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Letters
to the
editor




Write to us at:

contact.condomadness@gmail.com


Dear readers;
Due to time constraints, I have stopped having a separate page for "Letters to the editor" and have started adding them in with Condo News.

editor—February 2015


Why complaints about lawyers go nowhere

03 October 2014
Thanks for posting this. These lawyers get away with too much.  Somebody really needs to challenge the Law Society.
Bernadine—Toronto

The Toronto Star article makes is clear why when condo owners make a complaint to the LSUC it does not go very far.
—editor

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We haven't raised our fees
02 October 2014
We haven't raised our common expenses since July 2011. Seriously. You know why?
1.
Because there were so many places to CUT the fat—like ridiculously huge contracts, the cuts compensated for all the other rising costs.
2.
We sold the superintendent's unit.
3.
We started charging back owners when appropriate. No free rides. It's your unit. Inspect and maintain it yourself. If you don't understand insurance, don't come crying to us. If you don't understand what you bought and what your responsibilities are as an owner, too bad.
4.
We cut the lawyers. We cut the management companies. We are totally
no frills.
We have increased many things but there were hundreds of places to slash.  Next year, we will have to increase the common expenses.
Betty—North York

I know about your condo and you have a very hard working board and a lot of thought went into how you run your corporation.

I was referring to a different condo tower. One that has serious leaks in the garage and bricks starting to fall off the building.

It is one thing to keep fees in line due to hard work and a whole different thing when the fees are being kept artifically low so a clique can retain control of the board.
—editor

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YCC #42 AGM results
27 September 2014
These reports really train buyers and owners quickly.  In just a few lines, you warn people that persons in arrears are ineligible for board membership, that proxies can easily be fraudulent, etc.​

You tell a quick story but alert people to quite a few critical facts about condos and about elections.  Reading your reports is much easier than digging through a condo act!
Donna—Toronto

I am glad you enjoy my Condo Reports. I try to make them interesting but at the same time, I hope condo owners will learn a lot about condo life.
editor

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Condominium Issues

25 September 2014
Thank you for your emails. Always very informative.
 
I don't understand how people create a website and distribute flyers about stuff they know nothing about. Don't these people understand that their boards raise condo fees, not the government?

I feel like contacting them.
Elise—Mississauga

Oh, I wouldn't encourage the one or two people who are behind this. I don't think that they are well informed or have any following.

Some readers are very concerned that uninformed condo owners will see any fees imposed on condo owners to pay for Condo Office as being just another tax grab and will pressure the government to kill the proposed Condo Office.

If the new Condo Act gives condo owners an office that will replace the court system for solving condo disputes and allows owners to bring condo managers in front of a disciplinary committee, then a few dollars a year (less than the price of a case of beer) will be money well spent.
editor

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Condominium Issues
24 September 2014
This is ridiculous because what does $ 1 a month amount to? And it would be proportional to the size of the units.

This is simply part of the same group that does not want a condo office because they are afraid of losing control over owners. So they use fees as fear mongering tactics. We desperately need this office.

Can you publish my response and tell this lady to take down those misleading signs if she can?
Ann—North York

I don't think that we should take down any "political" posters put up by condo owners, especially if we disagree with what they say. Free speech and condos are already almost strangers within our condo corporations without us joining the censors.

I don't think that either of Ontario's tiny condo-owners groups is behind this.

If the idea of Condo Office cannot survive even the most crude of criticisms, then there is no hope for it.
editor

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Re: If we don't vote, we don't count
02 June 2014

Thank you for this email. For our condo, I will make a notice encouraging residents to VOTE!

Did you plant those flowers in your balcony? I have not done mine yet. I have been helping owners to plant flowers around our condo.

Today, we covered the tree and flower beds with very beautiful colored mulch. This is the first year that we have planted flowers among ourselves instead of using a landscaping company.

I wish that rain would come ASAP so those flowers can grow.

Jennifer—Toronto

Yes, I planted my flowers two weeks ago and I water and fuss over them every day. They are growing nicely.

At the start of this week, the landscapers came in and planted our flowers in the front and the back. Our seniors love sitting outside on our benches and enjoying the sun.
—editor

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Re: Canvassing in condo buildings
22 May 2014

Yes that is the problem. They don't want the owners to start participating in the election process whether at the government or condo level because then they start asking questions and these fiefdoms are threatened.
E. F.—Toronto

Good morning:
Our building lets them in but the owners hate them.  Our owners don't vote!

OF COURSE they are allowed to canvass—they SHOULD canvass—but in this section of town, very few people are even entitled to vote, never mind registered!  And we're a voting station for all three levels of government.

See now, this is the type of thing where a Condo Office would be very useful.
Betty—North York

I think that it is great that you allow the canvassers in. They take their chances on the canvassing being productive. I am sure not everyone in stand-alone houses are thrilled about them knocking on their doors but that is what an election is all about.

One reason canvassers are turned away is that the boards and the managers know they can get away with it because the candidates will not make an official complaint to Elections Ontario because they do not want to alienate voters.

editor


Directors get free repairs
18 May 2014

A friend  was a former  board president. At one point, he needed his HVAC repaired and the property manager said he wouldn't need to pay  for it because he's on the board.

How often does this occur, and is it legal if it's not disclosed, or authorized by the Corporation?

M.K. Toronto

This is a case of corruption and it happens far too often.

The property manager was insuring that their company keeps their contract. The board has been bought off and the rest of the owners pay for this by the contractors raising costs when they (successfully) bid for future work.

There is no way the owners knew of this or would authorize it. It starts with free work in their apartment, then free renovations and then gifts and cash.

Now you know why directors fight so hard to keep any outsiders off the board.

I would be very interested in the name of the property management company.
editor

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Twelve bedrooms is nothing
11 May 2014
A reader responds to "Rooming houses in condos?" a recent article in
Condo News.


Twelve bedrooms in a townhouse is nothing.

What shocks me is how intimidated other owners, boards and management companies are. You see a bunch of illegals (rooming houses-editor) running around loose and instead of shutting them down (you don't have to give them notice, because they're ILLEGAL) - the boards run to a lawyer.

When you see someone breaking a municipal and condo bylaw on your property and using your common expense money for illegal gains, you don't have to call the cops or a lawyer. You shouldn't warn them or give them notice. Don't give them time to appear legitimate.

That Miller Thomson article proved that they have no idea what they are doing, just trying to make money and insert themselves into a situation where they are not needed.  We have no obligation towards illegal tenants, that's the whole point, they don't exist.

Condo director—North York

We have talked and you are constantly fighting  against illegal rooming houses in your North York condo. Unfortunately, many condos ignore this issue even to the point where the buildings are so overcrowded, property values slide and they start looking like public housing projects.
editor



My input to the ministry
01 May 2014

The following excerpt from my input to the ministry on the Condo Act Review input may be of interest to you.

In the close to four decades that I have lived in my townhouse complex, I have observed that some of the most devastating and difficult to address problems are caused by individuals who would likely be categorized as "sociopaths" or as those "with sociopathic tendencies" by mental health professionals. The same appears to be true of other condos.

In condos, such individuals invariably seek and get positions of power and authority—board, management and other—cause an incredible amount of pain, suffering and damage, and usually get away with it.

They do not look the part. In fact, they are usually charming, charismatic and likable, and come across as being really trustworthy.

They are skillful pathological liars and master manipulators.

