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Condo News
30 July 2018

'Get out of my truck right now': Not-so-hidden camera catches four break-ins in same London vehicle over 36 hours
"We saw them casing the joint. They're driving around on bikes, they've got flashlights, they're surprisingly organized," she said. "They don't care that they're on camera."
This problem is common in Toronto's condo underground garages. Thieves travelling alone, or in pairs, ride down the garage ramps when the doors are opened.

Where can you buy a Toronto condo for less than average?

Unsurprisingly, condos for sale in downtown Toronto are all more than the city average. But move just outside the spine of the city, into the outer boroughs and you’ll find multiple neighbourhoods where condos are a bargain. The east-end, in particular, has multiple areas in which a household earning less than $60,000 can afford a condo.

My advice? There are some bargains to be had. However, be very careful if you buy a condo in these areas. Use an experienced and ethical Realtor and real estate lawyer to insure you do not buy in a building that has serious financial or maintenance problems.

Condo Act amendments increase burden on all parties
While the recent amendments to Ontario’s Condominium Act may have been initiated to make life easier for unit owners and condo corporations, they have ended up creating more challenges for all involved, says Toronto condominium lawyer Audrey Loeb.

Bed bugs in Toronto condo
The following report was posted on the Riddit  r/Toronto account:
(I removed the condos' addresses because it was an anonymous posting.)
I recently discovered that my condo building (downtown Toronto) has bed bugs. Did property management inform me? Nope. I saw a video in the community's Facebook group posted by another resident saying they have been infested for weeks, reported the issue immediately, and property management has been doing very little to help and actually trying to hide it from other residents because they didn't want to 'create a panic'.
As a result of their inaction, the bed bugs spread throughout the entire building (almost every floor out of 11 storeys, including the lobby, elevators and basement laundry room). They spread through the vents, on the outside of the building and through windows, and even through the cable conduits. It is now a massive wide-spread issue throughout the building, and even spread to the building next door. All of my possessions are currently in plastic bags or bins and I'm trying desperately to seal every crack around windows and baseboards with caulking. I've spent more than $50 on laundry in the last week alone and had to take time off work. I have to wash everything I wear and all my bedding every day and keep it in plastic bags. It has taken a huge mental and emotional toll.
Property Management has only started acting after residents organized, sharing experiences and realizing that we were being told different information and sometimes being lied to about the scale of the problem and when it was first reported. Management only recently agreed to issue a notice to all residents informing them of the scale of the issue (you would think this would be a basic first step when the first residents report a problem). They refuse to post the notice publicly in lobbies and elevators, probably because they are worried about property values. I have seen realtors with clients (there are several units for sale and lease) and delivery people coming through the condo over the past week and I'm sure they have no idea.
Management also refuses to cover any of the costs related to the bed bug infestation and says they are the residents' responsibility. They will only spray affected units, which just spreads bed bugs further outwards to adjacent units. The pest control company they've hired seems to be the cheapest option and has very few online reviews. They won't do heat treatment which is a more effective (and expensive) option. Some of the owners are now considering a class action or some type of legal action to recover the thousands of dollars in costs this has incurred so far. It's particularly ridiculous because the property management fees are very high (almost $1 per sq ft).
I'm at the point where it seems like there is no choice but to move. This infestation is so huge that it's hard to envision it being totally controlled anytime in the near future, and I don't want to live out of bags for the next year (which is how long bed bugs can survive without food).

B.C. Airbnb hostel battle erupts into open
The strata, the city and the courts have all told Yu to stop using her three-bedroom, five-level North Vancouver home as an Airbnb hostel. But the 42-year-old is not a woman given to taking no for an answer.

BC: Are they condo owners or indentured servants?
BC has some weird strata (condo) legislation. Any strata council (condo board) who signs an agreement containing terms like that should be immediately recalled by the owners.

Former condominiums maintenance worker charged with stealing from 19 residents
Springfield Massachusetts Police Department spokesman Ryan Walsh told 22News that after a year-long investigation, 52-year-old Anthony Delestre has been indicted on 43 counts of theft against 19 different victims who lived at Georgetown Condominiums.
Walsh said Delestre worked at the condominiums for years and was selling numerous jewelry items to pawn shops.

