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Condo News
29 August 2018

More than 1,000 displaced by Parliament Street fire may be out for 'several months'
The residents of 650 Parliament Street are renters in a large purpose-built residential tower. They will not be paying rent while they are displaced.

Condo owners are treated differently
However, when a fire or flood causes a condo tower to be evacuated, for weeks or months, the owners have to pay:
 • monthly maintenance fees
 • mortgages
 • taxes
Plus when the municipal grants and their insurance runs out, they will have to pay rent on top of their regular monthly condo expenses.

Condo corporations scramble to get rules in place ahead of cannabis legalization
Aug. 13 was the date condo corporations needed to initiate the process of creating a smoking ban, to be able to have the rule in place in time for legalization on Oct. 17, says Escayola. The further from that date a smoking ban was in place, the more persuasive an argument for grandfathering a cannabis smoker would be and the longer the duration of that grandfathering period.
“I would say if the consumption of cannabis has been legal for a day, or a week, or even six months, how much grandfathering do we need to grant people? When you bought your condo, did you buy it knowing that you'd be able to smoke cannabis here?” he says.
The standard grandfathering period for a tobacco smoker would be two years, Escayola says. The period for cannabis smoking would be much shorter, considering the period during which it will have been legal.

Man sentenced to five years in prison for setting Coral Springs condominium fire
Florida: Coral Springs man who started the fire that caused millions of dollars in damage to a condo complex, killed three cats and displaced dozens of residents will be spending five years in federal prison.
Nathan Counts, 40, has also been ordered to pay $3 million in restitution for starting the Feb. 12 blaze that damaged 28 units at the Ramblewood East condominiums on the 4100 block of Northwest 88th Avenue.

'It was just very shocking': Faulty pipes cause headache for Toronto condo owner
This CBC News report about Kitec plumbing contains a few nuggets of information that all condo owners and house hunters should be aware of.
They include:
Where is the consumer protection for potential buyers? What is the name of this condo? What is the address? Condo owners don't want potential buyers to know that their buildings have, or had, problems.
Condo owners need savings in case they get hit with a special assessment or any other other catastrophe.
"The pricing that they gave us just seemed really, really high. So I did some of my own research," said Keith."I found out that there were contractors out there that were much more reasonably priced."

Interesting that the owner found cheaper qualified contractors to replace her Kitec plumbing lines. I would ask to see the three quotes that the management company brought to the board and compare them to the quotes the owner obtained. (90 owners went with the lower price.)
Real Estate Broker Andrew Ipekian says most condo boards and property management companies don't know it's lurking behind the drywall, and when you don't know something exists, you can't inform a new buyer.

Buyers of condo resales should get written assurances that the condo does not have Kitec plumbing.

Condo News
24 August 2018

Taco Bell with a liquor licence?

The new Taco Bell outlet on the north-west corner of Yonge and Sheppard has applied for a liquor licence. This may be of interest to the residents of the dozens Yonge-Sheppard condo towers.

TREB loses bid to appeal release of real estate sold figures
Toronto Real Estate Board wanted to prevent members from releasing home sale prices. TREB’s legal challenges to block the convenient provision of relevant and authentic information about the Toronto area real estate marketplace have been exhausted.

Condo-heavy areas at high risk for fires started by careless smokers
Fires started by smoking materials such as cigarettes and cigars are an emerging concern for local fire departments across Canada, especially in hot housing markets where condos are cropping up as an affordable alternative to home ownership.
Smokers often head outdoors to light up on balconies or wooden decks. A flower pot or planter makes an inviting ashtray. But when the potting soil is dry and the temperature is hot, a cigarette butt can act like a match and a balcony or deck as a tinderbox.
In 2017, the Toronto Fire Department recorded 51 fires that started on balconies out of 114 smoking-related fires. As of Aug. 7 of this year, of 54 smoking-related fires, 25 have been on balconies.

