Life was bitter

A different condo gave a completely different experience. We were getting older so stairs and snow shoveling were becoming a challenge. The kids were grown and a condo promised lower monthly costs and far less work.

We found a nice unit in a new development. The price was right, the condo fees seemed reasonable and it was in a convenient neighbourhood featuring good shopping, close to schools and very good TTC connections. It was so new, the developer was still working on the ground floor commercial units and the landscaping was not yet completed.

We joined 237 other new owners in our new community. All was going well or so we thought.

Six months later, we started feeling uneasy. The developer stopped work on the property. Oh sure, he continued working on the commercial units that he owned whenever he got a new tenant, fair enough, but all work on the landscaping and the amenities stopped and did not resume.

Most of the promised amenities were not built. Those rooms remained empty. We waited, and waited and waited some more. We waited in vain.

That is when we started talking to a few other tenants in the lobby and the hallways. They too were concerned. When they had problems with their units and if the needed repairs were cheap and easy, they were taken care of. However, if it was a more expensive repair, despite the promises, the defects didn’t get fixed.

The assistant in the manager’s office was extremely rude and condescending towards the owners. She whined that the owners complained too much. When a Muslim woman went to see her about water leaking into her apartment whenever it rained, she was told that if she did not like it here, why didn't she move.

What followed was a four-year battle to try and bring accountability and transparency to our condominium property. Break-ins in the parking garage, water leaks, poor snow removal and landscaping, the stink of marijuana, dog droppings in the hallways were all ignored.

The owners were divided into factions. The majority supported the board because they promised not to increase the monthly fees. The remainder were split into two groups who would not work together. The smarter owners sold and got out. Resident-owners were being replaced with renters.

At the end, after three years of fighting the board, we realized the condo would not change. We sold and moved on.

Life in that condominium was far too bitter.

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