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Condo News
05 February 2014

Home renovations
My wife came home and she was stood in our apartment hallway looking at the new door trim that I was installing. I said: "Don't cry. It may look better once I'm finished."

A condo development just for Muslims?
There is a proposed two tower plus townhouse condominium development being planned near Highway 7 and Bathurst. More than 3,500 neighbours have signed an online petition fighting the proposal, which is still in the early stages.

The units will only be sold to Muslims. (For those who don't know Toronto, north Bathurst Street has a very large Canadian-Jewish population.)
http://bit.ly/1fNVigd

As far as the argument that this area is too good for subsidised housing units, read the Social Engineering Section of CondoMadness and you will find that subsided housing is being built in the lower floors of some downtown Toronto condos.
http://bit.ly/1kPzByj

The Jewish Defense league is opposed. You can read their concerns here.
http://bit.ly/1nQLLcF

Fire at condo construction site
A church being renovated into a condo caught on fire in Toronto's west-end. Fire is a serious danger at a construction site. Nice photos of the firefighters at work.
http://bit.ly/1bLRHuW

Judges picking up on this
Some law firms are overcharging in class action suits. Condo corporations should have the same concerns.
http://www.torontosun.com/2014/01/31/padded-legal-fees

Another wilted Vancouver green scheme
There is no money in growing lettuce in Vancouver, even if it is GREEN. I worry that condos will get similarly hare-brained ideas shoved down their throats.
http://bit.ly/1d70ozY

New Year resolutions for managers
Some ideas for condo property managers to make this a good year.
http://bit.ly/1lkB6Zb

Condo election fraud
An article from the US about Preventing Election Rigging, Or Even Its Appearance , at Annual Meetings. After what I have been hearing in the GTA, it was enough for me to start a whole chapter on the subject. It is an article worth reading.
http://bit.ly/1dk094z

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Condo News
02 February 2014

The judge has awarded court costs in the PCC #98 vs Rui Pereira case last Thursday. Unfortunately for Mr. Pereira, the condo corporation was awarded full costs.

Condo owners need a better, faster way for resolving disputes with the board rather than use the extremely expensive court system.
http://bit.ly/LpeCFx

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Condo News
27 January 2014

No water in Mississauga townhouses
A townhouse complex has had no city water for ten days and it will be another two weeks before a rusted out water pipe gets replaced.

How are the resident's getting through this? According to City News, not well.

I have a few thoughts on this.
1.) As long as they have electricity, they can have hot water for cooking and washing. Bottled water is available in local stores.

2.) Far too many Canadians have developed an overpowering sense of entitlement. They seem to expect "someone" to deliver water to their door. (Neighbours could have gotten organized and helped the seniors in their community. That is what neighbours are for.)

3.) If they are using expensive bottled water to flush toilets and for washing, they're nuts. A large plastic pail should be kept in every bathroom and filled from almost any source of water they can tap into. (In a pinch, a laundry basket will do.)

4.) Think things out. They'll have to rule out showers at home but sponge baths and even regular baths should be no problem. Of course they will be filling the car up with water jugs every day which is inconvenient but not impossible. (If you have two bathtubs, one can be used to store water.)
http://condomadness.info/living-water.html

The local coin laundries will be glad to get their business.

6.) This is where the natural leaders in this townhouse community come to the fore and teach the others how best to get through this. A newsletter on best practices would be so very helpful.

7.) It sure is taking the city a long time to figure out that putting patches on a rusted piece of pipe wasn't working. Needing two more weeks to replace the pipe seems far, far too long. The paperwork should not take long if someone would push it through.
http://bit.ly/1aBmznh

Judge cuts legal costs
A judge cut a condominium's claimed legal fees to less than half.
http://condomadness.info/Courts-legal_fees.html#Stefco

City to fight appeal to OMB
City will fight an OMB appeal for a ‘ridiculous monstrosity’ condo proposal for Lakeshore West. Planners, councillors agree too-high condos would shadow lakefront parks
http://bit.ly/1elHqGE

Wood framed condos
Wood construction for buildings up to six floors may be safe once built but they can burn to the ground during construction.
http://bit.ly/1moYfrt

Jail time for Florida condo fraud
A condo manager got a ten year sentence for his part in a conspiracy to steal from a condo.
http://bit.ly/1dYhPIX

Ex-Virginia governor charged with bribery
Former Virginia governor Robert McDonnell and his wife were indicted on Tuesday and charged with accepting bribes. The sense of entitlement in some elected officials is so strong.
http://reut.rs/1bgEN86

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Condo News
25 January 2014

Public meeting on jets at Island airport
Monday evening, the public is invited to give their views on jets at the islands. This decision will have a big impact on the citizens of Toronto.
http://bit.ly/1hSOZc7

Condo Study
The Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology at the University of Windsor is conducting a two-year research study of condominiums in New York City and in Toronto.

They would like to interview, in particular, condominium directors, past directors, knowledgeable owners, property managers and industry professionals.

All personal information is kept confidential.

The best way to reach them is by:
e-mail:  condostudy@uwindsor.ca  or
Phone: 519-253-3000 ext. 3496 to leave a message.

They usually get back to callers in one day.

Security cameras going too far?
A couple of owners at this Ottawa condo think the board is going too far.
http://bit.ly/1e3peS6

Distressed condos
An excellent older thread on Urban Toronto. There are two magazine articles and one newspaper report which are excellent. The first article, at the start of the thread is a classic that should be read by all condo owners.
http://bit.ly/JvUa4P

Board would like owners to pay their fees
That might be a good idea.
http://on.ksdk.com/1enWiqM

Superheros visit children hospitals
Nothing to do with condos but it is worth posting that at times, almost anyone can be a superhero.
http://usat.ly/1avrpTf

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Condo News
21 January 2014

More Dirt
This time an owner is not happy with the noise from trains and buses.
http://bit.ly/JT31hO

Condo owner ordered to sell
A Brampton woman was ordered to sell her unit after only six months of increasing violent behaviour by her and her guests.

The big lesson here is if the board has the guts to do its job and the residents co-operate, deviant behaviour does not have to be tolerated.

I hope some boards will learn from this.
http://condomadness.info/Courts-owners_vs_boards.html#Hirsi

Updated Condo Guide
The ministry has recently updated Ontario’s Condo Guide. The Guide is available online and provides information to help people make informed decisions when buying a condo. The Guide has several sections including: rights and responsibilities for condo owners, condo basics, and frequently asked questions.
http://www.sse.gov.on.ca/mcs/en/Pages/Condos.aspx

Is the door knob's going to disappear?
A group in Pickering wants the province to follow Vancouver and outlaw door knobs in all new construction.
http://bit.ly/1je9hzG

City of Toronto News Release
City of Toronto launches congestion-reducing parking regulations

The City of Toronto together with the Toronto Police Service have launched a series of new initiatives to improve traffic flow and compliance with the City's parking regulations.

The two changes that will help condos are the vehicle-towing initiative for habitual parking ticket offenders that will tow any offender who owes three or more parking tickets and whose tickets remain outstanding for 120 days.

A related initiative includes recent bylaw changes that provide authority to ticket vehicles displaying expired licence plate validation stickers.

All of these changes take effect at 12:01 a.m. on January 23.

Rats
The Flamingo Crest HOA in Nevada is being accused of ignoring a serious rat infestation problem for years.
http://bit.ly/JUXlnu

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Condo News
20 January 2014

More Dirt on a downtown condo
A renter gives us the scoop on the Murano South at 38 Grenville. It is not the first time we heard of these problems at this Vero Property managed condo.
http://bit.ly/1g8JkwY

Ballot boxes
I don't know why providing a proper ballot box seems impossible for some property managers and lawyers. I was at two condo owner meetings lately where ballot and proxy integrity seemed to be an unknown concept.

At a requisition meeting, the property manager used a large open black plastic bin. There was no lid. He laid the black bin on the floor by his feet, half out of sight, and just dropped the proxies into it, one by one as they were registered. Later, the ballots were dropped into the same large open box.

At the requisition table, loose ballots were laying about. I protested to the Chair and the ballot handling improved but just slightly.

At an AGM last week, the property manager used a large paper box with a slot cut in the top. A little better but not much.

When the Chair asked the owners to place their ballots in the box, a couple of owners demanded to know if the box was empty.

The Chair, a lawyer, said sure. He opened the box and said the only thing in here are the proxies and a few ballots for the people who already voted and left the room. He picked out a pile of proxies and ballots and then waved the box around and said: "See, the box is empty" before putting the proxies and ballots back in. Then the owners added their ballots.

I was dumbfounded. What was next? A cream pie fight? However, the owners seemed to be satisfied.

Clear plastic containers are both cheap and readily available almost everywhere from Canadian Tire, department stores, book stores, grocery stores to Grand & Toy. Why don't the managers and the lawyers buy two; one for the proxies and one for ballots. They can fit easily in the trunk of their cars.

Social agency buys two condo units
Adsum, a Halifax non-profit that helps homeless women and children in the Halifax area has bought two condo units in the suburb Clayton Park so it can offer permanent homes to larger families.

