Rent controls made a comeback
was extremely surprised when the Ontario Liberals placed rent controls
on all rental housing in the province. In less than a month the Bill
went from 1st reading to proclamation.
So what's next? I suspect that within a year:
|Developers will be reluctant to build more purpose-built rental buildings.
|Condo investors/landlords will start getting out of the rental business. Their
units will be turned into short-term rental properties (Airbnb) or they will sell their
prices of one bedroom condos in the GTA should drop. (This opinion is
shared by a couple of readers who are experienced Realtors.)
|Condo boards will face pressure from the investor/landlords to keep the maintenance fees low.
|The federal and provincial government will need to fund public housing or subsidize the building of low-cost housing units.
Mississauga woman's bitter battle with condo board not uncommon, experts say
All Alexandra Isa wanted to know was why the boiler in her brand new
condo was replaced after less than four years. She thought it was a
But seven years later, Isa says she still hasn't received a proper
answer and is now locked in a bitter and costly dispute with her own
This is the second CBC "info-commercial" on the updates to Ontario's
Condo Act. We are told the personal story of a condo owner who in a long-running dispute
with their board and then given the hope that the new Condominium Authority Tribunal will solve these kind of problems.
I agree that many disputes between owners and their condo boards should become
easier and cheaper to resolve but only when both parties are acting in good
In this case, although we do not have all the facts, it appears that
the board upgraded the boiler for a more efficient one. There is
nothing that says there was anything wrong with the old one so this was
an upgrade. If so, the replacement should have been approved by a vote
by the owners and the money should have come out of the Operating Fund.
That was not done.
If Ms. Alexandra wants to know the reason management and the board
bought the boiler without holding an owners meeting, she will never
find that out by
reading all the condo's documents. So how is the Condominium Authority
Tribunal going to fix that? Make the directors personally pay for the
boiler? I don't think so.
Fire—a serious danger
Late last last year, I started tracking news stories involving condos. The five top ranking stories by frequency were:
1. News reports promoting condo real estate developments.
2. Condo fires.
3. Crime occurring in or around condos.
4. How to renovate/decorate your condo unit.
5. Fraud. Condos getting ripped off.
I was surprised at the number of fires that occurred in condos. Most
fires were started kitchen fires followed by careless smoking.
Some fires were small and were confined to just one unit. However, many
fires resulted in several units having to be evacuated and the serious
fires resulted in whole condo towers or townhouse complexes being
uninhabitable. Many people will be out of their homes for months, some for a couple of years.
Fire has serious consequences. A few people die, more than a few pets
die. Homes and peoples' belonging are destroyed. Many are made homeless
and they have to find a place to live while their units are rebuilt.
While they are displaced, they still need to pay their monthly
maintenance fees and mortgages along with paying rent.
What needs to be done? Plenty.
The provincial governments should:
|Legislate that all new condos must have sprinklers on the balconies, especially wood-framed buildings.
|No smoking allowed in multi-unit housing.
|Legislate that municipal fire services need to inspect all annual Fire Safety Reports for multi-unit residences.
The municpaliies should:
|Ban propane barbecues on all apartment balconies.
The condo corporations should:
|Regularly inspect all balconies for flamables.
|Adopt rules preventing smoking in the units, the exclusive use common elements (balconies) and in the common elements.
|Make sure all residents know the corporation's safety procedures, rules and regulations.
|Urge all residents to get unit insurance.
A few months ago, I started reading about strata (condo) issues in
Australia. A constant subject that kept coming up was kickbacks or
commissions that the property managers were receiving from suppliers
and contractors, often without the board of directors knowledge. In
business they are often called Introduction Commissions.
A big concern was secret commissions for building insurance. The
property managers would present three quotes to the board and one quote
was always the lowest. What the boards did not know that the management
company was getting a 20% commission.
There are numerous allegations of kickbacks in the condo industry, and some
civil lawsuits, but there has been very few proven cases brought to
public attention. There has also been very few criminal cases in Ontario, if any,
dealing with condominium kickbacks.
Until Ontario includes language banning the practice in the Condo Act,
it would be prudent for condo boards to insist that their management
and supplier contracts have language forbidding undisclosed commissions
or finder fees.
It may not stop the practice but it may slow it down a little.
A deal of the century
From a Toronto MLS listing for a unit that sold:
• Fantastic Investment! Take Advantage Of Spacious Sun
• With All Attributes For Amiable Living.
Features Include A North Western Courtyard Exposure,
• Updated Kitchen (6
• 2 Roomy Bedrooms,
• Renovated Bath,
• Laminate Floors
• Ensuite Laundry, Storage Room,
• Neutral Decor,
• Open Balcony,
• Excellent Recreational Facilities and Steps To
• A Deal of The Century!!
A fantastic investment?
Well, this unit sold for $165,000 and that does
sound cheap for a 1,200 square foot unit. However, the condo
corporation has next to no recreational facilities and it is a short
walk to the bus stop where a bus will pick you up and take you to all amenities you may desire.
Just a few things minor technicalities this real estate agent forgot to mention.
is broke and next to no maintenance or repairs have been done to it in years. The
underground garage does not meet the municipal building codes, bricks have been falling off the
walls and the building envelopes and the roofs leak. There is mould in
many of the units and the utility bills are in arrears.
Hate to be picky but there is one more
tiny detail missing from the Client Remarks: There is only
$49 in the Reserve Fund.
A Deal of the Century? It sure was for the seller and his agent.
Window at The Trizon condo unit shatters
The Strait Times—Singapore
04 July 2016
Over the past four years, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA)
has received an average of 15 reports on glass shattering per year
coming from a total of 25 condos.
After reviewing building regulations on the use of glass in critical
areas, it said that from July 2011 buildings must use laminated glass
where glass is used as a part or whole of a safety barrier.
This includes barriers at balcony areas, to ensure that broken pieces will be held together if there is spontaneous breakage.
However, these regulations do not apply retrospectively to estates.
The BCA said: "Prior to July 2011, tempered glass was allowed by BCA to
be used as safety barriers because (it) is known for its strength."
But it has a risk of spontaneous shattering, which is caused by the
expansion of nickel sulphide crystals in the glass over time.
While such shattering is uncommon, tempered glass can break into small bits.
But the management of the condo cannot guarantee there will be no
future breakage. Home owners will have to decide if they want to
replace all the glass in the building facade after holding a general
meeting. Glass experts agree that spontaneous shattering is uncommon.
