Condo News
31 May 2014

Is your condo hiring unqualified contractors?
If so why? Is the board hiring relatives? Do they hire the cheapest guys they can find? What if someone dies? Do they have any idea of the liability they are assuming?
http://bit.ly/1jt3GRa

Ignoring Reserve Fund Studies?
Are Vancouver condos ignoring the new requirement to get a Depreciation Report? (Reserve Fund Study.) One engineering company says yes.

Who would buy a unit in a condo that does not have one? Are buyers that dumb?
http://bit.ly/1p9S3Gy

Seniors’ condo battle worse than a reality TV show
Egg-throwing, scooter tampering, prank calls: Seniors’ condo battle worse than a reality TV show.

Wait, there's more:
An escort service bought an entire floor of a B.C. apartment building, much to the dismay of fellow residents.
http://bit.ly/1psD486

Revised design saves Princess of Wales Theatre
An entertainment condo development goes from three towers to two.
http://on.thestar.com/1hwbnGl

BC condo wants dog gone
$1900 in fines and get rid of the dog.
http://bit.ly/1gvVxAk

Florida dog stays
How dumb could a condo board get? Judge gives woman $300,000.
http://hrld.us/1nzgXQg

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Condo News
28 May 2014

Alberta amends bill to protect condo owners
Alberta is moving ahead with their bill while Ontario condo owners will have to wait, and wait and wait.
http://bit.ly/1ph43mP

SimplyCharles
Charles Hanes has started a new website. He may give up selling real estate and concentrate on this new e-magazine and on investing in condos. This website has a different look and tone than his older blog, Simplycondos.
http://simplycharles.com/

Leaky condo crisis rears its head again in B.C.
Lax maintenance has been a long-standing issue for stratas, according to Tony Gioventu, executive director of the Condominium Homeowners Association of B.C., “hence the evolution of the introduction of depreciation reports.”(Reserve Fund Studies) However, stratas have the option to exempt themselves from the requirement by agreement of three-quarters of their members.
http://bit.ly/1ifcw5p

Photos leaky condos
Vancouver Sun photos showing Vancouver's leaking condos over the last 15 years.
http://bit.ly/1hlqIcJ

Disclose hidden structural problems
If you are selling your home (including condos) and there is a hidden problem that you do not disclose, you could be successfully sued.
http://on.thestar.com/1noA6o0

Children shocked in condo swimming pool
Inspectors say the shock was a result of an improperly grounded pool pump which malfunctioned and electrified the water.  Officials from the condominium complex have declined, so far, to comment on the incident.

Last month, an electrical shock killed a seven-year-old boy in a backyard pool just miles from where this shock occurred.
http://abcn.ws/1m9StcN

Local woman stood up to fix HOA problem
Arizonia woman took her board to court over fees and won. Now she is on the board.
http://bit.ly/1pqI7pF

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Condo News
26 May 2014

Condo Activist endorses Rosario Marchese
Condo owners' rights advocate and founder of the Condominium Information Centre Anne-Marie Ambert today endorsed Rosario Marchese for Trinity-Spadina MPP.

"Anne-Marie has been an incredible source of information about the issues facing condo owners, and her endorsement means a lot to me," said Marchese. "I pledge to continue working for condo owners to address the condo horror stories she has documented."
http://bit.ly/1kadJui

Link to: http://www.condoinformation.ca/

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Condo News
26 May 2014

Condo owners don't want nearby TCC bus shed
Strange that a condo owner who is so against the TTC bus shed would not allow his name to be used. The Toronto Star should have interviewed the condo director who got elected with his main goal to stop the TCC bus garage.
http://on.thestar.com/1mUKKTq

Lock boxes
There are ten lockboxes on our front fence but only one unit for sale. Time to cut the old locks off. Real estate agents have trouble with them too.
http://bit.ly/R72wDX

Director must be reigned in
The board has to reign in a director who sends out enforcement letters in the board's name.
http://hrld.us/1mSQ9u0

Curb appeal
Why curb appeal is so important.
http://bit.ly/RNyc1N

Condo spring cleaning
The first true signs of a long awaited spring.
http://www.condomadness.info/contents-essays.html

Adams Kessler PLC
An interesting newsletter from a California condo law firm.
http://bit.ly/TvPMZA

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Condo News
22 May 2014

Canvassing in condo buildings
Last night, I asked a downtown MPP, who is running for re-election, if there were many condos in his riding.

He replied there were, so I asked him if his canvassers were having a hard time getting access into condominium towers. He told me that about half of the condominium managers were denying his canvassers entry into the condos to canvas the residents. There were refusals in rental buildings too but it was a bigger issue with the condos.

He said that his canvassers show the managers the Act giving them the right of access but in many cases that does not help. At other times, the managers say the canvassers need to phone ahead to book appointments. (There is nothing in the Act about election canvassers booking appointments.)

I told him that candidates trying to run for a position at the yearly elections for the condo’s board of directors are often told that they cannot canvas the owners, in their own building and that the boards of directors, or their agents, sometimes intimidate candidates by threatening to call the police and lay charges of trespassing if they persist.

As the number of Canadians living in condos grows, will voter participation drop even lower than it already has? If so will it be because of growing voter apathy or because a condo doorkeeper is unreasonably denying access to canvassers?

During our last election, I lived at a different condo. One evening, two security staff refused enumerators access to our condo lobby so they could register voters. I intervened by stating that the enumerators were my guests. I went up to my apartment and got them a table and chairs to use and I made up some signs for them. For a while, I stayed with my two “guests”.)

It did not take long for the residents to show their pleasure at seeing them and dozens of residents in our building got registered. The reaction from our residents surprised the security staff and they too started urging residents to go over to the table and get registered.

It is sad that Canadians send troops to foreign lands to support democratic principals abroad while election volunteers are denied their democratic rights to talk with voters right here at home.

I wonder if the boards of directors, and the managers, are afraid that canvassers talking to voters in provincial, federal and municipal elections may increase democratic participation in condo elections. Is there something about people talking about political issues in their doorways that frightens our condo directors?

It appears so.

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Condo News
21 May 2014

Condo Act a priority
Mississauga East—Cooksville MPP Dipika Damerla has made the new Condo Act one of her three local priorities in this provincial election campaign.
http://bit.ly/1lAdU3y

Buying new?
Insure that the units size is included in the sales agreement.
http://on.thestar.com/1jHKC1q

Secret spy cameras in Toronto co-op
Someone in a position of authority placed secret pin hole cameras in many, but not all, hallways in the co-op's three towers. The board claimed that it was to catch an arsonist. However, the police and fire department see no reason for this. Some residents claimed that they were installed so the president could spy on her political opponents.

The past president, and newly elected president won't comment.

This is important to condo owners because I have seen secret cameras that were installed outside condo owners units. I posted photos of them on this website.
http://www.condomadness.info/appendix-12.html

Board president personally liable
In a Florida case, a board president tried to block an owner from having a service dog. The courts gave permission for the owner to sue the president personally for his actions.
http://bit.ly/1hW5y4X

What every condo & /HOA owner needs to know
This newspaper column from Florida gives excellent advice.
http://bit.ly/1j0dzp2

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Condo News
20 May 2014

This may be the only all-candidates debate on condo issues during this provincial election. If you are in the riding, be sure to attend.

Yonge Corridor Condominium Association
(YCCA) presents
Willowdale Riding Condo-focused
All-Candidates Meeting
this coming Tuesday, 27 May 2014 at 7 pm
Council Chamber
North York Civic Centre, Mel Lastman Square

Meet your candidates and pin them down on what they will do for condos!
Alexander Brown New Democratic Party
Michael Ceci Progressive Conservative Party
Dr. Theresa Pun Green Party
David Zimmer Liberal Party

Speakers will comment on YCCA's priority issues, as well as proposed changes in Ontario's Condominium Act.

Refreshments served.

Information on this event at:
http://www.ycca.ca/

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Condo News
19 May 2014

Your condo lobby
Dave Fleming asks if an impressive lobby is important to buyers. To some it is important. To others, a big lobby means higher fees.

However, to me, a plain small lobby that has no furniture, plants or wall hangings is a sign of a condo in financial troubles, a serious vandalism problem or more likely, both.
http://bit.ly/RGXuhY

A new condo with construction defects?
This is an excellent article from a law firm's website on what the board
should do.
http://bit.ly/1gunby2

Churn that bill, baby!
A Globe and Mail article raises the issue of law firms over-billing their clients. Although not directly related to condo law firms, there are parallels where judges are now starting to reduce costs.