"Our goal is to be able to offer stable housing to moms with children who are earning low income, living in poverty, but want to live in a neighbourhood of their choice."
http://bit.ly/1dlN5iZ

25% bank loans—in Canada?
TD Bank charging 25.44% car loan called predatory. What can you call condo boards charging their owners 18-24%, on an annual basis, for fully-secured short-term debts? Usury?
http://bit.ly/1d9WNGU

New parking ticket rules
Condos may get a break with Toronto's new parking rules that take effect next week. A vehicle that has three outstanding tickets will get towed.

That may help control people who parking in the Visitor spots.
http://bit.ly/KrIpwP

Swanky condo drops lawsuit
A swanky New York condo dropped a $10 million lawsuit against Denny's Restaurants when they found out that the cheap 24-hour diner would be opening up an outlet in the bottom retail part of their condo.

Condo owners may find that the bottom retail units of their building may be rented or sold to businesses they do not approve of.
http://dnain.fo/1ab5JJx

A Gang of Four
A Florida president, a manager, a supervisor and a plumbing contractor stole $3 million in kickbacks over a three-year period.
http://bit.ly/1cEi0m9

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Condo News
16 January 2014

Rescheduled AGM
YCC #340 posted a notice saying that their AGM, that was to be held Thursday, is being re-scheduled so they can send out new proxy forms to the owners.

You can read the reasons why here:
http://condomadness.info/proxy_form_games.html

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Condo News
14 January 2014

The Toronto Police have a Fraud Chat on Twitter every Thursday evening from 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm. For this Thursday, they are asking what fraud are we worried about in 2014? So of course I replied.

I urge all of you to go on Twitter on Thursday evening and add your experiences on condo fraud. The show is on Twitter at:
https://twitter.com/search?q=fraudchat&src=typd

It is important for the Toronto police to be aware that condo fraud is a serious problem. It will help if they hear from different owners.

What is on there on @Fraudchat about condos so far:

Cameron Field @cfieldFCU1h
#Fraudchat ~ We want 2 hear what your greatest #FraudFears are Thurs @9PMET. Join us+spill! We'll have the answer 2 help! @kristenjrose

Condo Madness @CondoMadness132m
@cfieldFCU @kristenjrose I would like to talk to you about how condo owners can effectively involve police in fraud cases. Not happening now

Condo Madness @CondoMadness1322s
@cfieldFCU @kristenjrose For example on board president went into manager's computer and wiped out his $3,000 arrears off the system.

Condo Madness @CondoMadness1318s
@cfieldFCU @kristenjrose At another condo, in Nov 2013 owners found out that president was getting $500 kickbacks from property manager.

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Condo News
11 January 2014

The real Dirt
Dirt has a new review on 90 Broadview that is completely different from the initial raving reviews writing by two real estate agents.
http://bit.ly/1bJicAn

Proxy games
A condo is having their AGM this coming Thursday. One of the owners just noticed that there was something "funny" about the proxy form. Funny? I had to look to see what that meant and I was surprised at what I saw.
http://bit.ly/19YsJ0z

What CCI/ACMO thinks is coming
CondoBusiness has an interesting article on what CCI/ACMO believe the new Condo Act will contain when it is introduced in the spring.
a.) ACMO wants to provide the training courses that the property managers will need.
b.) CCI believes that all condo owners will be hit with a monthly tax to pay for a new hands-off bureaucracy: Condo Office.
c.) Condo boards will be able to spend the Reserve Funds for "green" projects without requiring the owner's permission. (I see big possibilities for scams if this is allowed.)
I urge everyone to read this article.
http://bit.ly/K3KQ8y

How many renters in our condos?
Nobody knows. This CMHC study uses only MLS records to try to find out. Many "investors" use companies, local ethnic newspapers and Internet sites to advertise condo units for sale. A few developers have their own rental companies that rent units. None of that data was captured in this survey.
http://bit.ly/JECHHX

Record # of new condos
A record 20,000 new condos in Toronto will be occupied in 2014. This Toronto Star article gives several predictions on what the future may bring.
http://bit.ly/1iswA8t

Olympic Village condos have a problem
A social agency, funded by Vancouver and the province opened a new housing apartment building for the homeless in Olympic Village and their condo neighbours aren't too pleased.

Rain City Housing appears to be in denial. They surveyed their homeless "clients" who are overwhelming happy with their new digs but they didn't survey their "clients" neighbours who paid a lot of money for their condos and are afraid to go outside after dark.
http://bit.ly/1lsZDGe

NYC condo on market 4 years
A new New York condo has sat on the market for the last four years.
http://bit.ly/1dLub56

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Condo News
06 January 2014

Fencing on top of elevator cabs
The Ontario Ministry of Labour has given the order that all elevators must have safety fencing on top of all the elevators in the province and they have sent out reminders after reminders that have been ignored by many  property managers and condo boards for the last couple of years.

Well, time's up. If you haven't done it, you may have your elevator licences pulled.
http://condomadness.info/elevators.html

Another "Dirt" condo review
Dirt has another condo review from an ex-renter that is quite different from the two earlier "too good to be true" reviews for this Parkside condo.
http://bit.ly/1cvZVee

Know your corporation's insurance coverage
As condos lower costs to keep their common element fees low, they may be pushing extra liability onto the individual owners. Know your condo's insurance deductible and be sure you carry sufficient unit insurance.
(Be sure to read the comments at the bottom of this news article.)
http://bit.ly/1cDxOLL

Getting around "No Dogs" rules
In Canada as well as in the US, owners in "No Dogs Allowed" condos are using medical loopholes to get around this restriction.
http://bit.ly/19da0xZ

Mediation—changed your mind?
If you agree to a settlement and then change your mind, you may be out of luck.
http://bit.ly/1kiRV3F

Catching short-term rentals
American condos prevent short-term rentals by monitoring the Internet.

Interestingly, many owners don't realize that there are companies, an individual owners who are renting units as if they were hotel rooms. (Maybe this is why there seems to be so many strangers in the amenities.)
http://bit.ly/1ljdLBP

Florida condo being sued by Feds
Another US condo is being sued for failing to accommodate a disabled woman.
http://bit.ly/1iiWxHw

A floating condo
Here is an idea for the world's rich. A condo cruise ship that sales around the world where you own your own room and vote on your routes. (We can only dream.)
http://aboardtheworld.com/

Volunteers required
The Ministry is looking for condo owners in Scarborough and London to volunteer to participate in roundtable sessions. You have only 3 days, or so, to respond.



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Condo News
02 January 2014

Dumbest lawsuits of 2013
Ten ridiculous lawsuits that show that people do not take responsibility for their actions.
http://bit.ly/19pK02n

Recent condo prices
330 Dixon Road, Unit #301, recently sold for $73,000, 78% of the $94,000, listed price.

Snow removal scams
Tips on how to negotiate snow removal contracts.
http://bit.ly/1bG3Mk5

Parking rules
Learn the parking rules before buying or renting a condo.
http://bit.ly/19KqFmU

The price of lockers
A locker at a Richmond Hill condo went for $16,000, 100% of the listed price. There is also a monthly maintenance fee.

Rent a storage unit or a dumpster
A good article on the high cost of storing stuff that you probably will never use.
http://bit.ly/18vQ7vZ

Too many cars in townhouse complex
A common issue where owners rent out the basement and maybe a spare bedroom.
http://bit.ly/1cB5KTZ

US condo defames an owner
A couple of directors at a South Carolina condo passed around a leaflet stating that one of the owners was a sex offender. He isn't and he sued.

The jury finding — $550,000 in actual damages and $340,000 in punitive damages — was one of the highest in years in Clarendon County. Now all the owners are on the hook for an expensive legal judgment.
http://bit.ly/1hcFDaB

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Condo News
30 December 2013

Where do condo owners stand?
Condo owners had two representatives at the Phase II stage of the Ministry's consultations; Anne-Marie Ambert from Canadian Condo Information Centre and Linda Pinizzotto of Condominium Owners Association (COA).

Now that the experts report has been released, they disagree on two of the report's major findings.

Anne-Marie supports Condo Office and the proposed $24 to $36 yearly tax on every condo owner while Linda sees Condo Office as a waste of time and is opposed to the new tax.

Anne-Marie thinks that condo owners will benefit from advice from the Condo Office.

Linda says "her group receives many calls and complaints from owners, and that the Consumer Services ministry should just work with her non-profit group to address their concerns."
(That is a suggestion that I would not have thought of.)

I will wait until the Bill is introduced in the house before I make up my mind on whether it will be worth condo owners supporting it or not.

In the meantime, I hope to be able to attend COA's next AGM—or conference—so I can listen in, and perhaps participate, in the discussions their members bring forward on the different issues that face condo owners in Ontario.

You can read the Toronto Star article posted on 25 December at:
http://bit.ly/1dk611r

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Condo News
27 December 2013

An Opportunity to participate
The Scarborough roundtable will be held on January 23, from 6:30PM – 9:00PM (location TBC, near city centre).

If you are interested and available to participate in this roundtable, you are required to complete a short survey to determine your eligibility. There are a limited number of roundtable spots available. Survey responses will be used to ensure that roundtables reflect the diversity of condo owners in Ontario.

The survey must be completed by Thursday January 9, 2014 to be considered. Only one individual per household can participate in a roundtable. Residents who have already participated in a stage three roundtable are ineligible to participate again.

Only individuals selected to participate in a roundtable session will be contacted by the Ministry. If you have any questions, please email oncondo@ontario.ca.

If you know of condo residents in your area who may be interested in participating, please have them email oncondo@ontario.ca to express their interest.