They are driven by extreme power and control issues with a total sense of entitlement to act on them.

They have well-honed predatory instincts.

They seem to lack a conscience and feel no remorse, guilt or shame, but can fake it when it suits their purposes.

For a basic understanding of sociopaths, I would highly recommend the book, The Sociopath Next Door, by Martha Stout. It is really informative and well written in simple English.

Keep up the good work!
M C—Brampton

Thank you for your kind words.

I am not sure if most of the destructive directors and managers in condos are sociopaths or if they are people who realize that the chances of anything bad happening to them are very small if they abuse their positions for personal gain. Very small indeed.

As  Neil Steinberg wrote: "As a general rule, individuals will sell out the interests of their groups in return for personal benefit." I dislike saying it but I am sure this is true.

What is more disquieting is that far too often, when the owners throw out a bad board, they soon find that the new board preforms as bad, or worse than the previous one. Maybe they are corrupt, maybe inept or maybe just clueless; it doesn't matter, the results are the same.

Since the 10,000 condos in Ontario need roughly 5,000 honest and well-trained professional managers and 50,000 honest and well-trained amateur directors, how deep is the talent pool we can draw from?


There are thousands of small companies in Ontario that have less capital and smaller cash flows and reserve funds than many of our larger condos. No wonder self-seeking individuals often gain control.
editor


A director has a lien on his unit

23 April 2014

I have a quick question.

A director has finally been liened as he is in excess of 90 days non payment of his condo fees.  My question here is, why is he still sitting on the board?  I thought that if a director does not pay and/or is liened he must step down? Am I wrong?

A second director is staying afloat, though she is consistently two months behind she manages to pay one month so that she is not liened...

I just don't understand how they all do business.
Lara—Toronto

This is what the Act says:

Disqualification
(2)  A person immediately ceases to be a director if,
(a) the person becomes an undischarged bankrupt or incapable of managing property within the meaning of the substitute Decisions Act, 1992; or
(b) a certificate of lien has been registered under subsection 85 (2) against a unit owned by the person and the person does not obtain a discharge of the lien under subsection 85 (7) within 90 days of the registration of the lien.

So the director has three months to discharge the lien before he gets kicked off the board. I don't like this as by then he will be six months behind in his fees.


If he was still president, the lien would not have happened so I suspect that the majority of the board are tired of him.

It sounds like the other director likes to play games but the board does not have to wait until just before the three months to lien her. Since she has a history of late payments, they can lien her unit the first day that she is late.

All the board has to do is send her a letter saying that is what they intend to do.

Some condos, mine included. have a rule that if you are more than six-days late with your fees, they hit the owner with a $125 administration charge.

Management can't kick the first director off the board just yet but they can start processing the lien. When they do that, his mortgagee, usually a bank, will take court action against him. Once a bank gets involved, they move fast.



Missing critical points
11 April 2014
Re: Condo News

Again, another info eblast from you that leaves critical points out the following examples differentiating your comment as follows.

Condomadness: Proxy for votes, you just witnessed my "tame"building using corporation resources to gather director proxies.They didn't even have to go door to door! Called owners, and sat in the lobby with extra proxies in case owners didn't have one passing through a lobby.

Condomadness: Bylaws treated as rules, where changes only needs to be passed by the board. Too open for corruption, owners can't find, or be bothered to get 15% owners to requisition a meeting. BIG issue as owners remain complacent, or rentals in large developments are difficult to even locate.

Reader—west Toronto

This is really good writing.
Betty—North York

When did this meeting take place. I certainly would have gone to it. When is the next meeting where we can have a say or meet other decision makers?
Tony—Brampton

I just reported on what the panelists said, I did not state that I agree with everything said during the presentation.

A proposal to eliminate proxies shows promise but how to come up with something better will not be easy.

In a building having a majority of rented units, electronic voting by distant investors will make it almost impossible for the resident-owners to remove incumbents. Condo boards regularly deny candidates a copy of the Owners' Register even though that is a violation of the Act so only the board can influence absentee investors.

If this goes through, then the Act must specify that the majority of the board must be voted in by only owner-residents. Otherwise the "No Fee Increases" candidates will never get thrown out and the building will  quickly deteriorate.

Can the Act discriminate against non-resident owners? Why not? Our income tax laws currently do.

I am also opposed to allowing a board to change the bylaws at will as I have read some of the new bylaw packages that the law firms are selling to condos. If the condos pass these new bylaw packages in their entirety, my advice is for the owners to sell. Be a renter if you wish but ownership for all but the three who make up the majority of the board could be far too risky.

As far as monthly fees to pay for Condo Office, it is a special tax on condo owners. Condo Office will have to offer a lot more than a few pamphlets, some YouTube training sessions and a 1-800 number based—who knows where—if they expect condo owners to willingly cough up a single nickel. At the least, Condo Office has to replace mediation, arbitration and small claims court.

editor


We are moving
09 April 2014

My husband and I have decided to move out of this condo corporation.
We will not buy another condo.

A newly elected director
Etobicoke

I understand, fully. Condos can be such a heartbreak. I am hearing this from many of my readers. They all say the same: we will never buy another condo.

I attended an AGM last night. About 100 owner-residents tried to gain control of their board but they were defeated by 300 proxies. Approximately 70% of the units are rented and the fees have not been raised in three years. The building is visibly deteriorating but the board cannot be voted out.

After the meeting, the best advice I could give them was to sell their units and try their luck somewhere else.

I wonder if this is one reason the prices of free-hold homes are sky-rocketing. Condo refugees not wanting to get bit a second time.

editor

An update since the AGM
15 April 2014

The main leader of the unit owners has sold for $225K and that's a big relief for the board. One other active lady on his opposition team has also put her house for sale. I look around our town, even semi-detached houses are going for $325K, something that is stiff.

On the other hand, our townhouses will always have monthly special assessments from $150 and above to feed the current board's corrupt appetite. I am more than convinced that special assessments are going to be the way of life for us if this board remains.

I do not think there is leadership out there to stand up to these thugs.  For one contract, $80K was quoted and $250K was spent.

This is thuggery, and so sad that in the beacon of free market western societies like Canada and USA, such things are happening. Most nonsense is the sellers have taken a good $10-15K loss on their houses and moved out rather than spend $100 to $500 contribution to hire a lawyer and make the property management account for the fraud that happened here since they arrived. I guess timid people do not want to stand up for themselves.

What do you thing should be done now or what can be done?

Sam—GTA area

The owners that are staying are those who cannot afford to get out. As you say, prices are going up for anything that is a free-hold and I don’t think they want to go to another condo. Once burnt—twice shy.

The ones that are staying know what is going on. Then there are the new owners. They have not yet caught on to what they bought into. In time, they will be  willing to fight. (Maybe.)

Perhaps new leadership is required and it may be best that Paul has sold. He must have been very tired of it all. A new leadership will form one day and they may be more successful.

Prepare
Right now, keep all flyers, notices, newsletters, letters and AGM packages that you can gather, for as far back as possible and put them in a box. They will be needed later.

Important
Ask Paul for a copy of all the documents that he has before he moves. It would be a shame to have all of that thrown out.

Please stay in touch. I am still willing to help.
editor


Owner hit with full court costs
02 February 2014

Was he at fault? If not, why is it unfortunately?
Owner—Etobicoke

Yes, it appears that he had behaviour problems but don't you think that a total legal bill of $60,000, his costs for both sides, is a hell of a price for not understanding his obligations to behave as a resident in a condominium community?