A pair of sinuous condominium towers in Malaysia

Extremely beautiful buildings.

Condo News
25 July 2018

Toronto's Berczy Park’s dead grass blamed on its many canine visitors

Much of the grass in the extravagantly reconstructed Berczy Park.
Jack Lakey Toronto Star

An $8-million redesign of the tiny park, next to the Flatiron Building, was completed in 2017 by prominent Montreal architect Claude Cormier.
But in the year since it opened, most of the grass has turned a crispy brown or disappeared altogether, which makes it far less welcoming.
“It’s become a signature location for tourists, office workers, families, etc. But it’s disgusting and I haven’t been able to specifics,” from the city about why the grass has died, said Fine.  (The Answer? Gallons of dog urine.)

CMRAO Refuses to grant a licence

This page provides a listing of actions proposed by the Registrar. Please note that the licensee still has an opportunity to appeal the action at the Licence Appeal Tribunal.

Mr. Tagari has been to the Licence Appeal Tribunal some time ago.

Toronto fire inspection paper trail so bad, police can’t start fraud probe
The schmozzle in the department came to light when Romeo-Beehler received serious allegations about a trio of companies – York Fire Protection, Advance Fire Control and Advanced Detection Technologies Corp. – which had been doing business with the city for about a decade.

Decay sparks farewell to downtown Toronto living
The low point of living with kids in downtown Toronto came for me just the other month.
My son and I had left our unit to take a bag of trash to the garbage chute. Then we headed to take the stairs down to play outside. I opened the stairwell door and my young son did as he always does and charged ahead. There on the floor right in front of us was a woman with a needle hanging from her shin. We’d interrupted her injection.
And there she was, in our building’s staircase, just a few feet away from my condo door.

Time to move out? Inside Moss Parks degradation
YouTube video as part of the above report.

Make the most of your condo balcony with these 10 expert tips
Condo buyers always insist on having a balcony, and it adds to the cost of the unit,” says Barrinuevo, the Principal of Redesign4more, a Toronto-based home staging company. “You might as well use it!

Ontario 2019 maximum rent increase

Condo landlords will be seeing far higher increases in their costs than 1.8% in the coming year.

B.C. moves to crack down on short-term condo rentals
Strata councils can soon assess fines of up to $1,000 a day for unauthorized rentals

Black family asked to show ID for using pool in their B.C. townhouse complex
A Surrey, B.C. family is heartbroken after being asked to prove they could use the pool in their own townhouse complex — a request they feel was racially motivated.
In a statement to Global News, the strata council said the resident who made the complaint is a member of the council, (condo board member) as well as a member of the clubhouse committee. It also said it is investigating the incident.
“The enquiry of this should not have occurred in this manner,” the council said. “Steps are currently being taken to remove that committee member from the clubhouse committee based on their actions in overstepping their boundary.”

Poor door at proposed Vancouver West End condo tower raises issue of stigma
The City of Vancouver has noted concerns over how the wealthy and the needy will be set apart from each other in a proposed West End tower.
The development is a 30-storey highrise at the southeast corner of Burnaby and Thurlow streets that will have separate lobbies and amenity areas for condo dwellers and residents of the social housing component of the project.
Public concerns were about the separate entrances for the market and social housing, as well as the separated children's play areas.
“There was concern that this would result in social isolation and stigmatization of the residents in the social housing units,” Hoese noted.
The 39 social housing units will be on levels one to eight of the building. Above them, from levels nine to 30, will be 82 condos.

47-year California condo complex without running water for a week
Although the condo association has arranged for delivery of water for drinking, washing, and bathing, many residents are fed up with the inconvenience of hauling water, and the delay in restoration of running water.

Use legal means to collect condo fees
Jamaica: A confrontation last week at a strata complex in the Corporate Area, which left one man nursing a gunshot wound and several questions being asked about the actions of a group of security guards, has sparked a debate on the collection of maintenance fees at these complexes.

