26 October 2015
They are now over. The Committee will go through the Bill, line by
line. Then the Bill will go back to the Legislature for a final debate
and a final vote.
That is when the real work starts; the writing of the regulations. That
could take two to three years to complete.
Open House on
It is important for MPPs like Mr. Milczyn to hear from condo owners on
the problems they are having and what we need from the new Condo Act.
RV sales down a
Garth Turner's blog has been warning us of a big collapse in housing
prices for years now and so far he has been wrong.
However, Garth has reported that recreational vehicle (RV) sales are
down about a third this year. This is a sure sign that the economy is
on a downturn.
If I can’t text,
I won't buy
If you are buying or renting a condo, check to make sure that you have
good cell phone reception before you sign the contract.
A number of buildings have poor reception for cell phones. It also
depends on what carrier you have signed up for. Generally speaking the
cheaper-cost carriers have weaker signals.
You won't want to have to stand on your balcony in January or to walk
outside the building to make or receive phone calls.
Robert Noce's column, in the Edmonton Journal, is likely the best condo
column printed in a Canadian newspaper. Always worth reading.
Court rules owner not strata responsible for drug lab damage deductible
Some condo owners expect the corporation (their neighbours) to pay for
everything. Too much gall for my liking.
to stealing from homeowners association
The theft was for only a small amount but it is embarrassing for a
lawyer to plead guilty of theft.
causing 100-degree heat in condos above: suit
Two Upper West Side condo owners say a ground-floor bagel shop is
making their apartment “uninhabitable” by causing temperatures to reach
a stifling 100 degrees, a new lawsuit charges.
tobacco smoke could fetch fines up to $2200 under proposed NSW strata
Tenants who create too much smoke when barbecuing their lamb chops or
sausages on unit balconies could soon face fines of up to $2200 under
proposed changes to strata laws.
The same goes for smokers if the smoke from their cigarettes or cigars
drifts into neighbouring units.
15 October 2015
Bill 106 Public
Bill 106, Protecting Condominium Owners Act, 2015
The Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs will meet to
consider Bill 106, An Act to amend the Condominium Act, 1998, to enact
the Condominium Management Services Act, 2015 and to amend other Acts
with respect to condominiums.
The Committee intends to hold
public hearings in Toronto on:
Thursday, October 22 and
Thursday, October 29, 2015.
Interested people who wish to be considered to make an oral
presentation on Bill 106 should contact the Clerk of the Committee by
12:00 noon on Monday, October 19, 2015.
Those who do not wish to make an oral presentation but wish to comment
on the Bill may send a written submission to the Clerk of the Committee
at the address below by 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 29, 2015.
An electronic version of the Bill is available on the Legislative
Assembly website at: www.ontla.on.ca.
Soo Wong, MPP, Chair
Katch Koch, Clerk
Room 1405, Whitney Block
Queen's Park, Toronto, ON M7A 1A2
Collect calls will be accepted.
14 October 2015
Etobicoke condo owners demand 'justice' after fee increase
Since this story ran on 11 September 2015, 40 Panorama Court has come
out of court-appointed administration and an elected board of directors
now manages this condo building.
We wish the new board luck as they now assume full responsibly to put
this long-troubled condo back into the pink.
Can A Condo’s
Value Ever Drop To Zero?
It's possible, but unless the condo complex burns to the ground, it
won't matter what the appraised value is. Rundown condos will limp
along as termination is not a practical solution.
Where can the owners go with the little they will
get? Move to a cheap rental building? Will they buy in another
low-priced condo and renew the same headaches all over again?
Another point. The taller the building, the more expensive it is to
tear it down. Some of those 40-50 story condos, on tiny lots, in the
downtown will be a
nightmare to demolish when it comes their be their turn for the
wreaking ball in about 40-50 years from now.
condo project made of Lego
A video about a condo sales model in Clagary that is made from Lego.
Boys' Mr. Lahey on why you should vote
Our favourite superintendent has a series of videos to help get
people out to vote. Love this video. Watch what he uses for soap when
he washes his hands. Just brilliant.
His advice goes for condo elections too. Get involved, get out and vote.
Condo Dwellers Through the Creation of Condo Clinics
The City of Toronto is considering holding Condo Clinics to assist
condo owners with some of their issues where city departments may be of
Hiring an HOA or
condo management company
Six good tips to adopt whenever your condo is planning to hire a new
candidates face naked tenants when canvassing
Door-knocking in her condo-heavy riding of Vancouver Centre, Liberal
candidate Hedy Fry encounters at least three naked people every
campaign season. Her NDP rival, Constance Barnes, goes by a different
metric, estimating one in 30 tenants answers the door in the buff.
Fires, fires and more fires. 7 Eyewitness News use to show wood frame
homes in Buffalo burn down, one after another. Now TV news have turned
their attention to wood frame condos.
14 families displaced in Ludlow fire
Living in a wood-frame townhouse or stacked townhouse with no attic
fire stops? These photos will show you why that is not a good idea.
3-story Titusville condo
If one wood-frame condo fire is not enough, here is another one.
the fire alarm went off at our condo. I thought that it may have been
our regular monthly fire alarm testing until I looked out the window
and saw the fire trucks at our front door.
How quickly they arrived and how quickly they left.
How unusual. We have had next to no false fire alarms since we moved
here three years ago. Another sign that I live in a very good condo.
Fall in Love
Beginning today, residents can "Fall in Love" and adopt a kitten or cat
for only the cost of a licence ($15, $7.50 for seniors). The campaign
runs until Sunday, October 18 and features a wide variety of cats and
kittens for adoption at City of Toronto animal shelters and adoption
A cat makes a purrfect condo pet, especially in condos where dogs are
Limberlost fire alerts other residents
"All eight units are impacted by the fire. Six have extensive damage.
Two units have water and smoke damage. We're estimating the damage
currently at $1.5 million,” says London fire inspector Jack Burt.
A neighbour tells CTV News of two single mothers, new to London,
without insurance. Another family with a small child has also lost all
There are too many fires in
website to allow new home purchase online with
Online shopping has finally hit the real estate market, but will
Canadians buy in? Well, it would depend if the buyer was an "investor"
who planned to flip the condo or someone planning to be an
A lot should depend on just what documents they would show on the
Internet. Would a buyer be able to read the Disclosure, the
Declaration, the by-laws and rules before hitting the BUY button?
Nearly 1 in 6
couldn't handle $500 increase in mortgage payment: Poll
Nearly one in six Canadians would not be able to handle a $500 increase
in their monthly mortgage payments, a new survey from the Bank of
Condo owners may not face such a huge mortgage increase but what if
they got hit with a $500 monthly fee increase, a special assessment or
the condo takes out a loan?
Homeowners Get $8,500 Richer Every Month, While Condo Owners Get The
Say hello to the new face of wealth inequality in Toronto, where owning
a back yard is a pass to riches, and owning a balcony is a pass to
Condo Copes with Being Gasless
While the contractor was hammering a nail into the floor, he
accidentally banged into a gas pipe running underneath. He punctured
it. "You could immediately smell it," DeGrushe says, "and you could
hear the 'shh' sound."
The contractor came screaming out of the apartment. DeGrushe, the
manager, was at the building in under 20 minutes. Within the hour,
Chelsea Seventh Condominium was "red-tagged" by Con Edison, and the gas
shut off to the entire building. The 120-unit condominium, located at
170 West 23rd Street, would remain gasless for the next four months.
Once a building is red-tagged (an actual red tag is placed on the
building's gas meter to signify that it has been turned off), there is
a protocol to follow to get it turned back on. The problem facing your
board, though, is that it doesn't know what the protocol is, it doesn't
know how long it will take, and it certainly doesn't know how much it
Here is an interesting Twitter site for American HOAs.
One of your
neighbors at Coral Point Condo is being evicted for some petty reason.
Why you should care.
The following Notice has been seen today September 2nd 2015 on one of
the resident's door at Coral Point Condo.
eviction notice—some names have been blurred out.
Our neighbor Linda is seeing her lease immediately terminated and is
being given seven days to vacate the premises. She has been allowing
her cat to go out of the unit without a leash. It is stated Linda has
been previously notified.
We don't know about you, but we find that to be quite a petty reason to
throw somebody out the door. Especially someone who as far as we know,
has not been a disturbance in any way.
And it seems we are not the only ones to feel that way, as some of you
have commented, “I feel like I am being watched every time I go
Maybe you don't care or don't feel concerned in any way? Well, we
invite you to
reflect on the following. What if you are the next one to find an
eviction notice taped to your door? How do you know some new rules are
not being cooked-up as we speak or tailor-made in order to get rid of
Here is a photo of Linda's cat taken one night (sorry for bad quality).
He has caught and killed a rat, apparently rodent infestation is a
recurring issue at Coral Point Condo, one that residents are not ever
updated on by the way.
How many condo owners have made that decision only to realize years
later what an expensive mistake that was.
condo has defects
Poor Butterball. His new one-bedroom downtown Toronto condo was poorly
constructed. Will the Tarion warranty pay to have it repaired?
property manager fired
The manager had the authority to ask people to leave and repeatedly did
so. By the letter of the law, Haffner explained, as much force as
necessary could have been used.
But the use of force in such situations is something police discourage.
is Fire Prevention Week
residents flee early-morning fire
Nelson said one of her neighbours lived above where the fire started
and lost her home. “She’s in shock, running around in her light
pajamas,” Nelson said. “It’s devastating.”