Too bad he didn't understand that he probably didn't fit in so could have sold his unit and moved into housing that better fit his needs.

editor


Mandatory elevator cab fencing
07 January 2014

For Your Information:
The deadline for the elevator guardrail has been extended until May 1, 2014.

But we have made this our current action item.
Boz—Etobicoke

Thank you for this update. I guess there are so many elevators that need to be done, they have extended the deadline.

editor


Mandatory elevator cab fencing
06 January 2014
I must quickly reply.

I hate that Ontario Ministry of Labour because they never tell condominiums about these important new laws.

They're like the Ministry of Consumer Services, they just send broadcasts and expect somebody somewhere somehow to get the message.  I'm not going to listen to anybody who can't even figure out a name or an address.

No one trustworthy tells us that we have to put cages on elevator tops—luckily we already had a few years ago. You think we would trust an engineer? After all the things that have happened to us?  I don't think so.

Luckily, we had another issue with our roof anchors, discovered when a Ministry of Labour inspector happened to be driving by us while on his lunch.

He thought that for something to do, he would check us out. He closed down our roof on the spot! And then the Ministry of Labour was actually helpful to us when our stupid engineer, who charged us to do nothing and was delaying one of our huge projects costing $618,000.

The Ministry of Labour told our engineering company that they were taking months too long on a simple, mandatory roof anchor job and he would remember them. Our engineering company treated us like dog dirt and they had the sign-off on the rooftop, but they just wouldn't sign off —FOR MONTHS.

The Ministry of Labour guy turned out to be okay, but NONE of us had
ever even heard of the Safety Department of the Ministry of Labour until he showed up.
Betty—North York

The elevator technicians I talk to say there company has been telling all of their customers about this for the last three years.

I think most of them will continue to service the elevators who do not have them installed, for a while anyway, but if anyone gets hurt, the directors are taking a huge personal risk.

Same thing with roof anchors. Some condos don't get them done, either the board doesn't know they need to or they are trying to save money.

editor


How can I get a home owners' list

03 December 2013

At the conference you said something very interesting. The folks at my townhouse condo have been asking for list of owners and the directors and the property manager has point blank refused.

Could you help me in getting this from the government as you said one can? This will be of great help to all of us.

Tony Zale
Brampton

It was sad to hear the conference moderator say that property managers and the board of directors have privacy concerns about giving an owner a list of the other unit owners.

Not only does that Act give the homeowners the right to receive a list of the unit owners on the corporation's register but when an owner needs that list to contact his/her follow owners because of an attempt to requisition an owners' meeting or as a candidate for election, democracy is denied.

What makes this an even bigger farce is that the records of all persons who own property within a municipality are public records that can be searched for free. (At least it is free in Toronto.)

As far as seeing the municipal tax records, I am not sure where you go to get that information in Peel (your local city councillor can tell you that) but I describe the process to follow in Toronto on my website.

Not only do you get the names and addresses of all the registered owners for every condo unit in the corporation but you get the names of the tenants. You also can see if their taxes support the public or the separate school board.

Printing copies is very expensive and it is time-consuming to write down all the data so take a digital camera and photocopy the computer screen as you scroll down.

editor


Interesting e-mails
08 November 2013

Thanks for linking us to those interesting YouTube videos—I never thought of looking there.

Clearly these condo corporations do not comply with generally accepted accounting procedures and I am pretty sure we have to do that here. (GAAP). So much money lost or spent somehow!

Talk to you soon
Betty—North York

I am glad you enjoyed them as much as I did.

Sure those Florida and BC condos "had to" have annual audited financial statements and just as surely they just didn't bother.

There are condos in Toronto who haven't had AGMs or audited financial statements for several years and the boards get away with it. Sometimes they have the AGMs but because they fire their property manager every year or two, they say the records were destroyed or got lost. So sorry.

A well run condo should have its AGM within three months of the year end. The poorer run ones wait the full six months or even longer.

If there are no AGMs or the financial statements look fishy, sell and get out before the assessments hit.
editor


Visit the townhouse complex
03 November 2013
Why don't you visit the troubled townhouse complex I have been telling you about and just take a stroll around the complex.

You will see most of the trees are gone. It now looks like a beautiful woman shaved bald. I will give you some units you could could call on when you are there and get the dope on this place.

It is really a hell hole.
Tony Zale—Brampton

The owner-activists who live at that condo know about my website and they also know I am willing to meet with them. Yet, no one has called.

I am not going to knock on doors like a desperate Electrolux vacuum salesman as I am not looking to sell them anything. In other words, I am not going to stick my nose in a private fight where I have not been invited.

Units at that townhouse complex are selling so I guess people are making their escape. Yet that does not solve the problem, it just gives the grief to someone else.
editor


Fire in Alberta condos

12 October 2013

Our building has had more than one fire caused by a lit cigarette tossed over the balcony railing. In August, a family were eating dinner, looked up, and their balcony was on fire.

The fire department came with their hoses. They firemen were pretty calm about the whole thing, it's nothing new to them.

Are you kidding? We have people SCRAPE THEIR DIRTY DISHES off their balconies! Another huge fire promoter: mulch.

I enjoy your tweets.

Betty—North York

Thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to write us e-mails. We learn a lot from your experiences.

Lit cigarettes being dropped out of windows or raining down from balconies is a serious fire hazard. The big fire at 200 Wellesley a couple years back, was caused by a lit cigarette landing onto a balcony below.

Some condos ignore propane barbecue's on the balconies or terraces. Dumb. There can be an extremely serious explosion if a lit cigarette is dropped upon a leaking propane tank.
editor
                                            —

Who fixes the broken window?

08 October 2013

I have a quick question to ask you. I live on the 21st floor. When I was on vacation, I came back and noticed that my bedroom window was cracked. Perhaps it was due to a storm or heavy winds.

I called the management office to fix it but they refused.

My question is: are these types of damages covered by the condominium insurance or by my home insurance? I have been paying to both insurances. Is their refusal right or wrong? Please take your time and let me know. Thanks!

Etobicoke

It depends on what your Declaration and bylaws say. They state what makes up the common elements and what is part of your unit.

In most condos, but not in all, the windows are common elements and the corporation pays for repairing the windows. A few say that the windows belong to the unit.

You have to read your documents to see which is the case for your condo.
editor

                                            —

Examine janitor's records
04 October 2013

It was a pleasure meeting you last night. I have a question. I made the following request to our corporation Property Manager regarding our two janitors. Their:
1. Job Description
2. Resume
3. Service Contract
 
The property manager indicated that he could only provide me a copy of item 1. but not items 2 and 3 above. The latter two because of reasons of privacy and confidentiality citing the Condo Act.
 
Is the property manager right?  Please advise. Thanks. Regards.

Missisauga

The resume should be restricted to the board members as it holds private information. They do the hiring and firing and it is up to them to check his credentials.

The service contract would state his salary-wages and perhaps other protected information. It probably is protected too.

The job description, you can examine.
editor


Police warn owners of condo corruption 
28 September 2013
Don't you think all of this corruption is happening because boards/owners are suckers?

Condos are peddled as "carefree"—but no home ownership is attention-free.  And with owners, it's always someone else's responsibility to find and analyze tenders.