Condo News
16 July 2018

Man, 29, critically injured in robbery attempt in Humber Bay parking garage
Toronto police say they are looking for three suspects after a man was seriously injured in an attempted robbery in Humber Bay.
Officers were called to a parking garage near Park Lawn Road and Lake Shores Boulevard just before 4 p.m. on Saturday. (This area has a large number of condos high-rises.)
The victim, a 29-year-old man who had been severely assaulted, was located a short time later.
Paramedics say they rushed the man to a trauma centre with life-threatening injuries.

'$6 Million man' Mayo Schmidt retires as Hydro One CEO, effective immediately
In related news, Doug Ford promises a 12% cut in hydro rates. That should help condo budgets; at least in the short run.

Eradicating bed bugs in condos involves cooperative effort
With bed bugs becoming an increasingly common problem for condominium corporations, Toronto condominium lawyer Warren Kleiner says corporations need to have a tactful approach in dealing with the problem.

Six months before move-in date, condo developer backs away from Edmonton tower project
Yet another pre-built condo development that turned into a big disappointment.
Real estate lawyer Robert Noce said it's not entirely unusual for condominium projects to be cancelled before completion, due to slow sales.

Victoria considers minimum-size restriction for downtown housing units
Victoria councillors have asked staff to consider setting a minimum unit size for downtown apartments and condos.
When the first of the micro-loft condo units were approved, the thinking was that for people living in them, downtown coffee shops, restaurants and open spaces would be their living area.
(Are they kidding? In Toronto the all-night coffees shops, fast food joints and open spaces are the living area for the homeless.)
“Then we started to find out that people were using them for short term vacation rentals (Airbnb) and when I asked [why], they would say they’re not livable for long term because they’re so small,” said Coun. Charlayne Thornton Joe at a recent meeting of councillors. “So that is to me creating a concern.”

Hourly Rentals
The New York Times reported on an emerging money-making venture among some co-op and condo residents: renting out their spaces for an hour or two at a time to various users, often finding customers through third-party apps and websites such as Splacer, Peerspace or Thisopenspace.
But while inhabitants of cushy apartments may see all of this as a quick and easy way to monetize their apartment space, others fear that hourly rentals are little more than a means of subverting existing regulations, while opening up a condo or co-op community to an array of liability headaches.
It all comes back to the question of security, something for which residents of co-ops and condos frequently pay a premium.

Planned affordable housing tower blindsides downtown St. Petersburg Florida condo neighbors
Boley (a non-profit social agency) can’t control the people who live in their small facility now, he said. "Now they’re going to add a bunch of unwanted people, drug users, people in and out of jail," he said. "I am concerned about the property values being diminished, as well as the safety."

Florida man arrested after trying to burn down condo to 'kill all the f------ Jews'
A 72-year-old Florida man was arrested Friday after he vowed to burn down his condo to kill “all the f---ing Jews.”
Walter Stolper was in the midst of being evicted from his Miami Beach condo this week when a resident complained about smelling gas in the building.

Condo News
10 July 2018

Ontario CAT decisions now on Canlii
The first five decisions by the Condominium Authority Tribunal have been published on Canlii.
It is gratifying to see that the adjudicators have caught on to some of the games the condo boards and managers use to prevent owners from seeing the corporation records.
My take on three of these decisions can be found here:

Condo fire in North York sends 1 person to hospital
Toronto fire crews battled a condo fire in North York early Sunday morning that sent one person to hospital.

Yonge St. corridor can’t handle more development
Toronto's condo developers paid the city hundreds of millions in development fees. Then the city collected hundreds of millions more in land transfer fees. Where did all that money go? Why was it not used to rebuild water and sewage lines, build schools and widen sidewalks?
Now Councillor Josh Matlow and others say developers shouldn't build any more condos in this area because the city infrastructure can't handle additional growth?

The economics is all based on increasing real estate prices. As long as condo units don't drop in price, there is money to be made when selling. At least that is the theory.

Yonge-Eglinton renters to get $2 million settlement because of condo construction
Of the 324 units in both buildings, Mattucci said approximately 60 per cent will qualify for rent abatement — a temporary suspension of a percentage of their rent — that will range from a $50 to $600 decrease each month, depending on the impact the construction has on the unit. Alternatively, qualifying tenants could opt for a kitchen or bathroom renovation (or both in some cases) or they can terminate their lease early, within the first two to three months of construction, if they deem the disturbance too great. In that case, they’ll receive a moving allowance.
When construction ends, a small membership fee — equivalent to the condo maintenance fee toward use of the gym and pool — will allow tenants access to the amenities in each new condo.