Another resident said: “I just thought it was fake because it happens
all the time,” she said. But someone pounded on her door and yelled at
her and her partner to get out. She grabbed her cellphone, wallet and
laptop before running outside.
This story has so many lessons for all condo owners. First, one
resident didn't believe it was real because they have so many false
fire alarms. Residents didn't evacuate immediately but grabbed
valuables and pets before evacuating. Another resident doesn't have any
insurance. Finally, the fire started on a balcony.
Lucky no one died.
In case of fire
Our advice on what to do in ase of fire.
160 years for Thornton condominium fire
An Adams County District judge sentenced Martin Castruita Espinoza, 22,
to 160 years in prison Thursday for a fire that destroyed a Thornton
condominium complex in March of 2014.
Flames engulfed the Corona Village Condominium complex at 8760 Corona
Street, destroying 18 condominiums in two buildings on March 4, 2014.
Two residents and two firefighters were injured in the fire.
Building Official Fights To Improve Chances Of Escaping From Fires
After a fire that killed four young children, an official with the
Village of Four Seasons is stepping up his push to make condominium
Robert Davis, the Village’s chief building official, has asked trustees
to consider adopting an ordinance that will require all condominiums
inside the Village to retrofit the stairwells with sprinkler systems or
install a secondary fire escape system by the year 2020.
One drip at a
A condo president saved $6,000 a month; one drip and one toilet at a
Pooch falls 11
floors and survives
A dog miraculously survived an 11-story plunge from a balcony in
Florida, with just a minor injury.
Here is a notice that was posted in a North York condo informing owners
that they are "highly encouraged to run for the Board of Directors".
This is a condo that keeps the owners informed with regular bulletins
and where both the manager and the directors have a close relationship
with the owners.
At least 50-60% of the owners attend the AGMs in person and there has
been meetings that had just a single proxy. That's right, just ONE.
Informed owners who attend the AGMs and who respect and appreciate
their manager, superintendent and directors make this condo a pleasure
to live in.
Changes to Condo
Act met with mixed reviews at Town Hall
The changes proposed by the Ontario government in the new Protecting
Condominium Owners Act were discussed Wednesday (Sept. 30) at a
Mississauga Town Hall style meeting that was attended by more than 100
condo owners and managers.
David Fleming, a Toronto Realtor, bogs about issues with garbage and
recycling in condo apartment buildings.
owner sore over special assessment settlement
When an owner sells their unit, they lose any proceeds from future
legal settlements. On the other hand, the new owner will be liable for
any future losses.
I don't understand the seller's complaint. She couldn't have it both
into a trap".
A retired couple who accused their homeowners association of denying
the husband, a disabled former Marine pilot, access to the community
pool have settled the case for a six-figure sum – provided they move
Allen Campbell, who once sat on the HOA board, said the association
seized a home for $3,500 in unpaid assessments but never accounted for
proceeds from its sale. He said he wasn’t allowed to inspect the
association’s bank statements, as other board members were, and that he
subsequently told the FBI and other government agencies about the funds
he thought were missing.
He resigned from the board in protest in 2011. After that, he said, the
HOA ignored his repeated requests that the broken pool lift be fixed so
he could use the swimming pool.
Another provision of the settlement, agreed to by the Campbells,
requires them to move before receiving full payment. Their home was
listed for sale as of Tuesday. Cynthia Campbell said the couple plan to
stay in the Sacramento area but won’t buy another home that’s part of a
“Never again,” she said. “People do not understand the power HOAs have.
They think it’s just lawn maintenance and the pool. They have way too
much legal power. You’re walking into a trap.”
In condos vs
In Denver the condo owners stop the expansion of a homeless facility.
27 September 2015
warns staff to watch for dirty 'voter suppression' tricks
Elections Canada has quietly warned staff to be on the lookout for
increasingly sophisticated tactics aimed at discouraging — or even
stopping — voters from casting a ballot.
The advanced voter suppression techniques flourishing in the United
States are likely to spill into other countries, employees were advised
in a presentation aimed at raising awareness prior to the Oct. 19
riddled with election fraud
I have written two full chapters on condo election fraud. In some
condos, the owners can only dream of having an honest election and Bill
106 does nothing to address this serious issue.
Don Peat on
"If anybody has ever played SimCity ..." Cllr Stephen Holyday to public
works committee #TOpoli
Sim City is a children's computer game. Is this why Toronto' planning
seems so messed up?
10 Signs of
Co-op/ Condo Financial Trouble
This list is a good start. I have referred to a page from CondoMadness
that describes what happens when the horror hits home.
should move on condo regulations
This resulted in Bill 9, the Condominium Property Amendment Act, which
no one can really understand fully at this point, because regulations
still have to be drafted and implemented. In other words, nothing has
happened. Among so many issues, the main peeve of consumer advocacy
groups is that there is—to date — no resolution mechanism short of
going to court.
I worry this is what we will face in Ontario once Bill 106 is passed.
= lower condo fees
Saving water will save you money. Toronto Water has plenty of ways to
reduce your water use that will help reduce your condo fees.
MetroWest condo complex faces millions in code-violation fines
Florida property owners in particular get a false sense of security
about their buildings because "the lawns are manicured; they have
beautiful clubhouses, modern amenities, and new paint. But when you
look closely, or examine the wood framing behind the pretty exterior,
you see major problems."
"I genuinely believe that every similar aged wood-frame apartment
building or condominium conversion in Central Florida, clad with
thin-coat stucco and single-pane aluminum windows, is probably as bad
or worse than the Hamptons," Prichard said.
For the one millionth time....HOAs are a thieves' paradise!
Read the Reader Comments below this article by Nila Ridings. Blowing
the whistle on corruption at a condo or HOA can be a very stressful
21 September 2015
Where is the
Buying resale condos can be a dangerous purchase for uninformed
purchasers. In the last week, I saw a couple of sales that reinforced
my belief that a condo purchaser cannot rely on the real estate agent,
the status certificate or the real estate lawyer to look after their
In the west end, a buyer spent $280,000 to buy a unit in a condo
has next to nothing in the Reserves, can't pay its utilities in full,
was going to have the electricity cutoff for
non-payments—twice—and needs over $4 million in repairs. By the way,
many of the units on the east side of the building have serious water
leaks and mould. Is it a surprise that most recent sales have
been units that face west?
Oh yes I should mention that the board holds an AGM every three years
Meanwhile a unit sold in a Scarborough condo that has a total deficit
of over $650,000, no Reserves and needs repairs in a the worse
So what does the status certificates say? After claiming $300,000 in
the reserve Funds—a complete fabrication, the status
certificate says; "The reserves are not secured by cash or liquid
assets and may be inaccurate."
I am disappointed that during the debate on the second reading of Bill
106, the MPPs
complain about the lack of consumer protection for buyers of NEW condos
but are completely silent on the woes facing purchasers of re-sale
A friend of a
friend is not necessarily your friend
The Honourable Mr. Justice J.W. Quinn seasoned a May 2015 judgment with
such colourful language that the judgment becomes a "must read" for
anyone who is thinking of buying a used car. Could help in the
purchasing of a re-sale condo as well.
The quotes that make this such a great read include:
"A friend of a friend is not necessarily your friend."
"Singh, on the other hand, is a devious man and an unbelievable witness
who will do or say anything to advance his position. He was maddeningly
unwilling to respond to the simplest of questions and often had to be
asked the same question over and over (no doubt using the time gained
to visit his pantry of untruthful answers). He was evasive,
non-responsive and verbose in his testimony. Throughout the trial, I
patiently waited for a Phoenix-like moment that might serve to
rehabilitate his credibility: it never came. All in all, he was an
exasperating witness who told untruths too numerous to catalogue and
insulting in their breadth."
"Late in the trial, while being cross-examined, Singh abandoned the
Toyota story, said “Yes,” this document related to the Lexus, and
offered an explanation that fell somewhere between a yarn and a fairy
"If lies were clothes, Singh would have been considerably overdressed
for the trial."
"The corporate veil here was more of a bandit’s mask."
On punitive damages
“ “The kind of conduct that attracts punitive damages has been
described with a wide variety of colourful words and phrases. These
include malicious, high-handed, arbitrary, oppressive, deliberate,
vicious, brutal, grossly fraudulent, evil, outrageous, egregious,
callous, disgraceful, willful, wanton, in contumelious disregard of the
plaintiff’s rights, or in disregard of ‘ordinary standards of morality
or decent conduct.” At least 12 of these descriptions apply to the
conduct of Singh."
Buying a used car or getting your car repaired in Brampton? You may
want to read this judgment. It names names.
tragedy of case stems from buyers’ improperly aimed lawsuit
A real estate agent took items from a house that he sold.
The judge wrote: “In this case the defendant lied and stole. His
conduct was fraudulent. The tragedy of this case was that the proper
action and proper parties were not before the court.”
Five years before the trial, RECO, the Real Estate Council of Ontario
which governs agents, refused to take action on the buyers’ complaint
until after a court ruling.
RECO’s core purpose is “to foster confidence and uphold integrity in
real estate transactions” and “protect the public interest in real
In this case, it failed in its mandate.
condo conflict in Vancouver
'This is our home,' resident says. 'This is not a hotel.'
