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Condo News
26 February 2018

Toronto condo owners allege former board members siphoned money, left them on hook for $750K
Condo owners at a Toronto highrise are suing several former members of their board for $800,000, alleging those members conspired to divert hundreds of thousands of dollars from the building's operating budget for their own benefit.

The owners claim the building is deeply in debt, and they've been hit with a $750,000 special assessment.

You can read the full story here: "Election fraud at multiple condos".

Airbnb rentals used for human trafficking, Toronto police say
This is a world-wide problem as brothels need to stay on the move. This is a short-term rental problem that is not limited to just Airbnb.

Human rights complaint over alleged homophobic strata tirade dismissed
A BC Human Rights Tribunal ruling confirms that a strata (condo corporation) is not responsible to police conduct between residents.

5Pointz graffiti artists awarded $6.7 million after their work was destroyed
On Long Island, a condo developer painted over the graffiti without warning the artists before hand.

Chinese nanny sentenced to death for fire that killed a mother and three children files appeal

The nanny was stupid and selfish. No question of that. Yet, if the condo management did their job, the question is: Would the victims survived?
One former employee of the company which manages the property stated that the company conducted an inspection of all smoke alarms and sprinklers in the wake of the deadly fire, replacing malfunctioning ones and rushing to fill fire safety inspection logs that had been left blank as it had failed to conduct routine inspections.
"All of these factors — lingering concerns about insufficient witness testimony, maladroit emergency response efforts, and building mismanagement— could come into play during the appeal."

Condo News
22 February 2018

Condos getting even more paperwork
Ontario: Starting on 01 July 2019, condos will be affected by new regulations under the Green Energy Act requiring them to report energy and water usage for the full 2018 year.

Condo Questions: Moving day restrictions irk condo owner
An excellent condo Q&A legal column from Alberta.

I used to think my house was my castle. Now I feel like it's more of a prison
A whistleblower in Tucson is gets $2,500 in fines after she complained about the property management company paying a director's travel expenses.

NYC: Condo board sues Nike store for $3M
Lawsuit says each Nike event and the ensuing crowds subject the condominium’s residents to extended periods of public drunkenness and urination, violence (including brawls and fist fights) loitering, littering, smoking, drug use, yelling and screaming.

Small town stands its ground on condo safety
New York State: a local government had to force a condo to repair unsafe balconies. That was after two people were hurt when a balcony collapsed.

The Château: A Novel
Goldberg’s novel unfolds within the Château Sedan Neuve, a crumbling high-rise condominium in Hollywood, Fla… Governed by a corrupt board – rigging bids with contractors doing shoddy work while longtime residents get evicted – it’s a metaphor for America itself."

Condo News
15 February 2018

Condo caretaker who entered Calgary woman’s suite while she slept pleads guilty
Phillip Allan Skulnec was charged with break-and-enter with intent to commit a sexual assault.

Ontario's new mandatory lease
Starting 30 April 2018, the standard lease will apply to most residential tenancies in Ontario, including condos.

PC party has stopped paying the rent for former leader Patrick Brown’s downtown condo
Brown will now have to use the taxpayer-funded MPPs’ monthly allowance of $1,876.50 toward the rent in the new high-rise building, where suites go for as much as $3,000 a month.

B.C. has too many stratas, not enough managers
They work long hours, hold great responsibilities and don't get paid a lot. Is it any wonder the province has too few strata building managers?

‘Condo commando’ accused of shooting husband long feuded with HOA
A 53-year-old Boynton Beach woman who shot her husband and herself Monday night had residents in her neighborhood living in fear and left the community’s homeowners association president feeling lucky he wasn’t targeted.

New software spies on renters who list their homes on Airbnb
The new Australian anti-Airbnb site, BnbGuard, monitors 12 long- and short-term rental websites and provides landlords and property owners with notifications if their property is found online.

Daring Chinese burglar scales building to break into 33rd floor apartment
“I think the higher that people live, the richer they are.”

Malaysian police cripple burglary ring targeting luxury condos
A couple would rent a unit in a luxury unit & then use a stun gun to rob residents. Two-year long crime spree by a Thai Bonnie & Clyde.

Condo News
09 February 2018

Toronto condo dwellers upset after thief steals master key from Fire Safety Plan box, then a $5,000 bike

Condo board president is calling the theft of the key a major security breach.

How crowded can illegal rooming houses get?
I was talking to a Toronto fire inspector this week. When I said that I know of townhouses that have been divided into 12 to 14 units, he said the most he saw was 26 bedrooms in a townhouse.

What was interesting is that he was aware of all the condos that I said had serious fire code violations.