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Condo News
23 December 2013

The Ministry of Consumer Services is looking for Scarborough and London Ontario condo residents to take part in a Condo Act Review session.



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Condo News
17 December 2013

Are all condo amenities worth the price?
In this article, David Fleming says many of the amenities being offered in the new condos are not worth the cost of their upkeep. I agree with him.
http://bit.ly/18Qj4sm

Vancouver bans the door knob
By law, new housing in Vancouver cannot use door knobs. Levers will make it easier for the elderly. It was also make it a lot easier easier for the household cat and for every raccoon and fox in the city.
http://bit.ly/1h3Jkla

A director can't oppose a board resolution?
I have trouble accepting this argument when condo lawyers are selling bylaw packages that are designed to prevent a director from being able to run for the board after resigning for the remainder of his/her term and for a further
two years.

Dump those bylaw provisions and I agree with what this article states.
http://bit.ly/1aN2qDY

Dog Poo DNA coming to Toronto
DNA testing for dog poop is coming to Toronto. Which condo will be first with this system?
http://bit.ly/1csIWFQ

More American condo/HOA horror stories
This collection of horror stories are all good but I love the one where out of the blue the corporation's lawyer sends all the owners a letter saying that they will not be able to get in touch will any of their board members because they are all in jail.
http://bit.ly/IEryqn

US cities approve No Parking condos
Some American cities embrace new condos builds with no parking spots. Far cheaper to build, developers love them. Benefits for condo owners? Lower maintenance fees and future Reserve Fund costs.

There better not be any bus driver strikes.
http://bit.ly/18mnTsX

Watch out when a man is holding a hammer
I got a laugh from this Comment that was posted under a News Story from Texas.

Had to rebuild my mothers front porch, she in in The Great Northwest. Due to HOA rules I had to replace it exactly as it was before, no problem. Still while working on it an HOA 'Investigator' arrived to measure the boards, measure the concrete porch then foolishly started berating me as if I was the homeowner. I'm an ex-military police officer, when I had ignored him enough he grabbed my arm and yanked me around, I was holding a four pound engineers hammer at the moment.

I am certain that one day he will be able to walk on that knee again. Maybe. Police sided with me, he was younger, bigger and assaulted me, I simply defended myself. They don't bug my mother anymore (she is in her 80's)

Oh yes, the HOA agreed that the new pouch was built exactly like the old one, they claimed that their man was simply 'overly aggressive.'
http://www.kxan.com/news/local/austin/hoa-used-satellites-to-spot-violations

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Condo News
13 December 2013

Owner stays, cat stays
Peel Region condo fails to kick owner and his cat out of their home but court orders him to behave himself.
http://bit.ly/IUT2aL

New condos—what can go wrong
An interactive drawing that points out common problems with condominium apartments.
http://bit.ly/1ectNOP

Citizens group vs developer
Here is a good look a dispute between the Bloor West Village Residents Association (BWVRA) and a developer who wants to build an 11 story condo. They are going to the OMB.
http://bit.ly/1atG2Dx

Condo lawyer sues his old law firm
Marko Djurdjevac successfully sued Deacon, Spears, Fedson & Montizambert LLP, the law firm where he withdrew as a partner three years ago.

Mr. Djurdjevac then went to Miller Thomson LLP and now works for the Ministry of Consumer Services.
http://bit.ly/18nn80T

Wishful thinking
Are condo parking spots obsolete? I wouldn't bet on it. Builders hate minimum parking requirements because it means they can build less units on a given
size lot.
http://bit.ly/1bafcke

Micron Group
This Canadian fire safety equipment company thinks its future will be developing new electronic products for condos.
http://bit.ly/1dEmFvf

Kids can't play! The Feds lay charges
The US Federal Department of Justice is suing a Minnesota condo corporation, the management company and the property manager for discriminating against children.
http://1.usa.gov/1fElQCX

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Condo News
09 December 2013

Who is running the place?
A first-time condo buyer wants answers to a couple of questions but she doesn't know who the board members are. She phones the property management company who has the manager call her back.

He can't help her because he doesn't know who they are. He then says: I guess we don't meet as often as we should.

Condo Act Review—Phase III
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs is holding four round-table workshops throughout the province to discuss the Phase II report with invited condo owners.

Two of the four sessions are being held this week; in Mississauga on Tuesday and Toronto on Thursday.

The ministry is planning to introduce the legislation in the legislature sometime in the spring.

Owners—Phase IV
When the Bill is introduced, condo advocates will need to thoroughly read the proposed changes, exchange our concerns and the lobby our MPPs, the Minister and the opposition critics and all other interested groups for any required amendments to the Bill.

We will need to voice our concerns at Queens Park when the Act goes to the Parliamentary Committee.

If the amended Bill meets the needs of the condo owners, we need to lobby our MPPs to help get it approved.

Here is a cute video on how a Bill becomes an Act.
http://ww3.tvo.org/story/civics101-animation-how-law-made

Owners—Phase V
Vote in the expected spring election.

Townhouse condo has one win in court—two to go
A small 10 unit townhouse condo corporation in Mississauga faced three expensive lawsuits over building deficiencies. So far one win.
http://www.condomadness.info/Courts-owner_vs_builder.html#833

The Condo Game
What the "experts" had to say about the recent CBC documentary.
http://bit.ly/I4CzAM

Toronto condo rents look poised to fall, report shows
An article in the Globe and Mail states that a research company believes that rents for downtown condo units are starting to fall. Other "experts" poo-poo these findings.

Here are the highlights that I picked out of the article:

• double the number of listings on Craiglist in the last year.
• rents have dropped 1.6% over this time.
• 50% chance of over $200 a month negative cash flow.
• investors may sell, low numbers at first.
• then a flood of small, investor-owned condos on market dropping prices.
• purchasers of pre-built units may not be able to close.

• many other developers are now offering investors rental guarantees when they buy units in buildings that haven’t been built. At the Britt condos, Lanterra sold 100 units to investors with a guarantee that they’d obtain more than $3 per square foot in rent for two years, or Lanterra will pay it
http://bit.ly/1aYXWyd

Urbanation Responds
A different research company poo-poos this projection. They say:
• Condo rents are not falling
• Demand will be able to absorb new supply

So, now you got experts to backup whatever you want to believe.
http://urbanationinc.blogspot.ca/

Trump security guards join union
The security guards at the Toronto trump Hotel And Residences have voted to join a union. No more: "You're fired" for them.
http://canlii.ca/en/on/onlrb/doc/2013/2013canlii76459/2013canlii76459.html

Quebec condo project owners fed up with 'delinquent developer'
Condo owners go two years without their roads being paved. Is a Montreal mobster involved?
http://bit.ly/1fzbXX6

Toronto as a developer
The City of Toronto has sold a triangle piece of land on York St to Tridel with the hope it will get a percentage of the profits. Take a look where Tridel is going to build the tallest condo in Toronto.

If you look at Tridel's web site for 10 York you will not see that the building is positioned on a triangular shaped lot wedged between the Gardiner and the York Street ramp.

This is an old report but I didn't realize that the city approved this for in return for Section 37 money and a cut of the profits.
http://bit.ly/1dtc0U8

We can't top the Americans
Here is a story of an Arizona home owners' association president who is being sued for fraud. He is accused of being the mastermind of ring of thieves who used up more than $300,000 of homeowners money in just seven months.
http://www.jrn.com/ktnv/news/191715711.html

Board members attempt a land grab in Tennessee
Homeowners claim that their board members wiretapped and blocked e-mail messages to prevent opposition to their stealing common lands to expand their properties.
http://tnne.ws/192kmuz

Illinois condo owner a vandal
A, Illinois condo owner was arrested for criminal harassment of his neighbours. The news story tells how they got the evidence needed to charge him.
http://bit.ly/17YpDTC

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Condo News
05 December 2013

New low price
A one bedroom condo at YCC #82 (between 500 to 599 sq ft) recently sold for $30,000, $5,000 less than the last listed asking price.

This is the lowest price that a City of Toronto condo has sold on MLS for some time now.

New expensive condos raise Bloor St retail rents
At the high end of the condo market, the $900 to $1000 a square foot condos in Yorkville have boasted the rents paid by the local retail stores.
http://bit.ly/1axeR6Q

Greater Fool
Market update: Kevin’s condo in Abbotsford BC was worth $180,000 three years ago and now maybe he can get $80,000. That is a 66% drop in price.
http://bit.ly/1eaojkC

Great online price for a condo?
Can someone sell a condo online that they do not own? They may try to.
http://bit.ly/18Uf2Ni

Condo Builder limits his liability
A big condo developer limits his liability for construction defects. When a condo that he built sued to get out of a bylaw passed by the builder's hand-picked board that limits the builder's liability for construction the
condo lost.
http://bit.ly/1em4XcT

Who pays for condo defects
A Globe & Mail video explains who pays for defects in a condo unit.
http://bit.ly/1g6eVzF

Illegal closet gets walled in
A Calgary woman bought a condo with a great walk-in closet. Unfortunately the previous buyer built it without the board's approval. Now she has a $16,000 bill to pay for it to be walled in.
http://bit.ly/1fjZYN5

10 buying tips
Here are 10 buying tips from Charles Hanes.
http://www.cbc.ca/doczone/features/charles-hanes-top-ten-inside-tips

Florida condo owners forced out
A condo corporation can be terminated if the owners, or owner, of 80% of the units vote to do so. when real estate prices collapsed in Florida, companies moved in, bought up 80% of the units and forced the other owners out.