Vancouver: Parody condo proposal inspires petition against it
I like the concept. Too bad it would have been out of my price range.
Former San Mateo
condo manager accused of embezzling $2.8 million, pleads not guilty
A stack of 150 false invoices to Professional Painting Inc. was
discovered next to her computer. Prosecutors said she had been sending
checks for work not completed to Professional Painting’s owner,
58-year-old Michael Anthony Medeiros, and the two would later split the
18 September 2015
Gotta have an
I follow the sales prices of some of the more "troubled" condos in the
GTA. Last week, a unit sold in one of these condos; a condo that has a
leaky garage, a serious roach problem and, according to a property
manager who worked there, bricks that are about to fall off the
What's more, the board has not raised the condo fees for the last
So I was interested to see that the Realtor added a note to the MLS
listing: "Lobby under major renovations."
Now there's a condo that knows its priorities.
Buyers beware. A renovated lobby may be just a "false front" that may
be hiding rooms full of horrors.
Will ACMO become
the manager licencing body?
Last Wednesday, when Bill 106 was being debated in the legislature,
Liberal MPP Bas Balkissoon stated:
"The member said that the Association
of Condominium Managers of Ontario exists today. I just want to remind
him that it exists as a voluntary organization, and the bad apples we
have out there who are condo managers, the ones who create the fraud
and everything else that has been going on that condo owners have been
complaining about, are not members of that organization. This act makes
Interjection: As it should be.
Mr. Bas Balkissoon: As it should be."
Mr. Balkissoon has been badly mis-informed. He is incorrect in saying
that all the bad apples out there are "not members of that
organization". I doubt that even ACMO would go that far.
He must not know that Channel
was ACMO 2000 certified. He must not know that some managers who have
their RCM designation have engaged in accepting kickbacks, have
committed fraud and are heavily engaged in manipulating condo
Not all independent property managers and property management companies
are incompetent or act dishonestly. To say so is unjust as there are
many independent property managers who are ethical, are honest and work
hard for the condo owners that hire them.
It implies that all a condo corporation has to do is hire an ACMO
certified RCM and they will not be a victim of any underhanded
The second statement that Mr. Bas Balkissoon makes is that it will be
mandatory for all condominium property managers to join ACMO.
He is a member of the Liberal government so he may be stating what the
Liberal government is planning. Time will tell. I understand that the
Liberals are continuing to meet with CCI/ACMO lobbying groups so who
knows what they are discussing.
If cars were
built like houses
A cute short video on how houses are built.
councillor, developer at odds over condo ads
The developer says "Coming Soon" while the councillor says that the
project has not yet been approved. Since the developer is going to the
OMB, both can be right.
ordered police to clear homeless from near her luxury condo
It is nice to have the police do your bidding. So the homeless hang out
in front of other condos.
15 September 2015
Bill 106 has
passed 2nd reading
Bill 106 is back in the house for second reading. Once passed, it will
referred to legislative committee. Hopefully they will hold public
hearings that will give condo owners and directors the chance to give
A new Ministry
of Government and Consumer Services critic
The Progressive Conservative Party has had a shuffle in critic
portfolios and Randy Pettapiece has been replaced by MPP Jim McDonell
as the Conservative Ministry of Government and Consumer Services critic.
Mr. McDonell will now be the Conservatives' caucus lead on the new
condo legislation. Mr. McDonell has held this critic portfolio in the
Mr. Pettapiece is now responsible for the Ministry of Community and
Social Services and we wish him well in his new role.
MPP Jim McDonell
Queen’s Park Office
Room 343, Main Legislative Building
Toronto ON M7A 1A8
Tel : 416-325-2910
Fax : 416-325-2917
14 September 2015
owners demand ‘justice’ after fee increase
Residents at 40 Panorama Court say as many as half the owners at risk
The protesters are seeking to replace Joe Vero—their court-appointed
administrator for the last four years—with engineers hired by the condo
board to examine the condition of the building.
They have also signed a petition asking the province to intervene.
Tom LePage, a condominium consultant, has built a new website that is a
great resource for condo owners and directors.
The site has a blog for comments, questions and answers; something
Ontario condo owners need. Be sure to check it out.
320 Dixon sales
A three-bedroom condo unit at 320 Dixon Road recently sold for
$112,000. It has been a long time since units at YCC #42 sold for such
sums. As recently as a couple of years ago, prices were approximately
mid-rise buildings being targeted by developers
Two four-storey apartment buildings at 55-65 Broadway Ave., near Yonge
Street and Eglinton Avenue, were recently purchased for $44.5 million
by the developer Times Group Corporation.
he was coerced by his boss into setting condo fire
'You were persuaded, duped, bullied into taking part,' judge tells
According to the joint submission, Thibert's boss knew there were
deficiencies in the framing work he'd done on the complex. So he
hatched a plan to burn it down and cover up the shoddy work.
rankles residents at The Lakes in Visalia
A typical dispute about owners getting upset about a special assessment.
What is informative is the position of the board of directors:
"When reached by telephone at his
residence at The Lakes, Bernard te
Velde, current president of The Lakes HOA board, declined to comment on
the uproar over the assessment.
“This is a private matter and I don’t
think we want anything about it being published in a newspaper.”
condominium building severely damaged by fire
What caught my
eye was that the first two fire hydrants that the firefighters hooked
up to did not work.
I wonder if the
condo corporation owns these hydrants and have not been inspecting them.
Then when they found one that worked, a car runs over the hose
splitting it. Sounds like a Keystone Cops skit.
11 September 2015
Where is the justice?
The courts are seeing that some condo boards use Section 134.(5) of the
Ontario Condominum Act
to bully condo owners. In a recent case Justice Myers refused to
grant orders to PCC # 231 because a nasty neighbour quarrel got out of
The result? Each condo owner will be out of pocket for over $1,000 in
legal fees while the respondents had to pay their expensive legal fees
and sold their condo townhouse.
Instead of involving a condo dispute, this judgment involves fraud
against an insurance company. However Justice Myers judgments are
always worth reading. My favourite quote:
"They are dishonest people caught in
dishonest acts acting dishonestly
in court rather than forthrightly seeking to make amends."
Two injured by
glass from shattered window at Four Seasons Hotel
Toronto Fire Services says two people were injured after a window
reportedly shattered on the penthouse level of the Four Seasons Hotel
The top levels of this tower are condominium unts.
Court is back in the news
The owners of 40 Panorama Court went to CTV News to tell how their
present $1,200 a month condo fees may go up to $2,000 for the next four
months as a special assessment kicks in to pay for the removal of mould
in the building.
On top of the $1,200 a month they are presently paying, they have to
pay for individual electrical metering plus their mortgage payments and
Residents are asking Joe Vero, the court appointed administrator, to
spread the special assessment payments out over a longer period to ease
the financial hardship.
Condo owners in
Your MPP Dipika Damerla is hosting her free annual BBQ this weekend.
Bring your family to this great family event.
their Fort Myers, Fla., home being broken into on webcam
Homeowners phone police from Ontario and turn over webcam recording. A
suspect has been arrested.
09 September 2015
A Tale of Two
In 1973, I bought my first condo. I was deciding between buying at two
developments: PCC # 26 at 1615 & 1625 Bloor Street East in
Mississauga and YCC # 82 at 4645, 4673 & 4689 Jane Street.
At both sites, a two-bedroom unit with two-bathrooms cost $17,000. I
picked the Mississauga location and I
lived there in bliss for nine years.
When I sold my unit, I got $27,000. That worked out to be an average
annual compounded increase of 6%. Not bad; not bad at all.
Bloor St. W. Mississauga
Recently I drove by PCC # 26 and saw that it still looks as good as it
did forty-two years ago. I have also drove past YCC # 82 and was
shocked how depressing it looks.
Both started equally so how do the two condo corporations hold up?
Two-bedroom units at PCC # 26 now sell
for $200,000, a price that is steadily creeping higher. Incredibly,
that condo corporation has managed to
continue to appreciate at compounded 6% per year over the last 42 years.
What about YCC # 82? A unit that went for $17,000 in 1967 now sells for
approximately $40,000 on power of sale. There seems to be a lot of
power of sales. That works out to be an average annual
compounded increase of 2%. Pretty grim.
How do those prices stack up?
In 1973, a condo unit in both corporations cost approximately ten times
the price of
a new Toyota Corolla. Today, you can buy ten basic Toyota Corollas for
price of a unit at PCC # 26 and only two Toyota Corollas for the
of a unit at YCC # 82.
So one condo corporation retained 100% of its original value, after
accounting for inflation, and the other has retained 20% of its
the lesson here?
Buy a unit in a smaller condo corporation rather than a large one. Keep
what is going on in your condo. Read the AGM package and attend the
meetings. If everything is going
well, bask in your good fortune.
When it looks like your condo is neglecting maintenance, you have
many rental units, there is political infighting among different
factions, there is a constant turnover in property management
companies, selling prices have stagnated, or all of the above; get out
before the roof caves in. Cut
your losses early before the condo drags you down with it.
urinating in a coffee cup?
Well now, this is something new. I have heard of tradesmen rustling
through medicine cabinets looking for pills and other antics but this
stunt takes the cake.
Talk about an abuse of trust.
battle heads to B.C. Supreme Court
Strata claims smoker is breaking their rules; smoker claims strata is
discriminating against him.
This will be a very important case for all condos in Canada.