I just don't think this new manager-licensing will work.  To hinge ethical behaviour on the 'middle man'— who has no decision making ability at all - that won't work.  Besides, it's not even the property manager's property—get to the heart of the issue, educating buyers, investors and foreigners or "arms-length Canadians" in the proper parlance.

And to have a government sponsored agency lecture people on ethics is ludicrous.  Do they think that will stop CRIME?  The vanity!

Keep up the great work.
Betty—North York

Well, I am encouraged that the police are at least starting to notice that corruption is a problem.

They remark that the owners need to wake up and watch is going on. It is only when the owners wake up that the corruption gets noticed.

I wonder what the owners of that Pickering condo will think when, and if, they find out that their manager lost her last job due to alleged corruption. All of the staff at Channel, the ones who helped Manzoor Khan get away will millions are working for other condo management companies. The PMCs don't seem to care.

Another thing. The owners get harassed and threatened if they ask to see the financial records so most give up. If they hear that the police are encouraging them to show an interest in their condo's affairs, then that may help get the owners active.
editor



Not a PMC blacklist

09 September 2013
Sometime ago I put a question on the ACMO website about a bad board and management company. If you are listing good management companies, I wish you could also have a blacklist.

The one we have should be on it. Everything unethical for assisting board members harass and defame owners to actively hindering the AGM and the turnover meeting to protect their friendlier board members.
 
The board refused to call an AGM.  After 16 months we requisitioned the AGM and when the board of three lost quorum they adjourned the AGM meeting and to date not calling the turnover meeting.

As the newly elected directors have the majority the remaining directors are hindering the process and the managers are just happy to assist.
 
Licensing and penalties are a needed must for the next Condo Act.
Adrian

I went to the ACMO website and copied your original posting below:

"We have a three building condominium with 220 units. May 2012 we elected five members to a new board to replace one where all members fought and eventually resigned.

Within four months two members of new board were concerned with direction the new members taking, private meetings, harassment of Manager and staff etc.. The two resigned as they were always left out of decision making.

Since September 2012 the remaining three members have acted alone, making several decisions which have lead to very depressed ownership.
Our year end was September 2012 and they didn't call an AGM unit June 2013, although late we were satisfied that we could replace the vacancies and two of the three whose terms were only one year.

The board sent incomplete packages out some without proxies and those who received found errors in the proxies.

Worst part was they posted notices in buildings May 29th after 6:00 pm that they cancelled the AGM till August 2013.

We are now forced to do a requisition to remove the expired Directors and fill the vacancies.

Will the new Condominium Act allow more control over boards who only interest is power?

Owners shouldn't need to finance lawyers and give up a lot of time because some refuse to follow the laws set out.
Posted: 04 June 2013"

I see that you did not receive any replies to your posting on the ACMO website. Given your topic, I am not surprised.

We know that the reforms to the Condo Act will include licencing of property managers and we believe that condo disputes will be settled at some sort of tribunal. Not details as of yet.

However, I suspect that we will have to wait two to three years before
the new Act comes into effect. Until then, we have to work within our
present Act.

My list of property managers is just that; a list of the companies that are providing property management services in the GTA.

It is not a list of companies that I recommend. In my opinion a few—very few— of the companies that I listed should not be in business.

editor

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Farm foreclosure
18 August 2013
I know you deal with condos mostly but you do know that people are loosing their farms left and right.

People who have had them for generations. My friend who works with me has had her farm for about 25 years. She has ten acres in Shelbourne and she was financed by the bank.

The bank will not renew the loan. Not interested in farms. She can not find a lender as she is a self-employed contractor. Like so many businesses are going now, she looses the farm by foreclosure today.

Two lenders want finders fees up front from her to process the loan!
Never heard of such a thing. They should get a commission from the lender not look to the borrower for $2,000.00 or more.

Interested in looking at this case as we take it to the papers maybe?

Don—Mississauga

Sure I am interested in this. send me updates.

There is no direct tie-in with condos except for the risk of the bank not re-newing a mortgage. That is something many condo owners should be aware that their bank will not automatically renew their mortgages when the term is up.

If CMHC decides to deny mortgage insurance to a condo corporation, the owners who owe 80% or more on their units may find that the bank will not renew their mortgage.

At any time, the bank may decide that they are over-exposed to condos in a given market so they could stop renewing mortgages.

Then condo owners too will be hit with a rush to find a mortgagee, get hit with finder fees, extra costs and a high-interest loan. That is if they are "lucky".

Worse case, these condo owners will lose their units.

editor

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AGM election
17 August 2013
 
A couple of question, first about  our election. Was it proper for the property manager (PM) to go into the room to help the people who volunteered to count the ballets?
 
When I resigned from the board I sent my resignation notice to the board , The PM came to my door and asked me to stay on (there was still quorum) . Was it the PM`s place to asked me to stay, or the boards?
 
Just one more. After the elections the President of our property management company made an announcement. he said:

"Sally will not be on the board after the next AGM meeting. Sally has one more year, and her present position will be filled by someone else at the next election". Sally was stunned.

I know what the PMC said was wrong, and that she can run again, but Sally doesn`t know that. I know they said it, to get rid of her.

This is one of those things, I know what the PM`s are dealing with, she is the ultimate condo commando .
 
Looking forward to hearing from you,
Have a great day,

Condo owner in Durham

I will answer the questions in sequence.

1.) The PM may assist the scrutineers if they have basic questions but he/she will be going too far if he decides which proxies are valid and which ones are not. Also, this may sound paranoid but the PM may try to slip a couple of extra ballots into the count. It happens at times, even with the big management companies.

I am sorry this page is not yet complete (I hope to complete it in a week or ten days) but this page on elections may give you some pointers on this.
http://www.condomadness.info/challenge-election.html

2.) It was proper for the manager or the other directors to ask you to stay on the board. I see nothing wrong with that.

3.) The president of the management company was WRONG. More than that, he tells me that your condo corporation should change property management companies. He is trying to deny Sally her right to be re-elected as often as the owners vote for her and as long as she wants to hold the position.

Sounds to me that something is really wrong there. If he lies on this, what else is he lying about?

If Sally is a poor performing director, then the other directors can run a different candidate and try to unseat her at the next election. That is far enough.

Please tell Sally that she can stand for re-election as many times as she wishes. If she has any questions, she can e-mail me and if I get a phone number, I will call her.

Perhaps you should tell her about www.condomadness.info. We are also on Twitter at @condomadness13.

I hope you are enjoying your weekend.
editor

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Condo skills not transferable
16 August 2013

Hi:
I found Gerry Hyman's columns an excellent base for analyzing the
h-u-g-e spectrum of issues in condos.

Also, in the Financial Post, there is another column written by a woman named "Marilyn" who is a highly experienced condo owner/manager who I think lives in Kitchener—she is much easier to read than Gerry.

As you already know, it's not just about the law, it's about building inspections and maintenance and 100 other topics that just don't make the news because they're BORING, but these are the heavy-duty issues which are the pulp of a successful condo corporation.

My skills from condo directorship are NOT transferable! I am preparing a WARNING LIST for our owners —when I finish it I will certainly email it to you!

It is a list of questions that owners should ask:
1) applicants
2) current directors
to see if they have actually learned anything over the last one, two
or three years.

We have just been through hell with our President.  We just removed him a couple of weeks ago, and it took forever because he just wouldn't accept the directors' votes!

