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Condo News

28 February 2017

Woman guilty of defrauding Collingwood, Barrie condo corporations
of $909,000

A Springwater Township woman pleaded guilty to 18 counts of fraud after forging cheques from condominium corporations totalling more than $900,000.

Rhonda McCarthy was in Collingwood court Feb. 28 and pleaded guilty to 16 counts of fraud exceeding $5,000 and two counts of fraud not exceeding $5,000.

Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT) coming
The CAT will be up and running late this year. At first it will hear only disputes about access to records. Very disappointing.

Landlord pays high price for renter's medical marijuana grow-op
'A grow-op, whether legal or not, is still a high-risk activity,' Insurance Bureau says. A tenant does not have to tell the landlord that he is a grower.

In a statement to Go Public, Gore Mutual Insurance says it "does not provide coverage for marijuana grow-operations regardless of their legality because this type of operation in a residential building presents inherent insurance risks."

Those risks, the company says, include "a greater likelihood of water damage, mould, fire, vandalism and burglary."

You can expect your insurance to be cancelled.

High rent could make Toronto a 'generational ghost town'
Toronto loses out when young people can’t stay, experts warn. I think that the young compensate for high rents by overcrowding condo units. Two, four, six people will share very small units. Another tactic: short-term rentals of leased units.

Mississauga condo developer forgets to put 120 bathrooms in brand new building
I am still being asked if I heard about the condo building that was built without bathrooms. It is satire that can't be stamped out just like an underground fire in a coal mine.

Moose get the boot
"They were in a really bad spot between two condos."

Condo hanging gardens

One Central Park is an award winning mixed-use building located in Sydney, Australia in the suburb of Chippendale.

A very interesting design. The wildlife in Toronto would sure love this. So will the condo cats who love watching birds.

Consumer's beware
What's in your fast-food chicken sandwich?
Marketplace had chicken from 5 major fast food restaurants tested. The salt levels went through the roof but only Subway's chicken was a big surprise.

Condo News
25 February 2017

Condominium Authority Tribunal regulations
(planned to come into force in fall 2017)

Scope of disputes:
• Identifying the first set of condominium disputes that the Tribunal will have jurisdiction to resolve.

Publication of orders:
• Setting out how the Tribunal will make its orders available to the public.

Proposal Number:        17-MGCS004
Posting Date:                February 24, 2017
Comments Due Date:   April 10, 2017
Contact Address:          56 Wellesley St. W, 6th Floor, Toronto ON, M4Y 1G2

AirBnb & Toronto condos panel
Date: Tuesday, March 7th, 2017
Registration:   2:30 pm
Time:              3:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Location: Ryerson University, Ted Rogers School of Management
55 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5G 2C3,
CPA Student Lounge TRS 1-003
Cost:  Free

Real estate lawyer pleads guilty in $15m North York condo scam
A Toronto lawyer who faced 75 charges of fraud in a case involving 140 condo investors has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison.

Ottawa urged to ban smoking in apartments or condos and cigarette sales to anyone under 21
So far, just a discussion paper.

Burlington reaches settlement agreement over condo lawsuit
The city and the condo reached a settlement. Sounds like the city will pay for repairs. No pot-of-gold for the owners.

Wait for the garage door to close

Whenever a vehicle drives down an underground parking garage ramp, there is the possibility that an intruder will follow the car and gain entry to the condo's parking levels. This can happen day or night.

Drivers should use their mirrors and watch to see if they have been followed. If so, make sure your car doors are locked. Phone security to report the trespasser. If security does not show up, do not leave your car. Drive out of the garage and call the police.

Sask. family of 4 ditches large home for 'morphing' condo
Grant Martens, along with his wife and two teenage daughters, decided to leave their 2,700 square foot Eaton's catalogue home in Rosetown, Sask., for an 800 square foot condo in Saskatoon.

How could condo board not warn us of assessment for repairs?
I moved into my condo a year ago and was elected to the condo board a month ago. The seller of my condo paid approximately $14K in special assessments at closing for two separate repair projects.

Now the condo board is advising the other board members that a $600K "cost overrun" special assessment must be levied against all association members. Is this common and/or legal?

Shouldn't we expect the board to have known about these additional costs when the work was being done? Note, both projects have been finished for at least two years now.

Ward Lucas on HOA Madness
Ward Lucas, formerly of Denver's 9News and now author of the book, "Neighbors at War!," sits down with host Jon Caldara to discuss the dark side of homeowners associations.