05 September 2015
units are tiny
If you are buying a pre-construction condo off of floor plans, it may
be hard for
you to visualize what you are buying. So Butterball offered to help
new buyers envision what condo life is like in tiny condos.
Here is Butterball in a bachelor suite in a typical downtown Toronto
condo. It looks like he will have to sleep standing up.
We know that one-bedroom condos in downtown Toronto are small, but just
how small are they?
This is what living in a tiny 380 square foot one-bedroom condo can
feel like. No room to turn around. Where do you put the scratching post?
Still what else can you buy for under $400,000 in downtown Toronto
Now this is what a larger one-bedroom with a den would feel like. At a
far, far higher price, there is enough room to stretch out a little.
I hope there the condo's amenities include a gym. Butterball looks like
he could lose a few pounds.
Coffee and the
price of real estate
Studies show that the values of condos near Starbucks &
higher-priced coffee shops rise higher than condos near lower-end
Churchill McLaughlin Property Management Specialists Ltd. has a very
fancy website with very slick stock photographs. Lots of eye candy.
Only one problem; no substance. There is no contact information, no
phone numbers, no address, nothing.
How not to sell
I suspect that this condo unit was rented and the owner never inspected
it once during the time it was occupied. Do you still think being a
condo "investor" is a great idea?
analyst taking condo board to court
The $2 million suit, filed Monday in Manhattan Supreme Court, also
claims the same board members who have denied Abrams “have been
permitted to make extensive renovations to their own units without any
substantial board review or objection,” according to the New York Post.
Abrams “spent two years trying not to file this lawsuit,” he said in a
statement, adding that he “can no longer watch [the condo board] create
and play by their own special rules.” -
In wake of high-profile cases, co-op and condo board members grow
fearful of getting personally targeted in lawsuits
delivery: Chinese developers score with premium perks
Traditionally, Chinese developers offered little more than security and
maintenance services at their residential projects. But more apartment
towers now offer bonuses such as in-house takeout and grocery delivery,
tour reservations and even personal financial products such as wealth
01 September 2015
inspectors won't help condo owners
I was talking with an owner who owns a unit in a lower-priced condo
corporation that is in the heart of Ford Nation up in northern
The man and his family have a problem with his bathtub filling up with
a couple of inches of water whenever the neighbours in the unit beside
his have a shower.
Three times he wrote out a resident's complaint form and the manager
ignored his complaints. There is bad blood between them over some
needed repairs to his unit a few years ago.
So since the property manager and the board will not clean out the
drains, he phoned Toronto's Municipal Licencing and Standards
They told him that they would not intervene because he lived in a condo
and he should take his complaints to his condo board but that if he
lived in a rental building, they would investigate.
It is time for this taxpayer to make an appointment with his city
Then its time for him to re-boot an old owner's association of
disgruntled owners to see what pressure they can put on their
service will favour multi-residential units
Anyone who currently gets their mail at an apartment, a condominium
lobby box, a mailbox panel at seniors’ homes or at a community mailbox
will not see any change to their postal delivery.
Finally condos have one clear advantage over detached houses.
Beware of who
you rent to:
What landlords can do to avoid tenants from hell
Bottom line? Be safe. Pay 6% or more of the rental income to hire a
property management company.
on Trump tower shuts down Bay and Adelaide
First it was a series of falling windows. Then there was the lawsuits
from the condo-hotel suite buyers. Next was a scathing food critic
review of the restaurant. Now it is the antenna. When will there be
some good news?
rudest concierge in Toronto?
Last week, I met maybe the rudest concierge I’ve ever come across in
Toronto. An amusing tale by David Fleming.
I have news for David. Most property managers and concierge hate real
estate agents. They too have horror stories about the most rude real
estate agents they have come across.
Story: Tenant Sublets Condo, Without Owner’s Permission
Recently a condo owner came back to Chicago and found a young couple
living in the master bedroom. His liquor supply was gone and there was
a hookah on the dining room table.
He believes it was the young man who had been living there, with his
permission, renting the second bedroom. Sure enough, he found the
listing on the website.
between boards and residents is not unusual
The reason is simple: There is no accountability.
model could be forced out of Soho condo
Pay your fees or lose your unit.
28 August 2015
Survival Skills for Condo Owners
2013 census data shows there are 115,000 strata units in Greater
Victoria. Almost every one of those buildings are run by elected
volunteers with little or no training. Yet your strata council (condo
board) can issue fines and has the power to put a lien on your home if
you flout their decisions. Strata has a big stick. Knowledge is your
These 2-hour workshops were expressly designed to fill that need.
Learn the basic democratic skills every condo owner needs to protect
their financial investment.
Make your case with clout on issues such as noise complaints, condo
repairs, budget decisions, maintenance standards, parking allocations
and rental or pet restrictions.
This is a workshop that should be offered for owners across the
country. Owners need to know what they are getting into if they have a
legal dispute with their condo board.
don't apply to strata (condo) disputes
A B.C. Supreme Court judge has dismissed a White Rock man's attempt to
invoke Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms in a dispute with his
strata corporation (condo corporation).
The courts have always held this opinion. This is just another risk
people take when they buy a unit in a condo corporation.
results in substantial fine after fatal Toronto
This has implications for condo owners and boards because rooming
houses exist in condo townhouses and in apartment units. Often it is
called "over-crowding", "bed-sits" or "private spaces" but overcrowded
rooming houses are what they actually are.
stunned after rental property host threatens to sue if she posts bad
No bad reviews on the Internet may not mean that everyone was a happy
guest or customer.
High number of
heroin overdoses at condo complex prompts action from Orange County
A new fight is underway to save lives at a crime-ridden, Orange County
condo complex that’s seen 15 drug overdoses in just 24 hours.
According to sheriff’s officials, 55 people were arrested at the
complex over the weekend, and nine of those charged with possession
illegal drugs. Another 35 were issued warnings.
$350,000 condo fire
A discarded cigarette ignited a blaze in a Grantville condominium that
caused an estimated $350,000 in damage Wednesday, a San Diego fire
The Red Cross was called to assist a woman and three teenage boys.
Photos show the
squalid Boston condo that 'grossed out' a state judge
Mental illness is a growing problem for condo boards everywhere.
Some families dump their "special needs" relatives in a condo unit and
leave them on their own. This is a social problem that the
neighbours, condo managers and directors are ill equipped to handle.
25 August 2015
Six mistakes new
condo investors make
I would have changed the title to six mistakes condo purchasers make. I
care for the people who want to buy a home and not so much for
"investors" who I see as people who want to make money at the expense
of the owner-residents.
I agree with mistakes number 1-5 but I don't think that buying early
(mistake #6) is a good idea. Many VIP events are when the developers
dump the dog units at so-called bargain prices while they save the
nicer and more expensive units for later.
10 tips for
buying a condo in Toronto
Ten good tips for condo buyers. This article is for purchasers of
pre-built units and resales.
turned into an illegal rooming house
"We figured he made about $4,000 a month in profits from our house."
It happens to semi-detached houses and detached houses but the same
thing can also happen with condo townhouses and apartment units.
If they are not rented as over-crowded rooming houses some tenants may
rent the units as a short-term hotel rooms.
Defence Counsel $100,000 in Costs due to Sharp Practice
This is a great article that describes how judges decide costs.
In the case of Saleh v. Nebel, the conduct of the defence counsel reads
like a train wreck: you just can't turn away from this disaster.
In this case, the defence lawyers conducted themselves so poorly and
with such gall that the judge felt it was reasonable to deprive them of
a significant costs award despite succeeding at trial.
mandate regular maintenance of buildings with new bylaw
Calgary will mandate regular maintenance of building envelopes five
stories or taller. Similar bylaws concerning the exterior of buildings
exist in Vancouver and Montreal, said Civitarese, who noted Calgary’s
version has been in the works for some time.
Individual bricks falling off of older condos is not as rare as you may
Firefighters Contain Condo Fire
Here are more details on the $250,000 fire damage caused when a smoker
threw his cigarette butt into a plastic garbage pail.
Association Sued for Sexual Harassment National Origin Discrimination
If you have a manager who is violating people's basic human rights, the
board better deal with it.
21 August 2015
Buying a home in
a rental building?
Renting a unit in one of these buildings makes sense. But do you want
to buy your primary residence in what is legally a condo corporation
but in reality is basically a rental building?
meetings becomes more complex (1 of 2)
Not everything about the new Condo Act is rosy.
Pets and condos
What you need to know about owning a pet in a condo.
restriction muzzles couple’s Human Rights claim
If you plan to fight a condominium corporation, says Bob Aaron, be
prepared for a ‘very risky and expensive undertaking.’
At the first sign of trouble, don't
fool around. Get a legal opinion from a lawyer experienced in
Condo living on
We can't forget that condo living does have its good side.
2-alarm condo fire
What is it about smokers? Don't they ever learn?
to turn off running water at West Palm Beach condo
A Florida HOA owes the city nearly $62,000 in unpaid water bills. The
HOA president Zandra Stevens said that only about 60% of the condo
owners are paying their monthly HOA fees. (I think that may be why the
HOA is broke.)
If your condo doesn't have AGMs every year and withholds financial
information, sell and get out FAST.