He tried to cancel all the meetings we held to get rid of him!

Finally, we had to invoke our electronic conference and meeting section in one of our bylaws, just to hold a meeting without him screaming at us and abusing us (like, I mean, him screaming FUCK OFF at everyone.

No kidding, I was the only person who said, you know what, this guy
is a flake!

Also, ACMO members and lawyers don't make money on well-run condos.

Betty—North York

Hi Betty;
Be sure to send me your checklist. I will share them with my readers.

I also noticed that the higher the legal fees listed in the financial statements, the worst shape the corporation is in.

When I bought this condo I noticed that the average legal fees was $1000. That was one reason I bought here.

editor

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Emergency preparedness

10 July 2013

Our Security Desk has an emergency box containing everything from candles to matches to plungers to flashlights to first aid kits to caution tape to laminated "no entry" signage.

Candles are a big potential problem because candles can smoke, setting off the in-unit fire alarms, and also people forget to blow them out!

We have a back-up generator so when the power goes out, the generator kicks in to work one elevator (other elevators can be activated by Security, using a key), just so ambulances and firefighters can still go or down even when the power is out.

We also have minimal lighting throughout the common elements during a blackout and of course, all exit signs.  All stairwells remain 100% lit.

Of course, the fire panel goes beserk when the power is out but Security resets it after the power goes back on.

When the power was out the other day, one guard worked 24 hours straight. Our camera system and our fob system still work when the power is out.

Our power was out for eight hours the other night and it was pouring rain. We did not have any flooding, our building is a fortress in that respect.

Well, I am in the process right now of getting signatures to get two directors kicked off the board, and I'm on the board myself!

Our PMC shouldn't even be in business.  They are incredibly unethical.  And when I complained to the ACMO Ethics Committee about them, using a word-for-word transcript of the District Manager lying to the entire board—you guessed it—the ACMO Ethics Committee didn't care.

KEEP SENDING YOUR BLOG.  Excellent quality.
We'll meet sooner or later!

Betty—North York

You have been a director for a long time and your board is continuously learning from their experiences. Other condos should be so fortunate.

Your issues with the board shows that attracting good candidates to replace existing directors is a constant challenge.

editor

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Anonymous accusations 
24 May 2013

I received an e-mail asking me for assistance. It dealt with a letter that was sent to several government agencies complaining about work being done on fire stops. The last sentence in the letter states:

"I am writing this letter anonymously for fear of victirnisation which I and many owners have suffered from the property management company and the present Board. I await your findings which can be sent to owners."

The author asked me:
Without mentioning my name you can make a big deal of this matter. Let me know if you need more ammo. This condo has been thoroughly terrorized.

Anonymous

No I can't.

Anonymous accusations don't cut it. What do you expect the Toronto Sun or the Toronto Star to do with the letter you anonymously sent them? It will be the same with the Office of the Ombudsman—Ontario.

You are making serious accusations of poor workmanship at best and of fraud at worse by your property management company and the contractors. Then there is the accusation that the owners are being terrorized by their condo president and the property manager 

So far so good. But what evidence do you give anyone to work with?

There is no one to talk to. You have no names, addresses or phone numbers included in your letter. There is no expert source named that will verify what you said as being factual. There are no photographs of the completed fire stops nor of any that are—or were—under construction. There are no documents.

This is a City of Brampton matter. Personally go to the city building standards department and the Fire Marshall. Both of them keep their sources anonymous. Bring photos and documents.

Have you took this serious issue to your city councillor?

Have you, or any of the owners, made an appointment to see your MPP? Have you sent a signed letter to the Ministry of Consumer Services? I have their contact information if you need it.

Have any of the victims gone to the Peel Police to lay a complaint about being intimidated? That is a criminal offence. Proving it is not very hard.

Has anyone gone to the Brampton Guardian? They published the story of the fire at your condo when it happened. Ask one of their editors what you need to make this a story that is fit to be published. I am sure they will talk to you.

I cannot publish your letter on my website for all the reasons I listed above; the same reasons no one else will touch it.

If the owners would like to meet with me so we can discuss the situation at their condo, I am willing to do so.

editor

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Minutes of board meetings
15 May 2013
I was wondering if you could give me your opinion about minutes for the board meetings.

I asked the manager for the minutes for October, November and December, and when I got there, she gave me a copy of the September one but could not give me October and November (no December meeting) because they were not signed. I asked what is going on? When I was on the board at my previous condo, the minutes were signed at the meeting at the time that they were approved.

I got a weird feeling about this. If minutes are approved but not signed, some people can still change them and then sign them without the knowledge of others. I am really doubting the integrity of these minutes. The copies I saw had only one signature, and she tells me one was signed in February, the other one yesterday.
To me, something smells a bit fishy.

Concerned in Mississauga

Minutes of board meetings often seem to be more of a problem than the minutes of the AGMs. There are a few reasons for this.

1.
The board usually hires a professional secretary to take the AGM minutes but not the board minutes.
2.
The Board secretary may be trying to add to much information and makes mistakes that have to be corrected.
3.
Maybe there were no minutes or minimal minutes taken at the meeting so they have to be made up as best as possible.
4.
If the October to December minutes are being signed in February and in May, then something seriously wrong. Maybe the board is not taking the minutes seriously. If so, then they need a new secretary. They can appoint someone to the Secretary position (an officer) to take notes; it does not have to be a board member.
5.
The board doesn't want the owners to do so much snooping in their affairs so they make it difficult to see the records.

Perhaps they are hiding something; more likely not. One can become very paranoid when living in a condo.

editor

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Superintendent babysitting
13 May 2013

I have a quick question, I was on your site and was reading the Abuse of Office issues with Condo Boards, what are your thoughts on Condo Board directors who dump their children on the superintendent to attend offsite/onsite meetings that are held during the Super's working hours?
 
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this.

owner—Eotobicke

I understand that you recently had a complete new board elected and they have made it clear that they are going to do things differently.

There are perks of office and there are abuses of office. I see this as both an abuse of position and an insult to the superintendent.

I suppose she can't complain as she needs her job.

What do the owners think of this?  The ones who do not know about now will hear about it soon enough.

editor

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Minutes—Board of Directors Meetings
05 May 2013
My corporation has up until now not released (ie. put on Hold) minutes of Board meetings since January 2013. The reason being given by the Directors that they are still making modifications to the minutes even to one of Jan 2013!

Minutes of Jan - April 2013 have not been released to the owners. Our AGM is due on May 13, 2013.

My questions:
1. Is there a rule/law that can prevent the directors from doing the above

2. Property Management Company is helpless in this. They say that it is the decision of the Board.

3. What is the first priority of the Property Management Company? To serve the owners or the management company?

4. What recourse is available to the owners?

Regards.

Good afternoon. Here are the answers to your questions:
Question #1:
Refusing an owner's reasonable request to examine the board minutes is a violation of the Condo Act.

However, the request must be in writing and you need to follow the procedures that I list on my website at:
http://www.condomadness.info/commando_records.html

Question #2:
The majority of the board members (3 out of 5) have the final say.

Question #3:
The first priority for the property management company is to keep the contract. To do that they must do what the majority of the board wants them to do. The two minority directors also have no real power unless they can get a new person elected who will tip the balance of power to their side.