Can it happen here in Ontario? It sure can.
http://on.wtsp.com/HVEgAE

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Condo News
02 December 2013

YCC #42
At the end of November, YCC #42 replaced Mareka Property Management with Vista Property Management.

Vista manages YCC #60 next door and since property values at YCC #60 are almost double what they are at YCC #42, (for identical units in identical buildings), the owner-residents are hoping that Mark Cianfarani will make a big difference in their lives.

The owner-residents need to insure that Mark Cianfarani is given all the support he needs to make a difference.

Excerpt from our editorial page
Rick Mercer's rant on Rob Ford explains, very clearly, that the Mayor's popularity rests on his promises not to raise taxes. Change the word taxes to fees and you can see why this message is extremely important to condominium owners and it is something that the boards, the condo industry and the ministry needs to come to terms with.
http://www.condomadness.info/editorials.html

Renter must vacate condo townhouse
An Edmonton woman who owns two dogs must vacate the condo townhouse she rents or face $250 a day fines. The owner was okay with her owning two dogs but the condo board is not.
http://bit.ly/1cH1Bzd

Another fire in condo townhouse
A fire damaged a townhouse in Vancouver on Monday. Even with all our alarm systems and improved construction materials, fire is still a serious threat in condos.
http://bit.ly/18DcKSO

Condo Review
Hidden rental units within a condo? That is nothing new but it is something that condo purchasers should be made aware of when buying as it is something most people would not expect.
http://thedirt.co/toronto/743-st-clair-ave-w

New developments slowing down
New builds slowing down in Toronto. About time.
http://bit.ly/TcTHnT

Tiny one bedroom in Vancouver
A developer is bringing Asian apartment sizes to a Vancouver condo.
http://bit.ly/1astV8R

Florida owner wins permanent injunction against HOA
The owner accomplished this without an attorney while facing off against three Orlando law firms simultaneously representing the association.
http://bit.ly/1iJHYIS

Condo Real estate signs
Condo A-frame ads that block sidewalks are a pain. Under city rules for A-frame advertising, signs cannot exceed a height of one metre and must not be located on sidewalks or a cycling lane.

So a small group of artists steal condo A-frame ads and rework them before returning them to  the street. A plywood A-frame sign costs $200.00 so stealing and vandalizing one is a crime against privately owned property. See what they do here.
http://bit.ly/1jtcvuP

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News release
City of Toronto
27 November 2013


Black cats make wonderful condo companion
Adoption fees waived for black cats at City of Toronto animal shelters for Black Friday

The City of Toronto is holding a cat adoption blitz in honour of Black Friday from Friday, November 29 to Sunday, December 1.

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).

More than 150 cats are up for adoption at the City's four animal shelters, as well as at a number of adoption partner locations.

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

Approximately 210 cats and kittens were adopted during the recent Fall in Love adoption campaign across the city. There is still an immediate need to find homes for more than 150 cats and kittens. Black cats are traditionally the last to find permanent homes.

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/animal_services/pet_adoption.htm.

A list of the City's adoption partners can be found at http://www.toronto.ca/animal_services/retailers.htm.

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Condo News
26 Nov 2013

Final Stage—Condo Act Review
Here is an excerpt from the Public Policy Forum notice published on 11/26/2013.

The third and final stage of this public engagement exercise was recently launched with a residents’ panel meeting to review the stage two solutions report published on September 24, 2013.

The public had 45 days to provide feedback on the report, and more than 1,000 people responded with valuable comments on the proposed expert recommendations.

Next Steps:
From now to January 2014, the Public Policy Forum will hold roundtable sessions across Ontario to give condo residents and stakeholders the opportunity review and validate the recommendations.

Following stage three, the Government of Ontario will communicate a plan and work on legislation to modernize the Condo Act.

Invitation only
I just found out that these sessions are going to be "By Invitation Only".

—†—
Condo News
24 Nov 2013

More madness
A reader informs us that a property management company is telling the owners at one condo that they need to pass a by-law before they can replace them with a different company.
(More details on this story would be appreciated.)

Falling glass from the Shangri-La
Early this morning University Avenue was closed for the third time this year due to glass falling off the Shangri-La Hotel and Residences; a newly constructed hotel and condo complex in downtown Toronto.
http://bit.ly/1hb38TR

The Condo Game—Christopher Hume
A Toronto Star columnist talks on our built-in bias against urbanization.
http://bit.ly/17AFZl4

NS condos; million dollar construction defects
“When you have a multi-residential building or condominium built that has the windows installed upside down or inside out, there's something wrong. That is an incompetent building.”
http://bit.ly/19iLHrF

Condominium Owners of Nova Scotia
The NS Condominium Owners Association offers seminars for potential condo owners. It warns them of the risks and advises buying a condo that’s at least five years old so any construction problems will have been discovered.
http://www.cons-online.ca/

Dog Dazed
A trailer on a CBC documentary on the battle between dog owners and non-dog owners in our cities—and condos.
http://bit.ly/XvEIta

California lawyer on condo/HOA issues
A series of YouTube videos on a condo lawyer's presentations about condo issues.
http://bit.ly/17a1WHv

Lawn cutting—the old fashion way
Time to put away noisy lawnmowers, maybe.
http://bit.ly/1ic359j

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Condo News
19 November 2013

Notable Quotes
“Every time a politician talks, he’s out there deceiving voters.”
Dave Wilson, a white Texas Republican who has been accused of “disgusting” dirty tricks after winning a local election against an African-American opponent by pretending to be black in his campaign literature.

BC Appeals Court upholds forced sale
A BC Appeals Court upheld a lower court ruling forcing an owner to sell her unit and move. First time a condo owner in BC was forced to sell their home.
http://bit.ly/1b2BQMV

Condo Review
Another condo review from The Dirt. I have heard that many Cityplace condos have issues.
http://thedirt.co/toronto/25-capreol-crt

Can a board remove a director?
A superior court judge said yes if the by-laws have provisions to do so and the process is a fair one. However, this decision is being appealed.
http://www.condomadness.info/court-Gordon.html

Law Offices of J. Roger Wood, PLLC
I have added J. Roger Wood's website in my Links page in the References section of the website  but I see he has a Facebook page. It is also well worth following.

His Arizona  law firm specializes in representing condo and HOA owners against their boards. A few of the biggest condo law firms in Toronto will just represent the boards and will not represent owners.

Here is an example of what you will find on his Facebook page:

HOA Beef of the Day:
When A board member is too much of a coward to handle a dissenting opinion, so she pays the HOA lawyer to send a nasty letter to the other Board member or homeowner to try to shut them up. Oh, and then they tack the cost of the lawyer letter onto the dissenter's ledger.

It shouldn't cost money or put a homeowner at risk for litigation just because they ask a question about the landscape contract!
https://www.facebook.com/JRogerWoodLaw

Thief returns the money
Police say that weeks after Josh Goshay was elected treasurer of the HOA in the McEver Woods subdivision in Kennesaw, he began taking money.
http://bit.ly/190YHC7

The prices of rabbit hutches
Here is the load down on the pros, cons and prices of three tiny units in downtown Toronto.
http://bit.ly/17uDO7S

We'll fix it—someday
A south Charlotte condo owner says his two-year-long fight with his HOA over foundation repairs hasn’t yielded physical results
http://bit.ly/1b7ctI5

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Condo News
16 November 2013

Will the Rob Ford scandals affect foreign buyers?
Do I think that this embarrassing ongoing fiasco will deter international investors?  Is his egregious conduct liable to bring harm to our city?

It already has!
Charles Hanes

No Vacancy
This article from Toronto's The Grid states that the third quarter of 2013 saw over 10,000 condos put up for lease, an increase of 21% from last year’s numbers
http://bit.ly/1fCcLI0

Condo fire hazards
The Kelowna BC fire dept is concerned about number of condo balcony fires that they had this year. The fires were due to balcony barbecues and smokers. The answer—new fire codes calling for sprinklers on apartment balconies. For existing buildings, they are hoping education and awareness will help. I'm doing my bit.
http://bit.ly/1aBMTGV

Condo Review
Here is another condo review from The Dirt.
http://thedirt.co/toronto/30-grand-trunk-cres

Facts from TV documentary—The Condo Game
http://bit.ly/1b4oz4M

CP24 Hot Property
The CondoMadness co-administrator had her TV on one Thursday evening when she heard the show's host, Ann Rohmer tell a phone-in caller that the developers hire a low-end property management company because they don't cost so much so the elected boards replace them with better ones.

Is she talking about Brookfield Residential, Del and First Service? I think these are the large companies that many large developers select as a condo's first management company.

You can hear this conversation for yourself at the link below and click on: "Hot Property Nov 7 Part 3" at the right side of your screen. Listen carefully starting at 4:55
http://www.cp24.com/talk-shows/hot-property

Yonge St subway closure
TCC has abandoned its plans to close part of the Yonge Street subway for a two month period early next year.
http://bit.ly/1e8exAe

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Condo News
13 November 2013

When you have no money, it’s amazing how many problems crop up.
Garth Turner

Condo reviews
The Dirt gives owners/renters an opportunity to rate their buildings. Many are obvious puff pieces written by developers or directors trying to impress potential buyers but some reviews appear to be far more honest.

