CondoMadness website: Condo News
30 January 2017
ThyssenKrupp fined $375K after man’s elevator injury in west-end Toronto condo An unapologetic ThyssenKrupp Canada was fined $375,000 on
Tuesday, as the prosecution had urged, for a potentially fatal breach
of elevator safety laws in which a man was injured.
In passing sentence, Ontario court Judge Mindy Avrich-Skapinker said
the Crown’s request for the “really low” fine – well short of the
maximum $2 million – had caught her off guard.
CAI is proud to announce a new chapter: CAI Canada
Community Association Institute (the American version of ACMO/CCI) has started a Cnandian chapter. You can read about it here. http://bit.ly/2k16Bfq
CAI Canada will host its first seminar, AirBNB, the Uber Factor of Condominium Living: An International Perspective
On Feb. 15 at noon to 1:00 p.m. EST. This free, virtual webinar is currently accepting registrations online here. http://bit.ly/2k1vl6Z
Police remove military training munition round from downtown condo parking garage
Toronto Police are trying to figure out how a military training
munition round ended up in a downtown condo parking garage on Tuesday.
How easy is it to get duplicate fobs?
Real easy. Fobs are not a fail-safe security system. http://bit.ly/2khEDwj
Unfinished Kamloops condo draws the ire of neighbours
'It looks like some bombed out 3rd world city,' says angry resident. http://bit.ly/2jyK9tm
Cat ladies welcome: Montrealer sells condo with unique Kijiji ad, attracts thousands of hits
In her Kijiji ad, Martel explains she is selling to a particular market
– “cat ladies,” to be specific. The unorthodox post has generated close
to 200,000 page visits in 24 hours. http://bit.ly/2k2ckQ9
from USA How Kellyanne Conway made it to the White House “In 2005, George and I had a beautiful home in the sky. I was on the board of our Trump World condo,
48th and First. Tenants were Derek Jeter, Harrison Ford. Who’d expect
Mr. Trump, very engaged, knowing all the facts and figures, to come to
Donald Trump attended condo meetings?
“I was a pollster in those days, so he and I would talk politics. 2011,
although loving ‘The Apprentice,’ he hypothetically talked about going
to DC. March 2015, he called me in. 2016, I joined his campaign.” http://pge.sx/2jc1THC
Airbnb: Please stay away from condos
A recent Ontario Superior Court decision may influence American courts. http://bit.ly/2jcpqrP
Former Fountain Hills HOA bookkeeper accused of stealing $12K
She reportedly told police that she went to the casino hoping to win back and repay the HOA for the money she took. http://bit.ly/2kHZABi
1.5 million Kidde NightHawk smoke detector, carbon monoxide alarms recalled
Recall applies to KN-COSM-IBCA and KN-COSM-ICA models manufactured between June 2004 and March 2011 http://bit.ly/2g2ESpp
Duo used Spider-Man-like moves to flee sex den home invasion
Two gun-toting men behind the violent condo home invasion of a
Scarborough sex den climbed down eight storeys to escape from cops. http://bit.ly/2iVSZRq
Bad choices (From Garth Turner's blog)
Last month a stunning 1,500 newly-built condos were sitting empty
across Calgary, 800 of which are high-rise units. It’s the worst
vacancy rate in 15 years, getting badder by the month. Back in 2014 the
market was hot, buyers were plentiful and builders revved up. Now those
units are coming on stream when the economy’s turned, rates are rising,
mortgage rules tightening, and buyers gone.
As an agent said to local media: “I’ve had people that have bought not
one, but two or three of these, hoping to flip them or to rent them
out, and where they really got caught is the rental market. They were
planning on having rentals cover their investment in these and it’s not
working out at all.” http://bit.ly/2jsMPtn
Vancouver strata blocks Moby Dick franchise from opening over 'offensive' name, lawsuit alleges
Fish and chips restaurant named for famous novel says strata council deemed branding and signage inappropriate. http://bit.ly/2iW0Nmf
E-mail from a reader
We tried this service (Fob Toronto) ourselves to see how secure our
fobs are by testing one of them. Thanks a million for this one, the
board and security were very interested. Well it turns out that our
fobs are easily copied. One fob costs $50 with price breaks for volumes.
from USA HOA loan balance does not show up on financial statements Our BOD has three new members with two of us being in
accounting, yet we can’t figure out why a loan balance shows up on the
financials from the management company but is nowhere on the reviewed
financials that are reviewed by our accountant each year.