Here is a quote from the article:
"Last year, e-mails surfaced in U.S. litigation over bills in an insolvency that were charged by giant law firm DLA Piper, and they made for water-cooler conversation in law firms everywhere. In the e-mails, the firm’s lawyers appeared to brag about running up the client’s bills. In one, a lawyer writes that “random people [are] working full time on random research projects in standard ‘churn that bill, baby! mode.”
http://bit.ly/TgphHt

Condo president abusing his position
Another case of a president thinking the rules do not apply to him.
http://bit.ly/1gdFx6a

Milford Man Pleads Guilty to Embezzling Condo Funds
A Milford Connecticut man employed as comptroller for a Westport property management company pleaded guilty today to federal fraud charges in connection with embezzlement of approximately $108,000.
http://bit.ly/1iXuBnU

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Condo News
17 May 2014

A condo unit had second hand cigar smoke enter their unit from an upstairs unit. When their condo board stalled on fixing the problem, the owners called their insurance company, hired a lawyer and an engineering company.

They had all the facts and when the condo dragged their heels about fixing the problem, they took the condo to court. That is when the condo started to move. The owners won costs.

It is also interesting to know that the 22 year-old condo did not have fire-stop caulking around the pipes between the units.
http://www.condomadness.info/Courts-smoke.html


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Condo News
16 May 2014

Ignore your condo board at your peril
David Fleming advises that you investigate before you buy a condo. Yet, everything can change with the results of a single election.
http://bit.ly/SMWni5

The Condo Bible
A book review on The Condo Bible for Canadians. A guide for prospective buyers, this book has a factual errors that I hope gets fixed in its 2nd edition.
http://bit.ly/1l6Abaa

Lowest condo price in the GTA
A one bedroom unit in Toronto sold for $31,000, 79% of listing price. So far in 2014 this is the lowest selling price on the MLS.


BC couple must sell their unit
Won't obey condo parking rules and tying up the courts, so a BC couple has got to sell. But, will they appeal?
http://bit.ly/1k30BeT
http://bit.ly/1gph4uZ

B.C. bad tenants must pay or go to jail
Susan and Chris Perret owe almost $40,000, landlords say
http://bit.ly/T0Dp7I

North Carolina condo owner finds trees gone
When she pulled into her house after work Wednesday, the wall of trees was gone. "I was awestruck," said Williams. "I said, 'Oh my goodness. They're gone.' My daughter started crying.

She now going to start going to her condo meetings.
http://bit.ly/1hDgcO4

A big concern in Singapore condos?
Not enough owners attend the AGMs. Guess what? We have the same problem here.
http://bit.ly/1uOeMt7

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Condo News
14 May 2014

Bill Thompson apppointed administrator
On Tuesday, Bill Thompson, president of Malvern Property Management, was appointed  as the court-appointed adminsitrator for YCC # 365, a stacked townhouse complex at 4060-4064 Lawrence Street East in Toronto.

Pinhole cameras in Toronto co-op
To catch an arsonist, to spy on the president's political opponents or both? Gotta wonder.
http://on.thestar.com/SHIAsR

A private oversize locker
This is a great hard-to-find feature but is it worth an extra $15-$20,000?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYtUkoZdCj4

Parking headaches in Hamilton condos
New condos built with only 0.8 parking spots per unit are causing headaches in Hamilton.
http://bit.ly/QpRDNe

Preference for renting over buying downtown
In Halifax, 90 per cent of new residential construction is rental units.
http://bit.ly/1oBPREP

Another fire in condo townhouse complex
This time it was in Prince George. No one hurt.
http://bit.ly/1iC3eEf

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Condo News
10 May 2014

Rosario Marchese: this election & the Condo Act 
Here is Rosario Marchese's take on this election, the Condo Act and the OMB and why the NDP would no longer support the Liberals.

"The budget included promises to reform the Condo Act, something that I know a great deal about. I have been working on Condo Act reform legislation for seven years, and each time I introduced a bill the Liberals said reform was unnecessary and everything was fine in condoland.

Then in 2011 and 2012, glass started falling from condo towers, and the government promised to finally reform the Condo Act. That was two years ago, and so far the government has delivered nothing. In fact, last summer the government promised to "fast-track" condo manager licensing ahead of other reforms. That was almost a year ago. Since then ... nothing.

But there it is in the budget. No actual condo bill, mind you; just another promise.

... And don't get me started about the Liberal record when it comes to reforming the Ontario Municipal Board. It was a disappointment, but no surprise that the Liberals teamed up with the Tories last week to kill my Bill 20 to free Toronto from the OMB.

This is a difficult choice for the NDP. We're behind the Liberals in the polls right now, and clearly it would have been safer and easier to support the budget and take credit for it.

But we feel we cannot in good faith support 70 new promises when history has shown that these promises cannot be trusted.'"

#condoproblems
Here is a tweeter page where condo owners post their condo problems and grips. Interesting.
http://bit.ly/1nhoPFb

Resources for HOA & condos-problem solving
Beth Grimm, a lawyer based in California, is often asked where a condo owner can get information for owners, not info written for boards. To answer this question, Beth gives condo owners a tour of her website.

She offers $250 Tuesdays where for that fee you can get your condo questions answered by a top condo lawyer. That really is a good deal but many owners want "free" answers.

She also offers $25 primers on a number of condo issues. (A real bargain as each one is a bit cheaper than the price of a case of beer.) Her website also has a lot of free information.

This is a very good article that I recommend to all condo owners.
http://bit.ly/1rTx5Zv

Are condos built that badly?
Sounds like they are in Colorado.
http://on9news.tv/1sczZJ5

Kim v. Trump, 2014 ONSC 2129
Decision Date: April 22, 2014
Between 2007 and 2011 the plaintiffs entered into agreements to purchase units in the Trump Hotel. They took occupancy of these units in February 2012 and entered into the Reservation Program Agreement.

According to this agreement, the Trump Hotel Management Corp. would rent out the units and each owner would receive revenue from the rental of their unit, with fees, expenses and charges deducted. The plaintiffs charge that the rental and occupancy rates were lower than they had anticipated and the deductions were higher.

They asked to see the financial statements for the entire Reservation Program (rather than just their own units), and these requests were denied. In November 2012 the plaintiffs refused to close the purchase agreements and instead issued a statement of claim.

They seek to have the agreements rescinded and their deposits returned, and claim damages for loss of opportunity, misrepresentation and conspiracy.

In this action the plaintiffs name eight defendants and seek an order appointing an inspector to investigate the Reservation Program; in the alternative they seek an order compelling production of financial documents. This motion was dismissed.

The Toronto Standard Condominium Corporation No. 2267, named as one of the defendants, sought an order dismissing the plaintiffs’ action on the grounds that they were incorporated only in October 2012 and so the plaintiffs have no cause of action against them.

Judge Carole Brown agreed. She granted the defendant’s motion on the grounds that TSCC No. 2267 did not exist when the plaintiffs entered into the purchase agreement.

Comment: The judge provided a number of detailed arguments for dismissing the plaintiffs’ motion.
http://canlii.ca/t/g6mgf

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Condo News
07 May 2014

How to pick a tenant for your condo
Here is another interesting posting from David Fleming. It is interesting to read who he will not rent to.
 http://bit.ly/1iHuInd

Rooming houses in condos?
Oh yes, they exist. This is what you need to do about it.
http://bit.ly/1fCluhu

Renting rooms in a condo?
If the declaration says that the units are for single family use only, the board is able to stop this practice. Watch this video to see how.
http://bit.ly/1fLA46p

Can't check for criminal records
New law dealing with HOAs to be challenged in court.

At the Villa Del Centro condominiums off Glendale and 15th avenues, property managers tell CBS 5 News the crime rate dropped almost 60 percent between July and December last year.

Additionally, 90 percent of potential tenants who fill out applications are turned away. That's because in 2012 the property owners association approved a rule requiring all owners to conduct criminal background checks on potential tenants.
http://bit.ly/1hI3LPZ

http://bit.ly/1rElKhT

After 4 years mould damage not yet not repaired
That is a bit much so why not hire a lawyer?
http://caict.org/askmistercondo/4-years-without-use-of-the-condo/

Reserve Funds explained
A great blog about reserve funds. A must read.
http://www.quickreserves.com/blog/

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Condo News
03 May 2014

Ontario election—June 12
The NDP withdrew their support for the Liberal minority government so we are facing an election on June 12. That means that the changes to the Condominium Act will not be introduced until the autumn or even later. All legislation has come to a standstill.