Here is a review from a renter at 43 Eglinton Ave E.

Note that downtown condo living means night-time noise. I work near Yorkville and Avenue Rd where the night time noise never ends.

Living over restaurants and night clubs means that the delivery trucks and garbage pickups are done after hours, late at night. Bars means loud music, car horns and roaring motorcycle and car engines. Being near a fire station and hospitals means sirens.
http://thedirt.co/toronto/43-eglinton-ave-e

Court Case
Buyers who walk away from their commitments when a condo bubble bursts are on the hook for far more than just their deposit as this woman found out.
http://bit.ly/1bfTQ2R

The Condo Game
Here is the trailer for the TV documentary about Toronto's condo boom that will be aired on CBC, a week tomorrow, on Thursday 21 Nov at 9:00 pm.
http://bit.ly/1byyFJg

Interviews
Some of the people who are interviewed in the documentary.
http://bit.ly/1iM1DrL

The price for a street corner
The costs of the public infrastructure on city street corner are shown on this graphic. Not cheap.
http://bit.ly/1bcJ8Zd

Small has its problems
Small condominiums can have big problems.
http://bit.ly/1c7CUiB

Jail time for playing a piano?
Maybe there is hope yet for condo owners who have noisy neighbours.
http://bit.ly/1e119Od

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Condo News
08 November 2013

The Resident's Review of Stage II Solutions Report
Here is the latest report on the Stage II "Experts" suggestions to the Ministry on how to change the Condo Act.
http://bit.ly/1c0lf8T

New sales dropping
This CBC news report states that new condo sales have dropped 50% over the last two years.

However, the real estate folks state that resales are doing well. There were 4,207 condo resales during the quarter, up 23 per cent.

I love statistics, if you look at the numbers long enough, you'll find all kinds of interesting things.

Garth Turner reported recently in his blog that there are 40,000 real estate salespersons in the Toronto area. So then, on the average, only one out of ten salespersons sold a condo in the last three months.

Wow. Does anyone know how the other 90% are getting by? http://bit.ly/1cV4Kw0

Developers offering deeper discounts
The Globe and Mail reports that Toronto condo developers are now offering deeper discounts.
http://bit.ly/19Btb1N

Bite me—the bedbug invasion
Bedbugs are a serious problem in some of the GTA's condo buildings. The CBC is viewing a documentary on one of our biggest fears.
http://bit.ly/HFz1oW

Bedbug myths
Ideas on where bedbugs exist, where they hide and how to prevent bringing them home.
http://bit.ly/1dMFJUP

A history of high rises
This is a New York Times & NFB short four-part video on high rise buildings. Past hopes for high rises became huge disappointments.

Part 2 & 3 explain how and why we are experiencing a boom in glass wall condos around the world. Have be got it right this time around?
http://nyti.ms/19bbOnS

Street names
I have been building a condo data base showing the corporation numbers, PMCs and addresses. For a long time I have noticed that the developers and/or city planners give townhouses some pretty strange street names. As a scan my database, my suspicions have been confirmed.

Anyway, here is may all-time favourite address.
69 Gypsy Rose Way  Toronto    townhouses

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Condo News
05 November 2013

Parking spot sells
A downtown parking spot at 33 Charles sold for $39,500. That is just $4,500 more than what a condo apartment went for recently at 4645 Jane Street.

BC condo director guilty of fraud
Here is another case of an owner promising to get expensive repairs done at discount prices so he gets elected and is given control of the expenses.


Patrick Au was convicted of fraud

It took a new board getting elected for the fraud to be detected.

It may be tense at that condo as the criminal will spend his two-year term under house arrest in the condo he cheated.
http://bit.ly/1ef3nMv

Sharing home with hotel-type visitors
Delsuites is expanding. They have now opened at 300 Front Street and plan to open in the soon to be finished Hallmark at Yonge & Sheppard in January.

Rates for a one bedroom at 300 Front Street is $145 a night with a minimum 30 day visit. That works out to $4,350 a month plus taxes.

I wonder how many of the new condo buyers in these new condos realize that their declarations allow all the owners to rent their units as short-stay hotel rooms?

CBC Doc Zone
Charles Hanes, a successful condo salesman describes how condos became an investment vehicle for individual landlords, speculators and overseas investors.
http://bit.ly/19lAWsG

Keep your receipts
If you live in a condo keep your receipts whether you pay rent or common elements fees.

This two year old CTV television news story shows that fraud is more common in property management companies than many people think and the management companies don't want people to know about it.
http://bit.ly/1gmiHrt

Underfunded Reserves
An American survey of 30,000 condos and HOAs showed that 70% had underfunded Reserves with 30% severely underfunded.
https://twitter.com/QuickReserves/status/391175172423577601/photo/1

How to read your financial statements
This is a 19 minute long YouTube video on how to read the bad news in a condo's financial statements.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Pz5tkXhKMw

The website
I have changed the manner in which I load the website on the Internet so that I have better control on the content and so I will be able to use drop-down menus and other important features.

However, I now have to learn CSS and Dreamweaver before I can make the planned improvements. Until I improve my skills level—and that may take a while—some of the background photos may look a little strange.

I also had to change the site's e-mail address. It is now
contact.condomadness@gmail.com

—†—
Condo News
02 November 2013

It has been a very mild fall. We are in the start of November and the flowers in my balcony flower boxes are still blooming although tonight's -3 degree weather may be a killer.

Turn your clocks back
We go back to Standard Time tonight so you can get an extra hour of sleep.

Affordable rental units in a waterfront condo
“Number one, who’s going to draw the names of the 50 or 75 lucky people that are going to live on the lake?
Doug Ford
 
In late October 2013, Toronto’s affordable housing committee approved a pilot project to buy 20-25% of the units in a new condo development in the new East Bayfront neighbourhood, The approximately 71 units will become affordable rental apartments.
 
Councillor Ana Bailao, chair of the affordable housing committee, heralded the pilot project as a creative way to help address an affordable housing shortage.
 
This isn’t creative as this “Upstairs-Downstairs” arrangement exists in England and the United States and soon will be in one condo in Vancouver.
 
Segregated units
City staff state that the units would be designed with a “modesty standard” in mind. Affordable housing residents would have a separate, plain lobby and their own amenities. The one-, two- and three-bedroom affordable housing units are also larger than the planned condos. Rent will be 20% less than the average market rate.
 
The role of the social agencies
Either the city will own the units and lease them out to a social agency or a social agency will buy the units. Funding will come from government grants, some money from the city and by raising $7.5 million of their own ($500,000 down and the rest as a mortgage).
 
The agency will select the tenants and will manage the units.
 
What about the condo owners?
There have been a handful of affordable rental units included in a few downtown condos but nothing of this size has yet has been built in Toronto.
 
Will these rental units be a separate non-profit corporation that has limited shared facilities with the condo or will the 71 units be incorporated within the larger condominium corporation? This is an important point.
 
If the social agency owns approximately 20% of a corporation’s units, then they would have enough votes to have political control of the corporation especially if the condo has a lot of absentee owners who rent their units.
 
If the segregated rental units are a separate corporation, then that will not be a concern.
 
Any potential buyers would be wise to carefully read the Declaration and Disclosure documents before signing a sales agreement.

CBC Doc Zone
Audrey Loeb, a condo lawyer, says the present condo laws are like the wild west for uninformed buyers.
http://bit.ly/16UpNQN

Phase II report
Here is MPP Rosario Marchese's response to the "Experts" report:
http://bit.ly/16tLHYz

Ottawa condo sales dropping
This article from the Ottawa Citizen states that sales of new housing in the nation's capital have dropped by 25% compared to recent years.

I found this to be interesting:
"While some, like Minto’s Lansdowne and UpperWest projects, are selling respectably, others, including Urbandale’s 99 Parkdale and Claridge Condos’ Icon, have sold nothing or seen sales plummet after a initial flurry since opening earlier this year, according to PMA’s latest new home market report.

Tega Homes’ Rhombus Tower, a 32-storey condominium proposed for Parkdale Avenue above Scott Street, seems to have closed shop after selling no units since launching this past May."
http://bit.ly/1bNI0gh

PMCs—true professionals?
You have to wonder. I have been given a copy of a file showing that over $70,000 in unpaid revenues quietly disappeared from a condo's monthly financial reports. When the board asked about it, the property management company could not/would not account for the losses.

It should make for interesting bedtime reading.

You gotta smile
"Young worse at maths and English than grandparents and behind "almost every other nation'"
Headline, Telegraph, 08 October 2013

"Price of chocolate "to triple"... The price of Britain's favourite chocolate treats could be set to soar by up to a third by Christmas..."
Headline, Telegraph website, 08 October 2013

—†—
Condo News
01 November 2013

A nice neighbourhood Twitter account
I think that #JunctionTO, a neighbourhood twitter account is exactly the type of social media that every neighbourhood needs.