Condo owners at
St. Pete's Signature Place to cough up $8.7M for repairs
Condo owners in Signature Place, Tampa Bay's tallest and newest condo
tower, are being hit with $8.7 million in special assessments to
correct "urgent construction defects'' that endanger residents and
Repairs to the six-year-old building in downtown St. Petersburg
originally were estimated to be less than $700,000 but mushroomed after
experts discovered "missing or improperly installed'' rebar, which
helps strengthen exterior walls.
17 August 2015
The big surprise
This is the best Garth Turner blog in a while now. So we have Harper
encouraging people to buy and renovate condos and houses by taking on
more and more debt to save the economy and Tom Mulcair saying
“People could be in for a terrible surprise.”
Oh my gosh. We have the smelly bearded sandal-wearing bicycle-riding
socialists warning people to be financially prudent before taking on
more and more debt and the right-wing conservatives encouraging people
to absorb more and more debt. Their motto: "How to stop worrying and
love your mortgage."
A GTA condo management company has an interesting blog on their website
that is far better than glorified advertising. It is worth reading.
of History workers stole cash under noses of auditors
Internal audit says three contract employees embezzled $41,000 in cash
receipts from box office.
The potential for fraud is everywhere, not
just in condos. Once again, it took a whistle-blower, not the auditors
to report it.
Making a lounge
chair out of a shopping cart
Hopefully, it will ever come to this.
Erik the Red to
retire from rodent control officer duties on CSS Acadia
Hotline set up for fans to bid bon voyage to feline rodent control
There are some condos that could use a rodent control officer on the
lower floors and in the underground garage.
threatened with jail time
In Missouri, a purple playground has become a problem for a Lee’s
Summit family after their homeowner’s association is threatening them
with fines, sanctions and even jail time if it’s not removed.
I'd take the playground down and sell the family home. The legal costs
stress that a condo or HOA board can put on the owners is not worth the
Black bear tries
to get into condo through cat door
Check out all of the photos. They are quite something.
Woman trapped on
ledge as fire rages inside Tanah Merah condo
For 20 minutes, the 35-year-old woman was trapped on a narrow window
ledge, clinging on to dear life.
The fire is believed to have cut off the only exit of her unit.
Residents The New Paper spoke to said the woman had earlier been
shouting and waving for help from inside the unit.
But as thick, black smoke poured out of the windows, she climbed out
and lay face down on the ledge.
sentence for strata manager who stole
A strata (condo) manager who defrauded his clients of more than $67,000
has had his sentence increased on appeal but has avoided jail.
Jason Christopher Hext, of Strataco Strata Pty Ltd, was sentenced to 12
months' jail in April, after being found guilty of embezzling funds
from the trust accounts of seven strata plans.
Mr Hext was convicted of transferring funds out of these trust accounts
for his own and his wife's personal use.
Last week, Parramatta District Court dismissed Mr Hext's appeal against
the severity of his sentence.
Instead, the court took the view a stronger sentence was required to
recognise the objective seriousness of the offence and to generally
deter others, noting Mr Hext had shown no remorse or acknowledgment of
13 August 2015
Maintenance Stretches HOA Dollars
A reminder why regular maintenance and safety audits are a must for
Here is a recent sale at the Toy Factory Lofts where a unit went for
$25,000 more than the asking price.
It is a very lovely unit so I wonder? Did it sell for so much because
was in above-average condition or because the monthly maintenance costs
are so low?
Coming to a
condo near you?
In Japan, the infrastructure ministry and the elevator industry agreed
that drinking water and portable toilets should be stored in elevators
in preparation for emergency stoppages after earthquakes.
managers must also have emergency procedures to get the residents out
from the top floors when the elevators are not working.
This website shows a number of companies that rent condo units as
short-term hotel rooms. As you go down this list, you will see some of
the condos in Toronto that allow short-term rentals and what the daily
There must be a lot of suitcases going and and out of the lobby and
lots of strangers using the amenities.
This is the time of year that your local MPPs are holding their summer
BBQs for their constituents.
I urge all condo owners to attend these free events to meet your MPP
and inform him or her of your condo concerns and issues, urge them to
become informed about Bill 106—the upcoming changes to Ontario's
Condominium Act—and most importantly have some fun.
I also urge you to get on your municipal councillor's e-mail list.
James Pasternak keeps his consituents informed on such things as "Free
Outdoor Movies in Earl Bales Park" and "Taste of Manila" that will run
Saturday, August 22nd to Sunday August 23rd at Bathurst Street and
For the 2nd year in a row, Ward 10 hosts one of the largest street
festivals in the city.
Here is a great condo advice column written by Robert Noce in the
Edmonton Journal. Always worth reading.
complaints filed in condo catastrophe
Records also show that at the end of Perez's time as president last
fall, he began writing large checks on the Jade Winds account to cash,
adding up to more than $800,000.
Then there is the condo manager and the question of $60,000 in dental
work. Then there is more, much more.
Vegas HOA crime
kingpin Leon Benzer sentenced to 15½
years in prison
Former construction company boss Leon Benzer, the man behind the
massive scheme to take over and defraud Las Vegas-area homeowners
associations, was sentenced Thursday to 15 ½ years in federal prison.
U.S. District Judge James Mahan also ordered Benzer to serve five years
of supervised release after prison and pay $13.4 million in restitution.
Benzer, 48, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy, fraud and tax evasion
charges, is to surrender to prison authorities Nov. 6.
spread to balconies
A new condominium project in the Oslo suburb of Bærum will ban smoking
on balconies and in the garden terraces of those with units on the
ground floor. Developers claim the smoke would otherwise bother
10 August 2015
If you have owners, or their tenants, leasing out residential condo
units as hotel suites, the board can put a stop to it.
Besides the excellent ideas put forward in this article by Rodrigue
Escayola, a well-known condo lawyer, you can look at such things as the
units not meeting commercial property city by-law requirements, nor is
the "business' paying commercial property taxes.
The board may be legally required to collect HST on the common
elements. (Check with the corporation lawyer) and you could snitch on
the owner to Revenue Canada.
I was talking with an executive of a condo management company and he
was telling me that the got a call in the middle of the night last
weekend because of a horror show at one of his buildings. An owner was
using a rental agency to lease his unit and the agency was renting it
as an Airbnb unit. That night, 35 people were smoking dope and
cigarettes in the common areas, making a hell of a lot of noise and
trashing the place.
Of course the cops were called but getting the mob out of the condo was
Dog condos units
David Fleming didn't mention the possibility of homeless sleeping, drug
users shooting up or prostitutes turning tricks and late night drunks
under that balcony.
Just thought I add those possibilities to the conversation.
Olivia Chow vs.
Adam Vaughan: a battle for condo votes
In this federal election, the new Spadina-Fort York riding is where
condo residents need to be taken seriously.
Gone are Little Italy, the Annex and other residential communities that
were considered Chow’s power base. Included now are condos in Liberty
Village, CityPlace and Distillery, meaning more of the roughly 64,000
eligible voters live in condos rather than in houses.
It will be interesting to see just how many of these condo residents,
keeping in mind that most are renters, will vote.
Paying for two
It is surprising how freely some condo boards spend the corporation's
money. Have you ever had your condo lawyer show up to chair your AGM
and he or she brings along a young lawyer to help as a scrutineer?
Guess what, the young lawyer is charging the corporation his or her
hourly rate to gain some practical experience. Two directors told me
that their law firm charged their corporation approximately $3,500 to
meeting and for supplying the "scrutineer".
Two issues here. Why are the condo owners paying for a lawyer to gain
experience? A second point is that chairing a condo meeting is pretty
basic so why hire a an experienced lawyer with an expensive hourly rate
to perform a basic service?
Before the AGM, the board should phone around and find an experienced
a condo consultant, or if it is really required, a lawyer who will give
you a fixed price to chair your meeting.
Better yet, any condo president worth their salt should be able to
chair a normal owners' meeting.
embezzler in court
time the HOA is in California and the accused was the treasurer. So
many criminal charges for condo fraud in the USA and so few in Canada.
04 August 2015
"buys" condo in Hamilton
And we thought that the supply of buyers would dry up.
Annoyances For First-Time Condo Owners
Another interesting blog by David Fleming.
showers residents inside St. Pete condo
It's very rare for an in-suite sprinkler to go off, even the one in the
kitchen although condo kitchen fires are common.
A Toronto firefighter told me that they get called to a condo kitchen
fire at least once a month. Young drunk people, often students, put
something on the stove and then go to sleep. The fire alarm wakes up
the whole building.
We are in another Year of Rising Prices for most condos in the GTA. Yet
not all condos have been invited to the banquet.
At one Toronto condo, a couple of one-bedroom condos sold for $30,000
and a two-bedroom went for $35,000. These power-of-sale prices have
froze at those levels for a couple of years now.
In Mississauga, two similar sized two-bedroom, two bath condos sold
last week. Same size units, similar amenities and monthly expenses. At
the one building, the price was $100,000 more than the condo just down
the street. (Believe me, the cheaper one was not a bargain.)
Then there are a few troubled condos where nothing is selling.
So even in a hot market, be careful. Check the building's status
certificate, financial statements and the sales history. If you can't
read them, pay someone who can.
Like buying a used car, buying a resale condo can be risky for those
who don't do their homework.
Cats Days of
The City of Toronto is holding a "cat days of summer" adoption blitz
until August 31. Residents can go home with a kitten or cat by paying a
special low adoption fee of $25 in addition to a $15 pet licence
fee ($7.50 for seniors) at any of the City's three animal shelters and
a number of adoption-partner locations.