Now we wait to see who wins the election. At the moment the polls say we will elect a PC or a Liberal minority government. Of course, that can change in the next six weeks.

So we will live with our present Act for the foreseeable future.

Neighbourhood Impacts of Digital Billboards
A group of Liberty Village condo residents are speaking out against a city staff report recommending the expansion of electronic billboards across Toronto.
http://bit.ly/1mbA2TG

But in a YouTube video released last week, a handful of Liberty Village condo residents warn Torontonians of the negative consequences of expanding electronic signage.
http://bit.ly/1frEKhI

The new way Toronto's condo developers are saving space
There goes the tall ceilings.
http://bit.ly/1f7gDEW

Toronto's condo market is lukewarm
David Flemming writes about the practise of holding back offers on condos. Not a good situation for prospective buyers as it means that the buyer is expecting more than the asking price.

David makes some other good points such as units in certain buildings sell faster than units in neigbouring buildings.
http://bit.ly/1rtEel1

Claire the condo goose lays six eggs
The condo owners are excited that Claire has a whole family of goslings on the way. And Dad comes to visit as well.

That's good because Canada geese will return to nest at the same spot for years to come.
http://bit.ly/1rsesf8

Here is the first news story where the owners find out that they could not go out on their balcony.
http://bit.ly/1trIT8U

The $30 million lawsuit
David Fleming writes that the sad truth is – this lawsuit will have a hard time going forward. Find out why.
http://bit.ly/1jlsP4n

Sudbury development fee hike in the works
The bottom line for developers in Sudbury could soon get a little thinner, with a planned hike in development charges.

The fee hikes proposed by city staff include charging $2,300 more for every new residential unit.
http://bit.ly/1fgEsdf

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Condo News
30 April 2014

Window wall condo trend raises concerns of sustainability
Yes, another story about "window walls". This one is from Calgary.

"These buildings that [are] being built today are going to consume so much energy that the public is not going to be able to afford to pay for the heating and cooling of these buildings," Lee said. "You may find that a lot of these buildings may become abandoned, they would actually be 'white elephants' in the future they're just too expensive."

Abandoned? Did he really say abandoned?
Oh my, oh my. Many of these towers are not even built yet
http://bit.ly/1iwp4dq

Walmart shoppers can now get $99 wills
Big box law is expanding in Canada, setting up shop at Walmart stores, offering low-cost legal services.

This is good for condo owners. Notarized documents are only $25, plus $19 for each additional document. You may need this service if you file in small claims court.
http://on.thestar.com/PoREjN

Check out the noise issues
If buying a condo beside the train tracks and the Gardiner Expressway, you better understand that you may not be able to use your balcony at certain times of the day and that some of the noise will come right through the closed windows.
http://bit.ly/1tHaWBq

Dog beach at center of Pinellas condo conflict
20 April 2014
Treasure Island Florida
Dog owners and residents of a Pinellas County condominium complex are in a dispute over a popular dog park.

The park, on Sunset Beach off Treasure Island, has been frequented by dog owners for years because it is one of the few places in Pinellas County where dogs and their owners can legally access the water.

But the St. Petersburg Tribune reported on Sunday that the Mansions' Towers condominium complex recently decided to remove a wooden staircase that had provided access to the beach.

Condo owners say the some dogs were aggressive and that the dog beach attracted too many people.

City officials are considering what can be done to appease both the dog owners and the condo residents.
http://bit.ly/1eXkDaN

Blind man fights HOA over fence blocking him from bus stop
The directors of shared property down in Texas seem especially dumb.
http://bit.ly/1gPWLB8

Two condos in Toronto for sale
The first is asking $329,000 for a large two-bedroom, two full bathrooms in an older building. (1200 square feet) The main drawback? The $817 monthly fees. (even though it includes all utilities & a premium cable TV package)
http://bit.ly/1nNVlf8

The second is asking $316,500 for a small-two bedroom, one bathroom. The main attraction? $331 monthly fees. (You must pay your own hydro.) Small rooms means low fees.
http://bit.ly/1keaLZj

Completely different buildings for completely different markets.

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Condo News
28 April 2014

Owners start class action lawsuit
When the owners moved in to their new condos, they didn't get what they expected. So they are banding together and suing the developer Elad Canada Inc. the developer of Emerald City.
http://on.thestar.com/1flaEMW
Read their website at:
http://www.condoeh.com/EC1.html

Shingles flying off new homes
Singles on three year old homes in the Ottawa area are falling off the roofs. Builder's response? Too bad. Your Tarion warranty has expired.
(This has also happened with freeholds & condo townhouses.)

The answer. When buying new or used, hire a qualified home inspector.
http://bit.ly/1jTULLY

When the directors list their units
When your board of directors list their units, it is a warning that you should sell too. Quickly. They may have information that they are not sharing with the other owners.
http://neighborsatwar.com/2014/04/warning-one-whos/

Condo Scene
Here is an interesting column published in the Ottawa Citizen about condo issues. Worth reading. You can find many of the articles here.
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/search/search.html?q=condo+scene

Richmond BC condo owners hit with massive special assessment
Every condo owner's nightmare. A $1,500 a month special assessment that would force many condo owners out of their homes.
http://bit.ly/1llCRTK

New HOA website created to save homeowners money
Schweitzer told CBS 5 News that far too many HOA boards simply rely on their property management company to pick a vendor to do a project, instead of getting bids of their own.

"It seems like they just want to use people that they have relationships with, regardless of cost," said Schweitzer. She said that within a year of seeking their own bids, her HOA saved about $40,000.

In response a property management company stated that companies like his will always seek out multiple bids on big projects, it's just that they use trusted vendors who they know will get the job done at a good price. "I disagree with the premise that management companies are not looking out for clients' best interest.
http://bit.ly/1hPvSfL

Brothels muscle in on North Sydney residential tower
Right now brothels operating in the open may be a problem in Australia but it could come to a condo near you.
http://bit.ly/1jXBZmU

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Condo News
24 April 2014

Natural gas resellers
Wilson Blanchard, a very large property management company posted an interesting article on natural gas contracts.

Personally, I don't like energy resellers. I have been to three AGMs in the four months where the board bragged about their gas contracts. Keep in mind that natural gas sells for 11.5 a cubic foot.

At the first meeting, the president bragged that he got the price down from 32 to 22 (but they had to extend the term of the contract). That is double the going rate.

At a second condo, the president bragged that he got the price down to 16. A better deal, not doubt. At the third condo, the board signed a five year contract for 12.5.

Natural gas prices will jump up from 11.5 a cubic foot for the next three months so it looks like only the condo that locked in at 12.5 has anything to brag about.
http://bit.ly/1oBj5Y3

Ottawa Contractor Sentenced to Two Months in Jail
This is the man's third conviction and jail sentence. Do a background check on contractors before hiring them.
http://bit.ly/1i5G4Wd

A reminder to always check the Consumer Beware List before doing business with any company.
http://bit.ly/1lNtzPH

Mother goose claims squatter's rights on condo balcony
Fussing mother stubbornly defends her nesting site so the owners will have to wait a couple of months to get their balcony back.
http://bit.ly/1trIT8U

Leaks & mould
A Vancouver condo owner had water leaks and mould. However, it is old mould or new mould? How can anyone tell?
http://bit.ly/QbNjkO

Buyers urged to do their homework
Don't go nuts over the stainless steel appliances. Check out the Reserve Funds and Reserve Fund Study instead.
http://bit.ly/1nazaiT

Condo rules should be on your shopping checklist
Another article on what is important for a condo buyer to fully understand before buying a condo.
http://on.thestar.com/1hGbde1

Branson condo manager admits embezzling $311,000
Why are these American crooks getting convicted while Canadian ones go scot-free?
http://bit.ly/1jI0wt9

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Condo News
20 April 2014



Tamsin McMahon explains why condo dwellers are finding themselves boxed in. This is a magazine that we should by and read this week.
http://www.condomadness.info/appendix-10.html
http://bit.ly/1lyIssl