"It is generally known that metallic nickel contamination of the raw
materials for glass manufacturing can combine with sulphur (from
furnace fuel) during melting to form a nickel sulphide inclusion," said
Mr Ian Lee, operations director of Meng Heng Glass.
"This may cause spontaneous breakage if the glass is subsequently heat-treated," he said.
Mr Gary Lee, business development manager of Singapore Safety Glass,
said that inclusion of nickel sulphide is a common reason for such
breakages, although this cannot be seen with the naked eye or easily
detected by technology.
Other possible reasons are "edge damage or surface damage (of the glass) from handling or installation".
National Safety Council deputy president Fong Kim Choy suggests
installing a film on glass barriers at home that can hold shattered
glass together if it breaks. "You cannot prevent shattering - it's the
nature of glass manufacturing," said Mr Fong. "But what we can do is
prevent harm if it shatters."
Types of glass
|Strong but can shatter into small pieces if raw materials used are contaminated.
|Commonly used in coffee tables, shower doors, partitions, doors in malls.
|Cost: Around $50 per sq m for 12mm glass.
|Treated for a longer time than tempered glass, breakage results in bigger shards.
|Commonly used in building facades.
|Cost: Similar to tempered glass.
|Uses an interlayer to hold two pieces of glass together, preventing the glass from shattering even when broken.
|Commonly used in building facades, windows, safety barriers and skylights.
|Cost: Around $90 per sq m for 12.76mm glass.
Condos are often thought of as happy little communities containing only a few
malcontents who would be better off if they sold their units and bought
a home somewhere in the country far away from any neighbours.
In some condos this matches reality, especially where the residents and
owners share the same values and interests. Yet condo harmony doesn't
many condos as there are serious conflicting interests. They include:
Low fees verse maintaining the property
This is most likely the biggest source of friction as these two factions will never be able to agree.
Enforce the rules verse almost anything goes
This is a big one as it includes noise issues, parking infractions, dog
poop in the elevators, smoking in the common elements, beer bottles at the swimming pool, garbage being tossed over the
balconies and kids playing soccer in the hallways or ball hockey on the
Many townhouse owners rent out their basements and apartment owners may
rent out a spare bedroom but overcrowding can get right out of hand.
Some low-income owners and slumlords rent out bedrooms and may convert
living rooms, dining rooms, solariums, dens, insuite storage rooms and even balconies
into extra bedrooms in order to make more money.
Utility and garbage collection costs and the wear and tear on the
building goes through the roof. This becomes an issue of individual gain at the expense of all the
It looks like this will become a huge issue. In the
newer condos, owner-residents may find that they are badly outnumbered
by commercial companies that have bought units so they can operate them
as suite-hotel rooms and a large number of individual investors who
rent out their units on a short-term basis.
On the other hand, the owners, who rent their units out on a short-term
basis, may find that the majority of owners are owner-residents who are determined to drive them out of business.
Who wins this battle will depend on the the wording of the condo's
Declaration and on which side has the numbers required to dominate the
This is where two or more condo boards fight among themselves over the
managing and funding of the shared facilities. It can get real ugly.
If you find yourself involved any of these conflicts, it may be
time to sell and find yourself a condo—better yet, a freehold—that better conforms to your
values and lifestyle.
Blessed are the fee cutters
I recently went to an AGM in Mississauga. The 150 unit stacked townhouse condo is in bad physical and financial shape.
Two years ago, the owners beat off a court application by the board to
have an administrator appointed to run the corporation. The owners
removed all the directors at a requisition meeting and this was the new
board's first AGM.
The condo did not have an AGM last year and the AGM package did not
include the last AGM minutes or the audited financial statements for
the 2014 fiscal year. The AGM was seven months late.
As a proxy holder, I had questions for the auditor. The Reserves showed
a balance of over $1 million and I wanted to know where was the missing
$450,000. (It went to the operating fund that
shows an accumulated deficit of—wait for it—$450,000.
The auditor explained that although there are two funds, an
operating one and a reserve fund, in practice for the last ten years, the boards ran the
building as if there was only a single fund.
When I explained that taking money that was slated for the Reserves to
pay the operating expenses was not allowed under the Condominium Act,
the auditor replied that transferring the money was actually quite
I am not use to such honest and blunt statements from auditors and I appreciated
his candour for he was right; it is quite easy and quite common.
Between the financial statements, the president's report and the secretary's comments, the owners were informed that:
|By drastically underfunding the Reserves, the corporation's finances showed a big improvement. (At least in the short term.)
per the last Reserve Fund Study, the Reserves are being underfunded by
$200,000 a year. (Another source of short-term savings.)
|The board has cut expenditures as much as they could.
|The only major repairs being
done on the property are due to multiple work orders issued by the city
building inspectors and municipal fire services.
|The board decided to cut the owners' monthly maintenance fees by 5%.
The owners' reaction
So what was the owner's reaction to all of this?
They applauded when
they heard that the monthly expenses were reduced, they applauded the
auditor, the property management, the corporation's lawyer, the board
of directors and then they applauded themselves when the board thanked them for their support.
From the questions that that the auditor was asked, there seemed to be only one owner who
caught on that not all was right with all of this and this was because he is a property manager.
The lesson here
The ghost of an administrator's appointment hangs over this condo corporation. Either that or eventual termination.
In far too many condos, the owners' primary concern is low monthly
fees. A board that freezes the fees, or better yet cuts them, will be very popular.
The winners and the losers?
The winners are the past and present owners who had, and are presently paying, unrealistically low monthly expenses.
The losers will be the owners who stay on title and the future
buyers. They will own, or will be purchasing a unit, in a run-down
condo that will need millions in repairs.
Condo buyer's guide
I was considering publishing a buyers' guide for resales in the GTA as a part of CondoMadness.
I would canvas a group of respected real estate agents,
property managers and contractors to compile a list of good quality
condo buildings that we could recommend to potential buyers.
I had to abandon the idea. With help, I can determine what condos have
been well maintained, have a healthy reserve fund, their financial statements are in good shape, it has a competent board
of directors and a long track record of success. Though a bit tricky,
that is fairly easy.
I raised this idea with two industry experts and both said the same
thing. Although a condo is a great buy today, six months from now it
could turn into a nightmare.
The problem is that with a single election at an AGM, the majority on
the board can change and it is possible that the condo
corporation can start to deteriorate very quickly.
It didn't take long for me to realize this is too true.
I live in a great condo and I am very happy here. The building is very
well maintained, it is populated by 90% owner-residents, there is no
obnoxious residents as far as I can tell and the few units that go on
sale move quickly and the prices are steady climbing.