Missing dogs, warning about shoplifters, dangerous driving at a busy intersection, fun community events. It's a wonderful site and CondoMadness is now following them.
https://twitter.com/@JunctionTO

No one banished from a Quebec condo
No owner has yet been banished from a condo in Quebec. Who will be first?
http://bit.ly/1aEljNk

The Condo Game—TV documentary
Thursday 21 November 2013
9:00 pm on CBC

The CBC will be airing a new documentary on Toronto's condo boom. It should be worth watching as it will feature Charles Hanes, a very knowledgable condo salesman.
http://www.cbc.ca/doczone/episodes/the-condo-game

Free university business school workshop
Ryerson University's  Chang business school is offering a free workshop on personal budgeting. Wow! You can learn how you can pay your condo fee increases or save up for a nice vacation to Hawaii.
http://ce-online.ryerson.ca/ce/default.aspx?id=3491

Another condo corruption case
Here is yet another case of condo corruption by a US treasurer. She's guilty & will be sentenced in January.
http://ht.ly/qlbdT

New England Condominium
The October 2013 issue of New England Condominium is now on the web. This is a very interesting and well laid out monthly newsletter. http://www.condomagazines.com/

—†—
Condo News
30 October 2013

Let's start with a couple of Toronto Star reports on a plan to add affordable housing units within a new condo corporation.

Public housing & condos
City planners are proposing that 70 to 75 units in a new waterfront condo development be be owned and operated by a non-profit housing company and offer affordable rental housing for low- and modest-income residents.
http://bit.ly/1g8Scpa

Mayor Rob Ford doesn't think that affordable housing should be built on the waterfront but should be built somewhere else.
http://bit.ly/1dnhuwc

This proposal, if approved, will be the largest number of affordable rental units that will be part of a Toronto residential condo corporation.

Interesting human rights case
After agreeing on a settlement, Allan Shaw took YCC #73 and Pal/Max Property Management Inc. back to the HRT alleging that the respondents contravened the terms of the settlement reached between the parties. He won a further award of $1000.

More interesting to all condo owners is that his original settlement called for the condo directors and all Pal/Max property managers take training courses.
http://www.condomadness.info/court_cases.html#Shaw

CBC Doc Zone
Diane Francis, an editor at the Financial Post, talks about the serious problem of having a majority of absentee owners in condos.
http://bit.ly/1a8oyIo

Condo corruption
An Ohio bookkeeper gets five years probation for stealing $100K from the condo she worked for. She hasn't yet paid back any of the money.
http://bit.ly/18v5FyV

Brilliant Property Management
I am compiling a list of all the property companies that I can find that service condos in the GTA.

It is in the References section of my website and it presently contains over 120 companies; some large, some modest and more than few tiny mom and pop shops.

However, one new addition stands out. Brilliant Property Management states that it specializes in working with troubled condos and can solve almost all your problems.

They brag about their expert staff but they don't tell us their names and they give us their contact information but left out their business address. Brilliant.

You may find their website interesting. Be sure to check out their "BPM Vendor" cards.

The Enhome cabinetry logo misspells "Canadian". They claim to be a California company but I think they are a small shop in Richmond Hill that imports most of their cabinets from China..

A discount from Tent City could be useful—I guess—if my ceiling leaks or the air conditioning breaks down and I have to sleep on my balcony.

These guys think of everything. They're brilliant.
http://www.brilliantproperty.ca/

—†—
Condo News
27 October 2013

Included in this issue are two warnings about buying pre-built condos.

Developer bugs out on cottage country condos
Waterways of Muskoka, a condo development on Wellington Street across from the Riverside Inn, went into receivership on Aug. 12, 2012 leaving roads unpaved, condos unfinished, and a number of safety concerns including erosion of an pit with three open foundations in it and a home with water and mud leaking into the basement.

Earlier this summer a sign in the long grass of the development erected by residents pleaded with the town to fix the mess left by the developers.

On July 15 property owners were required to pay an extra $6,000 special assessment. Residents were concerned about not being able to pay, at which time a lien would be put against their home.

Buying a pre-built condo can be so very risky.
http://bit.ly/1cjPtbV

Rail yards & condos don't mix
Why did they build condos between railroad yards and a river? Not only are the residents upset with the noise, now they need to worry about safety.

These condos, plus more to the right of this photo, are sitting between the rail yards and rail tracks and the river.

You can see the railroad tanker cars sitting right behind these condos.

See the site on Google maps to see the the rest of the condo developments and the rail lines close up.
http://bit.ly/1arxHjD

How is buying a condo like buying a cake?
Toronto realtor David Fleming shows why there is no advantage to buying a pre-build condo. http:/
http://bit.ly/HmR3LI

Ottawa's most expensive condos
Here are the five most expensive condos that are for sale in Ottawa. Take a look at the common maintenance fees.
http://bit.ly/Hdm6tJ

New page added in corruption chapter
RPS Property Management Services made it a regular business practice to use the cash in their client's bank accounts to pay their employees and business expenses. Then one client cancelled their services before RPS had a chance to replace the missing money. The jig was up.
http://www.condomadness.info/corruption-RPS.html

—†—
Condo News
24 October 2013

Condo Town Hall Meeting
On Wednesday evening MPP Dipika Damerla hosted a Town Hall meeting for condo owners in her Mississauga East-Cooksville riding.



Over 100 owners attended a very informative two hour-long meeting. Unfortunately, Tracy MacCharles, the Minister of Consumer Services was unable to attend.

Armand Conant, a condominium lawyer who was one of the “experts” who created the report informed the owners how the report was put together and that he thought that it would form the basis for the changes to the Condominium Act.



MPP Dipika Damerla told the owners that the ministry understands the problems that they face and now is the time to look at solutions.
 
Condo registry
We need a condo registry as the ministry doesn’t have a database on condos so there is little information on the condo’s that exist in Ontario.
 
CCI paid $20,000 to a private company and obtained the following information about Ontario’s condos. There are:
       9,000 condos corporations
   600,000 residential units
1,400,000 people live in condos
 
They believe that there are 3,000 property managers working in Ontario.

The cost of disputes between condo corporations and the owners are:
Mediation
$6,000  to the owner
$8,000  to the corporation
 
Arbitration
$12,000  to the owner
$21,000  to the corporation
 
The hope is that Condo Office will be a cheap alternative to these very expensive dispute mechanisms.
 
The owners broke into small round table groups and discussed the suggested solutions to improve the Act. Then there was a question and answer period.
 
One concern was the ministry’s plan to levy a $12-36 dollar fee a year per unit. Some of the owners was opposed to that fee being added to their condo fees.
 
It is possible the first reading of the bill could occur in six months.
 
At the end of the meeting, Dipika Damerla told the owners that she would stay late to hear from all the owners who wanted to speak with her.

It was a very informative meeting. All Ontario MPPs that have large numbers of condos in their ridings, should be holding similar meetings. However, very few do.

Ottawa condo prices sliding
Ottawa's condo supply is up, incentives to buy are up and the selling prices prices are down.
http://bit.ly/1eIxTvJ

Is renting better?
In this Globe and Mail report, a Toronto money advisor states that there is a 33% cash flow saving between owning & renting the same unit in the condo where he lives.

He also spotted construction defects in the parking garage that should be a concern to the owners in this brand new building but no so much to the renters.
http://bit.ly/1coBQES

My condo's AGM
Last Monday, my condo held its 2012–2013 AGM. There were several items of interest.

A total of 36 units were represented in person and there was only one proxy. Yes, that's right, just one proxy. In a building with 92 units, only eight units are rented out. It is an owner-resident building.

The meeting was held just three months after year-end. Why? The finance records were kept up, are in order and up-to-date which makes it easy for the auditor to complete his audit quickly.

All condos should have their AGMs held so close to the year-end.

There are two expensive projects for this fiscal year. The indoor swimming pool is being renovated, that will take four weeks, and all the building's fan coils are going to be replaced.

—†—
Condo News
23 October 2013

CBC News reported Tuesday that a man who rented out a room in his downtown Toronto condo secretly video taped his female tenants and posted naked videos of them on the Internet.

David Sealy is accused of filming an unsuspecting woman in the shower and posting that video online, where a friend of the victim found it on a pornography site. The 56-year-old had allegedly hidden cameras similar to this one throughout his Richmond and Spadina Avenue condo. Police say there may be more victims. He was charged with voyeurism, mischief, and defamatory libel.

The CBC TV newscast showed a segment from a Spy Tech, a store that sells devices that find hidden video cameras by detecting their lenses. An employee said that they sell a couple of these $200 devices a week.
http://bit.ly/17HNVAI

—†—
Condo News
22 October 2013

The cold weather has arrived, welcomed or not.

A director got kicked off the board
The majority of directors at a condo on Yonge Street in Thornhill removed a director by holding an ethics review and declaring that on three different occasions the director violated the Directors Code of Ethics.

That condo's bylaws has provisions to make such an removal possible. A superior court judgment agreed that a board could remove the director if it held a second ethics review as the first one was faulty.

The expelled director is appealing the decision.
http://www.condomadness.info/minority_directors.html
http://www.condomadness.info/bylaw_packages.html

Don't live in a condo that's over a gym
Vancouver residents who live in units above a gym that is in a lower commercial unit are upset over constant noise issues.
http://bit.ly/1fPh59c

CondoMadness responds to Stage II—Condo Act Review
I have wrote a ten page response the the Stage II Experts report. I found a few things that the "experts" are suggesting that I believe will act against condo owners interests and a few items that the "experts" overlooked.

If you send me your e-mail address, I will send you the ten-page .doc file.
contact@condomadness.info

New building, no assessments for 15 years. Wrong!
A four year-old condo in Winnipeg has water leaking into parking garage and a $1.2million repair job.