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Condo News
19 April 2014

Five things no one will tell you
Five things the directors won't say and five things the owners won't say.
http://bit.ly/1mNnT8f

Should condo manager have keys to units?
In a nutshell, the answer is YES.
http://hrld.us/PI5o9S

Condo developers start 2014 with record number of launches
“The big story this year is that we are certainly in a buyers’ market. It will be the year of the incentives” as developers with projects already in the works try to clear a record inventory of 23,327 unsold units.
http://on.thestar.com/Q7ivSl

Livent auditor Deloitte ordered to pay $84.8-million
for failing to detect fraud
This is an important case in Canadian corporate law and it may help condos who have been ripped off by a crooked board or property management.
http://bit.ly/1lJpQ8e

Port Coquitlam residents may lose homes over leaky condo crisis
A leaky building brings a $71,000 per unit cost to the owners. A Depreciation Report is like a Reserve Fund Study in Ontario.
http://bit.ly/1hDqXV7

Who does the auditor protect?
It appears that if the auditor does a piss poor job, only the board can sue them, not the owners. However, an owner can make a complaint to the accounting disciplinary committee which does have teeth.
http://bit.ly/1hgiGW3

Portland Hotel Scandal
The most depressing thing for me is how the "executives" of this charity had such a sense of entitlement. Is corruption so in bedding in Canadian institutions that it is to be taken for granted?
http://www.condomadness.info/appendix-5.html

Does your condo have a AED? If not, why not?
City of Toronto Media Relations has issued the following:
==========================================
News Release
April 15, 2014
Toronto woman survives cardiac arrest thanks to Good Samaritans

A woman in her 60s is alive today because bystanders were willing to step up and help. The woman is now recovering in hospital.

"It is very exciting to announce our first save of 2014 – and it's a great reminder of the importance of bystanders stopping to help someone in
medical distress," said Gayle Pollock, EMS Safe City Program Commander. "The help the bystanders gave to this woman was a critical contribution to saving her life."

The Scarborough resident had just finished her pilates class on April 8 and was walking to her car from Variety Village when she suffered a sudden cardiac arrest and collapsed. Bystanders rushed to her aid, immediately called 911 for paramedics and started cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The automated external defibrillator (AED) readily available at the Variety Village facility was used to administer a life-saving shock before paramedics arrived and provided additional care.

This is the first cardiac arrest save by bystanders in Toronto in 2014 and the 19th life-saving incident for the Mikey Network since the program's inception. In addition, it is the fourth save at the Variety Village location since its AED was installed.

"This is the proof that AEDs in public places can perform miracles," said Morty Henkle, Executive Director of the Mikey Network. "They are simple
to use, as the AED speaks to the person trying to help, providing audible, step-by-step instructions. Training helps but you don't need to be trained
to use one."

—†—

Condo News
15 April 2014

Directors attempt a coup
In a bitter power struggle, two directors at YCC #42 tried to have the courts depose two duly elected directors. Canlit has not published the extremely interesting judgment but you can find it here at CondoMadness.
http://bit.ly/PZzxSA

How to hire a good property manager
here are some basic ideas that should not be overlooked.
http://bit.ly/1dX73DV

Electrical contractors
Are you or your condo board dealing with an unlicenced electrical contractor? This is how you can tell.
http://bit.ly/19Mb6yR

Don't get burnt by high condo fees
A Globe and Mail video.
http://bit.ly/1lyrYwO

Man assaults neighbour after taking his condo parking space
A Boca Raton condo resident wasn't happy to find that somebody else had parked in his reserved spot.

The parking spot spat between two men ended Monday with one in handcuffs, charged with assaulting the other.
http://bit.ly/PvJOpj

Why UPS trucks don't make left turns.
http://bit.ly/1mQCjXY

Updates:
E-mail and letters
http://bit.ly/1jzlSf3

Condo Culture
Don't remove the batteries from the smoke detectors.
http://bit.ly/1qR4i7j

—†—

Condo News
11 April 2014

Condominium Act Reform is Approaching:
What issues Need to be Resolved?
Springfest
10 April 2014
 
Moderator Mario Deo and panelists Bill Thompson Armand Conant, and Sally Thompson spoke on what major issues the new Act needs to address. Fifty minutes goes fast but the panelists all did a good job staying within allotted time.
 
The panelists spoke on the following concerns:
 
AGM Quorum & voting
Bill Thompson stated that it would be preferred if the Act followed our municipal election system by eliminating proxies. Instead an electronic voting system could be used so absentee investor-owners could vote from wherever they are.
 
The concern with the proposed three-strikes rule, where if there is no quorum at an AGM, the corporation tries a second time and then if that fails, whoever shows up at the third meeting will make quorum. This can lead to abuse as a small minority of owners can seize control of the board.
 
Bylaws
It is too difficult to pass bylaws in many condo corporations so Bill suggests that bylaws be treated like Rules and the board passes them and then, if a sufficient number of owners are opposed, they can requisition a meeting.
 
Panel comments
It is too difficult to achieve quorum where there are up to 82% of the units owned by absentee investors. Candidates that campaign on a “Vote for me and I will cut your fees” is a big issue. One idea was to separate the AGM from the voting so the owners can hear what all the issues are before the election.
 
Two present concerns are that the owners do not understand the voting process and they are harassed at their doors by candidates demanding their proxies.
 
Reserves
Far too often the first year contributions to the reserves is too low. The fees set by the developer are too low and it sucks in young buyers who are shocked when they realize how much their fees need to increase. Some engineers say the reserves should be set at 25-60% of the fees not 10%.
 
The government is looking at using a different model to set first year contributions.
 
Now that some developments of 500-1200 units will have up to $20 million sitting in the reserves, theft is a big concern. Presently, it is too easy for a couple of directors to steal the corporation’s money. More protection from the ministry is coming.
 
Declarations and disclosures
Some developers, not all for sure, are putting language in the declarations that allow the developer not to pay common element fees on any unsold units, even after registration. One developer has language in the sales agreements and disclosure documents that limits his liability for construction defects to only what the Tarion warranty provides.
 
Owner liabilities
Another issue is that individual owners are at risk from un-insured neighbours such as when a neighbour damages their unit by water damage.
 
Condo Office
Condo Office will be introduced in stages. The five parts will include:

Education
The owners, directors and new buyers need to be educated.

Database
The ministry needs to know how many condos there are and collect basic information on them.

Licencing managers
We all agree on this.

Quick Decision Makers
Not sure who they would be and how they would be trained nor how will Condo Office could control a flood of complaints.
 
Dispute Resolutions Office
Probably come in later. This will be an addition to mediation, arbitration and the courts.

Blowback
Condo owners resist the idea of a monthly fee for Condo Office but it is thought that once they see the value in Condo Office, they will accept the need to pay for it.
 
Comment from the floor
The residential units in some of the older condos are unfairly subsidizing the retail commercial units on the bottom floor due to the original declaration failing to call fro separate metering.
 
This was an excellent presentation and it would have been nice if more were in attendance as the room was less than half full.

—†—
An awesome HOA meeting
09 April 2014

An American reality TV show captured an HOA board meeting on video. In many American states, unlike in Ontario, homeowners have the right to attend monthly board meetings.

An HOA is like a condo but for detached houses usually in a gated community. This meeting is priceless. It has immediately become one of my favourite short videos of all time.

Can't you just imagine your condo president chairing this meeting? Holding a meeting in someone's garage? I guess some townhouses up here could do that in the summer months.

I think the owner made a wonderful speech. Freedom and happiness. Wonderful rhetoric that warms the heart that was so cruelly shot down by a cold heart with a written contract.

Watch it here:
http://bit.ly/1e9Ybuz

—†—

Condo News
07 April 2014

TTC riders
Transportation Minister Glen Murray is the winner of TTC riders’ first annual Sardine Award.
http://bit.ly/O7I8RE

Community Associations
An article on the work community associations do in Toronto neigbourhoods.
http://bit.ly/P4fSAi

Renters and bedbugs
If a renter moves because bedbugs not getting exterminated, who may have to pay compensation? The landlord or the condo corporation? It may depend on where the bedbugs are found.
http://bit.ly/1pHqGBm

Condo real estate agents bullish
Five agents met at the Toronto Star to talk about condos for investors. They were all bullish on sales of new condos in the condos being built downtown.
http://on.thestar.com/1f702OX

The glory in being a Realtor
Another David Fleming blog. There are 40,000 Realtors working in the GTA. They start their careers doing leases for $1,200/month, making $600 commission, having their brokerage take 40% of that, and hoping to do 3-4 sales their first year.