Question #4:
There are three things the owners can do:
a.) Follow my suggestions at:
http://www.condomadness.info/commando_records.html

and if that fails:
http://www.condomadness.info/commando_small_claims.html

b.) Elect someone else to the board that believes in transparency.

c.) Elect new board members at every AGM until you achieve a majority. If there is good reason not to wait, and if there is sufficient support among the owners, petition for a requisition meeting to remove the problem directors.

Hopefully this answers your questions.

editor

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The names on the proxies
04 February 2013

Hello editor
Does the name of the candidate to be elected to the board has to be in the handwriting of the unit owner or the person to whom the proxy is given may enter the name of the candidates?

Basically the owner is letting the person carrying the proxy to a meeting put the candidates name of whomever it chooses.

I do recall reading somewhere that the owner must write it in his/her own handwriting the names of the candidates but now cannot seem to find the exact spot. I could be wrong, or one of those things I read in a newspaper column.

Thanks for your time

Ed—Peel Region

Hi Ed;
The names of the candidate or candidates that the owner wants to be elected must be on the proxy, either in handwriting or pre-printed, BEFORE the owner signs the proxy.

A person can write in the names and the owner sign the proxy as long as the names are on the proxy when the owner signs. A proxy that an owner signs and the names are added later is an invalid proxy.

Proxies need to be challenged at the AGM or special meeting by the scrutineers. It makes little sense to challenge them after the meeting as then a defeated candidate will need to go to superior court to challenge the vote.

The condo's lawyer is quick to reject any proxy that supports the opposition but may accept questionable proxies that support the incumbents.

It is best you have your group's condo lawyer give a legal opinion on any suspect proxies.

editor

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Board spying on owners
02 February 2013

Hi ...I saw the bit on your site about North Korea.

At our condo, in early 1990s, a bunch of owners were fed up with the board, not spending money on decorating and social committees and what-not; so they overthrew the board.

It was a nasty affair. One meeting was so rowdy, an older woman on the board had to be escorted back to her suite. 


The new board (these are the jackasses that fell in with Manzoor Khan) well they knew how to handle things. Some of the dissident owners asked the new board a lot of questions, and when they did not get answers, they did things like post flyers in the elevator—and some even dropped flyers on doors after midnight. 

How did this new board handle things? They put cameras in the elevators, in the gym and in the party room. 

One night, a few owners met in the party room to find out ways they could get the answers to their budget questions. 
Those same owners got a nasty letter from Fine & Deo saying these gatherings were not allowed. WTF? 

At a special owners meeting, the owners asked the Board: "How did you know to whom to send the letters".

"We used the security camera " the president admitted. Mario Deo's face fell. Even he knew, it was stupid to do it and stupid to admit it.


resident—Downtown Toronto

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YCC # 42 chapter
17 January 2013

Hello Mr. Editor,


Hope you are ok. I took the time to go over the whole YCC #42 condo mess on your website.

It was really wonderful but there were a few errors that I saw. Being involved with YCC #42 matters for the last 20 odd years, some of the matters were missing.

Whoever did provide you with this information was correct to some extent. Although you do not live here, the information you got was not entirely correct and it doesn't matter that you got it wrong.

But being a long time resident, I know myself what really happened as I was involved with many of the concerns. 


I hope you will not misunderstand me. I do love all your great ideas. I have good feelings knowing that you came up with this.

Your blogs will be better once you dig deeper into what happened and I can certainly help you with that. So I do need some time to sit down with you and then we can add more information, it will be great!

Thank you so much.
 

With Regards,
YCC #42 resident

I am anxious to be accurate in everything I write on my website. All and any errors that I made, including spelling and grammar, I will correct as soon as they are brought to my attention.


The information I used came from court documents. I realize that I did not read all the court documents nor did I talk with all the participants.
I would like to meet with you whenever it is convenient so we can discuss what errors and omissions I have made and to learn what other information you may have.

Please let me know what day, time and place would be good for you.

editor


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Condo adviser
24 November 2012

Thanks for telling me about your site. You are my Condo adviser.
Our condo could have been a wonderful place to live if the President and his gang had taken the right route. What do they hope to achieve by taking the wrong road?

I am familiar with your condo. It appears that the board is interested in keeping control so they can keep the condo fees low. As you can see, low maintenance fees can make a five year old condo look like a twenty year old condo.
I hope that enough owners can get together to win the elections and turn the property around. Good luck.

Editor


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Khan is being exposed
22 November 2012

I checked out your website, it's very informative.
I don’t live at YCC #42 but I own a unit there. The new board did nothing they promised in their campaign, if anything, just the opposite.
Thank you for all the hard work with exposing condo fraud and those dirty rotten scammers. I am forwarding your website to another homeowners of whom I have email addresses.

Thanks for the kind words. I wish you the best at YCC #42. If your friends wish to be on my mailing list, they just need to send me their e-mail address.
Editor


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Very shocking
21 November 2012

I finally got time to read your Khan series. Very shocking, but your style makes it a very interesting, enjoyable reading.
Everybody, who reads it, should thank you for this writing. I do.
Take care.

Reader


I think that it is important that people understand how Manzoor Khan operated as I am sure that a few other managers use similar methods to cheat their clients. Few however, would be as bold as Khan was.

It also shows that the board and the owners need to be vigilant and must intervene when they think things have gotten out of control.
Editor


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Status Certificate
18 October 2002

I think it is very important to be able to examine the Status Certificate well before making any kind of commitment to buy a condo. Although there is a 15 days clause that says the buyer may back out if something is found not to their liking. However, in real life situations this is hardly ever feasible.
 
Let me explain to you why. In the majority of the cases the Status Certificate is delivered a couple of weeks before the actual possession of the condo, and by this time a lot of commitment and preparation has been already well underway. The buyer has already given notice to the landlord or the purchaser of the day he/she will vacate the premises. The landlord or the purchaser have also made commitments.

This results in a huge chain reaction of many families relying on the each other to honour their commitments.
 
I am sure you are getting the idea or the drift of where I am leading too. It is therefore imperative that the buyer MUST see the Status Certificate before making any commitments.

The Status Certificate may show that the condo has a very low reserves and that the last audited financial statement is two years old. This could and must be unacceptable.

I know on a first hand basis where auditors and lawyers have approved purchases at a condo that has extremely low reserve funds. It is therefore wise to take the documents to a good lawyer or even to some reliable close friends who could explain any pitfalls.

This is just my two cents and hope you might find it useful.

Enver Khorasanee


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The date for the London Public Info Mtg

12 October 2012
To: david.brezer@ontario.ca
Ministry of Consumer Services

Can you please tell me when and where the London Public Information Session for the Ontario's Condominium Act Review will take place?

I would like to post this information on my website for the benefit of my readers who live in western Ontario and may wish to attend.

editor—condomadness.info

13 October 2012
To: editor—condomadness.info

I do not believe the particulars of future information sessions have been announced.  However, as soon as they are, I will ensure that you are notified so you may share this information with your readers.
David Brezer

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Re: Why couldn't they snitch?
07 October 2012
I wonder why no one questioned the previous board of directors who hired Channel Property Management then fired them and then re-hired them.

I was at the special owners meeting when they were collecting the proxies for the second loan bylaw. Everyone was angry and the owners wouldn't vote in favour of taking on another loan.

Our board and Channel had to be escorted out of the meeting room by the hired security guards.

After all the money was spend on repairs, we didn't have an AGM meeting for the next two years.

