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Condo News
26 February 2016

Fire code charge disputed in fatal blaze at Scarborough seniors’ apartment
Toronto Fire Services charged Toronto Community Housing with a Fire Code violation. Three residents died and a dozen were injured.

There is a lesson here for all directors of high-rise condo apartment buildings. If there is a death or serious injuries due to a fire in your building, your municipal fire department will examine all your records, emergency procedures and equipment to see if the corporation has any violations.

Review your Fire Inspection and emergency plans. Caution residents who ignore your smoking rules. It is far better to be too careful than be very sorry.
http://bit.ly/20WUjiQ

Airbnb Makes the News… Again!
Rod Escayola writes on Airbnb and a couple of problems when people rent out their properties. There are also s couple links to an audio interview on the CBC radio.

There are questions on whether the province will enact a Bill legalizing short-term rentals and if so, how will that affect condo corporations.
http://bit.ly/1TBTVpD

Chinese-only strata council prompts human rights complaint
Can a BC strata (condo) board hold its meetings in Mandarin or do they have to hold them in English or French? Is this a case of discrimination or a board trying to keep teh fees low? A Human Rights Tribunal may decide.
http://bit.ly/1oDWqwx

Condo living on the horizon for new families

Will a McDonald's-style playroom make condos more appealing to families with children? Perhaps.
http://bit.ly/1Or3ilr

Articles from USA
Does your board undertake "Due Diligence"?
Directors are often told they should "do their due diligence" before making certain decisions on behalf of their associations. How many people actually understand what steps are needed to fulfill that directive?
http://bit.ly/1Tw7gQi

Ex-Eugene property manager charged with wire fraud
A former Eugene Oregon, property manager is facing federal charges over claims that he cheated his victims out of more than $3.5 million.

His attorney, Jessica May, said Wednesday that her client plans to admit to the crimes.
http://bit.ly/1WF0Nlu

Virgina's Shadowood condos in constant turmoil
This is a two-part report on how bad a condo corporation can become when there are too many rented units and two groups fight to control the board.
http://bit.ly/24ocKlb

Article from Brazil
Olympic condos not selling well in Rio
The Rio de Janeiro housing market is not getting the boost it expected with the Olympics. Of the 3,604 apartments built in the Olympic Village, less than 300 have been sold, Bloomberg reports.
http://bit.ly/1OuzWCL

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Condo News
22 February 2016

Regulations: Where the real law hides
This is the latest blog on Ontario's Bill 106 from Clifton Kok LLP, a law firm in Ayr. They are the best source of information on Bill 106 that I am aware of.
http://bit.ly/1LwU5b7

Ontario vows to work with Airbnb to collect taxes
Condos should inform all new buyers on what their position is on short-term rentals on the status certificate, along with any pet restrictions, to stop unexpected and unwanted rental problems before they start.
http://on.thestar.com/1PMpTwI

Toronto city planning is at it again
"Growing Up: Planning for Children in New Vertical Communities" is a study being undertaken by the City Planning Division that examines how new multi-unit housing in high-density communities can better accommodate the needs of households with children and youth.

Raising kids in high-rise residential buildings can be done. Asian countries house millions of children in small condos but is that really what Canadian parents want to do?

For a price of a three-bedroom condo apartment in downtown Toronto, young couples with kids can buy a townhouse, a semi or a detached house.

Buying free-hold housing is what they are doing so that is one reason why detached housing prices in the GTA are so high. Freedom isn't life in Canada; freedom is living outside of a condo corporation.

Toronto's social planners—the ones that can't build a one-stop subway extension to Scarborough in less than 15 to 20 years—haven't thought about the poor sound-proofing building codes for condos. Yelling and crying kids will drive the cranky old farts crazy.

What about play? Can the kids ride their tricycles up and down the hallways? How about playing ball hockey or soccer in the lobby? Will the kids be able to block a lane on Yonge or Lakeshore to play pick-up games like they can on quiet residential streets? I don't think so.

What responsible parents will allow their kids to ride their bicycles unsupervised on Toronto's downtown streets? The Children's Aid may take away their children.

Enjoying wildlife in the downtown involves rats, roaches, bedbugs, raccoons, squirrels, feral cats and pigeons not ducks, swans, tadpoles, rabbits and coyotes.

Will condos allow bird feeders on the terraces or in their back yards? Do the boards encourage boy scout groups and girl guides the free use of their Party Rooms and amenities? If not, why not?

Don't forget that at least one condo law firm urges condos to forbid snow forts. Can the kids have a snowball fight in the local park? Probably not as the parks are full of dog urine and feces. (Don't touch the yellow snow.)
http://bit.ly/1mLTQ5P

A couple of plugs
Here is a nice acknowledgment for CondoMadness from a western engineering company. Thank you for adding CondoMadness to your Links.
http://bit.ly/1R7pUvI

Here is another appreciated recommendation.

Maintaining insulating glass units in condos
An expert defogs the life expectancy and upkeep requirements of windows
http://bit.ly/1Wrvmec

Okanagan senior heartbroken over condo fiasco
Cracks and shifting beams were diagnosed as significant structural issues that left residents believing they had to leave.

The instability began to surface after a small earthquake south of the border in Washington State in 2011, according to residents.

Since residents left, the building remains vacant with the strata still looking into remedies for millions of dollars in repairs.

Insurance has denied the building earthquake coverage for the damage, leaving the residents on the hook for the huge repair bill.

All the residents continue to pay $146/month strata fees as well as legal costs incurred along the way.
http://bit.ly/1PNZYoq

Articles from USA
Bad bargain? Manufactured-home owners feel the financial strain
This PBS video shows that manufactured homes, on leased land, also known as trailer parks are cheap to buy but the carrying costs are huge.
http://to.pbs.org/1TqrPia

Hickory Woman Accused of Embezzling from Homeowners' Association

It looks like she could have done with some makeup and a hair stylist before the cops took this mug shot.
http://bit.ly/212MmOJ

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Condo News
16 February 2016

Glass sheet falls from the Four Seasons Hotel
A 14-foot sheet of glass fell from a “high floor” (condos) at the Four Seasons hotel on Monday afternoon, according to Toronto police.

There have been no injuries or reports of property damage, but Yorkville Ave., is closed between Yonge and Bay Sts.
http://on.thestar.com/1ollwA4

BC condos fees to low to have adequite reserves
This is a three part series from the Vancouver Sun about how strata corporations are not commissioning Depreciation Reports (Reserve Fund Studies) to keep the fees low and hide the fact that the corporation does not have enough money to pay for future expensive repairs.
http://bit.ly/1Qxpzzv
http://bit.ly/1QcLyLH
http://bit.ly/1PsCncV

Globe Editorial—How Toronto got a ‘world-class,’ gold-plated, half-billion-dollar empty train
Toronto’s high-end airport express train is a failure. A city that urgently needs better transit has been saddled with a deluxe boutique rail service that cost $456-million to build and runs nearly empty, 19 1/2 hours a day.
http://bit.ly/1TWJMV4

Edmonton condo builder offering parachute for worried buyers
The builder will pay the mortgage, condo fees and taxes for six months after a job loss. They won’t pay, however, if a person is fired or quits — and they require a record of employment.

Its a sales gimmick and not a bad one. For everyone's sake, I hope they never have to pay up.
http://bit.ly/1TXgm96


101 Reasons Not to Buy a Condo
A book review on why people need to be very careful when buying a condominium. Written by a Canadian, who lives in the GTA and works in the industry, this book explains all the dangers of buying a condo.
http://bit.ly/1SOt5w3

Kathleen Wynne facing 2018 election disaster
A Toronto Star columnist wrote that :"barring a miracle, Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Ontario Liberals are facing the real threat of being trounced in the next provincial election in 2018.

Indeed, the Progressive Conservatives under new leader Patrick Brown may easily wind up forming a majority government."

Forecasting the future is a mug's game but if this happens, then the Tories will be implementing the new Condo Act that the Liberals wrote.
http://on.thestar.com/20UXmxm

BC Small claims and strata disputes to move online
Later this year, the province will become the first Canadian jurisdiction to operate an online Civil Resolution Tribunal for small-claims disputes up to $10,000 and strata conflicts.

