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"Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed.
Everything else is public relations."
26 February 2018
Toronto condo owners allege former board members siphoned money, left them on hook for $750K
Condo owners at a Toronto highrise are suing several former members of
their board for $800,000, alleging those members conspired to divert
hundreds of thousands of dollars from the building's operating budget
for their own benefit.
The owners claim the building is deeply in debt, and they've been hit with a $750,000 special assessment.
You can read the full story here: "Election fraud at multiple condos".
Airbnb rentals used for human
trafﬁcking, Toronto police say
This is a world-wide problem as brothels need to stay on the move. This
is a short-term rental problem that is not limited to just Airbnb.
Human rights complaint over alleged homophobic strata tirade dismissed
A BC Human Rights Tribunal ruling confirms that a strata (condo
corporation) is not responsible to police conduct between residents.
5Pointz graffiti artists awarded $6.7 million after their work was destroyed
On Long Island, a condo developer painted over the graffiti without warning the artists before hand.
Chinese nanny sentenced to death for fire that killed a mother and three children files appeal
The nanny was stupid and selfish. No question of that. Yet, if the
condo management did their job, the question is: Would the victims
One former employee of the company
which manages the property stated that the company conducted an
inspection of all smoke alarms and sprinklers in the wake of the deadly
fire, replacing malfunctioning ones and rushing to fill fire safety
inspection logs that had been left blank as it had failed to conduct
"All of these factors — lingering concerns about insufficient witness
testimony, maladroit emergency response efforts, and building
mismanagement— could come into play during the appeal."
22 February 2018
Condos getting even more paperwork
Ontario: Starting on 01 July 2019, condos will be affected by new
regulations under the Green Energy Act requiring them to report energy
and water usage for the full 2018 year.
Condo Questions: Moving day restrictions irk condo owner
An excellent condo Q&A legal column from Alberta.
I used to think my house was my castle. Now I feel like
it's more of a prison
A whistleblower in Tucson is gets $2,500 in fines after she complained
about the property management company paying a director's travel
NYC: Condo board sues Nike store for $3M
Lawsuit says each Nike event and the ensuing crowds subject the
condominium’s residents to extended periods of public drunkenness and
urination, violence (including brawls and fist fights) loitering,
littering, smoking, drug use, yelling and screaming.
Small town stands its ground on condo safety
New York State: a local government had to force a condo to repair
unsafe balconies. That was after two people were hurt when a balcony
The Château: A Novel
Goldberg’s novel unfolds within the Château Sedan Neuve, a crumbling
high-rise condominium in Hollywood, Fla… Governed by a corrupt board –
rigging bids with contractors doing shoddy work while longtime
residents get evicted – it’s a metaphor for America itself."
15 February 2018
Condo caretaker who entered Calgary woman’s suite while she slept pleads guilty
Phillip Allan Skulnec was charged with break-and-enter with intent to commit a sexual assault.
Ontario's new mandatory lease
Starting 30 April 2018, the standard lease will apply to most residential tenancies in Ontario, including condos.
PC party has stopped paying the rent for former leader Patrick Brown’s downtown condo
Brown will now have to use the taxpayer-funded MPPs’ monthly allowance
of $1,876.50 toward the rent in the new high-rise building, where
suites go for as much as $3,000 a month.
B.C. has too many stratas, not enough managers
They work long hours, hold great responsibilities and don't get paid a
lot. Is it any wonder the province has too few strata building managers?
‘Condo commando’ accused of shooting husband long feuded with HOA
A 53-year-old Boynton Beach woman who shot her husband and herself
Monday night had residents in her neighborhood living in fear and left
the community’s homeowners association president feeling lucky he
New software spies on renters who list their homes on Airbnb
The new Australian anti-Airbnb site, BnbGuard, monitors 12 long- and
short-term rental websites and provides landlords and property owners
with notifications if their property is found online.
Daring Chinese burglar scales building to break into 33rd floor apartment
“I think the higher that people live, the richer they are.”
Malaysian police cripple burglary ring targeting luxury condos
A couple would rent a unit in a luxury unit & then use a stun gun
to rob residents. Two-year long crime spree by a Thai Bonnie &
09 February 2018
Toronto condo dwellers upset after thief steals master key from Fire Safety Plan box, then a $5,000 bike
Condo board president is calling the theft of the key a major security breach.
How crowded can illegal rooming houses get?
I was talking to a Toronto fire inspector this week. When I said that I
know of townhouses that have been divided into 12 to 14 units, he said
the most he saw was 26 bedrooms in a townhouse.
What was interesting is that he was aware of all the condos that I said had serious fire code violations.
