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Condo News
31 October 2017

Halloween
Toronto Paramedic Services and Toronto Fire Services remind everyone to stay safe while having fun this Halloween. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to review the following tips for children's safety before their Halloween trick-or-treat activities.

I suggest that condo boards post these safety suggestions.

Avoiding slips, trips and falls

Check the costume's size to ensure a snug fit, with the costume no longer than ankle length.

Consider makeup instead of a mask for a child, as masks can restrict vision and make it difficult for the wearer to see approaching traffic.

Turn on your home's porch light and make sure walkways are clear of any clutter.

Preventing fires

Keep candles, matches and lighters away from children.

Ensure that lit pumpkins are well away from drapes, decorations or other flammable objects.

Consider lighting your pumpkin with an LED light instead of a candle flame.

Visibility

Carry a flashlight while escorting children who are going door-to-door after dark.

Attach a strip of reflective tape or apply reflective spray to your child's costume.

Arrange for children to wear light-coloured clothing/costumes.

Staying warm and dry

Send your child out in layers of clothing. An extra layer under the costume will make a difference if a child is outside for an extended period in chilly/damp weather.

Place a hat and mitts in the bottom of your child's treat bag in case they are needed.

Other basic safety practices

Supervise small children when they are crossing a road.

Wait for cars to come to a complete stop before starting to walk across the street at a stop sign, crosswalk or traffic light.

Plan a convenient meeting spot in advance in case friends/family members who are out together become separated.

Check candy treats for signs of tampering or for potential as a choking hazard before allowing children to eat their treats.

Creeps and crooks
The Toronto Sun, in a news story, and then in a column, blasted the board at 35 Balmuto St, an upscale condo in Toronto's Yorkville area for:
1. Failing to warn the residents of a creep that was entering residential units.
2. Failing to implement security upgrades for the last three years.
3. Failing to get a security audit.

A little bit of bad publicity in the Sun was all it took to get the board moving.

Condo owners should know that residential condos—that have lax security—attract thieves, the homeless and the mentally ill.

A couple of weeks ago, a mentally disturbed man slipped into a condo that is just a couple of blocks from 35 Balmuto where he got up onto the residential floors and started trying the doors. When he found an open door, he entered the unit and used the toilet.

When the young lady who lives there saw him, she freaked. Yet, afterwards, the other residents were not informed of this very scary incident.

Condo owners should know if their condo building has problems with bicycle or locker thefts; homeless people sleeping in your staircases and in your underground garage or there have been incidents of car break-ins, yet many condo boards WILL NOT inform you.

They want to give the impression that everything is wonderful in your condo. They don't want owners to start asking questions and they are afraid that any bad news will affect property values.

If you have a board like that, vote them out of office.

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Condo News
29 October 2017

Worried about condo fees? Here’s how to avoid getting caught off-guard
This Toronto Star article says be careful buying pre-construction condos. Yet, older condos that have a long history of having modest fee increases, can get hit with multiple 9% yearly increases if the board doesn't plan properly or decides to take $720,000 out of the Reserves and spend it replacing the owner's fan coils.

Let's face it. When you buy a condo unit, there is always a risk of getting caught off-guard by unexpected high fees.
http://bit.ly/2iexJVo

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Condo News
20 October 2017

A thief takes advantage of unlocked condo unit doors
For a second time in four days, Toronto condo owners who didn't lock their unit doors became victims of intruders.

This time, a thief entered a high-end condo in Etobicoke, through a back door and went up to a residential floor by elevator. When he was up there, he tried door handles until he found two that were not locked. He grabbed his loot and made his get-a-way.

Our weather is starting to get colder. Our homeless and vagrant population will need to spend their nights in the homeless shelters or they will try to find dry,warm places to spend the night.

Expect to see more homeless looking for condo staircases and lobbies to spend their nights. We need to be vigilant.

Wise up people. Keep your condo and car doors locked.

Aston Martin moves into Miami condos in push beyond sports cars
First there was a Porsche condo, now Aston Martin.

So how long will we have to wait for the car brand that best fits our income and lifestyle? I am waiting for the Lexus, Ford, Chevy, Fiat and Kia condos.
https://bloom.bg/2xR9wzi

Florida candidate: Aliens took me aboard their ship at age 7
A Florida candidate for Congress said Monday she stands by her claims she was abducted to an alien spaceship at age 7 but that the incident shouldn’t detract from what she’s done here on Earth since then.

Is being a little nuts a requirement to be a political candidate?
http://bit.ly/2xSKAas

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Condo News
15 October 2017

New e-mail address
I have changed the CondoMadness e-mail address from Google Gmail to Microsoft Hotmail (Outlook) because I spent three weeks in China this summer and Google and Gmail is blocked in that country.

Not only I could not access my e-mail accounts, along with the Google search engine, I could not access my e-mail Contacts lists.

Since I hope to be able to spend some time every year in China, it makes little sense to stay with Gmail.

The new e-mail address is:  condomadness@hotmail.com

I will keep both e-mail accounts alive for a couple of months before closing the Gmail account.

Entry into downtown condo unit
On Saturday evening, in the Yorkville area, a mentally disturbed man entered a large residential condo tower and made it past security and into an elevator.

He got up on the residental floors where he started tried opening the  unit doors until he found one that was unlocked. He entered the unit and used the toilet facilities.

He was then noticed by the young lady who lived in the unit. Understandably she freaked out.

Security held the man until the police arrived. They took him to a homeless shelter so he would have a bed for the night. By Sunday, he will be free to roam the streets of downtown Toronto; a menace back out on the streets.

So what went wrong here?
I can think of many things.
1.
Our society would rather have the mentally disturbed wandering the streets than pay for their proper care and treatment.
2.
The man, most likely, got into the condo by tailgating a resident or guest.
3.
The elevators have no electronic controls limiting access to only those with an active fob. Anyone can go onto all the residential floors.
4.
It is unknown if the security guard on duty noticed the intruder but the guards are instructed not to upset residents, their guests or fast food delivery personal by questioning their authorization to enter the building. (Hard to say if this policy will now be lifted.)
5.
The resident should have had her unit door locked.

Was this a first time occurence at this condo?
Impossible to say because throughout the industry, condo management and directors are notorious for hiding negative information from the condo residents and owners.

Will the residents be informed of this incident so they can take precautions?
Hard to tell. The board may decide to hide this incident from the residents.

A guard may get kicked off the property so management can say they took action and made sure it would never happen again. Perhaps a vague notice may be posted reminding everyone to lock their doors.

What should be done?
A professional security audit should be taken of the building and money spent improving security with:
1.
Improved access control.
2.
Encourage security to challenge people who look like they may not be a resident or a legitimate guest.
3.
Repair all security defects when they are first reported.
4.
Develop a life-safety attitude among the staff, residents and management and hold regular security training & re-fresher sessions.

What will be done?
Hard to tell. Maybe nothing.

Condo Questions:
A legal Q&A column written by Robert Noce in the Edmonton Journal. All condo owners should subscribe to this column.
http://bit.ly/2wX0BrB

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Condo News
12 October 2017

The numbers don't lie—2017 Fire Prevention Week
Fire offence convictions by the numbers:
3
Years in jail for criminal negligence causing death handed to a Toronto landlord who failed to heed fire safety orders before a 2011 fatal rooming house fire.
$1,550,297 Fire code fines imposed on Toronto building owners in 2015
300 Number of Toronto building owners charged with fire code violations in 2016.

Building managers and condo directors who ignore their legal responsibilities may face serious consequences. Read the full report here.

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