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Condo News
24 June 2018

Build large condo units and families will come?
The City of Toronto's plan to have families move into downtown condos is social planning at its worse.
TOCore requires buildings that have 80 units or more, to have at least 15 per cent of the units be two-bedroom suites measuring more than 936 square feet, at least 10 per cent of the units to be three-bedroom suites measuring more than 1,076 square feet, and at least another 15 per cent of units to be two- or three-bedroom suites that are not subject to size minimums.
This article shows why this is not a feasible plan.

Dizzy the Cat gets a promenade dedicated to him
Toronto’s first cat-themed park, a pedestrian promenade opens next year.

High-flying Toronto condo market may be about to hit turbulence
“When you look at it as an investor, the economics are not there to buy and hold a condo based on cash flow,” Robert Kavcic, senior economist at Bank of Montreal, said by phone from Toronto. “Now you absolutely do need price gains to make the economics work.”

Building Canada’s tallest condo towers—right into Toronto’s sales slump
The developer plans to construct the country’s tallest residential buildings -- two towers as high as 92 stories plus commercial space, designed by Frank Gehry, and projected to cost more than C$1 billion ($750 million).

“But if we don’t get our presales, we’re not building our condo.”

Mandatory director training

Failure to complete the training means a director is automatically disqualified under Section 29 (2) (e) of the Ontario Condominium Act.
In reality, a director will be disqualified only if the majority of directors decide to enforce the Act. I am not sure how often that will happen.

Bnb Formula
A real estate wealth training program where you rent other peoples' properties on Airbnb. Cost for the program: $2,000.

A locked garage may not protect your bike from theft, condo management says

Residents of Toronto condominiums say they have been warned by management that locked bicycle rooms are being targeted by thieves.
David Milne of Gears Bike Shop in the Canary District says at least two customers come in every week saying that their bikes have been stolen. “More bikes get stolen from condos than any bike shop I’ve ever worked in, which is crazy,” he said.
“It’s definitely organized crime. This is not just somebody randomly taking a bike. They are putting strategy together in order to capture these high-end bikes.”

The risky business of marijuana butane honey oil operations
Fires and explosions occurring at marijuana butane honey oil extraction (BHO) operations have increased significantly over the past several years, according to the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management (OFMEM) in Ontario.
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 put the manufacturers, members of the public and first responders all at an inherent risk of an explosion and/or fire incident.

Edmonton highrise opens rooftop dog park with grassy turf, fake fire hydrants

I wonder what was the installation costs and how much is the upkeep?

Condo News
19 June 2018

Dog strangled in fatal elevator accident
Toronto: A dog died Saturday morning after being strangled when its leash was caught in the doors of an apartment building elevator. Toronto Fire has ruled the incident an accident.

Developer proposes new condo development right next to one he cancelled
Vaughan: The buyers of the cancelled project have a right to be upset. It is now up to the Vaughan city councillors to see if they can help.

Same old lesson here. DO NOT buy a pre-built condo unit as a primary residence.

Residents push for more public space in private condo development

From the European-style High Street and artists’ mews to the community hub and daycare, the redevelopment of Dufferin and Bloor Sts. looks like a downtown condo buyer’s dream.
But a residents’ group called Build a Better Bloor Dufferin (BBBD) wants a say in the contribution the developers are making. That they’re redeveloping land that includes two decommissioned public schools means the community feels a high degree of ownership in the property even though Capital and Metropia bought it for $121.5 million in December 2016.
But it wants to make sure the neighbourhood retains some affordability. The group wants a 200-unit building on the site devoted to rent-geared-to-income housing with a further 10 per cent of the developers’ market units designated affordable also.

Vancouver lawyer wins defamation suit and is awarded $1 by judge
The judge added that "a lawyer must exercise restraint when it comes to launching legal action when they receive a review that displeases them."
The judge also didn't award any costs to the lawyer or the law firm.

‘High’ price of a starter condo: Former crack den listed at $419K
BC: “Material Latent Defect: Previously used as an illegal substance packaging house for cocaine/fentanyl/marijuana.”
"Financing may be an issue” – an admission of the fact that very few mortgage lenders would go near such a property, which means you’ll likely have to be a cash buyer with a high risk tolerance.
Further, the agent explains that the unit has been “completely stripped down… to stud walls and [has] no city occupancy [permit] in place. Major work needed and appliances required throughout.” In other words, right now, nobody is allowed to live there, it is totally uninhabitable in its current form, and an occupancy permit post-rehabilitation is not guaranteed.

New Report Highlights Problems With NYC Elevator Inspections
Figure the elevator inspectors will keep your elevators safe and trouble-free. This report suggests that more needs to be done.

I’m the angry note lady

Is it OK for someone to leave their personal belongings outside their apartment? Bikes, shoes, sometimes even garbage (which is en route to the bin) in the corridor of an apartment building?

Clothes lines & condos


Condo News
16 June 2018

Millennials in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area: A generation stuck in apartments?
A Ryerson University study suggests that young adults are renting or buying condos because they can't afford detached homes. (I thought that would have been obvious.)

Pre-build studio condo
Toronto: This 325 sq ft studio starts at $410,000 ($1,200 a square foot). Of course, parking is extra. See how they are including the size of the balcony in the total square footage?

Tiny condos use to be affordable.

Man arrested on 36 charges following condo rental listing scam
Between September 2017 and June, condos were advertised for rent at 87 Peter St., Toronto; 5025 Foursprings Avenue, Mississauga, and 5044 Hurontario Street, Mississauga.