All cats and kittens are sterilized (spayed/neutered), micro-chipped,
vet-checked, de-wormed and vaccinated.
Fire in Cote St.
Luc leads police to grow-op
A fire in Cote St. Luc, Quebec condo led police to the discovery of a
marijuana grow op. No one was hurt, but all the residents were forced
out of their homes.
buildings give owners more say — and more responsibility
Personally, I would shy away from a condo that has less than 25 units
as much as I would avoid the huge condos having over 240 units.
If you are in a condo of three-four units, do you think it would be
easy to hire a lawyer to lien someone who is arrears?
association bookkeeper pleads guilty to fraud
A New Hampshire bookkeeper, Courtney Stone pleaded guilty to five
counts of wire fraud and one count of impeding the administration of
tax laws. A federal judge said Stone lied when she was in charge of the
books for the associations during a period of three years.
Stone was the bookkeeper for a family business and was accused of
creating losses of between $400,000 and $1 million.
drowns in Kenner condo complex
A 4-year-old girl drowned Friday evening (July 31) in a condominium
complex pool, according to the Kenner Police Department. (Louisiana)
Everyone has to be so alert when kids or elderly are in a pool.
E-mail from a
If we suspect that board of directors are not paying condo fees is
there a way to challenge. Is there a way we can go to court about it?
I guess you could write
a letter to the auditor stating that you have heard rumours that
certain "owners" are not paying their monthly expenses and that you
hope that he/she will pay attention to these concerns when he or she
I am aware that at a few condos, the
directors believe they should be paid for "all the hard work they do".
They submit 12 monthly cheques for their fees. Those cheques are cashed
but they then get cash payments from the corporation that are added to
the administration or maintenance expenses in the operating fund
account. It can be very hard and extremely expensive
to uncover such irregularities.
You also realize that these
accusations are just as likely unsubstantiated rumours that are spread
by the board's political opponents.
28 July 2015
management company sues condo
A condo fires their property management company instead of giving 60
days notice. After two years of court battles, the dispute is over.
In my opinion, aside from the lawyers, no one won.
What is with the
condo war on the car?
The war on the car is getting out of hand. Sure more tiny units can be
stuffed into a smaller space if there is limited parking but what will
be the future value of these units?
What’s Old Is
David Fleming blogs on older condos spending their reserve funds giving
their lobby and the outside a face lift to make them look "younger".
Condos do this all the time. They believe, with good reason, that it
increases property values and so their units will be easier to sell.
Good for the one's selling I guess.
noise and health issues: Is Artscape failing its tenants who seek
affordable live-work studios?
Artscape is a non-profit corporation based in Toronto that, among other
things, manages condo units for artists.
This Globe an Mail article gives a glimpse into who Artscape is and
how it operates. This is a sentence that caught my attention:
"While an Artscape spokesperson acknowledged its overall salary and
benefits expenses exceed the amounts cited on its financial statements,
the organization would not provide details about its total annual
apartments, condos face fines for food scraps
on July 1
Some organic waste recyclers say many apartment buildings in Metro
Vancouver still don't have a system to keep food scraps out of the
displaced by roof collapse get update
Roof collapsed on a townhouse complex last winter. There was no money
in the budget to shovel the heavy snow off the roofs.
The TV video story describes the high costs and the long waits after
evacuating your condo due to serious damage.
Space in a One-Bedroom Apartment
Make a one-bedroom into a two-bedroom. It's happening in New York and
it's happening in North York.
Fordian Slip: Two campaigns singing the same tune
An interesting Gobal News story comparing Donald Trump and Rob Ford.
24 July 2015
An Array of New
More interesting information on Bill 106 from Clifton Kok LLP.
condo residents say new windows already cracked, mouldy
Residents of 20 Gilder Drive say windows the building's windows were
replaced only last year have already developed cracks and leaks.
Drew Durjodhan, who has lived in the building for 15 years, scrubs her
windows for nearly an hour each day. Still, she can't rid them of
Condo owners in the building paid nearly $10,000 for their own
independent energy audit after their requests to the building's
management were ignored.
You should watch the CBC video.
It's a nice report that names the parties that are involved.
Charles Hanes is
Charles Hanes has resumed blogging on his site and it remains a must
read for Ontario condo owners and potential buyers.
In one of his recent blogs, he tells the story of a man who bought a
pre-built condo and just a few days before he was to take possession,
he found out that he can have only one dog and it has to be under 25 lb.
The man owns two dogs, one that exceeds the maximum allowed weight.
better reporting of food poisoning incidents
Whether it’s bad hamburgers, dicey potato salad or a stroganoff that
went a little off, Toronto Public Health wants to know if it caused the
tummy trouble that kept you off work Monday.
And to help, it’s established an anonymous website — GastroBusters —
that will help track incidents of food poisoning across the city that
often go unreported.
The restaurant industry is not so thrilled about this site.
reportedly stole thousands as condo association treasurer
Theft and fraud criminal charges involving condos are common in the
United States. In these two cases, it was the treasurer who have been
charged with sticking their hands in the honey jar.
A criminal complaint says that the current treasurer, contacted two
banks where the condominium association keeps its money and discovered
that both accounts, which each contained about $14,000, had been mostly
Vicki Yancey arrested on larceny
Officials with the Deer Path Homeowners Association said that,
according to their audit, Vicki Yancey took a total of $28,772.85 from
the HOA account. The HOA president told Spillman she was the
association's treasurer from 2002 until August 2014. He said she was
not authorized to take money without the knowledge or consent of the
board of directors and was the only person who had access to the
account, Spillman's report states.
20 July 2015
shopping apartment offers real-life retail in a tiny downtown Toronto
Well, what do you know. Now we have a small higher-end fashion retail
store operating out of a downtown condo. Sure it's cheaper than renting
a retail unit; that's because a small condo is not zoned or taxed as a
retail unit. Nor would it meet commercial building and fire codes.
Besides shopping "The Apt" will also be having regular shopping
parties, artist showcases, dinners and can even be rented out for a
meeting, or a private party.
Bill 106 changes
merged with Condo Act 1998
Here is a valuable resource from the lawyers at Clifton Kok LLP who
have added all the proposed changes in Bill 106 to the Condo Act in one
129 page pdf document.
CBC video on a parking garage flooding in a York Mills-Yonge St condo.
buyers still 'experimenting' with condominiums
Despite some high profile projects planned for the city, the Sudbury
condominium market has been slow to get off the ground, with few
buildings under construction and sales not meeting expectations.
Developer Dalron started work on converting an office building on Larch
Street downtown a few years ago. It had planned to finish the units
after they were sold, but slow sales saw all 12 completed before they
had an owner.
Sales agent Joanne Belanger said three of the $279,000 units are still
reform: government guarantees compensation for home owners facing
The state government (New South Wales, Australia) has locked in
controversial plans to make it possible for a majority of 75 per cent
of owners to sell their unit blocks for redevelopment, regardless of
the wishes of the minority.
It was one of a package of updated strata law reform proposals
announced on Wednesday by the Minister responsible for Fair Trading, Mr
He said there will be a guarantee of proper compensation–market value
plus relocation expenses–as well as a Fair Trading hotline to help
people whose homes are being sold from under them.
The proposed new Condo Act will also limit the number of proxies an
owner can collect.
16 July 2015
investors lose legal fight to rescind deals
An Ontario Superior Court Justice has rejected legal efforts to rescind
deals on behalf of investors in pricey hotel-condo units in Toronto’s
Trump International Hotel & Tower, saying buyers knew that “all
investments are risky.”
Justice Paul Perell makes clear in his 49-page judgment that marketing
materials provided to buyers — setting out potential revenues that
could be generated based on projected occupancies and room rates of
more than $500 a night — were “deceptive documents.”
But they did not constitute an “investment contract” and they did not
breach an Ontario Securities Commission ruling that set out specific
conditions for how Talon International, developer of the hotel, was to
market the unusual hotel-condo suites, the court found.
In a sort of buyer-beware ruling released late Friday, Justice Perell
seems to take the view that it was ultimately up to buyers to do the
math for themselves and review legal documents more carefully.
Three issues here. The first two are
obvious. Condos are risky purchases, especially hotel-condo units and
you can't believe what the sales agents say.
The third point the judge made is far
trickier. The sales agreements, the disclosure, declaration, by-laws
and rules are so complicated and thick it is impossible for the
average buyer to understand them. So they really should spend the
money and hire a professional, an accountant and/or an experienced
condo lawyer to review these documents for them.—editor
Toronto has changed its by-laws so that developers can buy a detached
house, demolish it and build two vertically-stacked homes on a single
lot. Basically there is one unit build behind a unit with the two
attached on at least one floor.
I went to a meeting on Tuesday night (14 July 2015) that was hosted by
councillor Mike Layton to see if I could find out why they are
registered as condos, how does that benefit the developer and why would
anyone want to by a vertical condo over a semi.
So far in Toronto, there may be as few as six of these projects built
or going through the planning process.
The developer wins because he can put two units on a single lot. As for
parking, these condo units, which may sell for over a million dollars,
only require one parking spot for each unit.
I asked a developer who attended the meeting on the wording of the
declaration, by-laws and rules and they said that they leave all of
that up to their lawyers.