Looking for the best return in the condo market? Buy old
An article in the Globe and Mail confirms what I wrote several years
ago. A well managed older condo building, may be a buyer's best choice.
Ontario: There’s no sugar-coating it. The new prescribed forms under the amended Condo Act regulations are generally terrible.
Prohibition is best answer to cannabis in condos, legal expert says
Condo boards, and landlords responsible for multi-unit buildings would
be wise to nip the problem in the bud, before the summer deadline.
20% more mortgages are being denied by big banks, sending borrowers down the credit ladder
These borrowers can still get mortgages, they'll just have to pay more.
Co-op and condo nightmares in New York gain national attention
An article in the New York Times about how hard it is to rid a co-op or a condo of a dysfunctional or self-serving board.
Is it different here in Canada? No.
Family saved by CO alarm
A recently installed carbon monoxide (CO) alarm is being credited with saving the lives of a Welland family.
On Jan. 28 around 6:30 p.m., one such alarm activated in the south
Welland home of the family, alerting them to the presence of carbon
monoxide gas and prompting them to evacuate the building before calling
911. Upon arrival, fire crews found readings at the entrance to the
home of 24 parts per million, with a higher reading of 40 parts per
million near the kitchen stove, which was later credited with the leak
of the deadly gas.
Family calls lack of CO detectors in Airdrie condo building ‘pure stupidity and neglect’
Alberta: Elysha Schlichter and Jayla Thompson say they’ve been
heartbroken and furious in the days following the loss of their
12-year-old son Trai who died as a result of a carbon monoxide leak in
the condo building they called home in Airdrie.
http://bit.ly/2shXvAF & http://bit.ly/2BYQK6h
03 February 2018
A Florida condo president completely out of control
This Sun Sentinel report describes a condo president so out of control
that it is hard to believe that he got away with so much for so long.
De Soto Park Condominiums
Florida regulators ordered Robert Picerno, a Hallandale Beach condo
president to resign immediately after learning he was a convicted
felon. He refused.
When a state investigator told Picerno to reinstate two owners
improperly kicked off the De Soto Park Condominium board, he said no.
When regulators demanded association records, he declined. And when
they served him with a subpoena, he ignored it.
Now state regulators are looking into owners' allegations that Picerno
misspent $177,000 in condo money while the police investigate possible
embezzlement, grand theft and fraud.
Felons not allowed
Florida law bans felons who have not had their civil rights restored
from serving on condo boards, and Picerno had been convicted of bribery
and conspiracy in Rhode Island in 2004.
The state told Picerno to step down. Instead, he put himself on the ballot for re-election in 2014 — and won.
Work poorly done
A whirlwind of construction under Picerno brought improvements
including new security cameras, roof and fountain lights, tile and
paint. Those projects also brought questions from unit owners, who
noticed problems ranging from a lack of permits to exposed wiring.
City inspectors cited the condo for code violations in seven major
projects carried out on Picerno's watch, ordering immediate fixes that
are still underway and have cost owners thousands of dollars.
The condo lawyer weighs in
As the owners awaited records that they never got, the association sent
a cease-and-desist letter to one and filed a defamation suit against
another. The condo's attorney also fired off a cease-and-desist letter
to a unit owner who complained to state officials that Picerno began
following her after she tried to solicit signatures to oust him from
the board late in 2013.
The lawsuit and letters contained virtually identical allegations,
including that the owners had made "statements misrepresenting ...
Picerno's qualifications and eligibility as a board member ... without
any factual basis."
Regulators sided with the owners and tried—unsuccessfully—to obtain the
records through written requests to Picerno, then violation notices
and, finally, a subpoena.
Two board members were removed illegally, the state concluded.
Financial surprises hit the condo near the end of 2013. Some board
members claimed they never approved the association's purchase of a
condo unit or the spending of $176,945 from its reserve fund. The condo
also exceeded its budget for repairs and maintenance by more than
Unit No. 116 in Building Four cost the association $75,000. Just over a
month after the purchase, the condo corporation sold it for $78,500 to
a company owned by a real estate agent who does business at the
complex. Two months after that, the agent's company sold the unit for
$122,000 — a profit of more than $40,000.
The accountant goes to the cops !
The condo's accountant said he had tried to warn the board, but no one
took action. "I kept saying, this guy has got a debit card and he's not
writing receipts," accountant Brian Calvarese said. "No one stepped up
to him on the board."
The accountant said Picerno used association money to pay off his and
his wife's cellphone bill. He bought laptops, cellphones and a
television with the condo's money. He spent association dollars at
restaurants, grocery stores and gas stations and used a condo debit
card without showing how he spent the money. The accountant recorded
$176,945 in unauthorized reserve fund spending.