A website (https://www.civilresolutionbc.ca/) has been established and the government is encouraging people to help test it before it goes live.

It will start as a voluntary portal but Victoria intends to make using it mandatory, possibly as soon as next year.
http://bit.ly/1QhKSof

Articles from USA
Parkchester tenants protest maintenance fee hike
The Bronx—A group of Parkchester condominium tenants rallied Wednesday in protest of a 16 percent increase in maintenance costs.

The protesters say they've had no hint of a compromise from their board of managers, so they rallied outside the board's office. State Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda and state Sen. Ruben Diaz joined the rally.

The board says the fees are going up because repairs, that were ignored by the previous board, are required.

Bookkeeper charged with stealing $755K from property management company
Mom and pop property manageemnt company was ripped off by their only employee.

This is from their website. How reassuring!
"Security
In a world where online financial predators seem more and more common, we understand if you have reservations about entering your bank account information online. But fear not! Your information is password protected and all transactions are both encrypted and securely transmitted."
http://bit.ly/242e2Ce

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Condo News
12  February 2016

Residents upset over condo proposal that would displace Humber Cinemas
Residents were surprised and upset to learn Humber Cinemas is not part of a proposed condominium project at the site of the existing theatre during a pre-application consultation meeting held by the developer.
http://bit.ly/1o2Rq46

YCC #42 changes management companies
Summerhill Property Management has been hired by YCC #42, an 897 unit condo corporation on Dixon Road. It will be its fourth management company in the last four years.

Of the last three management companies that worked at YCC #42 since it came out of court-appointed administration; one was terminated and two resigned.

Auditing electrical bills
Poteck Power Corp offers Ontario's condo corporations an audit of their electrical bills, for the previous two years, on a straight consignment basis.

If they find that you have been overcharged by your electricity provider, they will apply for the refund and will receive half of the condo's savings. If they do not find any errors in your electrical bills, the condo pays nothing.

They find errors in about 15% of the electrical bills that they audit and so far has had success obtaining $3.5 million in refunds for their clients.
http://www.poteckpower.com/

Jingle mail rears its ugly head in Alberta again
This CBC story claims that people in Alberta are starting to walk away from their homes due to underwater mortgages and rising unemployment.

I think that there may a few incidents of this happening in the oil patch but it is probably far too early to panic.
http://bit.ly/1PwQSu1

Pros and cons of buying a 'condo hotel' suite
A good list of all the cons. For more information, look up Trump Hotel Toronto on a search engine and see how well the buyers have faired.
http://bit.ly/1PF28EG

Articles from USA
Jury awards Panama City Beach condo association $12 million
The lawsuit alleged “breach of fiduciary duty” on the part of the defendants: New York residents and Shores of Panama Resort condo owners Solly Halberthal, Isere Halberthal, Joshua Ostreicher and Jay Glatter.

The jury’s award, issued Wednesday, includes $2.5 million in punitive damages against each the defendants.

The Bulk Buyer board “engaged in numerous acts of flagrant self-dealing which furthered their own self-interest and the interests of their colleagues at the expense of the plaintiff,” the lawsuit states.
http://bit.ly/1mmh6H7

Newspaper reports on city corruption, HOA director tries to ban it
“Residents in Commerce constantly stop me and thank me for the paper, they love it there to,” Garcia said.

Except apparently for one resident in Commerce who is reportedly a good friend of Mayor Lilia Leon and her daughter, who live in a gated community of about fifty homes in south Commerce.

Commerce resident Art Ibarra, who has previously sent threatening emails to HMG-CN publisher Brian Hews, took exception to Garcia’s newspaper delivery this week, jumped out in front of his van to make him stop, with Garcia “almost hitting the guy” and then verbally attacking and threatening Garcia for delivering the paper in his area.

This week’s front-page story exclusively reported about a possible $2.15 million kickback scheme between Justman Packaging and Commerce City officials, including Leon.
http://bit.ly/1PPhFoT

Articles from Europe
Swedish Sex Workers Are Using Airbnb to Get Around the Law
Stockholm police recently told the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter that sex workers were using as many as 200 apartments listed on Airbnb and other subletting services.

If police discover what's going on, they send a letter to the apartment owners.
http://bit.ly/1Pp6nGx

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Condo News
08  February 2016

Mission Impossible
A letter from an ex-director

I recently resigned from my condo board.

My son told me that this was the only sensible thing that he has seen me doing in my life. I sleep much better and live with much less stress now. I am very relieved and thankful to get off the Board

In spite of our efforts, the majority of owners at our condo turned against the Board because they don't want to see the monthly maintenance fees going up.

The new board has promised the owners all the expensive repairs will be done in the near future and with no fee increases. This is Mission Impossible.

It seems like those owners do not mind a thief sitting on the Board as long as there is a promise of low maintenance fees and/or no maintenance fee increases.

Does democracy support irreparable harm to the community?
—ex-director

A condo is a privately-owned corporation so it is not in the public domain and as a collective, the majority of owners have the right to allow their corporation to depreciate if that is what they want.

"Mission Impossible." I like that term.

Your new directors told the owners what many of them wanted to hear; vote for us and you will live in a Ritz Carlton for the price of a Super 8. Of course their promises will be impossible to keep.

If an owner, or a mortgagee, becomes sufficiently alarmed, they can apply to Superior Court for an administrator to be appointed as a "dictator" to force the money out of the owners but that is a drastic remedy.

As soon as the administrator is discharged, far too often the newly democratically elected board will immediately lower the fees and the game starts all over again.

The risks and rewards of renting your condo on AirBnB
A good article on short-term rentals from Andrew la Fleur, a Toronto Realtor.
http://bit.ly/1PpZen6

Some Vancouver stratas aim to crack down on short-term rental sites like Airbnb
An interesting article about short-term rentals in condos.

"Secure, anonymous key vaults are popping up around the city in places like coffee shops and convenience stores as a result of the growing short-term rental market. It is also making it more difficult for building concierges and neighbours to figure out who is a guest and who is a short-term renter."

Also, if you are an owner and you rent out your unit, take precautions that your tenant doesn't rent out your unit as a short-term rental.
http://bit.ly/1lz5RuJ

Clear Path Engineering Inc.
This engineering company, based in Alberta and BC, has a nice News and Resources section on their website. Check it out.
http://bit.ly/20C18vn

Purchasing an assignment
Garth Turner explains buying condos on assignment. In other words, real estate speculation.
http://bit.ly/1KzvjMt

Bedbug spotted on Halifax bus
An ultimate nightmare. If you are in a condo complex and bedbugs move in, the board and the residents need to act quickly and firmly.
http://bit.ly/1of9eZA

Articles from USA
A washing machine caused Tampa condo fire that displaced 14 residents.
These townhouses didn't have firestops. That is something to look for when buying a woodframe condo unit.

Do you bail or jump ship?
Beth Grimm, a California condo/HOA lawyer has another great blog on "real life" condo issues. This one is on do you stay and fight or do you jump ship?
http://bit.ly/1K4trvn

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Condo News
05 February 2016

Condo development to wipe out hundreds of parking spots at Islington station
One of the lots at Islington subway station is going to close, and the TTC is telling people to look for parking at another station that already seems to be at capacity.
http://bit.ly/1NTiuYa

Condominiums Can Be Liable For Dog Attacks on Common Elements
Oh no; not another thing condo directors have to worry about.
http://bit.ly/1PnDsk1

Think its fun being a director?
Not always. A typical condo apartment building can have 3,000 items that need maintenance, the superintendent can quit at any time and water leaks can be a huge headache.

Your every error is scrutinized and your accomplishments can take forever to be recognized.

Want the plumbing stacks cleaned. Sure our men will get right to it—three months from now. Six months if you need the hot water risers replaced.

Here are a few Tweets on this subject I read a couple of days ago.

What no bowls of jelly beans and Valium?

A guide to small claims court
A reader wrote in to say she took this on-line course ($199) on how to take a dispute to small claims court. It may be of help to someone who doesn't understand the system and has been served with a claim or wants to start their own small claims action.