We have a competent board and there is no sign of any political
conflict among the owners. Best of all, this corporation has a 40 year track
record of continuous success.
Even so, my wife and I stay alert for any signs of potential trouble.
At the first sign that this corporation is starting to deteriorate,
physically, financially or politically, we will be quick to sell.
So, if I have to qualify purchasing in the building where I live, how can I recommend buildings that I don't know near as well?
Condo News lost another reader
Another subscriber to my Condo News column has cancelled his
subscription. I lose subscribers to my free e-mail Condo News from time
He fought against the previous board, became a director and worked hard
for a year helping to straighten out the finances and maintenance
In return he was subject to verbal abuse and a threat of removal from
office by a requisition meeting. Some of the owners were upset because
the board raised the monthly maintenance fees.
So he gave up condo ownership for good and bought a detached house.
That too is common. Once they have been burnt at one condo, few owners
are willing to try their luck at another one.
An owner's best defence
After studying condo ownership for the last six years, I have good
reason to believe that the owners must to fully understanding the
financial and structural health of their condo corporation. This can
only be done by being able to read and understand
the audited financial statements, read and understand the latest three
Reserve Fund Studies, attend the AGMs and question the auditor on
anything in his/her report that seems vague or understated.
Recently, I spent several days pouring over a condo's financial statements
for the previous eight years, read through its last three Reserve Fund
Studies and read the minutes from the last four AGMs.
That condo needs a large increase in fees or a special assessment. Perhaps both.
Only by looking at all the figures, did I see that the annual budgets
contained only token increases in the monthly maintenance expenses and
that the actual Reserves did not match the amounts recommended by the
engineers in the Reserve Fund Studies.
Another concern is that the property management company wrote a memo to
the owners saying that some maintenance will be skipped and major
repairs were being pushed out into the future.
Finally, I saw that in four years, the board had three Reserve Fund
Studies done by three different engineering companies. The board was
looking for an engineering company that would agree to lower contributions to
My recommendations to the owners I talked to? Sell and get out before
the required repairs become too expensive for the owners to bare.
insurance may become expensive
This newspaper article raised a bit of a stir last week. Condo
corporations may find it harder to get insurance and when they do they
may find that the premiums are far more expensive and/or the
deductibles have increased to surprising levels.
increasingly turning away from the condo sector
Rising claims for water damage in condo buildings and inadequate
regulation have led insurance companies to refuse new clients or demand
higher premiums for coverage, adding fuel to concerns about quality in
Canada’s fastest-growing housing segment.
Yet this really is not news as I have been reading articles about this
problem for the last three years.
The owners in this small condo complex in York Region had the bad luck
of being burnt out twice due to careless smoking.
Now they are being penalized by having to wait for their building to be
rebuilt—for a second time—and by being hit with a huge increase in fire
This first article, from the Montreal
Gazette, was a real eye opener.
a dripping time bomb
Major Canadian condo markets might be plagued with fears over high
personal debt and overbuilding, but experts say an even bigger threat
to owners involves problems with insurance.
In a two-part series, The
Gazette reveals how ignorance, bad luck, and a mix of rising claims and
premiums have left some Montreal condo owners one fire or flood away
from risking their investments. This week, we look at the risks of
That has been followed by these articles.
Calgary condo insurance costs skyrocketing
Coates, a consultant who works with condo buyers and boards, says there
are likely two factors to blame for the increasing costs — owner
negligence and natural disasters.
The Co-operators drops commercial condo insurance in Western Canada and
Commercial condo insurance is no longer available from one of the
country’s largest insurers, leaving some people in Calgary scrambling
to find new policies on multi-family dwellings.
This is another condo issue that we have to worry about. How many
owners have checked to see
how much insurance their condo corporation has and what are the
Will potential buyers wise up and check the specifics of the
corporation's insurance before they buy? (I am betting they won't.)
Can you afford to pay the corporation's insurance deductible, on top of
your own, if there is a leak originating from your unit? (I am betting
that many owners would find it difficult.)
Condo owner wants lower fees
Yossi Kaplan is a real estate agent and an owner at Radio City condos,
a two-tower corporation at 281-285 Mutual Street. He wrote a blog
urging his board to follow the example of The Toy Factory Lofts and
lower the monthly maintenance fees.
I have a few concerns with his essay. He suggests that the owners
should ask for a status certificate to see how their money is spent and
suggests that the certificate could be free. (I figure that it would cost $100). I
think that the owners should be asking for a copy of the latest budget;
that should be free.
I am puzzled that Yossi does not know who the directors are. As an
owner, and a real estate agent that has clients who bought, sold and
leased units in this condo since 2005, I would have hoped that he would
attend the AGMs and have some idea of who is directing the
Finally, at the end of his blog, Mr. Kaplan asks: "So where are the
spent?" Why doesn't he know?
to low fees
Do the majority of owners have the right to keep their monthly expenses
lower than what is required to properly maintain their building, both
in the short term but particularly in the long term?
Some condo lawyers and property managers don't think so. They believe
that the board of directors must set the monthly expenses to a level
that meets the operating budget and that will fund the Reserves to the
level that is required by the latest Reserve Fund Study.
The politicians think so too. That is why the Condo Act says that the
Reserves must be fully funded.
Some condo lawyers go further than the Act. They draft by-law packages
that contain a directors Code of Conduct that, in theory, requires the
directors to set the fees at the level mentioned above; no matter what
the majority of owners want.
The Act does not go that far. It may state that the Reserves must be
adequately funded but it is not so foolish as to try to enforce it.
I can understand why the condo lawyers and the property managers think
this is a good idea. They are afraid that low monthly fees will
under-fund the reserves and will, years or even decades down the road,
result in a rundown building with extremely low property values. Worse
cases will result in the board being replaced by a court-appointed
administrator who taxes the owners with huge special assessments or
huge loans to pay for very expensive repairs.
In extreme cases, the condo corporation will be terminated.
If a condo corporation is underfunded, the above scenario is the most
likely result. It is just a matter of time.
Even so, I contend that if the majority of owners of a private
condominium corporation, if they fully understand what they are doing
and the long-term consequences of their decision, have the right to
elect a majority of directors that will keep the fees low by
under-funding the reserves and likely the operating fund as well.
Think of a condo as if it was a car that has multiple owners. The owners can decide to maintain
their car as per the manufacturer's recommendations; they can skip most
regular maintenance but give the car weekly car washes; or they can spend
as little as possible and keep driving it.