There are more news stories on the CondoMadness Twitter page.

Condo News
22 February 2017

Regulation under the Condominium Act, 1998
The Draft Regulation under the Condominium Act, 1998 now available for public comment.  (In attention to the earlier released Plain Language Summary.

'I feel bullied,' says condo owner taken to court over backyard garden items not allowed in bylaws
Brampton woman taken to court for have one too many chairs in her backyard garden. Condo conflict 'rampant' says William Stratas who gets daily calls about bullying and fee fights.

Keep the peace in condo land (and avoid going to court) with this lawyer's tips
The Three Knows
Talk out disputes and know your rights, says Chris Jaglowitz.
I would add:  Know how to  prevent a dispute with the board and then if that don't work, Know the name of a good lawyer experienced in condo law.

Balcony smokers likely violate Condominium Act
Well then, if smoking on the balconies violate the Condo Act, then the board must take action to stop it. (But will it?)

Anti-Semitic notes left on North York condo doors
Toronto Police received “numerous” calls from occupants of 233 Beecroft Rd., in the Yonge St. and Sheppard Ave. area, about what they had found Sunday evening.

South River landlord, tenant charged for failing to maintain smoke alarm
On Feb. 15, members of the South River Machar fire department investigated a local residence after being contacted by a resident with fire safety concerns.

As a result of the investigation, two charges have been laid against the landlord and one charge to the tenant. The landlord was hit with a $355 fine for failure to maintain a working smoke alarm, as well as a $355 charge for failure to maintain a working carbon monoxide detector.

The tenant was fined $355 for failing to notify the landlord that a smoke alarm was not operating.

Quick Hits
A few short stories from David Fleming, a Toronto Realtor. The one about the missing keys was interesting. Potential buyers, or agents, leaving coffee cups in the units shows a lot of disrespect.

What's going on?

Condo owners, who don't know what's going on, are happy investors.

Most condos towers have monthly fire alarm tests and an annual fire inspection audit. A few—to save money—skip the monthly tests and just have the mandatory annual inspection.

After the fire inspection company completes the annual testing, they give the manager/board a Fire Safety Report listing all the defects they found. If there are no defects, the company will give the condo a Fire Inspection Certificate.

However, not all condos repair the listed defects. Those condos do not get a Fire Inspection Certificate. The following year, there is another inspection and the list of defects may become a little longer. Still the defects may not get repaired.

Sometimes the manager will tell the board that they have the report; perhaps the manager read it, perhaps not. Often the directors don't read it or if they do, don't fully realize that they have a fiducial duty to repair or replace all faulty parts of the fire safety system.

Flaws with this process

The fire inspection companies do not have to inform the municipal fire department that a building has fire code violations.

The fire departments are not reviewing the Fire Inspection Reports. The board can refuse access to the property.

A copy of the latest fire inspection report is not included in the Status Certificates. (Should be mandatory.)

Owners, and potential buyers, never think of asking to examine the latest Fire Inspection Report and Fire Inspection Certificate.

So when does the dog poop hit the fan? It doesn't.

Not until there is a fire and a defect in the fire system, one that has been reported, is identified as leading to unnecessary property damage, injuries or death.

Then the fire department, the insurance company and the victims, or the victim's families, will hunt for someone to blame.

So if you live in a condo tower, why don't you ask to examine your building's latest report and Fire Inspection Certificate?

Articles from USA
Florida: Grand Jury calls for criminal charges to rein in 'Wild West' of condo boards
Criminal charges could soon be in store for misbehaving condominium board members and managers if recommendations in a Miami-Dade grand jury report gain traction.

Litigation heats up at downtown Miami’s Vizcayne condo complex
Complex now has three active construction defect lawsuits.

A hidden hellscape
Philadelphia, the home of the East Coast's largest heroin market, has got to clean this up. "There's condos popping up everywhere," said Elvis Rosado of Prevention Point, a nonprofit agency that provides needle-exchange and other health services to addicts. "Those are hard to sell with junkies in the front doors."

Condo News
17 February 2017

1st new Regulations
The Ministry has published the first draft of some of the new Regulations for the new Condo Act. This is the real easy stuff. The difficult stuff will come later. A quick looks shows:

Phase 1
1. Communications
(planned to come into force on July 1, 2017)
Improving communications between boards and owners.