I can see lots of problems buying into a two-unit condo.
The two owners could fight over common element fees, the enforcement of
by-laws and rules and what happens if one of the units goes into
arrears. They could
argue bitterly about improvements to the common elements and a dozen of
things. If the two owners have issues, the legal fees to pay for
mediation, arbitration and/or court costs could go through the roof.
Finally what happens if one of the parties wants to terminate the
When I raised my concerns about these issues, Mr. Layton said that the
city cannot zone the ownership of a property.
highlight gross apartments in new contest
A group representing Quebec landlords has launched a contest called
"Histoires d'horreur du 1er juillet" to highlight the filthy apartments
they're sometimes left with when tenants move out on July 1.
The contest encourages landlords to send photos of dirty or ruined
apartments on the traditional moving day for people in Quebec.
I can't wait to see the three winners.
set up elaborate system to bother neighbor with music
Who would ever think someone would go to this much trouble to aggravate
her neighbours. Reminds me of a scene in Clockwork Orange.
Edmonton condo owners on the hook for $2.3M repair
People living in a downtown condo building have been hit with a massive
repair bill. Each of the condo owners is expected to pay an average of
$45,000 for repairs on the Oliver Gardens building, located at 101
Avenue and 117 Street.
Owners were given two options: pay the full amount by Sept. 1 or
partake in a loan acquired by the condo corporation.
“I did the math on the loan. If I pay that extra $397 every month for
20 years, it actually turns out to be closer to $95,000,” said Lane.
Another lesson demonstrating that years of low monthly maintenance fees
are no bargain for the owners who get stick with the bills.
14 July 2015
proposed changes to Ontario's Condo Act
Here is a much needed blog describing how to read Bill 106 by the
lawyers at Clifton Kok LLP.
This is a very good place to start for anyone who wants to read Bill
106 and understand what it is saying. These three posts make a very
road map as they make very clear, this is going to be a very
High risk borrowers are paying 10-12% interest to get a mortgage? Oh my
gosh. This is so risky.
"Anthony Croll, vice president of Individual Investment Corporation, a
Montreal-based private lender that has been in business since 1958,
said he’s seen a rise in the number of small private lenders over the
last few years competing with the 10 per cent to 12 per cent interest
his company would charge.
He also thinks inexperienced lenders may be underestimating the risks
associated with non-payment of a loan."
Risks? Sure there are risks.
I have personal knowledge of a man who was on disability benefits who
bought a new
bachelor condo with no money down. He lived in the unit and used his
"rent" money that he was paying the small-time developer to come up
with the minimum down payment. The developer also arranged for him to
get a first and second mortgage.
The owner paid his condo fees and both mortgages for a year or so
then got tired of having no money so he stopped paying his condo fees
the mortgages. It took the the first mortgagee months to get the owner
out as the owner fought his eviction in the courts (self-represented)
with enough gall, skill and luck to take his case to appeals court.
The owner of the first mortgage lost his shirt and almost his sanity as
he had to pay the
condo fees, months of missing mortgage payments, had to pay his lawyer
thousands in fees and then had to pay two men to clean and paint the
empty apartment. It took them two weeks to get it fit for viewings.
Then the unit sat empty for a few months until it sold.
Rentals: Temporary Wallpaper Adds Wow-Factor
Check out some of these designs. Wallpaper has come a long way.
developments surrounded by empty retail space in some Calgary
High rents unaffordable for 'mom and pop' businesses, city growth
No kidding. I am seeing the same issue of empty retail spaces in many
Toronto condos. A model that works well on Yonge Street Rent struggles
in North York and in Etobicoke. Few pedestrians and little
visible parking means few customers.
condo fire under investigation in Morinville Alberta
But at least three of the six condo units in the east block were lost
to the fire, with the early damage estimate pegged at around $1 million.
“It’s under investigation, but preliminary investigation indicates the
fire started in the balcony area on the exterior of the structure and
worked its way into the structures.”
Not another balcony fire on a
wood-frame condo building? Will these fires ever end?—editor
might find a home at Toronto’s iconic CHUM radio site
The old CHUM radio building will become yet another condo building.
|Northern Brewery to
be turned into condos
CBC audio news report about a closed Sudbury brewery being turned
into condo lofts. I am sure buyers will be lapping them up while the
old timers will be hopping mad and most of my readers will be barley
I'd love to do the advertising campaign. "Good for what ALEs you" is a
no-brainer. "Can't fail to organize a successful night in a brewery's
party room?"is yet another.
Give me a night with a couple of friends, a 24, some pickelled eggs and
sausage and the ideas are sure to flow.
10 July 2015
I went to a requisition meeting last night where a total of 68
condo owners met in an attempt to remove the board due to perceived
mismanagement, poor communications, a complete lack of transparency and
huge corporation debts.
To protect themselves from the at times loud but very well behaved
owners, the board hired five uniformed security guards that were
bullet resistant vests and were armed with semi-automatic hand guns.
About half of the owners were women. During the meeting I heard no
swearing, no threats, no course language, saw no threatening gestures;
just extremely well thought out and well presented questions to the
Chair, the auditor and to the directors. If the armed guards were hired
to intimidate the owners, it didn't work.
That the owners have reason to be upset with their directors, there
no doubt but having three heavily armed guards standing behind them for
the duration of the meeting, and two more guards at the back of the
room, made me think that the directors looked more silly than cautious.
(Wouldn't a couple of regular security guards been sufficient?)
One of the guards asked us what this meeting was all about because they
normally guard jewelry stores.
The board can't find the money to pay for a missing lock and handle
for one of the
building's Exit doors, which is a constant security risk for everyone
that lives in that building, but they had no problem squandering
hundreds of dollars adding a sense of theatre to an important but
rather normal owners'
New Bill (Part 1 of 3)
Here is a much needed blog describing Bill 106 by the lawyers at
Clifton Kok LLP. Here is how it starts:
Reading a bill like this one, that amends and creates several distinct
pieces of legislation, can be like traipsing through a muddy stream on
a rainy day. So, in this three-part blog entry, we provide our guide to
reading Bill 106.
In this Part 1, we discuss the outline and organization of the Bill.
Part 2 will explain its formatting and how that affects its reading.
Part 3 will talk about some of its other complexities, such as how it
sometimes amends not only other legislation but even itself.
Large dog owner frustrated by condo’s sudden enforcement of pet bylaws
Other condo owners at Rutherford Village had big dogs. The president of
the condo board had a Boxer. And over the last three years, Kaiser
never received any complaints about Leonidas, who grew to 120 lbs.
But then a notice came to his door two months ago, saying he had 90
days to either move out of his south Edmonton condo or get rid of the
dog, whose size violates the condo’s bylaws
Kaiser said he’s frustrated by a lack of communication from his
property manager and by rules that, he said, haven’t been enforced
until recently, after the condo board president’s Boxer died.
He has an on-line petition
areas off limits to police snooping, top court rules
A defence attorney said he anticipates police will now attempt to seek
more of those
blanket approvals from condominium boards to gain access to common
areas without a warrant.
Will your board cooperate? That may depend on what problems the condo
has been having.
Mall war: How
redevelopment of the former Hazelton Lanes sparked a poisonous feud in
“They despise First Capital,” says Marilyn Snead, president of the
condo board. “They’re boycotting the mall.”
With the renovations nowhere near complete, the fight looks set to drag
on for years, roiling up tempers in a tony Toronto enclave and
highlighting the problems that can come when residential and commercial
real estate intertwine.
Another fight over a weekend power outage devolved into a tit-for-tat
court battle over compensation for residents who planned to move out
for the weekend.
According to a binding arbitration decision released in May, the condo
corporation’s lawyer first asked for $2,500 for each resident to cover
two nights in a hotel. When First Capital’s lawyer countered with an
offer of $350 a night, which he submitted would cover a deluxe king
room at Yorkville’s five-star Hazelton Hotel, the condo’s corporation’s
lawyer reacted with outrage.
“The people who live in 77 Avenue Rd., perhaps the most exclusive
downtown neighbourhood in Toronto, are not homeless refugees or cattle
to be herded en masse into ‘group rate’ hotel rooms,” he wrote,
according to the arbitration ruling — again, referring to a deluxe king
room at a hotel described as “the ultimate luxury” in Toronto. “This
suggestion is disrespectful and offensive.”
This is not the first time MTCC No. 985 has been in the news. Last year
they lost an expensive and long-drawn out court battle with an owner
over second-hand cigar smoke.
"I hope you are
The former manager of a Longboat Key condo association, convicted in
2013 of stealing more than $200,000 of Sand Cay Homeowners Association
funds, was ordered Tuesday to begin serving a three-year prison
She did not take the sentencing well. Sounds like she is not going to
jail as much as she enjoyed riding the Harley Davidson that
she bought with the condo's money.
06 July 2015
dream home turned into nightmare after pipes spoil view
Fariba Hatami was among the first customers to buy a pre-construction,
low-rise Mississauga condominium in 2012. For $473,000 she says she was
promised an unobstructed view.
Now, Hatami faces a giant jumble of natural gas pipes and valves a few
metres from her windows and balcony door.
The school teacher and yoga instructor says she was charged a “premium”
by the sales representative for the corner unit, which is just under
1,000 square feet in size.
Investigation In Midland
After a complaint from a local Condo Corporation, investigation has
revealed that an Office Manager allegedly made a number of unauthorized
purchases using various credit cards belonging to the Corporation.