In the first case, the owners may keep the car for eight to ten years,
in the second case, they will sell it within three to four years to an
unsuspecting buyer and in the last case, they will drive the car into the
ground and then have it towed to a scrap yard.
Who can say which choice is the wiser use of their money?
A unit in a condo corporation is first of all an investment. Like all
investments, the majority of the owners have a right to maximize value
as they see fit. They may decide to maintain the investment over the
long term, use their unit or units as a cash cow and wring out what
ever money they can in the short term before selling or decide to retain
their investment but decide to let it fall into disrepair.
The only thing I would demand is that the majority of investors come
out into the open and declare which of the three strategies the board
It is then up to the minority of owners to go along with the majority
or sell their investments and live somewhere else.
As far as potential buyers go, well they are on their own aren't they?
No one is going to look after them, not the condo's board, not the
property manager, not the real estate agents, not the real estate
lawyer, not the seller, not the Ministry of Government and Consumer
Services. No one.
It is just like buying a used car. Most of the time the buyer comes out
of it okay but not always. The ones that get burnt, may really get hurt.
residents must vote
In the upcoming provincial election, it is very important that condo
owners and condo residents vote. CondoMadness is less interested in who
you vote for than in you getting out and voting for the candidate or
the political party of your choice.
The act of voting makes people think, it encourages people to ask
questions and it helps people make informed decisions. Voting
encourages people to talk to their neighbours and they then exchange
opinions. Voting is also fun and fun is contagious.
A condo building that votes in provincial, federal and municipal
elections is a building where the residents will vote in the condo’s
elections. It is a building where more people will attend the AGM
instead of merely signing a proxy.
So vote in this upcoming election and even do more than that. Help your
candidate of choice by canvassing for him or her and become a
scrutineer on Election Day.
Learn about elections, makes some new friends and have some fun.
When will I get tired of writing and hosting CondoMadness? I have been
running the site for the last two and a half years and it has been a
lot of work.
I will give this up when I stop learning, when it gets too depressing
and when it stops being fun.
When will that be? Hard to say but I would guess that I will start
losing interest in a couple of years.
body will do
I have been attending more and more AGMs and it is clear that in
many condos it is the management company that runs the corporation.
In some condos, that results in poor quality services and/or
overcharging for contracts, bid rigging, drained reserves and special
assessments. This is especially so with certain unethical management
Yet in many other condos, the owners should be thankful that an
established and ethical management company is in charge.
I say this because I see directors that obviously do not have a clue
what their duties are, the amount of effort they should be putting into
the position and they don't seem to understand that they need to
educate themselves on what they need to do.
I have been privy to:
who cannot chair a meeting. A real president presides and does not let
the district manager chair the meetings or pay a lawyer several hundred
dollars an hour to do their job.
secretaries who cannot
take the minutes of the board meetings. They hire a professional
service for a few hundred dollars a meeting to do what they should be
doing for free. They also can't organize the correspondence or type
letters. The property manager or an office clerk does all of this.
who don't know what bank branch their accounts are in. Many can't read
the financial statements. The property manager writes
the cheques and then, along with one director, signs them.
||Boards where none of the
directors have a decent grasp of what is in their declaration, by-laws
||A president of one condo that
signs cheques and binding contracts yet he cannot read and write in
||Board members that contribute
nothing more than filling a seat, eating the free dinner offered at board meetings and goes
along with whatever the majority decides.
|At every AGM, owners
repeat the same complaints about noisy neighbours, cockroaches,
water leaks and parking issues and the board always
claims that they will get right on top of it. Yet, they never do.
||Financial statements show that
several thousand dollars in arrears were written off as bad debts, several years in a row.
||Directors who are out of the
country six months of the year.
||A president who terminates the
management company so he can hire a different one that will hire him as the property manager
while he remains the president.
condo has not raised it's fees for the previous six years. The new
board cuts the fees by $25 a month then when the utilities may get cut
off, raises them by $12.
||At some condos, the monthly board meetings last only
90 minutes. The manager gives the directors the agenda when they arrive
and only the treasurer reviews and approves the monthly financial
There are no board meetings during July, August and December.
Condo owners need to take a hard look at who they are electing to be
directors and hold their board to a high standard of performance. If
they cannot elect a competent board, (due to a lack of suitable
candidates), then they need to insure that the board hires an
established and ethical property management company.
Changes to the Condominium Act
As we wait for the new Act to be introduced in Queens Park we are
filled with both hope and anxiety. First the good parts.
Mandatory training, licencing and a discipline body for property
managers is long overdue. A database base for condos is also way
overdue even if one of the main objectives may be to gather information
for levying a new Condo Office tax on all condo units.
Improved training for condo buyers, existing owners, managers and
directors is also welcomed. Improved reserve fund requirements is
another good move.
Steps to reduce proxy abuse would be welcome although I am not sure how
this will be done.
However, we may be going backwards in some areas.
Reducing AGM quorums and making it easier for boards to add or change
by-laws are big steps backwards.
Instead of removing the one position on the boards that is voted on by
only owner-residents, I suggest that the majority of the board be voted
in by only owner-residents. Absentee owners, interested only in low
fees, give their proxies to the board that promises no fee increases.
Those proxies, along with the proxies from the developer's units and
the commercial units, means that the owner-residents have a very
difficult time getting elected to the board.
Other candidates are often refused access to the owner's registry so
they cannot contact the absentee owners.
Plans to allow boards to use the reserve funds to pay for energy-saving
projects without requiring the owner's approval is a very dangerous
idea. The reserves could be easily drained on new garage lighting and
water-efficient toilets while crumbling concrete and leaking risers are
ignored. I see this as a likely boondoggle on a vast scale.
Condo Office may be a great service for owners or it may become like
Tarion and the OMB, an agency that helps the industry more than it
helps individual owners. My main concern is that the Quick Decision
Makers and the Dispute Resolution Office must have real teeth, the
decisions must be binding on the parties and it cannot become just
another level added to the existing mediation, arbitration and court
Some condos spend more money on legal fees in some years than they do
in improving the property. Condo Office needs to reduce the need for
lawyers or there is no need for Condo Office.
Then there is the proposed monthly tax on all condo units to pay for
Condo Office. I can't see condo owners agreeing to this as we are
already over taxed compared to owners of freehold housing and renters.
To be taxed for Condo Office if we retain mediation, arbitration and
small claims court for dispute resolutions doesn't sit well with me.
This website, CondoMadness has been up for over a year now and we have
been on Twitter for the last couple of months. It is time to share with
you how we are doing.
