Paying your common
I suggest that you pay your monthly common element expenses by twelve
cheques rather than by automatic withdraws.
Never, never pay any payment to the condo by cash, even for the
smallest charge. This includes renting the party room or booking an
proper receipt book will have the corporation name and
However, if you do, make sure you get a signed receipt from a numbered
Recept Book stating that the money was paid to the condo corporation,
the date and the reason it was paid.
Give or send the property management company twelve post-dated cheques.
All cheques must be made out to the condo corporation and never to the
property management company.
Use the Memo line to state that this cheque covers the common element
fees for a specific month. That way, this money can only be used to pay
that month's fees and some, or all of it, cannot be used to pay for
some other purpose. (This could be important sometime in the
I would not allow the condo corporation to make automatic withdrawals
from your bank account. It may be very convenient for the property
management company but it could cause you a lot of grief later on if:
| If the condo
corporation changes bank accounts, your withdrawls stop and your
could become in arrears.
| There could be
problems if the corporation changes property management companies.
|If the corporation
levies a special assessment, you could lose control
on how you make your payments. If the management company makes a
mistake, your account could become overdrawn.
|If the corporation
decides to penalize your unit for some expense,
they could take the back-charges out of your automatic withdrawals and,
you even knowing it, you would in arrears.
very convenient way of paying is use online banking, if one can.
to describe the reason for the payment (it does have a memo part) and
easy to stop future payments.
However, you need to print a copy of the payment for your
records before hitting the send key.
your monthly payments
insure that your payments have been withdrawn from your account. If a
month is missed, raise the alarm immediately as it can soon
expensive problem, not the condo corporation's.
A lazy or incompetent management company—and I would not be writing
this if they did not exist—will send your account to the corporation
lawyer to start lien proceedings as early as 45 days after
the due date.
If money is tight one month, skip paying something else, anything else
but be sure to pay your common expenses. Late payments for condo
monthly expenses can become punitive.
Some condos will charge anywhere from $25 to $150 for any payments that
are ten days late. If you are 60 days late, they may inform the
corporation lawyer to put a lien on your unit.
reminder notice is not friendly and it had better get your full
attention. If they misplaced your cheque, let them know and get
it straightened out. Issue a replacement cheque if required.
Here is how
one property management company (PMC) deals
with late payments.
During the first month of arrears, two statements are mailed out by the
During the second month of arrears, the PMC will send a lien letter to
the owner via registered mail asking for payment in full with the
threat of a possible lien if payment is not received.
Also towards the end of the second month, a letter is sent to the
mortgagee, if that information is available, telling them that the
owner is in arrears and that, if payment was not received, a lien will
the third month of arrears, approximately two weeks before the end of
that period, having concluded that every avenue had been exhausted, the
lawyer will be contacted and instructed to register a lien.
Partial payments may
not be accepted as the corporation may be afraid that it lose the
opportunity to proceed to power of sale. (The corporation cannot refuse
to accept payments.)
the lawyer collected the outstanding monies before placing the lien, he
charge the delinquent owner $300 plus HST.
Whenever a condo corporation changes property management companies,
there is a good chance that some of the records will get lost or will
At times, the PMC is holding
the records for ransom until they get fully paid and sometimes lost
records is due to spite.
This is when the owners need to be vigilant. Keep a close eye on your
bank statements to insure that your fees have been collected and
also that they have not been collected twice.
One condo changed PMCs twice within four months and both companies
turned over incomplete records. The condo couldn't tell for
paid and who had not.
Make sure that your current address and phone number is on record with
the property management office, especially if there has been a change
in the PMC.
If you are an absentee owner, I suggest that you confirm that
records are correct on a yearly basis. If you do not get your notice
for the Annual General Meetings, then they may not have your
One condo owner, an older man, send out his post-dated cheques and
thought he did all he had to. It wan't his problem that they weren't
cashing his cheques.
When the letters from the PMC arrived, he ignored them. He
did the same thing when the lawyer sent him a letter.
His co-signer got involved and so he had to pay his arrears, pay to
have the lien discharged and pay the condo's legal bills on
top of his
He almost lost his home.
Then there is a couple who did lose their unit. Their story is told in
"Paid my fees-lost my unit".
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