"I think it's absolutely disgusting that nobody -- the developer, the architect, the builder -- nobody wants to take responsibility," said Kipnes, who co-owns Karma Developments, another local condominium development firm.

The leaky parkade is one of a number of defects and deficiencies cited in the statement of claim. Others include missing styrofoam insulation in portions of the roof and walls, improperly installed air conditioners in the parkade and stairwell and improper ventilation in the stairwell and mechanical rooms.

The builders and their contractors are saying—Don't blame us.
http://bit.ly/16wnEIm

Corruption chapter updates
I have been adding more pages on condo corruption on the website. All of these incidents show the need for the board to check their original bank statements monthly and for the treasurer to have a REAL role in monitoring the corporation's finances.

The pages from RPS Resource Property Services to Kandiah Sivaneswaran are recent postings.
http://www.condomadness.info/contents-corruption.html

Volunteers are helping their condo

A submission from a regular reader:

Hello,

I wanted to let you know that the owners at YCC #42 (320-340 Dixon Road) have been painting the vandalized walls of the hallways on each of the residential floors of 330 Dixon Road. We started with the 27th floor and have reached the 15th, averaging 3 floors per week.

Since the labour is volunteer, the YCC #42 only has to pay for the paint supplies and it looks to be under $3000 for the whole building.
 
Vero Management, our previous property management company, used to pay some subcontractor $65.50/hr to paint, plaster and waste time. Note that in this country there is no license or trade certification to be a painter - so why would anyone pay someone $65.50/hr +HST to paint?
 
I encourage you to pass this along to other owners - let them know they don't have to let their Property managers force them to pay painters anything over $25/hr+HST, or they should be able to volunteer and do the work themselves.
 
I an a Controller of 6 CCPCs by trade, so I do the painting for fun and the lowering of everyone's fees - we estimate the savings to be over $200,000 in painting all hallway walls from all 63 residential floors from all three buildings.
 
Have a great weekend
Thanks and keep up the great work
 
John Beechy, B.A.

—†—
Condo News
19 October 2013

Recent prices
A locker at a condo tower at 70 Absolute Avenue in Mississauga sold for $1,499.00 while a parking spot at 1 King West in Toronto with Valet parking sold for $43,000 plus $82 a month in fees.

Smoke-Free Condos:
How We Restricted Smoking Inside Condominium Association Units and Declared Secondhand Smoke a Nuisance

Here is the latest book by Dr. Joyce Starr, a Florida condo activist. She managed to make her condo corporation smoke free and her book was written to help you do the same.

At $18.51 it is pricey for an 82 page paperback. Unfortunately there isn't a Kindle version. However, if second-hand smoke is killing you, or you have another issue you want dealt with, this may be just what the doctor ordered.
http://amzn.to/19LPHRl

Waiting court decision
A condo board in Surrey BC is waiting for a court decision to see if an owner will have to sell her unit due to 1,100 complaints over the last six years about excessive noise, water throwing, spitting and verbal abuse.
http://bit.ly/1cEAA0w

Development charges = higher condo prices
Toronto council approved changes to the development charges the City collects from new construction to pay for a portion of growth-related capital costs.

The new development charges bylaw will take effect on November 1. Under the new bylaw, rates will be increased over two years by about 75 per cent for residential development by 25 per cent for non-residential development beginning February 1, 2014.

More condo madness
At at least one condo in downtown Toronto, an owner who is suffering from noise problems from his neighbours has to deal with the property manager. 
When he asks to talk to the directors, or says he wants to send them an e-mail, he is told it is not allowed. The manager will not even divulge their names as that is private information.

—†—
Condo News
16 October 2013

I hope everyone enjoyed Thanksgiving, Now it will be hot turkey sandwiches for the rest of the week.

Property managers now face fines
Connecticut condo laws now have some teeth. Starting on October 01, all property managers and property managers need to be licenced, take training courses and pass exams.

The second law, passed this year, allows consumer protection officials to take action against property managers who knowingly violate state condo laws.  Will Ontario be next?
http://bit.ly/1cF6AUU

Rich & famous
The rich have different problems. Only in New York would you be looked down at for owning a $2 million condo in a building where Joan Rivers is the president who describes herself as the “scary lady upstairs”? The condo now faces $15M lawsuit.
http://bit.ly/19j4UgB

You can watch Ms. Rivers as condo president "charm" the next door doorman near the end of the video clip that's at the bottom of the page.
http://nydn.us/GNuHmY

Owners are not always right
CondoMadness usually sides with the owner who is battling with his or her board. But not always. In this case it appears that the owners didn't think the rules applied to them. Throwing snow off their 7th floor balcony? Storing a kayak on the balcony and storing skis and bicycles in the parking garage? Refusing access to their unit to change an energy meter? No wonder they were taken to court.
canlii.ca/t/g0x7z

Right to peaceful enjoyment vs human rights
Ottawa condo stacked townhouse tenants with autistic son face possible eviction due to excessive noise.

Are the condo owners failing to make reasonable accommodations? Is the constant noise violating their neighbour's rights to quiet enjoyment of their units? Whose rights will be considered more important in law?
http://bit.ly/1cbHjia
http://bit.ly/1asVU6Q
http://bit.ly/1gcMvrn

Nathan's Company Meetings
Nathan's Company Meetings For Share Capital and Non-Share Capital Corporations 10th edition is ready to order at a breath-taking $159.00. (plus tax and shipping.) It's not cheap.

This is an essential guide to understanding the rules used by most lawyers and property managers when they chair condo board meetings and owner meetings.

Should an owner buy a copy? No; but every condo board should have a copy so they can properly run their board meetings and the condo owner's information meetings.

An individual owner would get little practical use from owning a copy and should review this book, if the need arises, at their local library.

Publication date: 25 November 2013
Item                           # 9B91
List Price:                   $159.00
Pre-Publication Price  $135.00
save 15% when you order before 11 November 2013
Call: 1-800-268-4522

Election thuggery close to home
Election intimidation is not limited to the third world as far too many condo owners know far too well. Now we are hearing about intimidation in the municipal elections in Quebec.

There's money & jobs at stake, so some people pay dirty.
http://bit.ly/17Bbdrc

Website
We—I say we now because I am fortunate to have a co-administrator working with me—have been struggling to make CondoMadness easier to navigate. We have made some progress with a new Home page and some changes to the main Contents page.
 
The old "News and Updates" page has been replaced with "Condo News", which is mainly an online version of our e-mails.
 
We are also constantly working to improve our Twitter page which is great at getting out "instant" messages on condo issues.
 
Please continue to send us your suggestions.

—†—
CondoNation—it is a mad world
13 October 2013

The Poor Door explained
A Manhattan developer is seeking millions in air rights and tax breaks for building 55 low-income units at 40 Riverside Boulevard, but the company is sequestering the cash-poor tenants who make the lucrative incentives possible.

Five floors of affordable housing will face away from the Hudson River and have a separate entrance (facing an alleyway), elevator and maintenance company, while 219 market-rate condominiums will overlook the waterfront.

As one New York news agency states:
According to the plan, “The affordable units will be on floors two through six in a ‘building segment’ which contains only the affordable units and has its own entrance as required by the Zoning Resolution.” The "building segment" means that Extell considers those units to be legally separate from the rest of the building (even though it's attached). In many of these kinds of cases, a non-for-profit organization will be brought in to run it, which means they are legally expected to have their own super, social worker, and entrances.
http://bit.ly/1cy3zpk
http://bit.ly/19rI2uf

The same rich man-poor man condo developments are built in London England. Taking advantage of tax incentives and the ability to get exceptions in building density requirements are creating condos where the same building contains very expensive condos with segregated "affordable" rental units (80% of average rents) for very few of the less well-off.

We are starting to see the same sort of segregation of "rich" and "poor" in the few condos in Toronto that are taking advantage of Section 37(i & j) provisions. Not so nice to see that Toronto is becoming "world-class".
http://www.condomadness.info/affordable_condos.html
http://www.condomadness.info/affordable_rents.html

Empty condos
A number of very expensive condos in Vancouver, Toronto, New York and in Asia are sitting empty. This article describes why.
http://nyti.ms/1cfJ6CS

PMC keeps bad records—condo owners pay the price
PCC 22, a Mississauga condo towner, had a requisition meeting late last year that was successful in removing the complete board of directors. It was a bitter political struggle for control of the corporation.

The management company (DPC Property Management) incorrectly rejected a number of proxies at the meeting saying that the units were in arrears. There was a challenge to the chair and the proxies were then allowed.

This resulted in an owner taking the corporation to court in a failed attempt to overturn the results of the election and the return the old board.

The defence cost the corporation (the owners) almost $46,000 in legal fees. The judge refused the condo its costs because the corporation's records, that were in possession of the property management company, were in such a mess, it resulted in the applicant having reason to challenge the election results.

Part of the judgement states:
"The corporation is distinct from its Board of Directors and its management company, yet it cannot escape responsibility for their actions and failures. In this case the failure to maintain proper records must be laid at the feet of the corporation."