York Region woman stuck with $7K bill after delivery company damages condo building
Online Property Management, Inc. defended its decision to bill Kutikov for the total amount of the damages, citing their ownership agreement with the condo.
But the company did not explain why it hadn’t asked Kudos Home and Design to pay the repair bill, as they had offered, and why the bill for repairs had nearly tripled from the original estimate.

All those unused condo balconies? Most of us won’t buy without them
Most are not used for anything except for storage and smoking, yet most condo buyers seem to want one.

U.K.'s Purplebricks comes to Canada in a bid for real estate disruption
But traditional Realtors scoff at the idea that a discount real estate company will spell the end of sales commissions.

Court judgments
There have been a few court judgments where the courts have ruled on different tricks, games and fraud dealing with condo elections. They include:
The right of owners to canvas owners to sign a requistion to remove directors.
A lawsuit where the judge wonders why the condo board showed no interest in investigating proxy fraud.
The majority of the board and the property managers try to have commercial proxies added to the voting instruments after the AGM in order to change the result.
Justice Myers writes that condo boards should not be bullies.

Victim at her wit’s end

Thieves caught on Pamela Nelson's dash camera on July 24.
Alberta: After multiple break-ins at a Sunset Ridge condo parkade, tenants of the building are fed up and are calling for better security.
“It’s unbelievable how often this is happening,” said Pamela Nelson, a renter in the building. “We’ve got to do something.”

Take back control of meetings from manager
The manager makes all the decisions at the board meetings. He even cast an additional ballot at our recent AGM to pass the budget because there was a tie.
Several members protested that this was a conflict of interest because the budget included a substantial increase for the management company.
The manager also decides on who our executive will be, so we end up with the same person as president every year. The president does little about the behaviour of the manager and the remaining six council members are ready to resign.
Who is in charge of our strata corporation (condo)? The manager or the strata council (board of directors)?

Florida DBPR investigating one of its former condo regulators
While state agency financial examiner, Eduardo Quin Iglesias was investigating a Florida condo for alleged wrongdoing by the corporation — the condo board voted to hire his management company (Real Asset Management), and signed a contract with Attorney Anatalia Sanchez, Iglesias’ wife to be the condo's lawyer.

Richmond residents: Geothermal condos come with costs
Residents who are currently living in a geothermal condo in Richmond BC say the cost they are paying for their geothermal energy is not as cheap as what some developers have marketed it as.

Sydney unit owners face $7 million bill to remove illegal cladding
The New South Wales Cladding Taskforce found more than 400 buildings, half of them residential, had dangerous cladding that increased fire risks.

Condo News
16 August 2018

Prosthetic-customized bike stolen amid rising thefts from condos, lockers
3,750 reported bike thefts last year alone, and only 43 recovered by Toronto police
And for the first time since police began compiling this data, reports of stolen bikes from apartments, condos, and their private storage rooms and garages are higher than reports of bikes stolen off the street.
Currently, the Toronto police online bike registry allows people to share their personal information along with the serial number, model, colour, and make of bicycle. "Once we have that registration, it's actually quite an easy process to connect that bike to someone else, because we do come across a lot of stolen bikes," he added.

Burst water pipe floods downtown London highrise, causes significant damage

Water damage inside the 28-storey King Street's Renaissance building in London, Ont., caused by a burst water main.

People living on floors 24 through 28 won’t be allowed back into their homes until hydro service has been turned back on, assistant deputy fire chief Sean Fitzgerald added.

Condo board hosts regular owners forums
The board of Toronto's 400 unit West Queen West condo began hosting ‘office hours’ — technically, a half hour — immediately before its monthly closed-door meetings for owners to air their concerns.

Ex-director fails to get monthy fees increased
An ex-director of a Toronto condo failed to get a court order to force her condo board to raise the monthly expenses by 14%.

Condo litigation costs: Why do they add up so quickly?
Lawyers are unable to predict the costs, because there is an extensive range of factors that could impact the legal costs incurred in any legal matter. This is not me trying to avoid the question; I really cannot predict how much it is going to cost, and I don't want to create unrealistic expectations.