We tried to remove the directors but the process is lengthy and it cost money to hire lawyers, money we don't have.

We discovered what we believe to be falsified proxies from the second loan bylaw meeting.  Why didn't the meeting Chairman check them? We asked for an owner to be able to scrutinize the proxies but we were ignored.

Is the Chairman not responsible if the vote was tainted by falsified proxies?

Do you know how many people in our building have lost homes? How many peoples lives that were effected?

I am telling you investing in a shared property is a bad idea and I have learned my lesson.

Golam Chowdhury
236 Albion Road   Toronto

I was wondering about that board. There are statements in Justice Brown's decision that reek of director negligence and a complete abdicating of their responsibilities.

On 29 March 2010 the board's lawyer's got an injunction from Justice Brown to prevent the owners from holding a special meeting to remove the directors. It appears that the board held off asking for an administrator for as long as possible.

In his ruling Justice Brown makes note of unaudited financial statements. Why would the financial statements be unaudited?

I hope to be able to uncover what happened from 2006 to 2010 to see why Manzoor Khan managed to get away with as much as he did.
Editor

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Re: Manzoor Khan found guilty of fraud
05 October 2012
The newspaper cutting I have talks of $20.3 millions. The judgment refers to only 1.3 million. What about the rest of $19 million?

Is there a breakdown of the amount from the various condos? That will most certainly help.
 
Another curious finding. Two condos that were effected by Khan do not show that their market value has been depreciated. How come?

It appears that 236 Albion has been the greatest sufferer although others suffered too but to a lesser extent.

Ed—Brampton

MTTC # 170 was different than the secret loans as Khan arranged for a legitimate loan at this condo that the owners approved and voted in favour of. (The first loan for sure, the second loan seems to have questions to its legitimacy.)

Khan had work done at 236 Albion Road and charged the condo twice the work's worth. Plus he claimed payments for other work that was not done.

The other $19 million is for loans at other buildings that went straight into Khan's pocket. No work was ever done.

236 Albion Road was hit hard because it is a working class community who's owners can't afford to be victims of an expensive fraud. They also had a history of troubles over the years that were due, in part, to poor decisions made by the different boards and by the owners determination to keep their fees artificially low.

The other buildings will get their titles cleared within a couple of years and they did not have any work done with money raised by loans, so once their titles are cleared, they may recover their value.

MTCC # 710's problems run deep and will be harder to solve.
Editor

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Re: YCC # 42 elects board of directors
01 October 2012
If people have bad things to say of Khan that does not bode well for him coming off the block.

The main rub lies in proxies. I venture to guess that the turnout was less than 20% of the owners and the rest was by proxies.

It is the very rare and in unusual cases where the turnout is more than 20%.

Every minute of the day I am thinking of this Condo Problem. This has totally consumed me in the last two years and I have come to the conclusion that a major portion of the problems involved mainly the abuse and misuse of condo funds can be overcome (never solved) by increasing turnouts by owners.

The argument always thrown to me is that "this is democracy" and no one can be made to do things against their wishes. WRONG. In Australia and another South American country not voting is punishable by law. I am convinced that some rule or system can be implemented to make owners vote. No amount of 'review body' can be effective if owners do not turn out to vote.

This is what I propose: like minded people like us must go door to door and talk to people about the importance of voting and even otherwise taking interest in what is going on in their condo.

Ideally if we have influence or some sort of sway over directors of any condo to tell them to pass bylaws:
a.  Three years maximum directorship. Eligible to run again after a period of 5 years.
b.  Before the AGM a letter must go out to all owners confirming
their attendance. A fine of $100 stipulated if confirmed but does not show up without a valid reason.
c.   Some limit set to the number of proxies. Not more than 20%-30% must be placed.

I wish one can get their hands of some condo where all of our wishes could
be implemented. Wouldn't that be nice.

However we have to keep up with our good work
Take care;
Tony Zale   Brampton

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Re: Recommended changes to the Act
30 September 2012

Having read your recommendations a few times now, I disagree with items:
6.) Mandatory 16 hour long training sessions for all condominium directors. The training costs will be paid by the corporation.

7.) Further mandatory 16 hours training for the secretary, treasurer and president of the board.

I disagree with any mandatory training because it's a voluntary board who can depend on professionals to assist with the more difficult decisions.

The Code of Ethics should be  part of an enforceable document, and part of a permanent Declaration that remains consistent with each Corporation.

Currently, the declaration can be written,and amended at will by a Corporation's lawyer, and or builder to suit interests that may not reflect the owners.

My  declaration permits a board to remove another director with just quorum on the board! They can circumvent the 50% plus 1 requirement of the Condominium Act, leaving no accountability when not checked.

Margaret      Toronto

The "voluntary" condo directors require training to insure that they know their duties and responsibilities. As it stands now, we have directors who know neither.

Most volunteer positions require mandatory screening and training. Boy Scouts, suicide help lines, summer camp guides, the St. John Ambulance, auxiliary policemen, local trade union officials, First Aid providers, directors of hospital boards and various charities and religious groups are all manned by volunteers.

None of these organizations would dream of having people placed on the job making million-dollar decisions, being responsible for the health and safety of up to a thousand people and being in care of 50 million dollars of real estate investments without insuring that they had a minimum level of training. Yet condos do it all the time.

You raise an excellent point. The Act needs to add whistle blowing protection for directors who are aware of unethical and illegal behaviour by the majority directors. Codes of Silence should be left to gangs of organized  criminals not on the boards of non-profit corporations.

The present CCI Code of Ethics seems to me to be primarily a tool to prevent minority directors from whistle blowing on the majority directors when they violate the Act, Declaration Bylaws and rules of the corporation, city bylaws, building codes and perhaps even criminal activities.

I am not sure that the courts would uphold the majority directors voting the minority directors off the board without a vote by the owners.

editor

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Response
01 October 2012

The  key issue is the Condominium Act's self regulation. Without any legislation/oversight  requiring governance, and enforcement.

In contrast to the condo owners stuck with the Condominium Act. The organizations you reference aren't forced to only use civil law to remedy breaches to their organizations.

Your idea for condo board members being screened, and trained fails without "oversight."

Similar to the volunteer examples you referenced, these groups have accessible recourse. For example, the use of prerequisite criminal background checks, falls within criminal code. Albeit, issues still arise where unscrupulous individuals skirt the process. Look at the fallout from the scouts, and the Roman Catholic church where years of abuse were covered up by a wall of silence.

Margaret      Toronto

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Re: News—Mississauga meeting
27 September 2012
Thanks for the write up. I loved the summary of issues discussed.

Damerla Dipika-MPP
Mississauga East–Cooksville

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Letter to the Minister
September 22, 2012
Dear Honourable Minister of Consumers  Margerett Best,

Thank you for giving your time to our condo concerns. This is the second time you attended an information session and I hope to see you at the upcoming sessions.

At both of the sessions. your assistance promised to speak for 5 minutes but got carried away and spoke for almost 30 minutes. At the first meeting he was cut short, and so was the case at the second one in Mississauga. I hope you and he will take that into consideration for future meetings. Those attending have a lot to say.

Of the concerns brought up by the folks there was an obvious theme running throughout the discussion that is the abuse and misuse of the condo funds. I am sure you could not have missed this serious concern voiced by a very vast majority of the people at both of the meetings. I assure you I too have a horror story to narrate but at some other time.