Who is reading
Approximately 100 people a week and they visit the site on average of
twice a week and spend six minutes a visit and view five
Sixty-five percent of the readers are from Toronto and another 25% are
from other parts of Canada, mainly Ontario. The remaining 10% are from
the United States with a few readers from around the world including
England, Germany, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, India, Singapore, China
(including Hong Kong and Taiwan) and Korea.
What do they
The Condo News section is popular. The chapters on Battling With Your
Board, Troubled Condos and Corruption get the most traffic. The
Reference pages also do well.
The front chapters on Condo Living and Buying a Condo are not as
popular. I guess that the Internet is awash with sites giving
information on how to buy a condo, most of them written by real estate agents.
Singing to the
The website is maintaining its readership by constantly attracting new
readers. Every month, half of all the readers are first-time visitors.
is attracting an average of 50 new readers a week.
This shows that there are a lot of condo owners who are looking for
information and that people come to the site, check out what it has to
say and then move on.
After all a website dealing with condo troubles is more like a
automobile owner's manual than a daily newspaper in that it is
looked at only when someone has a problem and then put aside when the
issue is resolved and then returned to when another issue pops up.
My co-administrator hounded me to start a Twitter account. With her
valuable help, and a couple of early mis-steps on my part, we are
finding that this is a very good platform for keeping up with condo
issues and referring information to condo owners. It is hard to tell
how many (or how few) people read it without becoming Followers.
I have an e-mailing that was sent weekly but now is sent a couple times
week. It is sent directly to 97 condo owners and I know it is
re-directed to 110
The main aim of CondoMadness is to be a convenient on-line source of
information for condo owners who are having a dispute with their board,
want to know how condos function or need to know how their condo should
The two of us will assist owners if they contact us.
Fear the fee cutters
Mayor Rob Ford has shocked most citizens of Toronto with an endless
number of moral lapses and outrageous acts. Yet, when he could no
longer lie and deny, when circumstances forced him to admit the truth;
he refused to resign.
Instead, he dug in and said he will be running for a second term.
Despite his shortcomings, the exaggerated successes, his lies, his
smoking crack, his bullying and his drunk driving, Rob Ford still
retains a large number of supporters who will vote for him again.
Rick Mercer explains why:
“We would rather have a guy on crack
than a mayor who will raise our taxes. …We will vote for a gerbil if we
get a dollar back. …His politics are very real and they should not be
written off just because he is about to be.”
There is a very important lesson here for condo owners. Any candidate
for your board of directors who promises to find efficiencies, promises
to freeze or lower the condo fees, will be popular and will collect a
lot of proxies. More than you would expect.
Such demagogues are both foolish and dangerous; yet they win a lot of
They will run your condo into the ground. Maintenance will be
neglected, the building will become filthy, roaches will thrive, the
bills won’t be paid on time and your Reserve Funds will be exhausted.
None of this matters. These slum builders will continue to be
I have personal knowledge of condos where the board grants contracts to
companies that one of the directors owns and where the condo’s contractors do
work in the director's units with the corporation picking up the tab;
who take bribes or don’t pay their monthly fees and directors who rig elections
with altered and forged proxies.
Many owners are aware this is happening.
Yet the scoundrels stay in office because they will not raise the fees
and they do their supporters “favours”. Many owners ignore the corruption
because they think that they're getting a piece of the action.
Before your condo falls into the hands of a gang of shortsighted
fee-cutters, your board needs to continually educate the owners on
how their money is being spent and why their fees need to keep up with
the cost of inflation. The owners need to understand why Reserve Funds
are important and how the board’s spending leads to pride in ownership,
an enjoyable life style and rising property values. Emphasize the
rising property values
Owners also need to understand their condo’s financial affairs and to
get actively involved if a group of idiots—or scoundrels—try to seize
control of the board in order to starve the corporation of the money it
needs to maintain the property for the present and the future.
Listen and learn from Rick Mercer’s rant:
No dogs allowed
couple of years ago, a condo board in a new corporation in Etobicoke
rewrote the corporation’s rules so
that dogs were no longer allowed.
They reluctantly grandfathered all existing dogs on the property
because they had to and they did inform the owners that they could call
a meeting to vote on the new rules if the owners of at least 15% of the
units signed a requisition for such a meeting.
declaration is silent about pets and the developer put language on pets in the
Rules and Regulations. This way the developer (Tridel) could tell
original owners that dogs were welcome but leave it open to future
board of directors to ban all pets if they wished to.
So far, the ban is working. One owner’s dog died so she bought a pup
to replace it. When the board gave her an ultimatum: get rid of the dog
or move out she had to decide between her home and her puppy. She went
through the expense and heartache of selling her home.
A few owners in that condo are finding that is more difficult for them
to sell their units because dogs are banned. A lot of potential buyers
own a dog or want the right to have one.
So a warning to
all condo purchasers. Insure that the language dealing with dogs and
other pets are written in the declaration not in
Striking elevator workers say
Virtually every elevator in the province is operating in breach of
provincial safety standards and three-quarters of them need repair, say
striking elevator technicians who have been off the job for more than a
amid the soaring bank towers of the financial district, the assembled
elevator maintenance workers said the office elevators were being kept
in service during the strike, while elevators in seniors’ homes were
going out of service.
Speaking to a rally of hundreds of workers at the corner of King St. W.
and Bay St., Ontario Federation of Labour president Sid Ryan said
safety regulations require elevators to be inspected monthly, and
almost all of them would now be in breach due to the strike that
started May 1.
I talked to two elevator managers about these union allegations. They
said that the monthly elevator inspections are often done every two or
three months if a building has no service calls.
The provincial regulator for maintaining safety standards for elevators
disputes the claim and points out that only half the technicians in the
province are on strike.
is not a complete labour shutdown. Managers, supervisors and
replacement workers are keeping the elevators running. All emergency
calls, including elevator entrapments, are first priority while regular
service calls take a lot longer than normal.
“It stands to reason that a significant number of elevators in the
province are not current with their regularly scheduled maintenance
requirements,” wrote Technical and Safety Standard Authority (TSSA)
spokesperson Wilson Lee.
“Missing a single maintenance cycle does not necessarily mean elevators
are not safe … TSSA inspectors will shut down any elevator that is
deemed unsafe,” he wrote.
seems reasonable. If your condo is running
an elevator that is not safe, call TSSA online
or by phone and they will investigate.
suffer while CEOs get priority,” said Toronto and York Region Labour
Council president John Cartwright. “The companies’ priorities are all
properties, which owns several office towers downtown, confirmed that
its elevators were running normally. Spokesperson Claire McIntyre said
all emergency service interruptions have been responded to within
contractual obligation time lines.
the elevator companies must keep their biggest and best paying
customers happy. If they don't, then the elevator companies will lose
those contracts to their non-union competitors and there will be few
jobs for the striking technicians to return to.
the longer the strike lasts, the more elevator breakdowns will occur.