However, if an owner is involved in a dispute with a condo board, I would also pay for at least one consultation with a lawyer who specializes in condo law because condo law is complicated and an expert's advice is a very good idea.
http://bit.ly/23J4ewR

Articles from USA
Two months with no heat at Colorado condo
The president of the homeowner’s association, Judith Lorraine, said the problem began when a new boiler was installed. “It blew out the pipes somewhere underneath the building,” said the 74-year-old who owns one unit in the complex.

Lorraine said the first bid to fix the pipes was $120,000 dollars. But she said getting the various owners to cough up a special assessment of $2,600 dollars for each of the 47 units met with a chilly reception, “We have owners that own the biggest part of the building that refuse to do that. They say they`ll pay their share when they sell in 10 or 20 years and that doesn`t help us today. We need the money today.”

It sounds like it will take municipal work orders or a court application to get the heat back on.
http://bit.ly/1UQiuxG

Courts to decide if condo common elements are a "public nuisance."
DeKalb County (Georgia) is suing the owners of Brannon Hill Condominiums in Clarkston to make changes at the trash-ridden complex that is home to about 100 people.

The Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the filing of a lawsuit at its Jan. 26 meeting. It is asking DeKalb Superior Court to declare the complex “a public nuisance.”

This is a condo corporation that hit bottom a long time ago.

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Condo News
01 February 2016

Bill 106—Moving along
Frank Denton, Assistant Deputy Minister. Ministry of Consumer Services, has announced that two advisory groups have now been formed to provide advice to the ministry on the establishment of the Condominium Authority and the Condominium Managers Licensing Authority. They held their initial meeting on 20 January 2016.

The leadership and members of the two advisory groups are:

Condo Managers Licensing Authority Advisory Group
• Chair, Gail Beggs
• Mary Lou Gignac
• Aubrey LeBlanc
• Mary Catherine Lindberg
• Dean McCabe
• John Oakes

Condo Authority Advisory Group
• Chair, Tom Wright
• Genevieve Chornenki
• Armand Conant
• Anne Gottlieb
• Alison Knight

The ministry is planning to incorporate the not-for-profit corporations by the end of this spring  and it is expected that the advisory group phase will be completed by June of 2016.

The ministry is also currently in the process of developing regulations under the Condominium Act, 1998 and the Condominium Management Services Act, 2015.

Draft regulations will be posted on the regulatory registry for 45 days for public consultation and feedback before any final decisions are made.

Jumping the smoking gun
A condo stacked townhouse complex in Toronto was successful in having its rules preventing cigarette smoke infiltrating into other units upheld in a Superior Court case. They didn't get most of their costs though.
http://bit.ly/209FKxy

Judge orders B.C. man to stop smoking while appealing condo's ban
A "life-long smoker" has been ordered to butt out inside his Langley, B.C., apartment while he waits to challenge his condo corporation with a human rights complaint.

A British Columbia Supreme Court judge has concluded that Paul Aradi must follow a no-smoking by-law in his building, despite having difficulty standing and walking.
http://bit.ly/1OYHH5g

Toronto developer defends move to not use designer named in promo materials
Residents of Six50King building say they were sold on a designer interior they didn’t get.

"You wouldn't buy a pair of jeans in a store if you couldn't see them, touch them, try them on … so why would someone buy a pre-construction condo at half-a-million to a million dollars when it's the exact same situation?" said David Fleming, of Bosley Real Estate.

Good question.
http://bit.ly/1PFoLrA

Pre-construction condo? Read the fine print and buy from reputable builder
Didn't take long for the condo industry to poo-poo the above CBC news report. I was amused to see that they would not state David Fleming's name.

I still think that buying pre-construction is far too risky.
http://bit.ly/1NHv4tu

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Condo News
26 January 2016

Are BC strata fees too low?
On January 20th, there were two very interesting scary articles in the Vancouver Sun. One suggested that strata (condo) fees are too low and a second one suggests that 98% of all condos in BC have insufficient money in their Reserve Funds. Pretty scary stuff.
http://bit.ly/1RFNxy8
http://bit.ly/1NkHS8S

Condo monthly expenses—the real battleground
Many condo owners, and industry insiders, may think that the scary picture in the above articles from BC cannot happen in Ontario because we have compulsory Reserve Fund Studies and mandatory annual audited financial statements.

And if we had these kind of problems, it is thought that they would be limited to the older down-market condos in Toronto's outer suburbs—Ford Nation territory.

This is not so. The Reserve Fund engineers and the auditors give condo owners and re-sale purchasers a false sense that all is right with Ontario's condo corporations.

I am finding that some Reserve Funds contain far less money than what the financial statements suggest and that Reserve Fund Studies give recommended funding levels that are as flexible as a politician's principles.

As examples:

A downtown condo, that is about 75% rented, has not raised its monthly maintenance fees in the last six years.

a three-year old hipster condo in Toronto's Entertainment District has underfunded its Reserves by $100,000 so it could pay the operating costs.

A fairly new middle-class condo in North York where the directors who raised the monthly common expenses were voted out of office.

Requistionists who want to replace the board and promise the owners that if elected, they will reduce the fees by 19%.

A condo where the financial statements claims there is $300,000 in the Reserve Funds but the auditor states, buried in the bottom of the front page, that the Reserve account has a bank overdraft.

Owners in a ten-year old condo who are requisitioning an owners meeting so they can replace the board, fire the management company, cut the cleaning hours and hire lower-cost contractors in order to lower the fees.

An owner who is helping in an attempt to remove an honest board tells the owners that a little bit of corruption is okay if our fees go down.

A condo in the west end of Toronto that has not raised its fees in years, has an eight-year old Reserve Fund Study, needs $4 million in repairs and had only $13,000 in the Reserve Fund. It owes thousands in unpaid utility bills.

A Reserve Fund study by the engineering firm that says a roof needs to be replaced and the parking garage repaired in 2012 but the next study, done by a second engineering company, says the work can be postponed until 2020 and 2024.

A North York condo that is so broke it laid off the gatehouse security staff and then bought a tea kettle for the gatehouse desk to make it look like guards are still on the job.

Owners and potential buyers in Ontario need to be very, very careful when buying a condo.

Articles from USA
The “Poor Door” and the Glossy Reconfiguration of City Life
A New Yorker magazine article about 55 affordable apartments in a posh New York City condo.
http://bit.ly/1ODFLRI

The Timeshare Hard Sell Comes Roaring Back
In lawsuits and in interviews, customers complain not only of high-pressure sales, but also of sky-high maintenance fees and frustration at procedures that block club members from taking vacations where and when they want. Perhaps most distressing to owners is the fact that once you buy into a timeshare it is almost impossible to get out.
http://nyti.ms/1ns9swv

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Condo News
22 January 2016

Rail safety documents heavily redacted or kept secret by Transport Canada
Transport Canada is refusing to publicly release details about a range of safety issues detected on Canada's railways. Condo dwellers living beside railway tracks should be concerned.
http://bit.ly/1KoUM5T

The downside of high-rise living
Here is a CBC Radio report on persons having heart attacks in high rise buildings. The long it takes for them to get to you, the less likely you will survive.

Best practices: When the concierge gets a call from a resident for an ambulance, he should put an elevator on service on the ground floor and have a person (cleaner or resident) guard the elevator so no one would steal it. (Yes, residents will do that.)

Then he should have a second person stand outside to wave at the ambulance so they could find the building quickly and show them where they should enter the building and escort them to the elevator.

The outside person then goes back to made sure that idiots did not block the ambulance so the it can make a clean exit when the attendants came down with the patient. The concierge stays by the front-desk phone.

Saves a lot of time.

If you are an owner, ask your board at the next AGM what are the procedures at your building for calling an ambulance and getting an elevator ready at your building. Ask them what is in the white Fire Safety Plan box by the front door. If they looked stumped, then they need to get up to speed or get off the board.
http://bit.ly/1SsU0g5

Now that's a campaign promise
Three candidates running to be elected to an Etobicoke condo board wrote a campaign leaflet promising, among other things, no more liens.

Who could turn down this offer? Sure enough, the three of them were elected. Makes you wonder about democracy.

However, their performance didn't match their promises. Before their terms were up, one was removed by a requisition meeting and the other two resigned.