Shouldn’t this liability be showing on reviewed statements too? We are
only now being exposed to fund accounting – but it seems odd. http://bit.ly/2jCR712
from China 19 buildings demolished by blasts at same time in central China
A total of 19 buildings in Wuhan's downtown area were demolished by
five tons of explosives at one-time in only 10 seconds from 11:50 p.m.
Saturday in central China's Hubei Province.
Not only can they build extremely quickly, the Chinese can demolish
older condo towers far quicker than we can in Canada. Watch the entire
video as it really is fascinating how so many buildings were dropped
when they are so close to a major road and LRT line.
Toronto Life published an article on Urbancorp. It details the dangers
of buying a pre-construction home. http://bit.ly/2jj4ssG
Top 10 condo law cases of 2016
Happy 2017! Here’s Gardiner Miller Arnold LLP's look at some of the most notable condo law cases from the year gone by. http://bit.ly/2jxbzgt
When will the Toronto real estate bubble burst?
Will the real estate bubble burst? I am no prophet so I asked a reader
who owns commercial and residential real estate throughout North
America what he thought. He replied:
Personally I believe this is the time. In 1992, same thing happened
just after the US election, Our economy was booming, and then all of a
sudden it dropped.
I remember in 2008, lenders were giving 50% Loan-To-Value (LTV) and
interest rates were low, and real estate was through the roof (not as
high as today, but it was high). As soon as the US election was over we
saw slight declines in our economy in Nov and Dec 2008, then Jan 2009
hit us like a brick wall!
I believe the same will happen again this time."
Will the balloon burst by spring? I don't think anyone knows. However,
if prices hold up until the late spring, I figure we should be good for
Detached houses will do better than condos as supply is low while
demand is high. Condos may not do so well. There are 170 new condo
towers coming on stream in 2017.
Ontario cabinet shuffle
In the latest provincial government shuffle, Tracy MacCharles returns as Minister of Government and Consumer Services.
Kitec plumbing in condos should be revealed
Although the board and property manager were no doubt aware that Kitec was used in the building, Natalie was not told about it.
When she resold the unit last month, the buyers learned of the
potentially defective plumbing and Natalie had to drop the sale price
by $30,000. http://on.thestar.com/2jwExhk
Little Italy condo site could become lot for luxury vehicles
Ottawa's Mastercraft Starwood’s application to temporarily use its
Phase 2 site at SoHo Champagne for car storage is related to Ottawa’s
soft condo market. The company isn’t ready to build the second part of
the condo complex at 115 Champagne Ave. S. and there’s an opportunity
to use the land for another business purpose.
The Phase 1 owners have two problems. The first is to share its
location with a car lot. The second is that if they have any shared
facilities, they will be paying full freight for them for years as Phase
II will be a long time coming. http://bit.ly/2jjNWeR
from USA Sleazy treasurer left Westchester Trump Tower a financial mess: suit
The other Trump Tower — in White Plains — is in financial trouble after
the condominium discovered its longtime treasurer had been allegedly
stealing cash for years, according to a lawsuit filing. http://bit.ly/2jyTLC7
Nuns allowed to have soup kitchen in condo building
The city allows the soup kitchen to move into a condo even though the condo residential owners not happy about it. http://bit.ly/2jekcgX
protection Don't post pictures of your boarding pass
It turns out that because of the way airlines "encode" your passenger
ID on your boarding pass, it's easy for anyone who sees it—on
Instagram, for example—to screw with your travel plans.
Come to think of it, be careful posting anything with unique
identifiers on it. Passports, credit cards, drivers licenses, keys.
Heck, even a picture of your phone screen might have enough finger
smudges on it to reveal your passcode.
that fobs give your condo building a high level of security? Then you
are mistaken. The following is from a small Toronto company's website.
We are very happy to have been working here in Toronto for our clients.
From property managers, real estate moguls, landlords, tenants, and
cleaners, we have supplied almost 300 fobs to our clients in the GTA.