The condos that have been saving money by skimping on their regular
elevator maintenance may feel the efforts first.
Toronto condo sales have
tanked and the builders are showing that they are worried.
In the 4th Qtr
2012 there were 3,841 condo sales in the GTA, a 47% drop from
the year earlier. For 2012 there were:
24,388 new builds
the builders are offering incentives. Free parking spots and two or
three years of free condo fees are normal incentives. A couple of
developments are offering units for $999 a month.
Two developments are
offering the old Rent-To-Own gimmick.
there are the hidden incentives to the real estate agents.
developers are now offering agents 5-6% commission for selling their
unsold units. That is a lot more than the 2% that a buyers
get on a typical resale.
year a couple of developers offered free ice cream to anyone who would
walk into their sales offices. How long will we wait before a developer
offers a free car with every purchase?
glass condo towers cast a shadow
greatest quality of any city centre is its air of permanence. It’s
built to last. The city should be as definitive as the city dweller is
hesitant. “You’re a balloonist adrift and you need anchors to tether
you down” is how travel writer Jonathan Raban described it.
don’t have that sensation when I walk in Toronto’s downtown core.
There’s so much glass beside me — who would ever wish to see inside a
Cadet Cleaners? — and above me and on the endless new condo towers that
the city feels like a house of glass cards.
I have that glassy sensation in Hong Kong, it leaves me impressed by
what people will invent to cope with their cramped space. In Toronto,
it makes me think the city is only temporary, its condo towers looking
more like the metal sheds of northern Ontario than the rock
formations they should resemble.
why I like walking through the St. George campus of the University of
Toronto. The Gothic style is alarming but admirably emphatic. Despite
the university’s recent architectural catastrophes, the older buildings
are planted in the soil like a fist.
I look over at the detestable taupe-and-fudge-coloured condo tower at
Bedford and Bloor, jutting right up against the sidewalk, built without
ornament. My pity is not for the residents. They’re inside. They don’t
have to look at it.
the rest of us are stuck with hundreds of generic tinted-glass condo
buildings that look like boot boxes made out of Bacardi bottles. And
glass balconies, why? Who wants the world looking up their skirt?
Although I notice that Torontonians don’t use their dusty balconies.
With their empty little tables and chairs out there, they look like a
wall of bankrupt cafés.
care about architecture, and Canadians generally don’t. If I were
Christopher Hume, the eloquent man who writes on the subject for the
Star, the waterfront alone would make me stick a spike in my head. Why
doesn’t he? Because he’s a critic and I’m just critical.
paraphrase the late playwright Jean Kerr, the critic says: This is an
extremely bad building — why is that? The audience says: This is an
extremely bad building — why was I born?
I trot around Toronto, resenting the hoardings sheltering the latest
glass tower going up overnight. Quickie buildings are a bad idea. They
look tatty almost immediately and when extreme weather caused by
climate change proves that glass is a poor choice, they’ll come down.
Or they won’t, which is worse.
Philip Preville wrote damningly in Toronto Life last year on the glass
tower glut, even
if they’re “built with good materials and good craftsmanship, they are
not energy-efficient and age quickly, often lasting only 10 years
before their already-poor insulation qualities begin to deteriorate.”
is glass good for? It breaks up the bulk materials — wood, concrete and
steel — that we now use in place of wood, brick and stone, which are
is expensive so detail is out of fashion. Ultimately the things
we once considered essential are now surplus to requirements.
thinking of gabled roofs, which are perfect for Canada — flat roofs are
ugly and accumulate rain and snow — and windows that are proportionate
to the size of the building. Charmless tower condos look like places of
business, which I define as hard-surfaced rooms. Offices are made of
poor secondary materials: plastic, laminate, aluminum and so on.
office is a place where you never see a fabric curtain. Scandinavians
have curtains in their offices but they value comfort.
Hygge is a hard-to-translate Danish word for the feeling you have when
you celebrate everyday pleasures, light a fire, sit by the ocean in
summer, pour a drink for close friends. It’s like the sensation of
towers are the opposite of hygge. They’re standard and stark. They
offer no genuine privacy. Even if you could throw open those huge
window-walls, it’s too raw outside or horribly hot.
is a small but significant failure of capitalism. Detached
houses are beyond reach and condos aren’t hygge enough, just as flying
first-class is absurd and economy too unpleasant.
needs some kind of sane, affordable middle ground, a window we could
all look at — and out of — with pleasure.
A delightful read. It made me
long for Jan Wong, the Globe and Mail's ex-hatchet lady who burst
many a balloon.
walk by One Bedford often and I will never look at it the same.
Heather's comments about the glass balconies is dead on; I never see
them being used for anything but storage.
Downloading social housing
Glen Murray, the Liberal MPP for
Toronto Centre was the first candidate to drop out of the provincial
Liberal leadership race.
condo owners may be relieved that he did so poorly in the leadership
race for one of his ideas was to add the cost of affordable housing
onto the backs of the condominium developers and eventually, condo
realizes that the provincial government does not have the money to
build new affordable housing and the public would not be pleased if
taxes were raised to pay for it so he figures Queens Park could
download this social problem to the private sector and have the condo
industry pick up the tab.
return for making 3 or 4% of all new condo units affordable housing, he
planned to allow the developers to exceed existing building
way, in theory, we all win and no one ends up paying. In fact, the
owners in these new condo developments and the neighbourhoods may
become the big losers.
restrictions limiting building heights and densities are designed for
good reasons. To bend the rules for political ends erodes the
credibility of the city standards.
down the road long after the buildings have been turned over to the
owners and expensive repairs need to be done, who will pay the
increased condo fees and special assessments for the subsidized units?
It will not be the builder. Will it be the government? Will it be the
social agency that owns the units and rents them out? Will it be the
owners who are not subsidized?
I wonder if anyone has thought
that far ahead.top
of my resale
We took possession of our new resale a week ago. We plan to move in at
the end of this week. Two weeks to clean, paint and move over the small
stuff should have been plenty.
However, my wife and I were involved in a car crash. Our car was
totaled and my wife dislocated her ankle and broke her foot. That
really set us back.
It has been a busy week.