They don’t know that about 1/3 of all Realtors do 0-2 deals per year. http://bit.ly/1iXrrSY

A real estate agent?
Is this "teaser" from a Brampton real estate agent just smart advertising? Or is she one of the starving ones talked about above?
"your dream comes true here
Hello There
I am 35 year old professional realtor Indian woman always with itch of adventure. So decided to mix my business with pleasure. Real Estate and adventure together.

Buy or Sell your house with me and have me for your fantasies and mine. or have someone else to sell or buy through me and I am yours.

Who knows it might be a beginning of a new era. So Excited to hear from someone fun soon.

do NOT contact me with unsolicited services or offers"

Fantasies
I talked to my wife. Her fantasy is for the agent to throughly clean the house, weekly, for a year. Me, I'm still thinking.
http://bit.ly/1hj7hQg

Highland City Homeowners Association Treasurer Gets Probation
Former Police Officer ordered to pay $14,101 in restitution for theft. http://bit.ly/1mBOjMP

Hoarders may have mental health issues
Here is a report of an extreme repeat condo hoarder.
http://strib.mn/1jLqwtI

—†—

Condo News
05 April 2014

Justice Penny has released his judgment and it contains three important rulings.

1. The chair cannot rescind final election results weeks after his decision
    was made.
2. The courts will not overturn an election results without good cause.
3. The courts gave strict rules for the use of proxies at the condo's next AGM.

He also made some disturbing points:
1. Two directors wanted the election results overturned for personal reasons.
2. The outgoing property manager worked with two directors to have the
    AGM election results overturned.

3. Mr. Campbell was an unwitting pawn in a power struggle surrounding
    control of the board and Mareka's attempts not to lose the property
    management contract.

4. Shah Jahan Khan, one of the applicants, was the only person who had
    tampered with the proxies.

You can read more here.
http://bit.ly/PuuVnj

Why so few 3 bedroom condo apartments?
David Fleming argues that very few people want them, especially in the downtown areas. Makes sense.
http://bit.ly/1jcOrPK

Tenants' federation to expand reach to condo renters
The Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations is expanding in hopes of stepping up protections to an exploding new generation of Toronto tenants — condo renters.

Some landlords demand key deposits of up to $500 or huge rent increases to cover escalating maintenance fee costs.

Some condo boards are demanding that tenants pay a fee, often $150, just to rent the elevator for a move, or $100 an hour for a security guard to oversee the process, says Geordie Dent, executive director of the federation.
http://on.thestar.com/1siSKxa

Barrie trailer parking closing
Seniors getting evicted to make room for more condos.
http://bit.ly/1hj7hQg

Dissolving condo corporations
Here is a new threat. When property values drop too far, financial companies buy up the units. Florida condo owners may lose their unit as a company dissolves the financially healthy corporation.
http://newspr.es/1oeVBb0

—†—

Condo News
02 April 2014

Breaking news!
YCC #42 Court decision released
Justice Penny has ruled in favor of Sandeep Gosal, Amina Gure, Mark Cianfarani, Vince Cianfarani and Vista Property Management.

Amina Gure and Sandeep Gosal are certified YCC #42 Board of Directors.

I just finished reading the judgment. Shah Jahan Khan, one of the directors and Mary Kahn, the owner of a property management company look real bad. Mr Campbell, the chair of the meeting was found to have overstepped his authority.

The court has placed serious restrictions on the use of proxies at the next YCC #42 election. Proxies can either be:

1) given in at the office by the owner with their ID or by Power of Attorney.

 2) Proxies can be mailed in to the office but must include proof of identity or a copy of the Power of Attorney.
http://bit.ly/1hmZRQs

On the market too long?
David Fleming wrote this article for The Grid on the problem with having a home listed on the market too long. The length of time a condo should be on the market depends on the location, the downtown Toronto core is a lot different than Scarborough or Milton.
http://bit.ly/OpRbxO

Right way to sell a condo
How this woman sold her condo, in a crowded market, in seven days.
http://bit.ly/1gBX7je

Rent control meeting a bust
Rosario Marchese hosted a meeting Tuesday evening to raise awareness of the need for rent controls on all rental accommodations—including condos.

He knows that there are a large number of renters who are being hit hard by huge rent increases but the people he is helping, one-by-one, didn't show up at his meeting. There were just eight people present to hear what Rosario and his guest speaker had to say.

If the renters won't show interest, then neither will the politicians.

Postage stamps now 85 cents
Buy just one and it will be a dollar. Most home owners will not be affected too badly by the increased postal rates but your condo corporation sure will. A 35% increase is a big jump.

There goes our Christmas cards.
http://bit.ly/1gVYSIr

Dog leash stuck in elevator door
Who would ever have thought this would happen outside of the old Warner Brothers cartoons.
http://bit.ly/1fm3W3c

A poorly thought out subway plan
Karen Stintz knows Toronto needs a Yonge Street subway relief line but her plan to help pay for it stinks. Read why that is so.
http://bit.ly/1hUGCeM

Arizona's TV Condo/HOA investigator
A TV station in Arizona has a condo/HOA investigation reporter who is asking owners to send him their horror stories. The issues he raises are the same we have in Ontario.
http://bit.ly/OXxvls

What a salesman!
He can sell my unit any day.


—†—
Condo News
31 March 2014

Application for administrator
The three owners at YCC #365 who are the applicants for a court-appointed administrator asked the court for more time to find a candidate for the position. Their original candidate withdrew a month ago.

The board, the respondents, have a qualified applicant but the judge decided to give the applicants more time to find an alternative.

They are back in court on 13 May 2014.

Revenue Canada cracking down on condo sales
Selling a condominium too quickly could lead to a massive tax bill
http://bit.ly/1kRkCV4

TSSA notice on elevator safety
It seems that TSSA is pushing the final implementation date for the gates above the elevator cabs out another two years. I am not so sure this is such a good idea as condos may never get around to doing it.
http://bit.ly/1j3HG2Q

Two hour GO train rides
The Go train takes over two hours to get from Kitchener to Union Station. Who wants to spend four hours a day commuting by train? Is this how our we are going to wean people away from cars?

I hope they offer complimentary sleeping compartments.
http://bit.ly/1gUDBZE

Toronto transit derailed
When did Toronto's transit plans run off the track? Four years ago according to this CBC news report. Guess who says they are our new transit champions. Yep, same politicians.
http://bit.ly/QfxURb

Toronto's newest thing in condos
Don't expect to see little gems to be advertised in CondoLife magazine. All the residents need to pay their monthly condo fleas.
http://on.thestar.com/1flK0xv

Bicycle rentals
Bixi bikes gets a new name, new logo and a new fee structure.
http://bit.ly/QAbOc5

Grass isn't so green on condo's lawn
In Vancouver, dog owners let their dogs pee on a condo's grass.
http://bit.ly/1gkDJHu

Another condo/HOA corruption story
Another American police force is investigating corruption at yet another home owners association. Why are there so many crooks getting arrested in American condos and HOAs but next to done in Canada?
http://bit.ly/1l4cAbf

—†—

Public Meeting—Rent Controls
27 March 2014

On Tuesday April 01, Rosario Marchese is holding a meeting to discuss an NDP bill to have all rental accommodation in Ontario covered by rent controls.

You should attend this meeting to see how this proposed bill would affect rental units in condominiums.

Read more about rent controls in Ontario:
http://www.condomadness.info/rent_controls.html

—†—

Condo News
26 March 2014

Rooming houses & condos
City council also needs to change the city’s bylaws to insure that rooming houses are located only in detached homes and not in multi-unit residential housing. It is not fair to expect condo owners to pay increased common element fees and have lower property values so that individual investors can make money off of their private units.

Unless severe penalties are introduced, unlicensed, unsafe and overcrowded rooming houses will remain in the city.



Ten units in a semi? Why not? I have heard of four "bedrooms" in two-bedroom condo apartment units.

It should be obvious to all, a major investment in public housing is the best answer to providing housing to the economically marginal members of our society and that overcrowded condo units is not the answer.