Sooo…You Want To
Sell Your Tenanted Property?
Why aren’t you waiting until the tenant leaves? You’re really
going to list it for sale with the tenant still there?
Are you lazy? Cheap? Uninformed? Or all of the above?
Just listen to my story from this past weekend, and use it as a
cautionary tale. You’ll say “Oh, my tenant isn’t like that,” but
do you really ever know for sure?
claims Human Rights Code overrides strata rules
Specifically, by-law 4.5 says that a unit designated as a one-bedroom
cannot have more than two people living in it unless prior written
approval is given by the council. Likewise, a two-bedroom unit can’t
have more than four residents.
That approval was never sought, an oversight the Taylors, who have
owned the unit since 2010, say they unsuccessfully tried to appeal in a
subsequent meeting with the strata council.
“We are talking about evicting a young family with a 21-month-old
baby,” says Jeremy Taylor. “They don’t take into consideration the
human aspect of it.”
Determined to fight the eviction, the Taylors have sought legal advice,
including the opinion of David Eby, MLA for Vancouver-Point Grey. In a
letter to them, Eby wrote that B.C.’s Human Rights Code prohibits
discrimination on the basis of family status.
(I would get a legal opinion from an experienced BC condo lawyer rather
than from a politician.)
Is it a condo or
a tenement building?
Here is a two-bedroom condo apartment unit being sold on MLS as a three
bedroom rooming house. (July 2015)
The same Realtor has a second unit up for sale in the same condo tower.
one is a three-bedroom unit that has four-bedrooms individually rented.
A condo tower with too many overcrowded
units place a huge burden upon the resident-owners who, through their
monthly fees, are subsidizing private businesses. Every unit pays a
the higher water and garbage disposal costs and higher building
maintenance costs that over-crowded units create.
A second observation is that the demolishing of rooming houses in
the traditional lower cost areas of Toronto and replacing them with
new condo towers may not push the very low income people out of
Toronto. These listings show that the poor have moved into the city's
hidden rooming houses—overcrowded condo units
Since some condo boards have been ignoring overcrowding for years,
owner-residents may try calling Canada Revenue to insure that these
"business investors" are paying their proper income taxes and that the
condo corporations are collecting HST on these units' common element
homeowners association resolve differences in shed dispute
What is interesting is how much time and trouble it took a judge to try
to get a her homeowner's association rule changed.
No jail for
Severn condo president who stole $70,000
No jail time and she pays back the money at $25 a month. What a joke.
Her lawyer said he has known her for years and told the judge she
remains an asset to the community who still is held in high esteem by
her neighbors. (From what I read, I am not so sure about that.)
Condo crime sure beats muggings and robbing people. Less chance of
getting caught, less chance of getting charged and a good chance of
moving on to another condo and doing it all over again.
To Pee or Not to
Pee, That is the Question
Shared facilities agreements are a source of conflict everywhere in
02 July 2015
describes a days-long party that ended in five gunshots, a balcony
climb and “the most blood-curdling scream I’ve ever heard.”
For three days, Ellie Bergeron heard loud music coming from the
condo next door in her West Queen West building.
The party on the 22nd floor had been going on and on, with “lots of
cussing” and people coming and going, making it hard for her to sleep.
Early Sunday morning, at about 6:50 a.m., Bergeron was jolted awake by
gunfire — about five shots.
CityPlace out of this
There was another shooting, a couple of weeks ago, in the courtyard
between two very large CityPlace condos. Same situation; young people
partying hard and the situation got out of control.
That shooting didn't make it into the news. Why? The shooter didn't hit
anyone and he made a clean get-a-way. The courtyard was too dark and
the video footage was too poor to give a good image.
Most likely most of the residents don't even know about it as condos
are very good at keeping troubling news a secret.
gridlock remain top concern for Toronto residents, according to City of
Getting around the city remains top of mind for the majority of Toronto
residents, according to a survey for the City of Toronto.
The survey, conducted by Ipsos-Reid in April, found a significant
majority of residents believe the “most important” issues facing
Toronto are poor transportation/transit (22 per cent) and traffic
congestion/gridlock (20 per cent).
Buying a condo?
Maybe you should get the parking spot too
Back in 2007, the average parking spot sold for $27,500 with priciest
parking digs at Trump International — The Residences — selling for
$35,000 each. Flash forward eight years and the average spot is selling
for $51,376 with the priciest spot being the $69,000 paid at Massey
Tower on Yonge Street.
don't want to know about swimming pools
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently teamed up with both
the Water Quality and Health Council and the National Swimming Pool
Foundation to warn the public about health risks associated with summer.
Sun City Center
takes on contractor fraud
|Fire breaks out after
Jacuzzi malfunction in NY luxury condominium
A fire broke out on the terrace of a high-rise New York
building Saturday afternoon. Firefighters responded to the fire at The
Avery, a 32-story condominium in Mahattan's Upper West Side, at around
12.30pm, ABC reports.
A witness told PIX 11 that the flames were sparked by an electrical
fire from a Jacuzzi.
The New York City Fire Department said the fire started on the terrace
and was contained quickly, NBC reports.
Here is a good idea from Florida. A registry of licensed and insured
contractors is available for review
at the Community Association office, 1011 Pebble Beach Blvd. N, and
there is a book of kudos and complaints filed by residents to help
others select a contractor with a good track record. The comments can
be viewed online 24/7.
“There is no fee to be on the registry, but the contractor must supply
a license from Hillsborough County and proof of $1,000,000 insurance,”
said Joe Elam, Consumer Affairs committee member. “If we get two
complaints on a contractor, they may be removed from the registry. They
can re-apply each year but can be turned down if there are excessive or
The good contractors should love this
program. The bad ones, not so much—editor
Condo wars: How
a water leak turned into a $30 million lawsuit
It started with a leak, just a little water on a hallway floor.
That led to questions about bathtub installation, then sprinkler issues
and finally allegations of improper fireproofing. Now, all the
residents of 3303 Water Street have to pack up their
multimillion-dollar condominiums this summer and move out for repairs.
The residents expected perfection, or something close to it. They
assumed that paying millions for a luxury condo guaranteed a certain
immunity from board politics, special assessments and other real estate
nightmares. Instead, they spent three years embroiled in an expensive
and nasty $30 million lawsuit, and now they have to vacate while
construction workers drill holes in their carefully decorated walls. To
say that the owners are not pleased would be a clenched-teeth
Boyfriend in bed
with someone else? Set his condo of fire!
TEMPE, AZ - A 21-year-old woman has been arrested on allegations that
she intentionally set a condo on fire Thursday morning in Tempe.
Police say Claudia Drinnan broke into her boyfriend's home around
ignited a fire in his bedroom.
renter can't take a hint
Sounds like the landlord and the condo want him out. Have to wonder why.
26 June 2015
seen in booming condo market as reforms emerge
Bill 106 aims to streamline dispute process, provides lawyers with
Armand Conant, head of the condominium law group at Shibley Righton in
Toronto, predicts opportunities for condominium lawyers, real estate
and developer lawyers, and litigators.
investors head to court
About a half dozen buyers of pricey condo/hotel rooms in Toronto’s
five-star Trump International Hotel & Tower will be in court
Thursday, hoping that an Ontario Superior Court justice will agree to
fast-track their efforts to renege on real estate deals gone bad.
Robert Noce, Q.C writes a very good column on condo issues in the
10 Signs of
Co-op / Condo Financial Trouble
A useful list for owners to keep tab of their condo investment.
It was announced in the current CM Magazine that Greater Toronto
Property Management Inc. has had its ACMO 2000 certification revoked.
The reasons for this unusual decision were not published but it looks
like standards are being taken seriously.
for Hollywood Beach condo manager
Kristin Glansen allegedly embezzled more than $200,000 from condo.
Hollywood police have put out a grand theft warrant for the arrest of
the 35-year-old condo manager, who allegedly embezzled more than
$225,000 from The Waterway condominium on Hollywood Beach over a two
The Readers' Comments under the article are a must read.
condo complex continues to sit in ruins
A Florida condo
hits bottom. The county has not said whether it will force
residents out of the dilapidated properties.
strata manager failed to inform owners about safety defects
Connie Zhang was forced to jump to her death from the building on West
Terrace Bankstown when the fire in her unit became so ferocious it
melted the aluminum window frames.
"Do you agree that it would have been important for the owners'
corporation and the executive committee to know the terms of the order
suggesting defects in fire safety?" counsel assisting the inquest,
Stephen Rushton SC, said.
"Yes," Mr Poulos replied.
Under strata law, a manager must inform the owners' corporation of all
matters of substance relating to the building.
Mr Poulos said that while he had not provided the written orders to all
owners, he had verbally
informed their executive committee about the issues and was
"trying to get them fixed".
Doors Be Banned? Aqualina Bayside Stirs the Waters.
The difficulties may come in the future when the shared common elements
like the roof and the building envelope needs expensive repairs. Will
the city be willing to cough up the money?
Poor doors for
the middle class?
Sure thing if the condo, like this one in San Francisco is built for
I just wanted to know that I load up your condo news page every
morning, and find myself sending articles to my fellow Board members
every week or two. I’ve forwarded it on to my property manager,
and invited him to send it to his co-workers.
Thanks for being an excellent resource.
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