I have been busy cleaning the apartment. I was disappointed at how
dirty it was. I spent a half day cleaning the sides, top and back of
the refrigerator. That includes washing down the wall and cleaning the
floor. I found a cash register receipt dated the summer of 2007, so I
know that it had not been cleaned in at least six years.
It took a further two hours to clean the inside
of the refrigerator. It
is a big side-by-side with more features than a
I have cleaned all the cupboards and closets and a professional painter
came in and applied two coats of white on all the hallway and bedroom
ceilings and three coats in the living and dining rooms.
The previous owners had a European stove and a fume hood that they
insisted on taking with them. These two special items cost them $10,000
so they would not part with them. Fine with me; nether looked like
anything special in my eyes. I bought new replacements, at deep
discount prices for $1200—90% cheaper that what they wanted for their
When measuring the cabinets for the fitting of the range hood, I
measured the open space in the granite countertops and was surprised to
find that it was a 29-inch opening instead of the standard North
American 30-inch space.
It took me a day to find someone who would come in and resize the
counter opening. When the stove arrives on Friday, I know it will fit.
I also saw that the standard 220-240 volt receptacle needed for the
stove plug was missing. One more deficiency that I needed to correct.
The locker room was swept out and new storage racking installed.
Today, my friend Gordon, a licenced electrician, spent the day helping
me change electrical receptacles and light switches. He found a couple
of missing ground wires and several plugs that were installed
Gordon went home with a collection of practically new grey, black,
brown and green light switches, receptacles and wall covers. My
apartment now has new white ones in all the bedrooms and in the
hallway. We will change all the others next weekend.
After using up container of Polyfilla and a few sheets of sandpaper, I
applied the first coat of wall paint in two bedrooms.
Later on, once the move is over and the pressure is off, we will paint
all the walls, re-sand the wood parquet floors in the living and dining
rooms, replace the flooring in the bedrooms and replace all the
In the longer run, we will renovate the bathrooms.
We saw most of the defects that I have mentioned before we put in our
offer and our purchase price took all of this work in account.
We see the potential value that is in our unit. This older building was
well built and the 92 units are all large two and three bedroom units.
It is very quiet building.
The condo is well managed and in healthy financial shape and the major
repairs and replacements are completed when needed.
When I enter my condo, the newly refurbished lobby, elevator
the residential hallways makes it seem that I am in one of Toronto’s
I am confident that my family will find living here a rewarding condo
are hitting the skids
media and the blogs have been reporting this for a while now. The
selling prices for small condos in the downtown towers have dropped 20%
since last March.
the sellers started holding out for their listed prices, buyers are
either putting in low offers or are waiting patiently for prices to
that sales in the suburbs are also under pressure.
is a very desirable condo near me where two units have been for sale
for several months now. This is in a building where few units go on the
market and when they do, they sell quickly.
The owners are sticking close to their asking prices and the two units
I was talking to a bus driver who is interested in buying a condo in
one of the fairly new low-rise towers on Sheppard West. She is
interested in one building in particular but she is in no hurry to put
in an offer.
waiting for the prices to drop.
the developers on this strip are offering incentives to buy new units.
This weekend, Portrait Condominiums at 701 Sheppard Avenue West is
offering up to $20,000 off during their “Lets Make a Deal Event.”
Occupancy within 30 days. Other developers on that strip are
advertising “Immediate Occupancy.”
So the resales are facing a lot of competition.
It’s time Toronto
gave condo dwellers a little
Toronto Star Columnist
Condo dwellers get no respect in this city. Though they have taken over
Toronto and brought new life to even its most benighted corner, they
are routinely ignored, even scorned.
Municipal power is so skewed in favour of traditional single-family
homeowners, the condo dweller barely stands a chance. At best, they
figure as a statistic, a cause of congestion, crowded sidewalks, and
tall buildings that shadow kids’ playgrounds.
most obvious example of how the city overlooks this fast-growing but
invisible population is transit, which in Toronto, the only place it
actually makes sense, is 25 years behind the civilized world.
Instead of building the much-delayed downtown relief line to handle
existing urban densities, we expand subways to the parking lots of
Just this week the TTC announced it had set yet another ridership
record; the system has provided 510 million rides since October 2011,
with 514 million expected in the next year.
Yet paralysis persists. By now it’s clear our fear of committing to
transit is pathological. We have all but forgotten how to do anything
other than bicker while we await the next report.
Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak provided a textbook case last
week when he announced that he supported subway, not LRTs, which he’d
be happy to pay for “when funds are available.”
sort of promise is no promise at all. It isn’t even meant to be. It’s
code for, “Don’t worry, we’ll help get streetcars off the clogged
streets of Toronto.”
Not surprisingly, Mayor
Rob Ford has done the most to reverse the course of transit. He was
elected, of course, largely by homeowners. It was to them Ford spoke on
election night 2010, when he declared, “The war on the car is over.”
The last thing on his mind — or council’s — were the countless
thousands who live in condos so they don’t have to drive two or three
hours to work every day, so they can walk and bike, eat in the
restaurants, shop in stores, ride the TTC and generally enjoy a
21st-century urban life.
They are the future of Canada, let alone Toronto, and yet we are barely
aware of them, let alone sensitive to their needs. Councillors consider
them a nuisance and, once condo dwellers couple up and have kids,
developers lose interest in them.
Christopher has a point
but he misses the obvious.
listen to people who vote, people who work on election
people who contribute money to political parties. People who live in
detached houses do all of this in large numbers. People who live in
condos do not.
How many condo activists will
work for the candidates in the next provincial election? How many will
try to get the vote out in their condos?
Not many; not many at all.
When the Liberal MPPs hosted an information meeting on changes to the
Condominium Act in Toronto last month, just over 100 showed up. The
Sheridan campus that hosted the Mississauga meeting a week later, is
surrounded by condos and yet just over 100 condo owners showed up for
that one as well. I have been told it was the same at the Ottawa
Political issues that are important to condo owners will not receive
much attention at city hall and Queens Park until the owners get active
in municipal and provincial politics.
Ready to be noticed
It is time to start advertising the existence of CondoMadness.info.
I had leaflets and labels printed and on Thursday I will pick up a box
of business cards. I will start distributing them this weekend.
So far, the site has doubled the number of pages viewed from its launch
in early August to September. One reader on "The Grid" gave the site a
I have been working hard to get a bare-bones website up and running as
there are owners in three condos, that I know of, who need some
guidance with the ongoing battles they having with their boards,
managers and the lawyers. It is really sad to hear what they are going
I may have come upon another Channel Property Management Company in the
making. All the early signs are there.