Looking for the best return in the condo market? Buy old
An article in the Globe and Mail confirms what I wrote several years ago. A well managed older condo building, may be a buyer's best choice.

Freaking awful
Ontario: There’s no sugar-coating it. The new prescribed forms under the amended Condo Act regulations are generally terrible.

Prohibition is best answer to cannabis in condos, legal expert says
Condo boards, and landlords responsible for multi-unit buildings would be wise to nip the problem in the bud, before the summer deadline.

20% more mortgages are being denied by big banks, sending borrowers down the credit ladder
These borrowers can still get mortgages, they'll just have to pay more.

Co-op and condo nightmares in New York gain national attention
An article in the New York Times about how hard it is to rid a co-op or a condo of a dysfunctional or self-serving board.

Is it different here in Canada? No.

Family saved by CO alarm
A recently installed carbon monoxide (CO) alarm is being credited with saving the lives of a Welland family.

On Jan. 28 around 6:30 p.m., one such alarm activated in the south Welland home of the family, alerting them to the presence of carbon monoxide gas and prompting them to evacuate the building before calling 911. Upon arrival, fire crews found readings at the entrance to the home of 24 parts per million, with a higher reading of 40 parts per million near the kitchen stove, which was later credited with the leak of the deadly gas.

Family calls lack of CO detectors in Airdrie condo building ‘pure stupidity and neglect’
Alberta: Elysha Schlichter and Jayla Thompson say they’ve been heartbroken and furious in the days following the loss of their 12-year-old son Trai who died as a result of a carbon monoxide leak in the condo building they called home in Airdrie.
http://bit.ly/2shXvAF  &  http://bit.ly/2BYQK6h

Condo News
03 February 2018

A Florida condo president completely out of control
This Sun Sentinel report describes a condo president so out of control that it is hard to believe that he got away with so much for so long.

De Soto Park Condominiums

Florida regulators ordered Robert Picerno, a Hallandale Beach condo president to resign immediately after learning he was a convicted felon. He refused.

When a state investigator told Picerno to reinstate two owners improperly kicked off the De Soto Park Condominium board, he said no. When regulators demanded association records, he declined. And when they served him with a subpoena, he ignored it.

Now state regulators are looking into owners' allegations that Picerno misspent $177,000 in condo money while the police investigate possible embezzlement, grand theft and fraud.

Felons not allowed
Florida law bans felons who have not had their civil rights restored from serving on condo boards, and Picerno had been convicted of bribery and conspiracy in Rhode Island in 2004.

Got re-elected?
The state told Picerno to step down. Instead, he put himself on the ballot for re-election in 2014 — and won.

Work poorly done
A whirlwind of construction under Picerno brought improvements including new security cameras, roof and fountain lights, tile and paint. Those projects also brought questions from unit owners, who noticed problems ranging from a lack of permits to exposed wiring.

City inspectors cited the condo for code violations in seven major projects carried out on Picerno's watch, ordering immediate fixes that are still underway and have cost owners thousands of dollars.

The condo lawyer weighs in
As the owners awaited records that they never got, the association sent a cease-and-desist letter to one and filed a defamation suit against another. The condo's attorney also fired off a cease-and-desist letter to a unit owner who complained to state officials that Picerno began following her after she tried to solicit signatures to oust him from the board late in 2013.

The lawsuit and letters contained virtually identical allegations, including that the owners had made "statements misrepresenting ... Picerno's qualifications and eligibility as a board member ... without any factual basis."

Regulators sided with the owners and tried—unsuccessfully—to obtain the records through written requests to Picerno, then violation notices and, finally, a subpoena.

Two board members were removed illegally, the state concluded.

Financial surprises hit the condo near the end of 2013. Some board members claimed they never approved the association's purchase of a condo unit or the spending of $176,945 from its reserve fund. The condo also exceeded its budget for repairs and maintenance by more than $300,000.

Unit No. 116 in Building Four cost the association $75,000. Just over a month after the purchase, the condo corporation sold it for $78,500 to a company owned by a real estate agent who does business at the complex. Two months after that, the agent's company sold the unit for $122,000 — a profit of more than $40,000.

The accountant goes to the cops !
The condo's accountant said he had tried to warn the board, but no one took action. "I kept saying, this guy has got a debit card and he's not writing receipts," accountant Brian Calvarese said. "No one stepped up to him on the board."

The accountant said Picerno used association money to pay off his and his wife's cellphone bill. He bought laptops, cellphones and a television with the condo's money. He spent association dollars at restaurants, grocery stores and gas stations and used a condo debit card without showing how he spent the money. The accountant recorded $176,945 in unauthorized reserve fund spending.

