. If it is bad enough, they may condemn the underground parking garage. Balconies may be so dangerous that the doors leading out to them are barred.

Sometime in the past, this brick wall was repaired but it obviously needs more work done. I understand that there are serious water penetration problems.

Calgary has joined other cities in mandating regular maintenance of building envelopes five stories or taller after a large piece of an office building wall fell and crushed a car below.

Individual bricks fall off of older condos and the exterior walls may leak but unless this is reported to the municipal city inspectors, the board may ignore these problems for years.

Talk about curb appeal. Crumbling concrete steps are not just a sign of neglect, they are a serious safety concern.

These are the front steps leading into a stacked townhouse complex in Mississauga. Since this photo was taken, the city building inspectors issued a work order so the steps were repaired.

One suggested solution
Mario Deo, a well known condominium lawyer, sees this as such a serious problem that he is urging that the Condominium Act be changed to prevent condos from sliding down market by a system of annual inspections of condominiums and the appointment of an administrator when the building standards start to slide.

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