I want to finish off the articles that are posted on the Condo Act
Reform chapter. Then I need to clean the site up; correcting grammar
errors and cleaning up any inaccuracies.
Any help I get in that department would be appreciated.
I see autumn is now upon us. In a week we went from wearing
and shorts to winter clothes, at least when the sun goes down.
In a few weeks it will be Thanksgiving; my favourite holiday. Unlike at
Christmas, we aren't looking for gifts. Instead we feast and give
thanks for all we have. I think that's wonderful.
We report with deep sadness that the CAFCOR website has been long
suffering from a fatal disease and is presently dying a slow and
The exact date it will pass away is hard to determine but, barring a
miracle, it should be soon. Its few remaining posters,
remembering when CAFCOR forums were a source of knowledge and
comfort for condo owners should hold a wake. The majority have
finished mourning and have moved on.
The CAFCOR organization itself had, in effect, disbanded two years
with the handful of founders having moved on. A
couple sold out and decided that they too would make a living by
joining the forces of darkness and make money off of condo owners.
Not interested in carrying on, they were too suspicious of
newcomers to recruit and train successors.
By its very structure, a condo owner's activist group has to
continually attract and train replacements for the existing members who
sell their units or replace their boards and property companies and
lose interest in condo problems that do not directly affect them.
CAFCOR could not, or would not, carry out this basic requirement for all
All that remains is a chat line—a shell of its former
from an unexplainable inability to censor a destructive cyberbully who
drives away the few remaining bloggers.
A couple of years ago, this cyberbully's behaviour on the Canadian
Condominium Institute's "Hot Stove" website caused CCI to shut the
forum down for a year. Since it re-opened, it allows postings only from
Ordinary condo owners lost an excellent venue to have their questions
The Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario (ACMO) had "Discussion Forums"
on its website. The public is invited to post their questions and
views. The postings are reviewed prior to them being posted causing a
With this cyberbully cruising the web,
including ACMO's site, it is a prudent if a slightly inconvenient,
Here are a few recent examples of unchecked bullying:
"You can see how some can fold
under a vigorous and determined cross-examination, even here!"
"If anyone has the printouts of the missing confessions - let me know."
"Instead of bring resources for CAFCOR to grow and help others, you
advertise secret meetings with unknow strangers in dark
and dreary places, for unknow purposes to plot against those
you don't like."
"When do we get the real report on the condo, not the comedy show in
the halls and elevators? No policians and news crews show up?"
"How long have these imaginery friends been emailing?"
"Back to your original question. Masel...Aren't you afraid of getting
caught? What might the consequences be? For our audience: What should
the consequences be?"
"What amazes us all, is that you have the balls, to come to an owners
reform forum, and brag about what you think you got away with."
"If more bodies through the skylight will prove the board is reckless,
what is holding you back?"
retaliation, posters hurl insults back at the cyberbully resulting in
forums that resemble graffiti in a grade-school washroom.
Surprisingly, when the posters get out of line, the site administrator
reprimands them or removes their postings giving the cyberbully licence
to continue on.
So what should be done?
The forums should be closed and the best questions and replies over the
last three years retained on the web, sorted by topic and made
available for any condo owner that is looking for credible information.
Alternatively, CAFCOR reinvents itself and appoints an administrator
who will monitor the postings and promptly remove all offensive
material from the site as and when required.
As it remains now, the CAFCOR forums are a determent to condo owner
Charles Hanes writes about Hogtown’s condo market and his regular
postings should not be missed. Read this recent excerpt:
days the market is so overwhelmed with exploitive, unethical and
downright shoddy developer offerings that you literally have no idea
what you are going to get. Many of the more recent
developments, like Murano on the Bay Corridor, One Bedford in the
Yorkville/Annex area, Festival Tower in the Entertainment District and
virtually all of the Cityplace developments (Matrix, Apex, Optima,
Harbourview Estates, to name but a few) are all experiencing
significant material construction deficiencies from balcony glass walls
plummeting down dozens of floors onto the side walks below, moisture
barrier deficiencies, etc., leading to multi-million dollar law suits
initiated by condo corporations against developers.
there are still a limited number of quality developments and developers
developing condo sites but the decided majority couldn't build a
reputation let alone a building and 100% of the burden of their
inability to do what they are supposed to do rests on the shoulders of
you, the consumer, who are led to believe that they are building dream
towers when all they are really doing is manifesting nightmares!”
informs us that poor workmanship caries a real price tag.
The owners at 222 The Esplanade East have been hit recently with a
special assessment of between $13,000 and $20,000 each and the 24
owners of a condo conversion in a west end condo will share a
$1,000,000 special assessment. This comes after some of the board
members of that four-year old conversion kept the bad news from the
owners and sold their units prior to the special assessment being
Charles names names and he exposes condo building defects. This is a
blog that owners and anyone wanting to buy a condo needs to read.
Free ice cream?
This was posted this morning on Garth Turner's website: The Greater Fool.
soon as I saw Minto’s showroom just east of Yonge on Sheppard for the
new condos at 88 Sheppard East six months ago, I knew they would never
break ground, but today proves it.
They now have a huge sign outside offering FREE ICE CREAM if you come
kid you not.
The high price for parking
Recently on a condo website, a condo owner complained that her newly
elected board was now allowing owners to park in the Visitor's Parking
lot. The new president parked her car there as it was closer to her
unit than her parking spot.
This will not be a problem at two new mixed-use condominium
developments being built on the corner of Avenue Road and Yorkville.
They won't have any complementary visitor parking spots.
These luxury condos cost up to $1000 a square foot. The cheapest unit
at the Yorkville Plaza development starts at $350,000 for a 350 square
That price does not include a parking space. A parking spot costs
$73,000 a pop. (It costs roughly $35,000 to build an underground
parking spot so that is quite a markup.)
A different development will have 883 residential units, 3,555 square metres
of commercial space but only 278 parking spots. The proposed new condo
across the street will also have commercial units, 342 residential
units and only 247 parking spots.
Some spots will be rented. The going rate in this area is $375 a month
to rent a parking spot under a condo but it is about $260 a month in
the nearby commercial underground parking lots.
The city planners greatly reduce the number of required parking spots
if the condo is close to a subway station or a streetcar line.
The RCMI project consisting of one bedroom units, that is presently
being built on University Avenue, will have no parking at all.
Not all residents in the expensive Yorkville area have to walk to the
commercial parking lots to get their cars. A couple of the existing
condos have valet parking. It is one of the amenities that the
$1,600 to $1,800 a month common expenses pays for.