At FobToronto, we use a system and hardware that is top-of-the-line,
and can finish keys in a matter of minutes (or sometimes in seconds),
so that you can be on your way. We don't want to wait around outside,
lose out on sales and occupancy, nor not be able to cook dinner because
somebody lost their keys, or they're just pre-occupied and can't text
back immediately. These things happen, and this is why we're here.
Commute from Hell
A CBC Ideas radio show host Paul Kennedy speaks with five regular
Toronto commuters, and hears some of their horrendous stories about
getting from home to work, and back again http://bit.ly/2j1mPVj
Why condo owners shouldn't dump food waste, coffee grinds, bacon
drippings, cooking oil or kitchen grease down the drains. The drain
will get plugged and you will pay all the insurance deductibles for any
damage done to your unit and to any other units that are hooked up to
the same drain stack.
from USA Get ready for
higher HOA fees if Prop 206. passes
An industry lobby group claims that an increase in the Arizona minimum
wage (to $12 by 2020) will drive up monthly maintenance fees. However
it is okay for management companies to get automatic 3% annual
from Australia Dirty tricks and
dodgy by-laws as Australian condos declare war on short-term rentals
Condo corporations in some Sydney buildings are fighting short-term
rentals with dirty tricks, iffy by-laws and when needed: sabotage.
Whatever works. http://bit.ly/2j5zTX4
from Asia Inside China’s
cutthroat race to build the world’s fastest elevator
At Shanghai Tower, people often pull out their cameras. As the doors
close, a screen at the elevator’s front lights up to show you the car’s
location as it rises toward the building’s newly opened observation
deck. A neatly dressed attendant informs passengers that the elevator
has now reached a top speed of 18 meters per second, approximately 40
mph (64 km/h). The fastest elevator in the world. http://bit.ly/2hSDB9N
Hosted by Why Should I Care
Monday January 16 @ 7:00 pm–9:00 pm
The Madison Avenue Pub
2017 might be the year that transit really does get friendlier for
There’s just shy of half a year worth of data from the Bloor street
bike lane pilot project and the reception to those bike lanes will have
an impact on transit all over the city.
Will this lead to more bike lanes along major corridors, fewer, but
bigger bike paths, or does ridership justify expansion at all?
Albert Koehl, a cycling advocate, and the person largely behind the
existence of the Bloor bike lanes, and Jacequelyn Hayward Gulati, the
city’s Acting Director for Transportation Infrastructure Management
will be joining us Monday January 16th, at the Madison to lead a
discussion about the future of Toronto’s transportation infrastructure.
As always, the event is free, you just have to pay for anything you
Monday January 16, The Madison Avenue Pub
(very close to the Spadina Subway Station)
7:00 pm doors open 7:30 pm discussion starts http://whyshouldicare.ca/
problems for Canary District condo dwellers
Pam McConnell, city councillor for the area says street parking in the
area was never
intended for high rise occupants and she's even pushing the City to
keep condo residents' cars off the streets. (Good thing condo residents
don't vote.) http://bit.ly/2ilZPgr
‘Hooker Harvey’s’ saved from proposed condo development
A notorious fast food establishment in downtown Toronto with an
unfortunate nickname has been spared the wrecking ball – for now – amid
changes in a neighbourhood that is seeing new condo development
Ottawa has a new
condo law firm
Davidson Houle Allen LLP Condominium Law is a preeminent boutique
condominium law firm established in 2017. They provide a range of legal
services to over 800 condominium corporations throughout Eastern
from USA Property manager
charged with fraud
My friends HOA was defrauded of about $250,000 by their property
manager, among other things. He was indicted on multiple felonies a
couple of weeks ago. I am trying to find out what other properties he
manages to make sure he has not done or is not doing the same to them.
Comments Ripe for the pickings.
So true about no one minding the store. People who buy into a community
do so with the attitude that everything will be taken care of for them,
and don't want to get involved with anything. Owners don't go to the
meetings, no one reads the notices or meeting summaries that go out,
etc., and when there are issues, they'd rather just complain about it
behind everyone's back. Ripe for the pickings.