You can read more at:
http://on.thestar.com/1gL5N17

Tight on money?
You are not alone. The rich and upper middle class in Oakville are also hurting. The second-hand clothing store is doing well.
http://on.thestar.com/NIaeCL

Vancouver cutting back on condo parking
Another city is planning to eliminate the need to provide parking for some condo developments.
http://bit.ly/1gnLVXm

Terrible real estate photos
Really, really bad real estate photos. Makes you wonder how any of them were used to sell homes.
http://terriblerealestateagentphotos.com/

—†—
Condo News
22 March 2014

Toronto needs to take action on rooming houses, planning chair Peter Milczyn urges
Councillor Peter Milczyn is right in saying that the city of Toronto should require that all rooming houses in the city be licenced and regularly inspected to insure that they all meet all required building and fire codes.

The city’s Municipal Licensing and Standards Department must be given all necessary authority and resources to investigate residential units that are suspected of acting as illegal rooming houses and all overcrowded and unsafe rooming houses be closed.

Rooming houses in condos
City council also needs to change the city’s bylaws to insure that rooming houses are located only in detached homes and not in multi-unit residential housing. It is not fair to expect condo owners to pay increased common element fees and have lower property values so that individual investors can make money off of their private units.

Unless severe penalties are introduced, unlicensed, unsafe and overcrowded rooming houses will remain in the city.

It should be obvious to all, a major investment in public housing is the best answer to providing housing to the economically marginal members of our society and that overcrowded condo units is not the answer.

You can read more at:
http://on.thestar.com/1gL5N17

—†—
Condo News
21 March 2014

Those free condo magazines
David Fleming lets you know why CondoLife is "free".
http://bit.ly/1etOdi7

Hazardous goods traveling through Toronto
These railway cars run right behind some large condos in Toronto.
http://on.thestar.com/PEPj5z



Mid-size condos
Here is a real estate article-advertisement promoting new mid-size condos.

Sheppard Avenue west, from Bathurst to the Downsview subway station has rows of these type of condos on each side of the street. There are a lot of unsold bottom-floor retail shops in them. Most likely a lack of parking and little pedestrian traffic are problems as the strip-malls on the street have no vacancies.
http://on.thestar.com/1gPTCnX

Subsidies for co-ops to end
Will low-income co-op residents face evictions when government subsidies end? It's likely.
http://bit.ly/1jBbRgV

Another condo townhouse fire
A condo fire in west Edmonton that injured one person and caused approximately $3 million worth of damage was started accidentally, fire investigators say.
http://bit.ly/NBCzdN

What is the life-expectancy of your condo?
Maybe not as long as you expect. Most American skyscrapers built in the 1920's and 1930's are long gone and most housing (early condo apartments) in Chinese cities have been demolished to make room for grander, taller ones.
http://on.wsj.com/1mkhbZO
—†—

Condo News
21 March 2014

Does your condo's school district matter?
If you have kids or you plan to sell to anyone who has children,
it can matter a lot.
http://bit.ly/1fsimOj

Is the condo 'bubble' bursting?
For the new tiny shoe boxes in downtown Toronto? Probably.
http://bit.ly/1qRVBN9

North Korean election tricks
I thought that Canadians were going to teach the North Koreans how to run an election, not the other way around. Will Condo Office put a stop to his kind of election dishonesty?
http://bit.ly/1ig80Wi

Condo manager admits embezzling $311,000
17 March 2014
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — The former financial manager of a Branson condominium complex has admitted embezzling $311,000 from the owners' association.

The U.S. Attorney's office says 35-year-old Sarah Underwood, of Galena, pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to wire fraud, money laundering and failing to file a tax return.

Underwood handled bookkeeping and financial affairs at the Fall Creek condominiums from 2007 until she was fired in September 2012, after the thefts were discovered.

Prosecutors said Underwood admitted writing about $311,000 worth of checks on the condo association's accounts and using the money on personal expenses, including a $76,000 Shelby Mustang. She also bought a condo at Fall Creek, and steered $80,000 to her boyfriend's construction company without showing any work done at the complex.

A sentencing date will be scheduled later.

Condo adviser
A good Chicago newspaper column on condo issues.
http://bit.ly/1gBIo2F

—†—
Condo News
18 March 2014

Most common ignored condo rules
Another excellent condo blog by David Fleming.
http://bit.ly/1ngB8lO

Prevention, detection, escape from fire
City of Toronto Media Relations has issued the following:
News Release
March 11, 2014

A Toronto fire in a mixed residential/commercial building in the early morning hours of Friday, March 7 resulted in the loss of three lives and injury to a fourth person.

In response to this tragic incident on Dovercourt Road, Toronto Fire Chief Jim Sales reminds the public to be vigilant with fire and life safety: "I urge all residents to remember and practice the three lines of defence against the devastating effects of fire: prevention, detection and escape."

Prevention
Take steps to prevent fires from occurring. Never leave cooking and burning candles unattended. If you smoke, smoke outdoors.

Detection
Make sure you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home and outside all sleeping areas. Make sure you have working carbon monoxide alarms outside all sleeping areas.

Escape
Plan and practice a home fire escape plan that includes two ways out and a safe meeting place outside the home where you can call 911. Your plan must emphasize that you never go back into a burning building.

Board president fired
A board president in Santa Fe got removed by the board for questioning the over $275,000 a year salary that their HOA property manager was making. That is $50,000 more than what the Mayor of New York City makes.

The president said the manager denied her request for detailed staff compensation data earlier this year, saying it would be a drain on staff time.
http://bit.ly/1i7O7Rc

Nightclub to sue upstairs neighbours
Mixed use condos can be a problem if there are bars and clubs on the bottom floor and residents above them.
http://bit.ly/OxnXNi

Will you have a $7 large or a $4 small?
Two different prices, same amount of beer. Be a wise shopper.
http://bit.ly/1eyeP1E

—†—
Condo News
17 March 2014

YCC #42 directors back in court
Since the replacement of a court-appointed administrator 1 1/2 years ago,
YCC #42 has been fraught with political conflict.

It was hoped that two superior court motions would be heard today but the court misplaced the materials so the court date was pushed back to Friday March 28. Here is an explanation of the two sides, both claiming to be the legitimate board and representing the true interests of the owners.

Old board
Two board members, who were elected 1 1/2 years ago, claim that the two new directors that were elected last September should be disqualified due to massive proxy fraud (even though most of the altered proxies seems to have been done by their side) and the court should order a new election.

They were unsuccessful in getting a court order stating that the two directors that were elected at the September 2013 AGM be suspended from the board until the March 28 court date.

They were also unsuccessful in getting a court order stopping an owners' meeting to vote on the removal of Mr. Khan from the board which is scheduled for March 26, two days before the new court date. (This is the second attempt by some of the owners to remove Mr. Khan in less than a year.)

However, the judge ordered that if Mr. Khan is successfully removed from office, the removal will not take effect until after the March 28 court hearing.

New board
The new board (three directors) want the election results that were declared by the AGM chair to be confirmed and the courts to rule that only the courts, and not the meeting chairman, can re-open an AGM and overturn the declared election results.

They also were successful in getting court orders stating that all five directors must sign all cheques that are required to run the day-to-day condo affairs until the court decides on the election issue. A second court order urges all directors to act responsibly until the March 28 court date.

—†—
Condo News
13 March 2014

High price of parking
A parking spot at 23 Cox Blvd in Markham recently sold for $30,000. Monthly maintenance is $3.77.

We need this in Ontario's new Condo Act
BC does not allow the condo to charge for examining the condo documents and it limits photocopying charges to a maximum of 25 cents a copy.
http://bit.ly/1eXl1PX

Fire in downtown condo
Fires in condos are more common that people think. Have an evacuation plan in place; both you as a resident and your board.
http://bit.ly/PszDCm

We don't want this in Ontario's new Condo Act
After losing a series of court decisions over heavy-handed enforcement actions, HOA/condo lawyers in Virginia are seeking broader authority to assess and collect fines and assert a lien against a property, even without a court order.

We will need to read Ontario's bill very carefully when it is introduced.
http://bit.ly/1e15vD3

You don't own a condo
David Fleming explains the problems with selling a condo assignment.
http://bit.ly/1fJBCwH

Moving company scams
A warning from Toronto Police Services.
http://bit.ly/1i5xuVg

Engineers and condos liability
An American experts warns structural engineers to be careful when accepting work from condo developers.
http://bit.ly/1hIXvdV

—†—
Condo News
10 March 2014

Twitter Chat on Condominium Dispute Resolution
#CondoChat

Tomorrow  Tuesday 11 March 2014
Time:         7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Where:      Twitter.com / Hashtag:  #CondoChat
Host:         Toronto & Area Chapter of the
                  Canadian Condominium Institute @CCIToronto

This chat is open to the public.