Calvarese was so troubled by what he saw he took his concerns to the police.

Picerno told the Sun Sentinel no money came from the general reserves, but records show his signature on multiple checks from that account. One bought golf carts. Others went to a landscaping supply company and other businesses and individuals.

"Mr Picerno feels that he can spend and do as he pleases," Max Levine wrote in his complaint. "Mr. Picerno always disregards board members and unit owners in what he decides to do," wrote Catherine Impliazzo. "Mr. Picerno refuses to give us access to the records," wrote Breytman, and "has taken money from the reserve account without approval of the majority of the unit owners and board members."

Association attorney Isaac Manzo disputed the allegations in an April 2014 e-mail to state regulators: "The Association completely denies all allegations in the complaints in this case and also vehemently protests the unfounded, harassing conduct of" state regulators.

The final days
Picerno served as board president through the spring and summer of 2014, even after his arrest following a brawl with a teenage condo resident. Police sought Picerno on the night of a condo board meeting, saying he hit and kicked the boy and tried to hit him with a metal flashlight. The boy had argued with Picerno and a security guard.

The boy suffered cuts to his forehead and lips and a broken hand, the arrest report stated. Police charged Picerno with assault and battery and the guard with battery.

While awaiting trial, Picerno continued his work for the board and he is currently serving 12 months' probation.

The president's side of this
Picerno told the Sun Sentinel he gave the condominium a dramatic face lift without raising fees, yet was constantly under siege from a small group of malcontents.

"They didn't have any knowledge of how to do things and all they wanted to do was complain," Picerno, 68, said. "They hassled me enough and tortured me and my family. ... I tried to do my best, but they made up story after story after story." "They're just mean, vindictive people," he said. "I tried to do my best to help them. All they ever did was turn everything around." Now, he said, he just wants to be left alone.

Disgruntled owners are powerless
The tumult that accompanied Picerno's 18 months as president at De Soto Park reflects a sense of powerlessness familiar to many condominium owners across South Florida: They have little recourse when condo boards don't know or follow the law.

Even when disgruntled owners get the ear of state regulators, action can come slowly — or never. State records in the De Soto Park case show regulators have limited authority over board members who insist on doing as they please.

Here is the link:

When a Co-op (or condo) board misbehaves
It takes a group of owners to put in a lot of time money and stress to get a bad board out of office.

Toronto coffee & condos meeting

Hamilton hikes fines for loud dog owners to maximum $25,000
Condo owners rejoice.

Habitat for Humanity building a condo

Condo News
01 February 2018

Downtown Vancouver condo dwellers are charging people nearly $1,000 a month to live in tiny dens
The price of a den in Vancouver is fast approaching $1,000 a month. These tiny rooms have been available for rent on Craigslist for a few years now. They typically have room for little more than a single bed and a small nightstand. On the plus side, they usually come with free wi-fi.

Surrey BC: Delivery man caught eating toppings off a customer's pizza

A Domino’s delivery guy in Surrey, British Columbia, was caught on video devouring toppings off a pizza in an elevator on the way to drop it off to a customer.

Kelowna man puts home up for sale because he thinks his neighbour is an asshole

If you own a detached home, you have some freedoms that condo owners can never enjoy. Most likely the owner is more interested in upsetting his neighbour than in selling the house.

Board members of Manhattan condo sued for dangerous renovation resulting in falling bricks
The terrace and pool of the building remain closed following a dangerous debacle on Dec. 7, 2015, when hundreds of bricks fell from the 35th floor of the building. Several blocks around E. 64th St. and First Ave. were closed — and miraculously no one was hurt.

Six unit-owners, calling themselves the Committee of Concerned Unit-Owners of the St. Tropez Condominium, have filed a lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court claiming that facade repairs are still incomplete and that the condo board levied $6.8 million in assessments to gut-renovate the building’s lobby and 14th-floor social room, the Daily News reports.

The suit blames former board president Christopher Klein and former board vice president Sandeep Patel for prioritizing the interior renovations over the well-being of New Yorkers on the streets below. The building’s terrace and pool have remained closed since the wall collapse.

The St. Topez, opened in 1965, was New York City's first condo.

NYPD investigates after daredevils are caught atop east side skyscraper
This is now a world-wide issue. Security needs to watch out for this and judges need to pass tough sentences. If the trespassers get hurt or die, it is possible that the condo will be held liable.

A reader writes:
"Not sure what it is about condos and condo boards that attract people who have no idea or interest how things work but usually have their own agenda."