Toronto Fire Services enforces Fire Code violations
Violations of the Fire Code are serious public safety concerns and charges can be initiated in the Provincial Offences Court. The penalties for Fire Code violations run up to $50,000 and/or a year in jail for individuals and up to $100,000 for a corporation.
http://bit.ly/1ZEwImv

Articles from USA
The Ponzi State
Florida’s foreclosure disaster. This 2009 The New Yorker article tells the tale of a housing bubble that finally burst. Will it repeat itself in Toronto and Vancouver? Lets hope not.
http://bit.ly/1U5JxVx

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Condo News
17 January 2016

SwimSafe
Toronto's SwimSafe new health inspection signs are now in place.

Indoor condo swimming pools and hot tubs will be inspected every three months while outdoor pools will be inspected twice a year.

Like the city's restaurants, the hotels, fitness centres and condos will have to post a Green, Yellow or Red sign, depending on the pool's rating.

Now the pool or hot tub users will know how well their amenities are being maintained.

For more information, check the city's websites here:
http://www.toronto.ca/health/swimsafe/poolspa.htm
http://www.toronto.ca/health/swimsafe/poolspa_system.htm

This is from an older Toronto Star newspaper article:
"The Star obtained public health data detailing 10,000 health and safety violations documented at pools and spas over a two-year period. The data revealed that a number of high-end health clubs, luxury condos and children’s swim schools had repeatedly failed to meet health and safety standards set by the city."
http://on.thestar.com/1pfS64G

Buyer's tip
Check the expenses page in the audited financial statements for pest control costs. $1,200 to $2,000 sounds about right for a 100-200 unit condo tower. If you see $10,000 to $14,000 then that building may have a bedbug problem.

If the financial statements do not list pest control as an expense, they may be trying to hide something by burying those costs in a different category.

Strata heads to B.C. Supreme Court to get senior smoker to butt out
A strata council’s (condo board) fight to force a cigarette-addicted army veteran to quit lighting up in his condo opened Tuesday in B.C. Supreme Court.
http://bit.ly/1J21x2s

Condo sales with no cash down payment proposed by B.C. developer
Buyers would get a discount, which would become a virtual down payment.
Will CMHC guarantee 100% mortgages? CMHC may grant an exception under its flexibilities for affordable housing program.
http://bit.ly/1OOmn5M

Articles from USA
Lawsuit Filed Against HOA Whistleblower
A Florida HOA homeowner spots a serious conflict of interest in a large contract. The result? He gets sued.
http://bit.ly/1OeAGPD

Can Michigan condo associations restrict sex offenders within their projects?
The answer seems to be yes.
http://bit.ly/1PoDp6E

Man trying to destroy bedbugs sets apartment ablaze
This story from Detroit shows how much damage that can be caused when people get desperate trying to kill bedbugs.
http://on.freep.com/1VTOH8a

Getting Results Award: HOA treasurer saves his neighbors thousands
A good-news story for once. Great job that deserves recognition.
http://bit.ly/1ZkpDHJ

Suck ’em in with Humor!
A little profane, at the end, but pretty funny. I can think of several condo boards, and managers in the GTA, whose actions comes pretty close to what we here on this skit.
http://bit.ly/1nfaDPs

—†—
Condo News
12 January 2016

Condo owner wins important court case
The board wanted the owner's son out and the board failed to do so and they failed to get anywhere close to the costs they were seeking. What's more, the owner was given five years to pay.
http://bit.ly/1OjJTUx

Love this quote
“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 fees.”
—Daniel Tencer

Teeny house, big lie: Why so many proponents of the tiny-house movement have decided to upsize
If people can't live in tiny houses, can they live in tiny condo units? Will they want to raise kids in them?
http://bit.ly/1SAp8td

Sponsors seeking homes for Syrian refugees instead find closed doors
This is not the type of welcome that the refugees should be receiving by Canadian landlords.
http://bit.ly/1ObXxeu

Cass and Fraser Chartered Accountants
Cass and Fraser Chartered Accountants provides accounting and auditing services to condominium and strata corporations in Alberta and British Columbia.

This website has a lot of good information for condo directors and owners financial matters especially on fraud prevention.
http://www.cassfraser.ca/home/

Robert Noce, Edmonton Journal
Here is the "Condo Questions" collection from the Edmonton Journal.
http://bit.ly/1Plq1QL

Poorly constructed BC condos at risk
A sub from a CBC news report:
Ventura also noted that many Vancouver apartment buildings that were constructed in the 1980s and 1990s are at risk of serious damage in a large [earth]quake.

Many of those buildings weren't built to high standards and have already needed repairs for water leaks.

"We have a good inventory of wood frame construction (buildings) that were very poorly built," Ventura said. "The construction practices were poor."
http://bit.ly/1IXh8jZ

Articles from USA
How a Queens Condo Got Its Groove (and Its Lights) Back
“All the members of the old board had sold their apartments and left in 2005. The property was in financial shambles. That's when I stepped in.”
http://bit.ly/1n8xYCl

Number of homes being built as condos or HOAs


The growth in the percentage of multi-family units (condos) being built in America is not surprising but the growth of single-family homes, detached and semis, in HOAs is staggering.

Last defendant in massive HOA scheme sentenced to prison
The last defendant in the long-running investigation into the scheme to take over and defraud homeowners associations was sentenced to federal prison Tuesday.

Stephanie Markham, 57, who now lives in New York, was ordered to serve 15 months behind bars and spend three years on supervised release after prison for lying about her role in the massive scheme.

Her sentencing officially ends the largest public corruption case federal authorities have brought in Southern Nevada. More than 40 defendants, including lawyers and former police officers, either pleaded guilty or were convicted at trial. Four of them committed suicide.
http://bit.ly/1Szow78

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Condo News
05 January 2016


Top Condo Lessons of 2015
Michelle Kelly's Condo Law Blog wrote a list of ten top condo lessons for 2015. It is well worth reading.
http://bit.ly/1JHynAq

Property manager case was remanded
Rhonda McCarthy’s first appearance in Provincial Court occurred on December 29th. The case was remanded to 26 January 2016 at 8:30 am in the same Collingwood satellite Provincial Court.
http://bit.ly/1OlAT4F

Going to court? Careful Not to Incur Judge's Wrath
Two lawyers, Armond Conant and John DeVills comment on two judgments where the judges sided with the owners against the condo boards.

"This litigation should be a reminder to all concerned that being stubborn and unwilling to compro≠mise when parties have different, but legitimate, interests  and concerns is a costly and unwise endeavour. Looking for common ground,  and working hard to find solutions is always the better way. This award also provides a strong message to condominium owners to take an interest in the management of their corporations and to seek leaders who are able to work constructively and effectively with all owners in seeking reasonable solutions to difficult issues."

I strongly agree with the need for condo owners to elect reasonable directors.
http://bit.ly/1OHW7pb

Fire in Scarborough rooming house takes life of man
One other person in critical condition
This deadly fire was a semi-detached, not a condo but there are untold numbers of overcrowded rooming houses in condos. The boards, and the owners, need to take the occupancy standards in the Declarations seriously.

Isn't this recently sold condo stacked-townhouse a student rooming-house?
http://bit.ly/1Pwehh3

Respecting Self Represented Litigants
CBC News audio report (10:37 minutes)
People representing themselves in court say judges don't treat them with respect. We spoke to Justice Lloyd Dean and Julie Macfarlane, the University of Windsor law professor behind the National Self-Represented Litigant Project.
http://bit.ly/1NQGTRu


Condo construction problems being eyed by Halifax inspectors
City issues orders and documents incidents, but says it can't catch everything.
http://bit.ly/1IJuP5R

Lawyer disbarred for writing fake orders
Little to do with condos but this makes for a very interesting read.

The Law Society Tribunal disbarred a Mississauga, Ont., lawyer last year after he admitted to fabricating numerous court orders, endorsements, e-mails, and notices.
http://bit.ly/1JDCaQe


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Condo News
29 December 2015


Toronto condo sues manager and mgmt company
MTCC # 933, a downtown Toronto condo has started a $900,000 lawsuit against its present ACMO 2000 certified management company and its terminated property manager.

A Notice of Action was filed on 10 November 2015 and the Statement of Claim was filed on 09 December 2015.

Although the manager has been fired by his company, what is  unusual is that the condo board continues to employ the management company that it is suing for being vicariously liable for all of the manager's actions.