GUEST TWEETERS:
Chris Jaglowitz @chrisjaglowitz
Condominium Lawyer
Partner, Gardiner Miller Arnold LLP

Colm Brannigan @colmbrannigan
Mediator and Arbitrator
Mediate.ca

Marc Bhalla @condomediator
Condominium Mediator
CONDOMEDIATORS.ca

#CondoChat
The Toronto & Area Chapter of the Canadian Condominium Institute is hosting a Twitter chat on condominium dispute resolution.

Guest tweeters Chris Jaglowitz, Colm Brannigan and Marc Bhalla will be discussing an array of issues involving condominium alternative dispute resolution (ADR), including recent case law, proposed changes to Ontario’s condominium legislation and the unique elements of condominium dispute resolution as compared to traditional mediation and arbitration processes.

Participation in this chat is open to the general public.

Simply log onto your Twitter account when the chat is live and reference the hashtag #CondoChat in your posts to participate or view what will surely be an intriguing and educational discussion.

Questions may also be circulated to the Toronto & Area Chapter of the Canadian Condominium Institute in advance for circulation to our guest tweeters during the live chat.

This chat will provide insightful information for anyone involved or potentially involved in a condominium conflict, including condominium residents, unit owners and directors who wish to learn more about how the courts are directing condominium disputes to be addressed, how ADR works and why it fits into the condominium setting.
http://bit.ly/1gQBcpx

—†—

Condo News
07 March 2014

Trump Tower back in the news
A piece of glass in hanging off the Toronto Trump Tower. This hotel/condo complex has had a lot of falling glass problems.
http://bit.ly/P8f9yz

Dog bites resident, condo is going to court
A Toronto condo tried to slip out of a lawsuit were a very old lady was badly injured by a dog. The judge refused so the condo and the dog's owners are going to court.
http://www.condomadness.info/Courts-pets.html#bite

Yonge-Sheppard Condominium News
The March 2014 on-line edition is now available.
http://www.yscondonews.com/

Thermo window failure
Why thermos window seals fail.
http://bit.ly/1eDWMuu

New condos getting smaller
New condos are on average 110 square feet than four years ago. RealNet president George Carras says its due to the HST.

I disagree. This trend started long before changes to the HST. I think that it is primarily due to developers squeezing more units onto each floor. This trend also accelerated due to the primary market for condos changing from owner-resident families to singles, seniors and rental properties.
http://bit.ly/1kJMfyp

Condo security tips
Mike Fenton, director of consulting and client support at Paragon Security, discusses the new standards for condo security and explains how burglaries can be prevented.
http://bit.ly/1eVCPLi

Condo laundry rooms & dishwashers
Canadian insurers are now looking at water leaks in condos from all causes in setting insurance rates.

From personal experience from one condo building I know, those tiny Italian-made washer/dryer units tend to leak if overloaded or there is too much soap added.
http://bit.ly/1doFil4

Smart meters—not so smart
Last month, provincial ombudsman Andre Marin launched a probe into Hydro One’s smart meter program after receiving hundreds of complaints. Since then, complaints have skyrocketed. By end of the working day Tuesday, they’d had 5,605 complaints — that’s 4,958 since he launched the probe.
http://bit.ly/1kxcGL1

—†—
Condo News
05 March 2014

The crude oil rail-car blues
"If that railroad train was mine
I bet I'd move it on a little farther down the line"
Folsom Prison Blues

Councillor Josh Matlow sounds the alarm about a dramatic increase in oil sent through the GTA in aging tank cars without public notice.

Maybe the condo owners who can see, and hear, these rail cars from their units should be asking their city councillors and MPPs to join Matlow is moving those old oil-cars further down the line.
http://bit.ly/1kxP5JY

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Condo News
03 March 2014

Cops catch spider man
A cat burglar who was robbing high-end houses, condos and apartments in the GTA area for the last several years has been busted after running a stop sign.
http://bit.ly/1fV1p3s

The line between a condo and a rental building
A consumer advocate says condo boards should be allowed to restrict tenancy levels. He recommends not buying in a condo that has more than 25% renters. (Downtown areas exempted.)
http://bit.ly/1ckf8Mw

96 condo units for lease
Driving the above point home, David Fleming writes about a new condo having 96 units up for lease on MLS at the same time!

On 01 March 2014, the number for rent on MLS dropped to 69 on MLS. To this number we must add all the ones listed on Craiglist and other websites and those being rented by property management companies.
http://bit.ly/IrqlCx

Building permits issued. Anyone checking on them?
In a lot of cases nobody is checking to see if the work was done correctly. Charles Hanes has been hollering about this for years now but no one was listening.
http://www.cbc.ca/m/touch/canada/toronto/story/1.2554861

High-rise fires are no joke
Sure this fire occurred at a Toronto social housing project but that does not mean that it could not happen in a condo. Does your condo have an evacuation plan in case of fire or other emergency? Are you sure?

Quiz: What do you do if there is thick smoke in the hallway?
          Where is your building's rally point?
http://bit.ly/1bKL164

Early history of condos in Canada
A time line of condominiums in Canada
http://bit.ly/OCLv4e

Condos need grocery stores
Another good article by David Fleming.
http://bit.ly/1jBQfBh

Unnecessary death in condo garbage dumpster
The widow of an suburban Chicago man accidentally crushed to death in a trash compactor last summer is now suing the homeowners' association of her condominium complex for wrongful death, pain and suffering.
http://bit.ly/1hbPy1n

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Condo News
28 February 2014

Real Condo Investor
Real Condo Investor is a new supplement to Condo Life, a free Toronto magazine that promotes new condominium developments. Published four times a year, Real Condo Investor shows just how important the rental market has become for new condo sales.

So are new buyers purchasing a unit in a traditional condo building or a unit in what is really a rental building?

Buy a condo on the layaway plan?
Here's a twist on the old department store layaway plans where you buy something that you can't pay for and the store keeps it while you make monthly payments until it is all paid off.

At the Eau Du Soleil Condominiums in Etobicoke, you can start making monthly payments now and they will build it later. The builder is offering a lot of sweeteners including $80,000 off some of the units.
http://bit.ly/1mDANsS

This NIMBY group is organized
Condo owners are suppose to work together within their buildings and neighbourhood associations work to maintain or improve local neighbourhoods. But how do people go about this?

Read how residents in the High Park area banded together to fight against a new condo project.

"Members of the High Park Coalition have attended five working group meetings, embarked on street campaigns to educate others about the proposal, undertaken letter-writing campaigns to let local councillors know of their opposition, fund raised enough funds to hire their own professionals to study the proposal, and collected more than 2,200 signatures from local residents on a petition opposing the application."

We can all learn from this group.
http://bit.ly/1mHgtqD

Foreign condo buyers resented in NYC
Affordable housing advocates, activists fighting gentrification and politicians have all, at one point or another, wagged their fingers at super-rich foreign natives that snatch up luxury condos for staggering sums.

But Toronto-native and West 57th Street-condo-buyer, Diane Francis, claims that it is precisely foreign buyers like herself that “are the solution, not the problem, to New York’s budget.”
http://bit.ly/1jxJyAe

Michigan hoarder has condo condemned
Ypsilanti Township will join litigation over what appears to be a highly unsanitary hoarding case that’s causing a bug and rodent infestation in a condominium building.

The township condemned the condo on Feb. 11.

Photos of the unit and officials’ description of the home show an interior filled with piles of garbage, spoiled food, clothes, household items and junk. The owners also have several dogs and the floor is covered in the animals’ feces.

Fire hazard
Building Director Ron Fulton also noted that scenarios where homes are packed with garbage, clothes and other items present a fire hazard. He cited statistics from the Hoarding Task force of Washtenaw County that state 70 percent of house fires can be contained to the room in which they start, but 75 percent of homes with an increased “fire load” end up a total loss
http://bit.ly/NsuKaB

Incompetent contractor— Thousands in damages
Hiring unlicenced and incompetent contractors is not unusual at some condos where board members hire friends, relatives, homeowners or somebody they found on Craigslist.