So, if your property management company and or board either by mismanagement or by design, mismanages your corporation's records, it could cost the condo dearly.
http://canlii.ca/en/on/onsc/doc/2013/2013onsc6265/2013onsc6265.html

Planet Toronto
An interesting short video about the buildings and traffic in downtown Toronto. I added it just for your pleasure.
http://vimeo.com/53072482

—†—
Condo news
09 October 2013
The latest condo news from CondoMadness.

Good management—good investment

Two identical condo towers sitting side by side, but with different boards, can start off the same but result in much different selling prices some years down the road. A dramatic example of this is on Dixon Road.

YCC #42 and YCC #60 are identical condo complexes that sit side by side. Sometime in the 1980's, a number of YCC #42 boards started a series of poor decisions that made a big impact on the value of the units. Latest selling prices for the two condos:
YCC #42  $47,000—$  60,000
YCC #60  $125,000—$135,000

These results, although not so dramatic, can be made in many condo clusters. So owners, stay involved and know what is going on in your condo building and neighbourhood.

How to stop strife in condos
I was never impressed with Mark Weisleder columns in the Toronto Star. the information always seemed too light to be useful. His latest article follows the same pattern. He suggests that fighting over control of a condo board is destructive. So far so good.

So what are his solutions? He wants everyone to become informed and act rationally. See; he gives light and breezy suggestions that are useless in the real world where people are motivated by money, power, jobs and ego.

I just can't forget Mr. Weisleder's column praising the great work Monzoor Khan and Channel Property Management was doing saving troubled condos by arranging multi-million dollar loans. That article was published the month before Manzoor fled the country with between $22-25 million that he stole from the condos he managed.

Here is his column. See if you can find anything of use in it. If you do, please let me know.
http://bit.ly/GCuPEY

Clear Spirit
Here are a couple reviews of one Toronto condo.
70 Distillery Lane
Distillery District - Toronto
http://bit.ly/GKuIIg

More pressure on Tarion
MPPs from all parties want a "value for money" audit on Tarion's operations.
http://bit.ly/13ktoPi

So many American horror stories
HOAs and condos down south have a terrible reputation for harassing homeowners. here is another unbelievable tale from the land of the brave
and the free.
http://bit.ly/GNIs4k

Glass class lawsuits
Superior court has certified class action suits against the developers, builders and contractors of three downtown condos that had glass fall off the buildings
http://bit.ly/GNW00t

Survey
Please send the ministry your opinions on the "experts" report on changes to the Condo Act.
Online survey
E-mail: oncondo@ontario.ca

By mail:
ONCONDO
Ministry of Consumer Services
5th Floor
777 Bay Street, Toronto ON M7A 2J3

                                       —†—
Condo News
04 Oct 2013

Residential High-rise Fire safety & emergency planning seminars
Toronto Fire Services is offering a series of 1/2 day condo fire safety courses condo owners, managers and superintendents. Cost $50.00. Details below.
http://bit.ly/15UKPOx

Bicycle lanes on Yonge
Cycle Toronto, a bicycle lobby group is pushing to have bike lanes on Yonge Street. That means less lanes for cars. Presently the city is planning to reduce Eglinton to two lanes for vehicles so they can add two bike lanes and wider sidewalks.

How does that affect condo owners? Far less parking spots in new condo developments for one. Longer commutes if you drive to work for another. Better biking for the enthusiasts.
http://www.condomadness.info/bicycles.html
http://bit.ly/YYztWC
http://bit.ly/11zV33e

Shutting down the Yonge St subway
The TTC is set to shut down the Yonge subway line between St. Clair and Eglinton sometime early next year for up to two months. They need to replace track between these stations which means no subway service. Instead, riders will have to use shuttle buses to take them back and forth between the two stations.

TTC CEO Andy Byford says officials are still in the planning stages as they look for the best possible solution to ease the impact on commuters.

There are hundreds of thousands of condo owners all the way from Newmarket down to St. Clair that use this subway line every day. Twenty thousand riders per hour use the Finch station  during the weekday rush hours.

My advice to commuters; when the this closure happens, ride the subway down to Sheppard and then take the #84 bus to the Downsview station and ride that subway downtown.

Want a "free" car?
Free cars, shopping sprees, Apple gift cards,; WOW. All you gotta do is buy a condo.
http://bit.ly/1bx0AxJ

Condo Special Information Meeting
Ontario MPPs receive a lot of requests for help from condo owners in their ridings and Mississauga East MPP Dipika Damerla is no exception. However, she is unusual in the amount of support she gives to the condo constituents.

On Thursday evening, 03 October 2013, Dipika held a two-hour long Condo Special Information Meeting for condo owners and residents. Gerry Hyman, a noted condo lawyer and columnist for the Toronto Star answered questions about condominium legal issues.

The turnout was far higher than was expected so the location had to be moved to accommodate everyone.

Gerry listed the different steps that the owners could take if they have a dispute with their board. However, he stated, that if the board does not act properly, the owners are in a bad position.

Most of the owners' questions dealt with  disputes with the boards and the managers. The questions were read out and Gerry answered them fully and clearly.

The meeting ended with a discussion on the owner's rights to talk to their neighbours and solicit proxies.

At this very informative meeting, Dipika and Gerry received applause from the appreciative owners.
                                        —†—
Condo News
02 Oct 2013

Enforcing "single-family" unit status
Here is a Superior Court ruling that makes it clear that a condo can enforce the single-family provisions in the declaration and also explains how. So, lets be clear. If a board will not deal with overcrowding, it is not because they can't; its because they don't want to.
http://bit.ly/1bjKtAf

Grow-ups a problem?
Maybe this grow-op is in a residential house but not in a residential condo unit. Any good condo lawyer worth their salt should be able to them the heave-ho.
http://bit.ly/1fezydr

Insurance industry take on the Expert's Report
They like the idea of property managers and companies being better insured.
http://bit.ly/1g1N7xk

YCC #42 election results
In a big upset last Thursday, Sandy Gosal—a first time candidate—defeated Ataul Malick, the sitting board president by only four votes.

The election was during 320-340 Dixon Road's first AGM in over seven years as the corporation was under control of a court appointed administrator for six years.

It was a long nasty election campaign filled with insults, smear tactics and last-minute political horse trading: the trading of proxies for what exactly? The owners can only speculate.

A total of 135 proxies were discounted by the chair for irregularities of which 75 proxies were discounted because one candidate's name was crossed out and replaced by another. Some of this was done during registration by a sitting director right in front of the scrutineers.The rejected proxies was over a third of the total vote.
(Voting irregularities of this magnitude, with such crude boldness, shows just how outrageous some condo elections really are.) 

October a big month for my condo
1.) They are turning the air conditioning off and turning on the heat
     at the end of the week.
2.) They are scheduling the bi-annual (spring & autumn) fan coil
      maintenance & filter change.
3.) They are closing the pool for a month for major renovations.
4.) We have our AGM on the 21st. It will the first one since I moved in.
     What is interesting is that they hold it a mere three months after
     the year end, not six months or more.
     A sign of good record keeping I suppose.
5.) Annual tree & shrub trimming.

What is more, we got lots of notice. No last minute surprises or rushing around.

—†—
Condo News
29 September 2013
Condo news is never boring.

Marchese's response
MPP Rosario Marchese has poured cold water over the ministry's Phase II "Experts Report" by spotting several of the reports recommendations that favour ACMO and the lawyers over the condo owners. Well worth reading.
http://bit.ly/15zLQq3

Also take a look at Condo Owners respond to see other opinions:
http://www.condomadness.info/Act-Phase2-responses.html

This turkey is ready: bring on Thanksgiving
The Trump Tower and Residences has been getting a lot of bad press and here comes a response from the hotel saying everything is just fine. The article states:

More than half the 118 residential condos in the 65-storey luxury project at Bay and Adelaide Sts. have yet to sell. And buyers of more than 200 of its 261 condo-hotel suites haven’t finalized their deals. Thirty-eight have launched a more than $40 million lawsuit claiming they were victims of “an investment scheme and conspiracy.”

Last week a Toronto realtor tried to auction off his 950-square foot hotel suite after seeing about a dozen of the units languish on the Multiple Listing Service. He was offered $550,000 — a third of the $1.6 million Talon is now asking for a similar suite.

But Trump Toronto is doing just fine, insists Labatte, the project's manager , compared to all the other luxury hotels that have opened here the last few years, among them the Four Seasons in Yorkville and the downtown Shangri-La and Ritz-Carlton.

Of course, he won't lie to us, would he?
http://bit.ly/15YvkmU

I don't buy it
If the developers in downtown Toronto were to offer a parking spot with every condo unit, they could not built such tall condo buildings containing so many bachelor and one-bedroom units. So they sell parking spots separately from the units, charge any where rom $30,000 to $80,000 extra, refuse buyers of the smaller and cheaper units the opportunity to buy a spot and then say that modern-day buyers do not want sparking spots.

Sure. New condo buyers want to ride bicycles in the winer months, pay to rent shared cars and love the TTC. For one, I don't buy it.

Bike lane on Yonge?
Tighten your seat belts. If condos without parking spots seems a little strange, you haven't heard the latest. The sandal wearing, pinko bicycle riders want to turn one of the lanes on Yonge Street, all the way from Sheppard Ave to Lake Ontario, into a bicycle lane.

Whats more, they are using the increase in the number of condos being built along Yonge as one of the reasons bike lanes are needed.

I plan to attend this public meeting to see exactly what's on their mind.

Have a great week and enjoy the great warm weather.

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