2. Director Qualifications & Disqualifications
(planned to come into force on July 1, 2017)

3. Meetings
(planned to come into force on July 1, 2017)
Improving meeting and voting procedures, including:
• New notice of meeting procedures.
• Establishing new mandatory proxy forms.

4. Records
(planned to come into force in fall 2017)
Providing clearer rules regarding records retention and access, including:
• A non-exhaustive list of records that need to be retained by each corporation and a minimum retention period for each type.
• A more standardized process for records requests.

Comments Due Date:
March 30, 2017

This will require studying and I will post my opinions over several weeks. I am sure that the better condo lawyer blogs will be busy plowing the same earth.

It looks like the three easy things come first. Records, which I figure should be easy, comes much later, when the leaves fall off the trees.

These draft regulations are vague and obviously incomplete. They look like they were slapped together just to get something out there.

What's worse, the important stuff, the disputes tribunal, sounds like it is far, far down the road. We may have a new government in place by then.

You may need a resumé for your pet to rent in Toronto
Monika Nazair wrote a pet resumé to introduce her dog to prospective landlords. It worked, she got an apartment.

Long-term renters an asset
Long-term renters willingness to volunteer should be welcomed by the condominium community.

Residents forced to leave by fire at Yonge, St. Clair in insurance claim limbo
Residents of 1430 Yonge St. are eager to see what kind of damage smoke and water has caused.

Firefighters using condo balconies

When fighting a difficult fire on 14 February 2017, Toronto firefighters used the balconies on a neighbouring condo tower, 1430 Yonge, to pour water down onto a burning roof.

New condo purchases can bring closing day surprises
If you think any of these surprises will be nice ones, you certainly are going to be disappointed.

What's going on?

Condo owners, who don't know what's going on, are happy investors.

I have been informed that Mississauga Fire Services has issuing work orders at a condo corporation because they have two dozen illegal overcrowded units that are being used as student rooming houses.

These dangerous rooming houses located in a stacked townhouse complex have existed for years. Maybe now something will be done about it.

All of Ontario's fire departments should inspect condo towers, townhouses and detached homes near community colleges and universities to eliminate any and all overcrowded fire traps before people get badly burnt or killed.

Articles from USA
Convicted felon on condo board?
It seems like they can in Florida. Laws against it have no teeth.

Dog waste dilemma unfolds in Northern Va. town
The HOA's board of directors noticed some problems after the removal of those dog waste cans too. It actually sent out a letter last week to residents that claimed people were putting dog waste in the cars owned by HOA board members.

Condo News
14 February 2017

What's wrong with Toronto's condos?
Toronto is becoming a condo city. This video has two architects claim that Toronto's condos are boring. All grey and green with too much glass.
A 25 minute TVO video.

Faulty Towers
This 29 minute TVO video is the more interesting of the two. It focused on the quality of condo construction in Toronto. Even though quality issues exist, the panel was very upbeat about condos. Unfortunately they just touched on some important issues.

Chargebacks—changes coming
Michelle Kelly wrote an interesting article on how Ontario condos deal with chargebacks and the changes that the new regulations will bring us.

Cycling advocates upset project for bike lanes in North York delayed
Cycle Toronto worries the whole plan will die. One problem if this plan goes ahead, Bathurst and Bayview will become even more congested.

I hope this isn't a condo

'Why did we buy this place?': Condo owners want developer to fix problems in new build
Multiple condo owners in Manitoba say they have had issues with water, lack of heat and finishes in new units.

Articles from USA
Attorney files 60 almost identical discrimination lawsuits against Florida condo short-term rental owners
Short-term rental hosts sued over ads discriminating against children.

Florida man accused of scamming seasonal visitors
Fraud: A man is alleged to have short-term rented his condo to three guests at the same time. Yet he had no intention of renting it to anyone.

Articles from China
New elevated bicycle skyway

This is the new elevated bicycle skyway in Xiamen. Bicycles are making a comeback and this is a slick way to prevent serious accidents.

This photo is fascinating. There is an elevated freeway over the city streets, an elevated bicycle pathway over the freeway and an elevated LRT system over the bicycle pathway.

Will we see one of these over Bloor or Yonge Streets any time now?

Condo News
08 February 2017

Do you stay or do you go? What to do when there's a fire in your high-rise building
Be warned there will be no Hollywood high-rise helicopter rescue.