The attraction? They'll work cheap.  The risk? Like in this California story, hundreds of thousands in unnecessary costs and damages.
http://bit.ly/1jgNDbX

Annual 2013 City Planning Report
The City of Toronto Planning Report reminds me of an airline magazine without the ads. It has 88 pages of pretty colour photographs, graphs and lots of big words describing lots of vague ideas but it really is difficult to figure out what it will mean to your neighbourhood.
You can browse through it here.
http://bit.ly/1hzJen1


CondoMadness T-shirts


Thinking about designing a CondoMadness logo and making some T-shirts.

Here is one design I am working with.

I am sure Rob Ford will not mind my taking some liberties with one of his more famous quotes.


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Condo News
26 February 2014

Low prices
A two bedroom condo at 40 Panorama Court recently sold for $46,001. This is among the lowest prices so far this year for a condo apartment in the City of Toronto. In the east end, on Lawrence Ave, an 1800 sq ft stacked townhouse sold—as is—for $90,000.

For just a few dollars more
Here is a different condo that costs a little bit more money.
http://bit.ly/1guF6iN

Global TV News on window wall replacements
Global TV News picked up on the Toronto Star story on the costs of replacing condo window-walls.
http://bit.ly/1oYyUpq

Raising kids in a condo
A Toronto Star article about raising kids in a downtown condo. No different I think than raising kids in a rental building.
http://bit.ly/1mABseH

The Green Limo?
Gotta love those condo sales ads. I read one today for a condo that is close to a Go Train station. Yep, they're calling the Go Train: "the Green Limo".


The Green Limo?

Taxpayers to subsidize apartment, condo recycling
All Saskatoon taxpayers may have to pay more to bring city recycling programs to apartments and condos.
http://bit.ly/NpB8PV

Builder & condo settle
A Boston condo settled with the builder, contractors with a $12.25 million settlement.
http://bit.ly/1jhHtIA

Recruiting training video for HOA/condo boards
Here is a recruiting video for condo bylaw enforcement officers.
Touch-in-cheek? Maybe. It is Texas after all.
http://bit.ly/1bljo3b

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Condo News
20 February 2014

Window walls, expensive to replace
Here is another newspaper article warning condo owners about the huge replacement costs for window walls.

Window walls are the floor to ceiling glass walls that are the new rage in condo living.

What is the life expectancy for these cheaper window walls? The stated figure in this article is 30-35 years. Other published reports say they start to deteriorate after ten years.

It is doubtful that any condo is putting enough money into the Reserves to pay for window wall replacements; heavens, many older condos still have leaky 40 year old regular windows due to the cost of replacing them.
http://bit.ly/1gEYHiL

Earlier Toronto Star article
"I tell people, this is where your grandchildren are going to come to buy crack." I love this quote.
http://bit.ly/1dLTntb

Falling ice—a new problem?
Not sure how big of a problems this really is.
http://bit.ly/1h5T1fU

Mississauga condo with no hot water
In this Global news report, the building with no hot water is managed by Del. I see three problems that are raised in this story.

One

No hot water is one and it was made worse by no information from the board or management.

Why both boilers would go at the same time in a relatively new building seems unusual.

Two
Elevator problems. Too much traffic, rough use or poor maintenance may be an issue.
Three
Renters. I think these buildings have a lot of renters. Renters are more likely to squawk about building defects. Owners like to hide their building defects.



“It’s all supply and demand. At times of great demand for units the management company can dictate terms,” said Gray. This statement must refer to rental buildings or to condos that have a huge number of renters.

The reporter also talked about renters and their rights being different from the owners.
http://bit.ly/MdWsHk

Condo townhouses burn in Calgary
Condo townhouses that were almost complete burn to the ground in a dramatic fire that forced nearby residents out of their homes. The heat caused the siding on some occupied homes to melt.
http://bit.ly/1jErJPi

A complaint over lawn care grew
A Whitby home owner takes his elderly neighbours to civil court. He loses and his losses? A total of $400,000. What is worse is that his neighbours may not be able to collect.
http://bit.ly/1oNf40m

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Condo News
18 February 2014

A David Fleming video
Buying a condo? Check nearby lots to see if your view will be blocked by another condo that may be built in a couple of years or so.
http://www.youtube.com/embed/Iv8mkpfarZk

WITHIN REASON: Justice, City Building, & the OMB
Please join us at Ryerson University on Tuesday evening February 25, for “Within Reason: Justice, City Building, and the OMB”, a panel discussion featuring Rosario Marchese (Member of Provincial Parliament – Trinity-Spadina), Cynthia MacDougall (Partner, McCarthy Tetrault LLP), and Steve Diamond (President and Chief Executive Officer, Diamond Corp).

Please see the poster below for details.
Please register at: https://withinreason.eventbrite.ca
http://www.arch.ryerson.ca/2014/01/within-reason-conference/

Yukon court rules developer must pay condo fees
Judge orders Brian Little to pay $394K to Falcon Ridge condo corporation on the units he still owned and was renting out.
http://bit.ly/1cRDKMA

Renters a big problem
This story out of Montreal states that at least one Montreal condo had to hire a bouncer to control their renters. Is Toronto any different?

One issue with the stated facts. The number of renters in condos is greatly under-stated. In my last condo, the status certificates claimed 25% of the units were rented. In reality, it was closer to 60%.

Watch the video on how the woman takes out the glass door.

Note: The story is on two pages.
http://bit.ly/O7Vezh

Management fees may include a lot of add-ons.
This American article describes why many property management contracts contain add-ons that increase costs.
http://bit.ly/1m1SUFm

Time to change your passwords?
In Lengshuijiang China, a city website used "123456", the world's most common password, for the file that lists all the city official's salaries. A hacker posted the password on the Chinese network.

A lesson to be learned?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6iW-8xPw3k

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Condo News
15 February 2014

An obligation on property managers
"I believe that there is an obligation on property managers to act wisely and prudently in their position of trust, with respect to paying accounts, whether it be for the plumber, the roofer and even the lawyers."
Deputy Judge M. Klein


This is a quote that needs to be posted on the wall of every condominium corporation in North America for everyone to see.

A Toronto condominium lawyer, Chris Jaglowitz brought this small claims case to our attention today and am I glad he did.

You can read about it here:
http://condomadness.info/Courts-legal_fees.html#Carriero

I plan to read the superior court judgment to see what happened in that case and see who was involved. It should be very interesting.

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Condo News
13 February 2014

David Fleming stirred up a hornet's nest
David Fleming, a Toronto Realtor, who currently writes the most informative blog on condos in Toronto upset the owners at at 201 Carlaw Avenue when he published the fact that new buyers can't get mortgage insurance in their building.

What was so bad about that? Oh my, it was as if he talked about:
1. Incest in the family.
2. The crazy aunt who the family keeps locked in the attic.
3. Bedbugs.

The crime? Saying anything negative about a condo. Owners get so scared that if the public ever find out that their stack of concrete boxes has the slightest blemish, it will hurt sales and lower asking prices.

Both his blog and the Globe and Mail article about its reaction from the owners are worth reading.
http://bit.ly/1edBUoN
http://bit.ly/1bI4EJU

Read the reader Comments below his article. Unreal.

David Fleming on real estate agents
In this blog, David explains why it is so important to have an ethical real estate agent and how much harm an inexperienced or unethical one can do to a buyer.
http://bit.ly/1cCYgnP

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Condo News
07 February 2014

Heenan Blaikie is no more
Partners vote to wind up the firm; associates trying to land on their feet.
http://bit.ly/1kgM4xh

Heenan Blaikie Condo Group moving
The Condo Group has found a new home. That's Great!
http://www.condoreporter.com/were_moving/

Sub-metering saves you money?
In many cases, it doesn't. The increase in administration costs offsets the cost of saved electricity. It is just a way to make the common element fees seem lower than they really are.
http://bit.ly/1kWbxd2

Mixed-use development
The growing trend in Toronto as social planners and developers attempt to fight sprawl.
http://bit.ly/1icTY77

Church conversions
I am not crazy on these things. Tarion will not cover them so the owners must rely on the builder's workmanship, financial shape and ethics.

If you want one, buy a five-six year old resale so any construction defects will have been discovered by then.
http://www.thegridto.com/life/real-estate/houses-of-the-holy/

Noise issues
Renters in condos can be a pain.
http://bit.ly/1j3FNEW


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