Interested parties will be watching how Ontario Superior Court File No. CV-15-540184 unfolds.

It is possible that a settlement, with a confidentiality agreement, will be reached as was the case when MTCC # 933 took legal action against a previous manager, district manager and their employer (another ACMO 2000 certified company) for similar transgressions.

Some of the larger condo property management companies may want to improve supervision of their on-site managers.

Condo Culture: Voting for a lower budget is penny-wise and pound foolish
Marilyn Lincoln in her newspaper column states: "The budget is presented to the owners at the annual general meeting."

I have been to dozens of condo AGMs and I never heard a current budget being presented to the owners. Since most AGMs are anywhere from six months to a couple years after the start of the fiscal year, presenting a budget at an AGM would be pointless.
http://bit.ly/1Os1m2H

Active listing

I may be able to afford the mortgage but the monthly fees would wipe me out.

Winnipeg family latest victim of online condo rental scam
A Winnipeg couple is warning prospective renters not to fall for an online condo rental scam after they lost more than a thousand dollars over the holidays.
http://bit.ly/1NO5WEQ

Articles from USA
Poinciana residents face ballooning debt after HOA fees sent to collection agencies
Could an Ontario condo corporation sell its unpaid charge backs or expired maintenance fees to a collection agency? Has any condos tried it?

It sure would be a sure fire way of collecting on debts that could take years to collect or would have to be written off.
http://bit.ly/1TbqBEq

Woman Says Pit Bull Saved Her Life In Condo Fire
Five Northern Kentucky families were able to escape an early morning fire Saturday at a Kenton County condo complex, and one woman says she is alive because of her dog.
http://bit.ly/1YLEtMt

Directory of Credentialed Professionals
Want to find out if your property manager is a credited professional? No problem if you live in one of the States that requires licenced property managers for HOAs and condos.

A bigger problem if you live in Ontario where an owner of property management company can be a person who lost their real estate broker licence for fraud and forgery or where managers who are fired from one company for corruption will be hired by another.
https://www.camicb.org/find-a-cmca
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Condo News
22 December 2015

If our reserve fund is in great shape, can we borrow from it for day-to-day use?
Well that is something that is done far too often in far too many condos—and far too often ignored by the auditors—so I was interested to hear how a newspaper condo"expert" columnist would answer it.

"Unfortunately, the Condominium Act of Ontario clearly states that a reserve fund may only be used for major repairs and replacements."

Unfortunately? What is so unfortunate about that? I would think luckily or wisely would be a far more suitable words.
http://bit.ly/1NIyltQ

How to Be a Good Neighbor: 9 Old Fashioned Tips for Getting to Know the Folks Next Door
This article is so inspiring and so important for successful condo living, it should be mandatory reading for all condo directors and owners.

I am a volunteer director at a condo in Mississauga where it would be nice to bring this kind of spirit of cooperation and small-town life back to life in a great condo community.

We have well-attended information meetings and we had a successful Halloween and a Christmas get-together. Now it may be time for movie nights in the party room during the winter and outdoor "drive-in" type movie nights during the summer.

A big white screen, a projector, speakers and computer and we can bring back the old drive-in experience in our back yard. A couple of cartoons, and a double feature movie night can be a great way to spend a summer evening.

All we need is a pop corn machine, a couple blocks of butter and a couple of salt shakers. Bring your own lawn chairs and liquid refreshments.

Why not a summer BBQ and an autumn corn roast? If we play together and socialize, we will find that we have a lot in common and we can build a small-town spirit, one condo at a time.
http://bit.ly/1kLRdKT

Five places to see Toronto's amazing winter wildlife
What a great way to spend a winter day in Toronto. Take the kids and then finish the afternoon with a nice cup of hot chocolate.
http://bit.ly/1Ys4WZL


Chinese-only strata council prompts human rights complaint
Claim alleges non-Mandarin speakers in a BC condo, were racially excluded with proxy votes. Sound to me it was more of an attempt to keep the monthly fees low.
http://bit.ly/1OHQ6JI

Articles from USA
What’s the Worst That Can Happen in a Water Leak Situation in Your HOA-Condo?
A huge repair bill, having no insurance for your re-location costs plus a lot more. Here is a warning from a California lawyer on the high costs of having no unit insurance.
http://bit.ly/1S83yfc


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Condo News
18 December 2015

UberHop
Uber announced a new service that would use mini-vans as a $5 transit service during weekday rush hours between downtown Toronto and four high density communities in the city. Those communities are the surrounding condo hubs Liberty Village, Fort York, CityPlace, and the Distillery District.

Beside taking customers who may take the more expensive taxis, this service will take riders from the far cheaper, but slower TTC.

So far John Tory and the provincial Liberal government state that they will not oppose this new service.
http://on.thestar.com/1lHVE06

Lowest price in Toronto?
This may be the lowest priced condo that has sold in Toronto in many a year.

A one bedroom condo near York University went for $20,000—less than half the asking price.


Articles from USA
Water in your Condo unit? What every owner and board should know
A Michigan lawyer writes about this common and frustrating problem in a very detailed report.
http://bit.ly/1RlsBfk

Former Property Manger Accused Of Stealing $75,000 From Condo Complex
A 73-year-old woman has been charged with stealing more than $75,000 from a condo.

The investigation revealed that Gritzan used the credit card for personal purchases including gas, groceries, restaurants, building supplies and gardening supplies. Investigators also say she used the credit card for things like shoes, clothing, auto repairs and even plumbing services at her home.
http://cbsloc.al/1YgYfKa

County internal auditor charged
This part-time bookkeeper for an HOA left the owners with $28 in the bank, a deteriorated property and unpaid property taxes.
bit.ly/1jZPCWN

Link to the CondoMadness website.

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Condo News
14 December 2015

Brampton townhouse blaze displaces 8 families, destroys homes
Was there firestops in the attics? Similar fire 3-4 years ago up the street at 475 Bramalea Road.
http://bit.ly/1IPqC0i

‘Horrendous’ parking spot dispute turns condo into site of all-out war of liens, lawsuits and arrests
National Post picks up Justice Myers' judgement.
http://bit.ly/1IGlr2u

Evolution of housing in Canada, 1957 to 2014
Here is a chart by Statistics Canada.

At the national level, apartment-condominiums have increasingly become the dominant type of condominium construction since the early 2000s. They accounted for 88% of condominium construction intentions in 2014, compared to 62% in 2000.

The relative affordability of apartment-condominiums compared with row, double and, especially, single-family dwellings makes them accessible for first-time buyers, as well as a downsizing option for older households, since they require less upkeep.

Condominium owners, compared with other homeowners, are more likely to be younger or older, have a lower household income, and to be classified as non-family or couple-only households.
http://bit.ly/1kRtr61

What to do in case of fire
City of Toronto's guide for residents living or working in high rise buildings.
http://bit.ly/1ir4dnw

Just condo industry gossip
Andrejs Property Management Inc lost a court case when ex-employees "stole" a couple of condos away from them for their new company CT Quality. No big deal as it happens all the time.
http://bit.ly/1SbmlTD

King West Residents Association
If your condominium is located in King West please encourage your residents to join our community :-)
https://www.facebook.com/groups/126254650839652/

Articles from USA
Stay away, judge tells bad neighbor
This guy must be one of the worse condo neighbours ever.
http://bit.ly/1NlJHDR

Lawsuit alleges faulty fire sprinklers in Miami high-rise condo buildings
At least two high-rise Miami condos are among many that used faulty and potentially dangerous plastic pipes in fire sprinkler systems — a problem that was covered up for years — according to a newly filed federal lawsuit.

“Each condominium building may have to spend in excess of $50 million to repair their systems,” said Coral Gables lawyer Ervin Gonzalez, of Colson Hicks Eidson. “And many homeowners will have to find alternative living arrangements while their condominiums are being repaired.”

Link to the CondoMadness website.
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Condo News
09 December 2015

Subsection 134 (5)
Justice Myers of the Ontario Superior Court added this note to the bottom of a recent judgment.