Kelowna couple runs up huge fines from strata council
A BC Supreme Court judge has ordered a Kelowna family to pay $54,285 in fines levied between 2012 and 2017 because they ignored the bylaws of the strata (condo).
In addition to the $54,000, they’ll also have to pay interest and unspecified court costs and legal fees for the strata.

Uber partnerships with startup car-rental companies
The partnerships involve companies that rent vehicles to Uber drivers for weekly or monthly fees that include maintenance, insurance and other costs. Their aim is to get more people to drive for Uber by making it easier for those who don't want to buy a car or who can't get financing.
What's next? Will people who want to get into the short-term home rental business be able to lease condo units from Airbnb?

Fight over 14% budget increase leads to court battle
An ex-director sues her condo corporation and the treasurer because the board ignored expert advice to increase the fees and make major repairs. Instead they budgeted a 0% increase in monthly expenses.
Instead of second-guessing the board and management company, the judge ruled that the ex-director failed to prove that the board did not fairly and reasonably, in good faith, exercising the care, diligence, and skill that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in comparable circumstances.
She lost and will pay the condo corporation's costs.
In a fight like this, the ex-director would have to have, in my opinion, active fire department or city work orders and expert witness testomony to backup her claims.

First time landlords face minimum $40,000 bill to replace stolen items and repair property damage
'It slowly graduated into a crack house. We have mattresses we need to get rid of. There’s drug paraphernalia, garbage, and dead rodents. We have infestations of flies, ants, and fleas. There’s cat urine, and cat feces, and clothes everywhere.  Anything you can think of is in there' property owners.

One of the tallest buildings in Canada is coming to Mississauga

The M City third tower (better known as M3) is set to be a whopping and incredible 80 storeys in height.
It will also be taller than the First Canadian Place (72 storeys), the Adelaide Hotel Toronto (which was once known as Trump Tower and stands at 57 storeys) and the TD Canada Trust Tower (53 storeys).
The tower will feature 900 units that will boast anywhere between 390 and 941 square feet of space.

How can we create fair HOA (condo) elections?
In most parts of the U.S., the reality is that the incumbent board of directors makes it exceedingly difficult for newcomers to make themselves known to members
California law requires that associations ensure neutral third party oversight of the entire election process. However, in most states, it’s common for members of the board, a community association manager, or the association’s attorney to collect and tabulate ballots and proxies, managing the entire voting process from nomination to election day.
So the opportunities to rig elections is there and will not be disappearing anytime soon.

So long as we can sell apartments
Ocean. Parts of North Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, is sinking into the Pacific None of this has deterred the property developers.

More and more luxury apartments dot the North Jakarta skyline regardless of the risks. The head of the advisory council for Indonesia's Association of Housing Development, Eddy Ganefo, says he has urged the government to halt further development here. But, he says, "so long as we can sell apartments, development will continue".

Condo News
11 August 2018

Ontario: New regulations applicable to condo pools
New regulations governing the operation and maintenance of pools (including pools in condos) came into effect on July 1st, 2018.

Heavy showers hammer downtown Toronto condos

This photo is of damage to a condo parking garage near Fleet Street. However a dozen downtown condos were badly damaged during the 07 August heavy showers. A few condos lost the use of all their elevators as the water filled the elevator pits.

Toronto condo owner who discovered unit was rented 70+ times on Airbnb wins case against tenant
Jovasevic spent thousands of dollars fighting for compensation for damages she believes were caused by at least 70 Airbnb guests — and to evict a tenant she believes never actually moved in.
This is another case where an owner finds out that her leased investment unit is being short-term rented. There are dozens of small companies that use rented condo units to make money renting them out short-term.
Some owners know this is happening and as long as their monthly rent cheques keep coming in, they are quite happy with this arrangement.

Dipika Damerla is running in Mississauga's Ward 7
Ms. Damerla lost her seat as an MPP but still wants to work on behalf of the citizens in Mississauaga.
Condo owners may be aware of how hard she worked to help us get improvements made to the provincial Condo Act.