Calvarese was so troubled by what he saw he took his concerns to the police.
Picerno told the Sun Sentinel no money came from the general reserves,
but records show his signature on multiple checks from that account.
One bought golf carts. Others went to a landscaping supply company and
other businesses and individuals.
"Mr Picerno feels that he can spend and do as he pleases," Max Levine
wrote in his complaint. "Mr. Picerno always disregards board members
and unit owners in what he decides to do," wrote Catherine Impliazzo.
"Mr. Picerno refuses to give us access to the records," wrote Breytman,
and "has taken money from the reserve account without approval of the
majority of the unit owners and board members."
Association attorney Isaac Manzo disputed the allegations in an April
2014 e-mail to state regulators: "The Association completely denies all
allegations in the complaints in this case and also vehemently protests
the unfounded, harassing conduct of" state regulators.
The final days
Picerno served as board president through the spring and summer of
2014, even after his arrest following a brawl with a teenage condo
resident. Police sought Picerno on the night of a condo board meeting,
saying he hit and kicked the boy and tried to hit him with a metal
flashlight. The boy had argued with Picerno and a security guard.
The boy suffered cuts to his forehead and lips and a broken hand, the
arrest report stated. Police charged Picerno with assault and battery
and the guard with battery.
While awaiting trial, Picerno continued his work for the board and he is currently serving 12 months' probation.
The president's side of this
Picerno told the Sun Sentinel he gave the condominium a dramatic face
lift without raising fees, yet was constantly under siege from a small
group of malcontents.
"They didn't have any knowledge of how to do things and all they wanted
to do was complain," Picerno, 68, said. "They hassled me enough and
tortured me and my family. ... I tried to do my best, but they made up
story after story after story." "They're just mean, vindictive people,"
he said. "I tried to do my best to help them. All they ever did was
turn everything around." Now, he said, he just wants to be left alone.
Disgruntled owners are powerless
The tumult that accompanied Picerno's 18 months as president at De Soto
Park reflects a sense of powerlessness familiar to many condominium
owners across South Florida: They have little recourse when condo
boards don't know or follow the law.
Even when disgruntled owners get the ear of state regulators, action
can come slowly — or never. State records in the De Soto Park case show
regulators have limited authority over board members who insist on
doing as they please.
Here is the link:
When a Co-op (or condo) board misbehaves
It takes a group of owners to put in a lot of time money and stress to get a bad board out of office.
Toronto coffee & condos meeting
Hamilton hikes fines for loud dog owners to maximum $25,000
Condo owners rejoice.
Habitat for Humanity building a condo
01 February 2018
Downtown Vancouver condo dwellers are charging people nearly $1,000 a month to live in tiny dens
The price of a den in Vancouver is fast approaching $1,000 a month.
These tiny rooms have been available for rent on Craigslist for a few
years now. They typically have room for little more than a single bed
and a small nightstand. On the plus side, they usually come with free
Surrey BC: Delivery man caught eating toppings off a customer's pizza
A Domino’s delivery guy in Surrey, British Columbia, was caught on
video devouring toppings off a pizza in an elevator on the way to drop
it off to a customer.
Kelowna man puts home up for sale because he thinks his neighbour is an asshole
If you own a detached home, you have some freedoms that condo owners
can never enjoy. Most likely the owner is more interested in upsetting
his neighbour than in selling the house.
Board members of Manhattan condo sued for dangerous renovation resulting in falling bricks
The terrace and pool of the building remain closed following a
dangerous debacle on Dec. 7, 2015, when hundreds of bricks fell from
the 35th floor of the building. Several blocks around E. 64th St. and
First Ave. were closed — and miraculously no one was hurt.
Six unit-owners, calling themselves the Committee of Concerned
Unit-Owners of the St. Tropez Condominium, have filed a lawsuit in
Manhattan Supreme Court claiming that facade repairs are still
incomplete and that the condo board levied $6.8 million in assessments
to gut-renovate the building’s lobby and 14th-floor social room, the
Daily News reports.
The suit blames former board president Christopher Klein and former
board vice president Sandeep Patel for prioritizing the interior
renovations over the well-being of New Yorkers on the streets below.
The building’s terrace and pool have remained closed since the wall
The St. Topez, opened in 1965, was New York City's first condo.
NYPD investigates after daredevils are caught atop east side skyscraper
This is now a world-wide issue. Security needs to watch out for this
and judges need to pass tough sentences. If the trespassers get hurt or
die, it is possible that the condo will be held liable.
A reader writes:
"Not sure what it is about condos and condo boards that attract people
who have no idea or interest how things work but usually have their own