"[1] Perhaps the board had an eye toward subsection 134 (5) of the statute that entitles a condominium corporation to full indemnity costs in litigation against a unit owner in which the condominium corporation obtains any award of damages or costs. This subsection performs an important role to protect innocent unit owners from paying the price of unmeritorious litigation.  However, it also provides a skewed incentive to boards of directors and their advisors who can wield a heavy sword over the heads of unit owners. In this case, for example, by rejecting the applicant’s common area expense cheques, the board could have a high degree of certainty that it would be entitled to obtain a judgment at least in the amount of outstanding common expenses.  Were that the case, it would then attach a lien to the applicant’s unit for its full indemnity costs. This section unfortunately incentivizes recalcitrant, litigious behaviour by condominium boards of directors and their advisors whom may be so inclined."

Justice Myers realizes that some condo boards, and their lawyers, abuse this section of the Act. It is a shame that this section was not rescinded by the Liberals in the new Condominium Act.
http://bit.ly/1m86ah1

The New Condo Act Has Been AdoptedBut Is Not In Force Yet
It will come into force on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor.  This will give the Ontario Legislative Assembly the opportunity to develop the extensive regulation required under the “New Condo Act”.

As to when proclamation will take place is anyone’s guess.
http://bit.ly/1jMj42l

Set the lawyer on lazy owner who won’t park in his own spot
In some townhouse condos, where the basements are rented units, the board will need to sic the lawyer on at least half of the owners.
http://bit.ly/1OLAl6V

Cancer foundation co-founder misused donor cash, judge finds
What does this have to do with condos? Lots. The ways this director cheated a non-profit charity is identical to the ways some directors and managers cheat condo owners.

Read the Toronto Star article and better yet the court judgment to see just how easy it was for Steven Sokolowski to get away with fraud.
http://bit.ly/21G1LSF

Articles from USA
Ahead of the Deal: 400 new South Florida condo towers announced during this cycle
Looks like a big condo boom is underway in southern Florida.
http://hrld.us/1NTKyRI

Legal Expert Weighs in on HOA Dispute
Many homeowners in a Cobb County homeowners' association claim its president refuses to leave office. Tempers are flaring. Police have been called. Lawsuits filed.
http://bit.ly/1PVvljm

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Condo News
04 December 2015

Bill 106 recieved Royal Assent
Bill 106, the Protecting Condominium Owners Act, 2015, passed Third Reading on 02 December 2015 and received Royal Assent on 03 Thursday December 2015. We must now wait for a gradual proclamation of the regulations.

The ministry will now take perhaps a year or more writing the regulations before the revised Condo Act becomes law.

I noticed that this news, arguably important to all Ontario condo owners and residents, never made it into the newspapers.

Ontario’s electricity system blasted by Auditor-General’s report
Ontarians have paid $37-billion more than market price for electricity over eight years and will pay another $133-billion extra by 2032 as a result of haphazard planning and political meddling, a report from the Auditor-General says. The Liberal government has repeatedly overruled expert advice – and even tore up two long-term plans from the Ontario Power Authority for the electricity system – in favour of political decisions that drove up power costs for consumers, the report says.

Oh boy. All Ontario condo owners will be in for even higher electricity costs.
http://bit.ly/1O4wEq0

Time to sell
"The radio will not signal you when it is time for you to sell your unit but there is usually one owner—someone who is a minority director on the board or someone fighting the board that you look up to—and when that person puts his or her unit up for sale, that is the signal to get out."
—CondoMadness
http://bit.ly/1SAKbtc

Strata debts and arrears—two year limitations on collecting
According to this article, BC condos have only two-years to collect debts from the owners, including charge-backs. I can see the small claims courts getting a lot of business.
http://bit.ly/1XzhaF3

Articles from USA
HOA Community Tries to Oust President
"We have had practically no voice, and we want to bring everything back to the community," homeowner Merinda Hutchings Donovan told her neighbors.

It was a common complaint from the nearly 50 neighbors who gathered on a Saturday morning to say that their homeowner association president, Mr. Kenya, won't allow new elections and wanted $100 to make copies of the homeowners' association books.
http://bit.ly/1TsbNSb

Police Bust Weekly Mahjong Game Played By Elderly Women
Police in Florida busted a game of mahjong in Florida at a condominium clubhouse. The group accused of the crime: four women between the ages of 87 and 95.

Sounds like Florida has far too many cops or not enough real crime.
http://cbsloc.al/1LA3QDV
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Condo News
30 November 2015

Bill 106—As amended by Standing Committee
The Ontario government has posted Bill 106 as it stands prior to third reading.

Bill 106 makes for very difficult reading. The changes made in committee are clearly marked.
http://bit.ly/1MSlXHf

The Mississauga Storm water Charge and Credit Program
The City of Mississauga is implementing a storm water charge in 2016. This charge will be based on the area of hard surface on a property (mainly roofs, concrete and asphalt) and the resulting runoff that goes into the city’s storm water drainage system.

The total annual storm water charge for a property will be divided into a daily rate and added to the most appropriate Region of Peel water bill associated with each property. Each bill will show the storm water charge for the number of days that have passed since the last bill.
 
Condo owners can see the estimated annual storm water charge for your property by entering the address in the city’s online Stormwater Estimator. They can also learn more about the program on the City’s storm water charge website.

I checked on one Mississauga condo and saw that they will have an extra $1,400 a year added to their water bill.
 
Mississauga is also offering a credit program for multi-residential properties that have implemented, or will implement, storm water volume control measures.
 
The City of Mississauga will be holding a storm water credit program seminar on Monday December 7th at 2:00 pm, at Mississauga Civic Centre. In addition to a presentation on the credit program and low impact development options, staff will also be available to answer questions.
For more information e-mail stormwater@mississauga.ca.

Alberta condo owners—be involved
RECA has released a consultation paper and is hosting town-hall meetings across Alberta to gather feedback from condominium industry stakeholders, including condominium owners.
http://bit.ly/1OEqrFj

B.C., Alberta differ on strata review
Condo-Watch started in 1994, was the first strata (condo) document review service in Alberta. The company now has nine consultants in Calgary, as well as a satellite office in Edmonton.

When a buyer asks for a review, a consultant obtains and analyzes all the documents available by law for the strata corporation, including meeting minutes and financial information, then produces a 15-to-18 page report. The buyer pays $395.
http://bit.ly/1kUh9dC

Article from USA
Eliminating Airbnb from Your Building
Dealing with Airbnb issues is no different from dealing with most of the other governance issues that boards must address. When there is a threat to the overall purposes under which a cooperative or condominium was founded, boards must not only be reactive, but also proactive in their approach
http://bit.ly/1SqzxFt
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Condo News
26 November 2015

History Has Taught Me That A “GOOD CONDO” Is Almost Impossible To Find Here In Condo Land
Charles Hanes writes on buying his ninth pre-construction condo in the GTA.

So, after eight different condo attempts, ranging from a beautiful unit in Park Avenue is Forest Hill to a $1.5 Million premier suite in what was marketed as “Forest Hills Most Prestigious Address” only to have to listen to my upstairs neighbour peeing each morning at 5:00 a.m., I concluded that there simply no longer such a thing as a GOOD CONDO!

We found a million dollar pre-sale house in Oakville, an upscale residential community forty minutes west of Toronto.

As things would have it, the houses are detached, but the road way is condominium so we would face a small monthly fee for snow-plowing, street lights, etc.

These clowns that I ended up buying from have already proven worse than the previous eight developers that we bought from.

If Mr. Hanes, with all of his experience, kept running into grief buying pre-construction condos, what hope is there for the average buyer?
http://bit.ly/1HiNYL4

Toronto’s budget committee approves rate hikes for water, garbage disposal
Toronto’s budget committee has sent along a water budget that will see homeowners pay eight per cent more in 2016 to turn on a tap, and home-owners three per cent more to toss waste into their garbage bin.
http://bit.ly/1NdvOuU

Police seek man who loitered naked in condo sauna
Two incidents since August in which the same man was spotted in women’s change room. The "joys" of living in a big city condo.