Why should you read this CBC article? Preliminary data shows that in 2016, Toronto had approximately 471 fires in high-rise buildings, three deaths and 57 people injured. 

Dog walks along 24-storey Toronto condo ledge to neighbour’s balcony
The OSPCA is investigating after a dog with visible signs of neglect walked along a condo balcony ledge 24-storeys high to the safety of a neighbour’s balcony. The neighbour called police and two dogs were taken into protective custody by Toronto Animal Services.

Warning: look after your pets
Here is a message for condo owners. Keep your dogs on a leach and don't let your cats wander at night. The coyotes and fox are looking for their next meal.

Homeowner's unauthorized pet sparks fight with strata
This will not go well for the condo owner.

Barbie bandit steals prized collection from Calgary condo locker
A Calgary women says she is in shock after thieves made off with her prized collection of Barbie dolls from around the world.

W5 investigates the dangerous sport of rooftopping
This is an extremely dangerous activity and something that the boards of condo skyscrapers need to worry about. If an idiot gets killed, the condo needs to be sure that all reasonable precautions were taken.

Who controls parking?
If the woman has exclusive use of a parking spot then I would think she should be allowed to keep it empty for the use of her visitors.

Why I find reading AGM packages so interesting
A new AGM info package is like buying a mystery grab bag at a flea market; you never know what you may find inside.

Articles from USA
State fails to protect condo owners from board fraud, grand jury finds
Florida Grand Jury finds that the state fails to protect condo owners.

One dead, one jailed after fight over a woman in Tuscaloosa
condo parking lot

Dillon Lee has been arrested on a murder charge and here he is smiling in his mug shot taken at the Tuscaloosa County Jail.  IDIOT.

Bullet hits 13th-floor condo, lodges in fridge
Police in District 6 Tells CBS 58 News that they believe it happened either late Saturday night or early in the next morning at Bay View Terrace Condominiums.

Lohneis says the bullet flew through her window and torpedoed into her kitchen, where it became lodged in her refrigerator.

She was told by police that the bullet came from a high-powered weapon, and that it was so deep inside of her fridge, that they can’t remove it.

Extreme HOA fines prevent home sale
An owner puts his empty house up for sale and squatters move in. They wreak the place. Now he can't sell his house because the HOA is claiming $157,700 in fines.

Condo News
03 February 2017

Millennials denied Toronto condo rental due to their age
Landlord 'wasn't interested in the potential problems that may arise' from young tenants.

The real estate agent takes the blame.

When will the Toronto real estate bubble burst?
If not this spring then how about never?

Walt Wingfield returns to Orangeville’s stage in February
In "Wingfield’s Progress", a comedy, Walt and the others get it in their heads to halt a condominium development on the Seventh Line known as Persephone Glen Homes.

The play, "Wingfield’s Progress", will be staged Feb. 2-19 at the Orangeville Town Hall Opera House.

Bars on the windows?

A reader send me a photo of a ground-floor residential unit in her northern Ontario condo corporation that has bars on all of its windows. I wonder why the board allowed the common elements to be altered like this?

Ikea bicycle
Ikea has created a bike for urban living.

Articles from USA
Cabbies say the end is near as Uber, Lyft come to Logan
The struggle by the taxi business to compete with Uber and similar companies is nothing new. But most of those remaining in the industry are convinced that a steady decline — fare revenue in Boston dropped 40% in the four years ending last September—is about to give way to free fall.

As recently as 2014, taxi medallions were seen as nest eggs and routinely brought $700,000 each. Some operators borrowed heavily or even mortgaged their homes to buy them. But last November, a medallion sold for just $107,000. Several cab owners said they received no offers at all when they attempted to sell medallions in recent months.

Analysts said the US taxi industry has effectively exhausted its legal options.

“They should probably hang it up,” said Janice Griffith, an attorney and professor at Suffolk University Law School who studies local governance.

So the taxi industry is taking a terrible beating. Will short-term rentals (mainly condo units) wipe out the bed and breakfast industy and badly damage the smaller motel and hotel operators? Quite likely.

Condo feud boils over as neighbors sic city on neighbors
"To have that many (complaints), clearly there's an orchestrated effort to wreak havoc upon the unit owners."

Article from Australia
Sheree Lee-Anne Edwards jailed for stealing $500,000 from Bunbury family business
A woman stole $500,000 from the family property management company. gets jail time.

There are more news stories on the CondoMadness Twitter page.