Having attended two meetings and after numerous correspondence with the good folks of Ontario could you please share your thoughts on where you stand regarding the 'review body'? Or do you believe you need to give this matter more thought.

Best of regards;
Tony Zale     Brampton

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Re: Nathan's Company Meetings
21 September 2012
Hi Editor;
Could you please put together a summary for Nathan's Rules of Order.

People could really benefit from that.

Thanks;
Golam    Etobicoke

I am planning to explain the important rules of meetings that is included
in Nathan's Company Meetings, 9th edition. It will be posted in the
chapter on AGMs.


These are the rules that are used by many condominium corporation lawyers and the book is far too expensive to buy. You should be able to study a copy at your local library.

Editor

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Re: Report on Mississauga meeting
20 September 2012

THANKS—these owners who complained to M. Best sound really balanced and honest. I have seen every one of these complaints.

Thank you for taking the time to write everything down so concisely and clearly. The "news clipping" service of your blog is very helpful!

Eldona     Toronto

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Re: Cyberbullying
19 September 2012
Dear editor;

As a victim of the "cyberbully", as you described, I witnessed first hand the outrageous bias of the CAFCOR administration. My several requests for deleting lies and fabrications about the my condominium had been ignored.

The newest posting in CAFCOR says that an owner had been trashed for five years and Special Assessments had been collected for roof anchors several times.

The truth: the board had and has serious disagreements with one owner and the Special Assessments were never to pay for the roof anchors. That is a misrepresentation.

Magda Selmeci MSc, CMA    Windsor

It is not possible for anyone living a four-hour drive from Windsor to have an accurate picture of what has gone on for the last several years.

However, name-calling and insults by both sides—especially when it is done by proxy—is far from helpful.

This long running squabble does not belong as a daily soap opera on an condo owner's website and it baffles me why it has been allowed to go on for so long.

If mediation is unlikely to settle these differences, and the two sides cannot come to a settlement on their own, then one of the parties should take the issue to court.

editor

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Calgary condo story hits home
12 September 2012
Awesome news story on the leaking condos in Calgary. I lived in Calgary for seven years. All my siblings own real estate there.

Alfonso Carcamo
author: Condo Saga

The CBC is going to run a series of stories about condo building defects
this week. Go to their website and search for "condos" and the stories
will pop up.

editor

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Auditor ran for the door
26 August 2012

At a recent AGM meeting someone asked the auditor to comment on the financial health of the condo corporation. She did NOT answer but muttered some gibberish and ran for the door.

If anyone reading this piece can confirm that their auditors do indeed comment on the financial health in their yearly financial health please let this website know.

I will then confront our Auditors and say why can they too not do the same. I consider it very unethical to remain silent in the face of impending doom.

Tony     Brampton

The auditor must answer all questions put to her by the owners that are related to her audit of the financial statements. That is clearly spelled out in the Act.

Yes, the auditors do answer proper questions.

She does not have to give an opinion on a general question such as the one you described but we can help you devise specific questions that she must answer at the next owners' meeting.

When you recieve the AGM package, go trhrough the financial statements comparing the numbers to previosu years. Then study the notes very carefully. Most problems get buried in the notes and they can be very hard to decipher.

editor

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The auditor's duties
27 August 2012
Dear Owner,

The first thing to note is that the questions to the auditors should be "informed" ones.

The first thing to determine is what you would really like to know. Are you concerned with the current state of affairs, or are you questioning the future financial strength of your Corporation?

If you are concerned with the present status, look at the bottom line of your Financial Statement, and see if it is showing a surplus or a deficit.  That will tell you how successful your past operation had been. Look at the notes for the adequacy of the Reserve Fund. If there are no notes, your funds are adequate.

But all this relate to your now ended fiscal year  and prior years.

It is not up to an auditor to comment on the future, for several reasons:

a.) Because a Condominium Corporation is very different from a for profit operation. For those a usual health or credit worthiness indicator is the so called accounting "acid test ratio." (The ratio of the current assets to the current liabilities.) A condominium Corporation has no assets, but it is never in the threat of becoming bankrupt. So an accounting indicator would be meaningless.

b.) What is important is to know what is planned for the future and how will your management go about achieving the goals. This is not included in the scope of an audit.

Having said all of the above, in the particular cited case I would not have a strong good opinion of the auditor. While she was not obliged to answer to such a general question, she could go through the brief analysis I just mentioned, and comment on the fact that either yes, the budget seem adequate, or that the corporation may, in her opinion, run into a shortage.

Magda Selmeci MSc, CMA     Windsor

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The owners are Zombies
12 August 2012

Hello Sir;
There is a townhouse condominium and I happened to get my grubby hands on its year end (Dec 2011) financial statement. This condo will be having their AGM on the 20th of this month.

I use to be the treasurer on the board and I therefore have complete knowledge of their financial matters. It is a complete, total and unmitigated disaster. Two owners are now actively seeking to sell their units and get-the-hell-outta there.

Here is the rub. The owners are like zombies. With the exception of the two I know and spoke with, none of the others are aware of the impending doom. I am today more than ever convinced that there is NOTHING we can do to reverse the situation.

At the AGM last year (July) this one director got 161 proxies. Out of a total of 217 owners only 25 owners, (including their spouses), attended the AGM.

This unscrupulous director is now preparing to get everyone to sign proxies to vote in a new bylaw package that was prepared by the lawyer. One of the new bylaws will authorize the board to borrow from any financial institution without the owners’ agreement or consent.

I wonder what will happen on the 20th of August at 7:30?

Worried     Region of Peel

We have talked about this situation on a couple of occasions. The condo voted in a new board who decided to change property management companies and that is when the corporation started to hit the skids.

A new president and director control the board and they, along with the new property management company are draining the reserve fund with a multiple of expensive contracts.

In two years, you noticed that the reserve fund has been cut in half and that the contracts are awarded without the board requesting competitive quotes and the invoices appear to be padded.

No wonder the president and his sidekick worked hard to get you off the board.

After many failed attempts to get the owners interested in the governance of their corporation, and getting threatening correspondence from the corporation's lawyer, you sold your unit. Seeing how the wind is lowing, two more owners are getting out.

Since there is little hope that the majority of owners will take an active interest in how their board is spending their money, the best an individual owner can do is sell and get out before the reserve fund gets drained and the special assessments and loans start.

Editor

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Very comprehensive site
22 July 2012
From the amount of work you have put into it, it seems you will take a while getting it done. You are being very comprehensive and detail oriented. That is not a bad thing in itself.

My beginning would have read thus:
 
“So you have gone and bought yourself a condo and thought of living in it happily ever after.” Or some wording to that effect. Then come out with all of its various problems that any owner will inevitably face. Uncaring boards, misuse of funds, manipulations by the property managers, sleazy lawyers, cunning contractors etc, etc. And last but not the least the unbelievable apathy of the owners.

Solutions and suggestions should cover proxy use, transparency and educating as many owners as possible, especially on the financial aspects.  I call it being condo wise.
 
Perhaps you have thought of coming to this but later. I am young and impatient so I hope you will understand.

Ed    Brampton

Thanks for the kind words.
Editor


Do not consider anything written in this manual to be legal advice. If you are, or think you may become, in conflict with your board of directors it is very important to get timely legal advice from a lawyer who is experienced in condominium law.

Please e-mail us if you see any errors or omissions so we can make any necessary corrections.

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