The have a good photo of him so he shouldn't be too hard to find.
http://on.thestar.com/1R4Z6NX

Spate of condo blazes sparks safety campaign
Edmonton Fire will be calling on condo associations to either declare their building smoking or non-smoking. Smoking buildings will be required to provide commercial grade receptacles on all balconies — likely beginning in 2016 — or risk facing a fine under city fire code bylaws. Non-smoking buildings will be required to post non-smoking signs on all balconies.
http://bit.ly/1Nbxq8t

Regina resident warns of too-close-for-comfort condos
A Regina resident has a warning for condominium buyers: Make sure your view isn’t someone else’s living room before you move in.
http://bit.ly/1IbkJKr

Article from USA
Residents of The Village say someone has tapped their water lines and run hoses to units next door at Tymber Skan, which has been without water for two weeks.

The Orlando Utilities Commission cut water service to Tymber Skan because the home owners association was more than $100,000 behind on payments.
http://bit.ly/1lKjYhr

Article from Japan
Ex-condo director admits embezzling •1.2 billion
That works out to be about $14.8 million CDN and may be a record for a director stealing from a single condo corporation.

The former director “was trusted by association members because he’s a certified public accountant who showed no signs he was pressed for money.”

That is about half of what Manzoor Khan is estimated to have stolen (Channel Property Management) but Khan ripped off about 15 condos and a finance company.

There was over $250 million stolen in Las Vegas but that was an organized crime ring run by contractors and condo lawyers.
http://bit.ly/1OebOZO
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Condo News
23 November 2015

Fraud and theft charges laid against employee of Collingwood-based property management business
An employee of a property management business is facing fraud and theft charges pertaining to alleged fraudulent financial activity involving various condominium corporations in the region.

Rhonda McCarthy, 41, of Springwater Township, has been charged with fraud over $5,000, theft over $5,000 and uttering forged document.
http://bit.ly/1lF1wXx

Safety concerns over crane holding up completion of L Tower
The Toronto Star reports that 500 units are occupied while construction continues. The joys of buying pre-construction.
http://on.thestar.com/1lCwwYj

Can a condo stop Airbnb rentals?
One lawyer argues that they can only if short term rentals are forbidden in the Declaration or in the condo rules.
http://on.thestar.com/1OaNurS

Bill 106—Clause-by-clause deliberation
The Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs has completed its deliberations on Bill 106 so it will be soon be in the legislature for its third reading; just in time for Christmas.

The cases for and against professional directors
Panelists square off in a debate over the merits of replacing volunteers with paid experts.
http://bit.ly/1kI99Mz

Throw-away buildings:
The slow-motion failure of Toronto's glass condos
http://www.cbc.ca/toronto/features/condos/

Adoption fees waived for black cats at City of Toronto animal shelters in honour of Black Friday
From Friday, November 20 to Sunday, November 29, residents can go home with a kitten or cat with any black colouring, without paying the usual $75 adoption fee (there is a $15 pet licence fee or $7.50 for seniors).

Black cats have a lower adoption rate than other cats in shelters.  Although no hard evidence exists as to why, it may be attributed to superstition, or the fact that black cats don't photograph as well as lighter coloured cats.

All cats and kittens are sterilized (spayed/neutered), micro-chipped, vet-checked, de-wormed and vaccinated.

If you would like to adopt a kitten or cat, visit a Toronto Animal Services shelter in your neighbourhood. More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/animalservices.

Articles from USA
Neighborhood outraged over increase in HOA fees
There is to be a 60% increase in fees. Who is to blame? Management said the problem lies with the HOA board and the board before them and the one before them.
 
The reserve fund should be at $1.3 million, but only has $20,000.
http://bit.ly/1lzydWj

Atlantic City's latest pitch: Buy a home here

It's not every city where a new homeowner might get a personal thank-you letter from City Hall. But down-on-its-luck Atlantic City is not afraid to show its appreciation.
http://bit.ly/1SSipIs

Manager of homeowner association treats renters unfairly

It is so dumb to discriminate against a resident because they are a renter. That corporation is begging for a lawsuit.
http://lat.ms/1S4FTdi

Fraud and Embezzlement News Stories
This Texas HOA website lists a surprising long list of media reports on HOA and condo fraud and embezzlement stories throughout the United States.
http://bit.ly/1Nejn3M

What Not To Say
Board members may unintentionally admit liability if they say the wrong things when an incident/accident happens.

Incidents that we may find ourselves involved in can range from a “slip & fall” injury to a “water damage” claim to a “structural defect” claim and so on.
http://bit.ly/1X1nSDg
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Condo News
17 November 2015

Bill 106—Clause-by-clause deliberation
On Thursday 05 November, the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs held a day long session to consider changes to Bill 106.

Every opposition motion to amend the wording of the Bill was defeated by the Liberal majority on the committee. Only one amendment passed and that one was proposed by the Liberals.

The next and most likely last session to discuss amendments to this Bill will on Thursday 19 November starting at 9:00 am.
http://bit.ly/1QDXZo2

Buying a new home or condo online with a credit card
What an amazing idea. I guess that if you got two credit cards, you can buy two condos. What could possibly go wrong?
http://bit.ly/1kKo4oW

Calgary Real Estate Board applauds new Alberta condo act
The amendments include the creation of a condominium tribunal to reduce the time and costs associated with dispute resolution between condo owners and corporations.

There will also be increased regulation of the industry with the introduction of licensing requirements for condominium managers by the Real Estate Council of Alberta.

Now there is a good idea.
http://bit.ly/1Yf2wjb
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Condo News
12 November 2015

Peter Milczyn's Open House
On Tuesday 10 November 2015, MPP Peter Milczyn held an Open House to discuss Bill 106 at the Polish Alliance Club in Etobicoke.

Although the weather was bad, the hall was packed with some people having to stand.

The meeting was co-hosted by Armand Conant, a CCI director that Mr. Milczyn said he has known for the last 25 years. Mr. Conant said that CCI had been lobbying for changes to the Condominium Act for the last nine years.

When will Bill 106 be enacted? Here is the time table according to what Peter Milczyn told the audience:
1. Line-by-line review of Bill 106 will be finished by end of next week.
2. 3rd reading: Six hours of debate before the Christmas break.
3. Proclamation one year later, January 2017.

Nova Scotia builders disputes condo workmanship report
A warranty, insurance policy or deposit program to ensure that condo buyers get a quality product isn't going to happen, according to Nova Scotia developer Peter Polley. 

"It's not practical, it's not feasible. Unfortunately I think something like that would kill the fragile condo construction industry that we have in the city (Halifax) here now." 
http://bit.ly/1MQK6Di

Charles Hanes Top Ten Insider Condo Tips
Understand you are not simply buying a home – at least in the traditional sense. Toronto’s condo game is more like a commodity market so the more knowledge that you have, the better your odds of winning.
http://bit.ly/1QfLccj


Day home operator faces eviction from townhouse over condo board bylaw infraction
A Calgary woman who runs a private child-care operation out of the townhouse she rents is being forced out by the condo board.

Laura Tisdell says she has babysat hundreds of children at her residence over the past 23 years without a single complaint.

But a lawyer for the condominium board says Tisdell is in breach of a condo bylaw that prohibits home-based businesses.
http://bit.ly/1Qh6p5H

Articles from USA
Property management firm has license revoked
A property management company in Connecticut had its licence revoked. There was a 10% kickback from a contractor. Will property companies face this penalty in Ontario after Bill 106 passes?
http://bit.ly/1SH1A3O

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Condo News
09 November 2015

Delays pile up at Toronto’s iconic L Tower condo despite six years of construction
The interior lobby remains incomplete. The front door doesn’t work and neither the gym nor the swimming pool are open.

Several residents say they have also suffered through frequent fire alarms and power outages — often in the middle of the night — and the elevators sometimes don’t work.
http://bit.ly/1M1y2LR

What goes up, doesn't always come down
City of Toronto Staff are recommending the following increases for 2016:

Garbage (3%)
The Solid Waste Management Services budgets support the goal of providing innovative, efficient waste management to residents, businesses and visitors, promoting waste diversion and maintaining a clean city. The proposed operating budget of $389.01 million includes a 3% increase on all rates and user fees.

Water & sewage (8%)
The proposed budget recommends an 8% water rate increase for 2016. The rate increase is part of a planned, multi-year budget and infrastructure renewal program, and is expected to generate an estimated $1.158 billion in revenue to fund these needs.

See why your condo fees will need to go up, and up?
http://ow.ly/Uloiv

Missing floor numbers soon a thing of the past in Vancouver
The number 13 has long been considered unlucky in western cultures, and the numbers 4, 14 and 24 are often shunned because the word 'four' sounds like Cantonese words and phrases involving death.