The risky business of marijuana butane honey oil operations
With the upcoming legalization of marijuana in Canada, the likelihood of an increase in BHO laboratories and subsequent explosion incidents in Ontario can be expected, as has occurred in many areas of the United States. This puts members of the public and first responders all at an inherent risk of an explosion and/or fire incident.

No bike riding, no chalk drawings: Vancouver Island strata bans outside play on quiet road
I thought not allowing kids to be kids was just an American problem.

Terminating condo corporations
Another group of apartment owners have banded together to sell their units at huge profits to a developer. This works when:
• There are few units on a parcel of land that is zoned for higher densities.
• The condo corporation is in a very desirable location.
• Usually it is an older condo that requires millions in repairs.

Condo News
03 July 2018

How a fight between condo board and homeowner over a flower box ballooned to a $109,000 court bill
Manorama Sennek owns one of the homes in Carleton Condominium Corporation # 116. Her court battle with the board was over three issues: the size of her parking space, the pruning of a Tamarac pine tree’s branches that hung over her unit, and a flower box on the outside of her home.

Recreational cannabis use to become legal this fall
What can condo boards and property managers in Ontario do to prepare?

New Minister of Government & Consumer Services
Doug Ford has appointed the Hon. Todd Smith as Minister of government and consumer services, and government house leader. He represents the riding of Bay of Quinte.
He replaces Tracy MacCharles as Minister of Government and Consumer Services and Yasir Naqvi who held Special Parliamentary Responsibilities.
I don't think that the NDP has formed their shadow cabinet as yet.

Ottawa condo owners warn seniors to be wary who they let in
Ottawa Police are warning about a woman posing as a health care worker, breaking in to seniors' residences around town.
An Ottawa couple found a stranger in scrubs in the unit of their west-end condo building in March; imagine their surprise when she showed up again this past Saturday.
Barbara says another tenant woke from a nap to find a strange woman wearing scrubs in her bathroom.

Toronto wants mid-rise housing, but can we afford it?
Toronto places so many restrictions on mid-size condos that it is far more profitable for developers to build tall high-rises developments or focus on expensive mid-sized developments.

Approval extended for James Street South condo project
Hamilton has granted the new buyers of a downtown highrise development a one-year extension to the conditional site plan approval.
So finally, maybe, this condo will get built.

An owner at this condo wrote on Twitter:
Reliable sign of a condo in decline. Official notice placed in elevators: "Desperately need Proxy Forms" Free food and drinks provided!

Few plan to attend the AGM. Massive owner apathy is apparent after compounded fee increases of 38% over 3 years. #condofraud
The notice worked as the condo did manage to meet quorum.

Condo board moves meetings to school over concerns about armed resident
That is one problem that Canadian condos doen't have to worry about.

Newspaper comment
I am a resident at Tower Villas, here to provide a little more information to those of you speculating as to why we feel unsafe with this particular resident bringing a gun to our board meetings. It's not just him carrying a gun that is the problem. The problem is that he is openly carrying a gun *and* becoming visibly frustrated and aggressive with board members, calling them names and accusing them of unfounded misconduct. At the last meeting, during one of his episodes and while openly carrying a weapon, he became so flustered that he had an issue breathing and needed medical attention from a nurse who happened to be in attendance. This aggressive behavior is a pattern for him, and the board members (all volunteering their time for the good of their community), fear for their safety. I’m worried the board members might just up and quit, and I sure wouldn't blame them for it.

President of homeowners association in Cypress accused of misusing funds
Cypress, Texas—A warrant is now out for the arrest of the Mark's Glen Inc Maintenance Association's President Kate Warth for Misapplication of Fiduciary Property.
Someone with knowledge of the case told KPRC that the HOA debit card that only Warth had access to, was used more than 700 times for personal use and expenditures amounting to nearly $100,000.

Man’s candlelit proposal to his girlfriend turns hotel room into blazing inferno
Be very careful with candles. The man now owes the hotel the equivalent of $38,000 US in damages