Halifax, Charlottetown, look to regulate Airbnb
I have to ask that if the municiplaities want more rental housing then the government should either give incentives to the private sector to build them or they should build them themselves.
I don't think playing cat and mouse with Airbnb, and all the other short-term companies, will solve that much unless the municipalities put a lot of resources behind this effort.

Fortress says receivership won’t halt Union Waterfront project
The company behind the controversial Union Waterfront condominium development in Port Dalhousie maintains it's still going ahead with its plans despite the project going into receivership.
Fortress Real Developments said in an email Tuesday that a court order appointing a receiver to the St. Catharines project has no impact on it.
"Fortress' focus at this time will be working alongside the receiver to guide the project through the approvals process," the company said.
I don't think I would buy a pre-construction unit. I'd wait until it was completed and residents have moved in.

BC: Police investigating pre-sale development; condo buyers out hundreds of thousands

In court reports, the receiver for Murrayville said they'd found some of the units were pre-sold more than once – and as many as four times in some cases.
Mounties confirmed there's an investigation relating to the project.

Growing cannabis at home in B.C. won't be illegal, but it won't be easy either
B.C. will allow adults to grow up to four cannabis plants at home under new recreational cannabis laws, but they aren’t going to make it easy, and if you get it wrong fines and jail time could result.

Marijuana fumes dispute drives Augusta condo neighbors to court
A judge has ordered the medical marijuana patient to stop smoking at home, at least temporarily.

A Wyoming HOA president sentenced to three years probation
Court records say Miller was president of the homeowner's association and had an "ongoing battle" with the victim regarding the condition of the victim's rented property.
On Nov. 26, Miller went to the victim's house and urinated in the victim's generator. An argument ensued, and the victim then went back inside his house.
Miller reportedly picked up a wooden post and used it to break the victim's sliding glass door. He then entered the victim's home and hit the victim with the post.

Condo News
06 August 2018

Ontario’s new elevator-access law seems to have broken down
Wynne Liberals gave legislation royal assent, but implementation is stalled under the Conservatives

Tower crane use up 10 per cent nationally
From January 2018, Toronto had 88 cranes on construction sites and the number increased to 97 in July 2018.

"Ready to adult? Become a condo owner in Etobicoke"
This is the title of a link from a condo developer website trying to tempt youngsters to move out of their parent's home and buy one of their condos.

Some rooms for rent in Toronto are now advertising 'no cooking' in the units
So the condo residents want someone to rent a room for $600 a month but who not be allowed to cook in the apartment. I guess they will have to live off corn flakes and peanut butter sandwiches.

First-time homebuyers in Barrie squeezed by falling property values
Prices dropped about $100,000 and possession will be a year late.

Blue Quill apartment fire started by cigarette butted out in potting soil
Every unit was destroyed by the fire.
So far this year, Edmonton has had 54 fires caused by smoker's materials, leading to an estimated $19.3 million in property losses.

Condo sales slump as more Edmontonians opt to rent
Condos sales down 8% from 2017, vacancies up more than 20%.

Everyone knows condo towers need repiping
BC: Chan v. The Owners, Strata Plan LMS 1781
During this small claims case, at paragraph (52) the condo rep says that the water leaks were due to the building’s age and stated:
“Everyone living in lower mainland is aware that any high-rise or low-rise building is subject to repiping any time after 15 year of its life depending on corrosion, its hot water supply system and several other factors.”
The Tribunal Member then stated:
"If this is true, then the strata admits it ought to have known that repiping was likely required in a 21 year old building with original copper piping."
I don't think that "everyone knows" that condo towers will need repiping anytime after 15 years. If they did, they would be asking a lot more questions before buying a unit in an older condo.

Neighbours' lives turned upside down by Airbnb and other 'disruptors'
Australia: Defecating in the sauna. Breaking bottles in the apartment tower’s swimming pool. Leaving running taps on so apartments flood. Vomiting in the foyer.
This is just some of the behaviour Katherine Hughes has seen from short-stay guests in her A’Beckett Street apartment tower.

Case halted until owners corporation (condo) give security for costs
A condo in Australia was so broke that it couldn't sue its previous law firm until they gave Security for Costs in the event they lost.