City staff say new rules mean every new building will now have every floor.

Fiddling with the figures leaves everyone confused — most importantly paramedics and firefighters. "It's really a safety issue we're concerned about," said Rick Cheung, Vancouver's assistant fire chief.
http://bit.ly/1XWcfuu

How ‘re-skinning’ Toronto’s older condos makes good sense
It is not cheap but cladding an older condo makes a lot of sense.

When complete, Prof. Kesik estimates the combined annual $330,000 natural gas bill will decrease by 40 to 50 per cent. Better yet, the 40-year-old buildings’ lives will extended into the 2060s
http://bit.ly/1Q33JZe

Robert Noce, Edmonton Journal
In my opinion, Robert Noce writes the best condo advice column in any of the Canadian newspapers. Always worth reading.
http://bit.ly/1GPWcu4

Articles from USA
Former homeowners' association treasurer gets probation, 60 days of jail for stealing nearly $23,000
A former treasurer of a homeowners' association has been sentenced to five years of probation and 60 days of jail in a weekend work release program for stealing nearly $23,000 from Lake Deeson Woods Property Owners Association.

Christopher Lawrence Norris, 41, of 5171 Lake Deeson Woods Court, was sentenced last week after pleading guilty to forgery, uttering a forgery and grand theft of more than $10,000.
http://bit.ly/1RBT5Gv

Residents fight big loan, thousands in monthly fees in condo takeover
These Florida condo owners are forced to pay $2,000 a month in fees, plus a $600 special assessment for units that are worth $16,000 after the board approved a loan at a 24% annual interest rate.

When three members of the Green Terrace Condominiums board — all given condos by Ken Bailynson — were asked during a court hearing in May about Bailynson’s "sober housing business", they took the Fifth.

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Condo News
06 November 2015

Committee Transcripts: Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs - 2015-Oct-29 - Bill 106
The transcripts for the second day of hearings is now on the Internet.
http://bit.ly/1H6Omfi

Nova Scotia condos hurt by widespread workmanship woes: leaked report
An internal government document leaked to the CBC News Investigation unit cites widespread workmanship problems in Nova Scotia condominium construction, leaving condo owners with big repair bills and little recourse against developers.

The report says there is no accountability process to force builders to fix defects and goes as far as describing some developers as "unscrupulous."
http://bit.ly/1OoZhUp

Age-restricted condos offer community feel
Two new Calgary area condo projects are including an age minimum for permanent residents.

Cove’s The Pinnacle at Kincora is an 18-plus development in northwest Calgary, while the Parkhouses by Lifestyle Homes in Okotoks is for residents who are 50 years and older.

Every province has different legislation. I don't think age-restrictions for condo residents is allowed in Ontario.
http://bit.ly/1NO2sSD

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Condo News
05 November 2015

A tale of two condo AGMs
Last week, I went to two AGM's; one at a 43-year-old condo tower and the other for a 12-year-old stacked townhouse complex.

The meetings couldn't have been more different.

The 1st meeting
The AGM at the old condo tower started at 7:30 pm and was over in just an hour. Forty units were represented in person and four by proxy.

The proxy forms that were included in the package had blank lines on them so the owners could fill in the names of the candidates they supported for the owner-occupied position and the regular director positions.

When registering, the owners were given two ballots, an orange one for the owner-occupied election and a blue one for the regular directors election.

There were three director positions up for re-election and the three incumbents won by acclamation. When the result was announced, an owner shouted out: "Suckers."

The auditor announced that the corporation was in excellent financial shape, the president listed all the previous year's improvements and discussed the upcoming expenditures.

There was no political infighting and everyone was so polite. The building has a hard-working board, the annual fee increases keep up with inflation and the owners want the building to be well maintained and are willing to pay to make this is possible. A textbook example on how a condo should work.

The 2nd meeting
The AGM for the townhouse complex took a lot longer as there were elections for four directors (there is a seven-person board). One incumbent resigned as she sold her unit and the three others declined to stand for re-election.

There were 54 units represented in person and 38 by proxy.

The auditor stated that the financial statements were in order.

The main issue with this condo is that the fees had been kept low in the years prior to the election of the sitting board and the buildings needs a lot of expensive repairs and replacements.

There was a split in the board between the four directors who saw the need to raise the monthly fees and the three who were opposed.

The six candidates made their two-minute speeches prior to the ballots being collected. Aside from the usual platitudes about how much they love their units and their community, the majority of the candidates made it clear that their goal was keeping the fees low.

The low-fee faction gained full control of the new board.

Ontario sees hydro rates jump — again
Electricity prices in Ontario officially increased November 1 and the rate hike is expected to push up the average household hydro bill by 3.4 per cent.

Next hike comes in 2 months when the end of Clean Energy Benefit pushes rates up another 10%
http://bit.ly/1Wq7jRn

New survey suggests bed bugs flourishing in Toronto highrises
There is no data on the split between rental apartment buildings and condos. It would be nice to have an idea.
http://bit.ly/1MvXf4F

Hoarding neighbour causes bed bug nightmare for condo residents
According to Alberta Health Services, the appropriate measures have been taken to keep the bed bugs under control.

“They are not a health issue,” said Dr. Karin Goodison with AHS. “They don’t carry any contagious diseases, so other than it being annoying and causing anxiety we really don’t see health concerns related to bed bugs.”
http://bit.ly/1ipHez2

Articles from USA
Avon Lake mayor concerned over storage condo complaints
Mayor Greg Zilka stated that there have been complaints regarding a storage facility on Pin Oak Parkway possibly being used as an occasional residential location instead of for storage.

Firefighters will tell you one of the most dangerous fires that they deal with are storage condos because they don't know what's inside," said Zilka.
http://bit.ly/1H6wY58

Japan
Think Japanese built condos will be properly constructed? Well, not always.

Two points here. One; an employee falsified important documents so all buildings he worked on has to be checked for safety.

The second point is the builder will not state the names of the condos under investigation to prevent their asset values from declining. Now that is scary.
http://bit.ly/1kJvauk

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Condo News
02 November 2015

Committee Transcripts: Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs - 2015-Oct-22 - Bill 106
The transcripts for the first day of hearings is now on the Internet.

Here is just one highlight from the day's proceedings:

How is it possible that such a wide scope of financial misconduct could occur in condominiums? Well, number one, complete absence of internal controls in some management companies and two, lack of supervision of managers at the buildings.

In their marketing materials, all management companies claim to have best practices in place. We have found that in some companies, there appear to be absolutely none. This problem appears in all sizes of management companies, including some of the largest ones. When there is an absence of internal controls at a management company, it can permit an astonishing scale of losses by fraud
—Eagle Audit
http://bit.ly/1SdLXk4

How to assess a bill from your lawyer
This is excellent advice from Michelle Kelly, a lawyer that specializes in condominium law. I especially like her advice on asking your lawyer about the estimated costs for his or her services.

I recently read the minutes of an AGM that states that the corporation's law firm charged $5,000 to chair the previous year's AGM. This year, the president chaired the AGM.
http://bit.ly/1S7gal4

Downtown streets closed around Trump tower due to cracked window
A downtown intersection will be closed for days as police investigate what appears to be a cracked window in the Trump International Hotel and Tower Toronto (Condo hotel rooms with residental condos on top).

Is there ever any good news about the that Trump tower?
http://bit.ly/1M2mHwl

Amendments to the Apartment Neighbourhoods Sections of the Official Plan
I have a chapter in this website on Social Engineering and how it affects condos.

I read the City of Toronto's planning announcements and I was surprised to read that the Toronto planners want to encourage food gardens on underutilized lands, particularly in Apartment Neighbourhoods. I didn't know we had Apartment Neighbourhoods"which I take refers to older rental apartment buildings.

Hotel Georgia tower: Police receive tips on woman accused of causing $1M in damage
Vancouver police say they have received several tips on a woman accused of causing more than $1 million in damage to the private residences of the Hotel Georgia.

The woman allegedly turned on a fire hose in the stairwell of the condo tower, causing water damage to many suites and at least two floors.
http://bit.ly/1XIrPtF


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