The manager & the vendors
While the manager does not necessarily sign huge checks she presents
the selected contractors which more often than not has not been one of
three bidders. There always seems to be some reason why there are no
other bidders and it's pretty clear to me at least that the vendors are
chosen by the manager and who knows what goes on to allow the same
vendors year after year who seem to own us.
I asked to see Vendor contracts, agreements that were current as a
board member and received instead a letter from the HOA's attorney
advising me I must stop requesting "all sorts of documents" or
executive meetings could be held without me.
I had to wonder why a binder was given to each new board member with a
few vendor contracts that were outdated and incomplete if we weren't
entitled to know who the vendors are. http://bit.ly/2iyVqb1
bookkeeper charged with fraud
Yet another alleged fraud case. This time it was the manager who caught
resort condos in Vermont not being rebuilt
One third of the condo units burnt down and the corporation has not
commenced rebuilding them. Why? The board did not take out sufficient
insurance to pay for such a big loss and the other owners do not want
to pay for the work. http://bit.ly/2jlggh5
has warning for condo owners
An Ontario Superior Court judge ruled: "The unit holders elect
their managers and the conduct of litigation by management is
ultimately their responsibility."
So if your board allows an advantageous court settlement to slip away
on a dumb "all or nothing" gamble, don't expect the judge to give the
condo corporation a
break when it comes to court costs. The owners elected their directors
and if you picked poor leadership, well that can be too bad.
The winners in this case? The bank and both law firms. Guess who the
losers were? The condo owners of course.
A big question? Will the board try to recover some of their costs by
suing the property management company?
Alert—Condo HVAC units
A CTV video news story about a Liberty Village condo owner who bought a
new unit that has a 15 year HVAC rental agreement at an outrageous
interest rate. Any buyers in that building will have to assume the
agreement if they
don't have the seller pay the op-out costs. http://bit.ly/2hRwryv
blames 12% fee hike on minimum wage, carbon tax but economist doubts
"Much of the increases above relate to an increase in minimum wage and
the government implemented carbon tax levy," writes FirstService
Residential in the letter, on behalf of the building's board of
June Donaldson, an advocate for condo owners in Calgary, says condo
boards and property management companies have the power to raise fees
and can justify the decision however they see fit.
The fee increases may be required but blaming carbon tax & minimum
wage increases makes it look like the board is blaming the provincial
government instead of being candid about the condo's financial needs. http://bit.ly/2iNGPqS
from USA Orange County
Most Influential 2016: Rebekah Hundric started her own rescue shelter
in her family's La Habra condo
Hundric at age 12 founded Rebekah’s Foster Farm in her family’s La
Habra condo. Her mom first set an eight-cat limit, but Hundric built a
fenced-in “catio” on her balcony and soon began taking in more rescues.
In 2016, the eighth-grader at Capistrano Connections Academy expanded
her rescue to include dogs and rabbits. http://bit.ly/2hpqlHK
Quotes Condo living is long on convenience
and short on maintenance. The attractive feature is that you can live
in a condominium in a most desirable neighborhood at a fraction of the
cost of a single-family home. —Angela Carll, New Orleans Realtor
It is this type of statement that I find so misleading. Sure condo
owners don't do any outside maintenance but they must pay service
companies to do it for them. Those costs go up every year.
This is one upset owner. Car break-ins in condos can be a serious
problem. This fall, over a two-month period, one large condo in
Mississauga had twenty vehicles broken into.
from Europe Electrolux
backpedals on 'Uber for laundry' proposal
Originally reported in The Financial Times, Electrolux CEO Jonas
Samuelson said, "We have a few fun ideas we are testing, like: how
about a laundry Uber, where people share their unused laundry time? But
there are enormous complexities such as what happens if the clothes
come out and are ruined?"
Samuelson has a point. There are many hurdles that shared laundry
startups face, like, shrunken clothes, competitive pricing, delayed
delivery times and the dreaded missing sock.
In the new "sharing economy" this idea may have legs.
The new tiny condos have those rinky-dinky combined washer-dryers that
are little better than toys so if a stay-at-home mom or a retiree in a
downtown condo buys a proper stacked washer/dryer, it makes sense for
condo residents to drop off their clothes at the "laundry's" doorway in
the morning and pick up their clean laundry the following evening. http://bit.ly/2isiRCS