Sault city council aims to clean-up old hospital that's become 'an abomination'

Sault Ste. Marie city staff studying options for riding an old hospital site of rats and graffiti.
 Sofer's TVM Group bought Sault Area Hospital’s surplus 20-acre hospital complex waterfront property in 2013 for $65,000, much lower than SAH's original asking price of $4.9 million.
Some of the buildings have been converted and there are now 40 condo units on site, but the rest has fallen into disrepair with graffiti, rats and pigeons among the many concerns listed by neighbours.
"If the building is compliant with our property standards, there's a problem with our property standards,"  said Mayor Christian Provenzano.

Further development of former hospital site put on hold
Sault St. Marie—Local economy to blame for slow sale of condo units, developer says; states he's still committed to project

Condo sues property manager alleging theft and mismanagement—again
This two year old Gobe and Mail news report was re-published as being updated but I see little, if anything, that has been updated.

Hearing set for complaint over Mandarin-only strata meetings in Richmond BC
Two of the complainants moved out over a year ago. The condo now has all meetings held in Mandarin & English. So why are they continuing with this human rights complaint?

Langley condo owners who never moved into their units take legal battle to a higher court
BC: Buying a pre-construction condo can be very risky.

Derrick O'Keefe: No more overlooking renters’ issues in Vancouver—we need a Rent Freeze now
Enough is enough. It’s time to treat the housing crisis in Vancouver as an emergency. The Straight  reported on the fact that the City of Vancouver now defines a new three-bedroom unit renting at $3,702 per month as “affordable housing”. We’ve reached a level of absurdity in Vancouver where Orwellian political spin has given way to straight-up trolling.
I don't agree with much of what Mr. O'Keefe is saying. A rent freeze is a terrible idea. However, calling $3,702 a month affordable is over the top. I am sure that utilities are not included in this "affordable" rent?

What is the definition of affordable housing?
I am glad you asked. The definition is here:

Condo building not fully repaired nearly two years after a fire
Neighbors in a Hillsborough County Florida community are living in limbo. They demand to know when something will finally be done about the fire damage next to their condos. They claim the HOA is dragging its feet on repairs.

Man builds himself an illegal swimming pool on the top of his condo apartment building

There was a recent unauthorized construction of a swimming pool on top of a residential building in Zhaotong city, Yunnan province. Holding over 40 tons of water, the 1-meter-deep pool added an additional 40,000 kilograms of weight to the building, according to The Paper.
Somehow, the resident, surnamed Lan, managed to build this private pool and fill it up without local officials finding out. Pretty impressive.
His condo neighbours ratted him out to the authorities so he has to drain & dismantle his swimming pool.

Condo News
09 June 2018

Toronto's first 'smokeless' condo starts sales ahead federal pot bill
A Toronto housing developer is selling the GTA's first "smokeless" condominium. "We know that smoke moves between units in buildings, it's impossible to prevent that," explained Heather Tremain, CEO of developer Options for Homes.

Affordable housing & small landlords
Condos make terrible long term rentals, they are not designed to be rentals and people buy and sell them displacing the tenants. They are too expensive to buy and half the owners who own them are speculating on price appreciation and losing money on the rent. This will end badly.

Midtown Toronto development may be at a tipping point
New midtown condo developments may have to stop because of outdated water and sewage lines. But the millions Toronto collected in development fees were suppose to pay for this.

Retiring the blog: Better Condo Life
With mixed emotions, I am announcing that I will be retiring Better Condo Life.  I started this blog in 2015 for a multitude of reasons. These included:
• Passing on my experience of Condo ownership and Board membership
• Keeping focused in my own Condo life
• Learning to effectively blog/leverage social media
• Having fun
Over the past month, I’ve been reflecting upon these goals and my progress, and decided that it is time to call it quits.

Regina condo owners come out in force for waste rebate vote, but leave feeling frustrated
“I’m just not in favour of any kind of a program that causes a person to pay twice,” said former Regina mayor and MP Larry Schneider, who said the 2017 budget decision hurt condo owners like him across Regina.

The first rule of Visitor Parking in apartments – umm, it’s for visitors!
The first rule of visitor parking is that it is for visitors. If someone is living in the condo full time as an occupant (whether as an owner or tenant) then they should not be using the visitor car parks. Assuming that the corporation has a lawful by-law in place to this effect then the board MUST enforce it.

Developer bans short-stay letting in new Melbourne apartment towers

Property developer Capital Alliance will write enforceable safeguards into the sale contracts of its new developments, including a $250 million project in Docklands.
The safeguards include a restrictive covenant on the title and a personal contractual guarantee from every buyer that they will not use their flats for short-term leasing.

AGM notice—no audited financial statements

Best efforts of the board? Really? I hope they explain in great detail just what best efforts they have undertaken.

They could also explain why they didn't postpone the AGM for a month or so to give the auditor a chance to figure out what happened to the condo's money and to arrange a date when he could attend the meeting.

This is the fourth year in a row that the board of this Peel Region condo has failed to have audited financial statements ready for the AGM.

Why? Perhaps it is because the finances are a mess and the AGM, that has voting for open director positions, is not the time to talk about such unpleasant subjects as deficits and the like.

Condo News
01 June 2018

Charges laid against companies providing fire inspection services
City of Toronto Media Relations has issued the following:
News Release  31 May 2018
Toronto Fire Services has charged several individuals and corporations for alleged violations of the Ontario Fire Code at 1100 Birchmount Road, and both 77 and 99 Harbour Square. After extensive investigation, Toronto Fire Services alleges that the companies named below and their technicians failed to inspect, test, maintain and repair the fire safety systems as required.
Charges have been laid in Provincial Offences Court against Advanced Detection Technologies Corp., James Singer, Rauf Ahmad and Jamia Talimul in relation to 1100 Birchmount Road.
The fire code violations include failure to:
• ensure a person performs the inspection, test, repair, replacement and
  alteration of a fire alarm system in accordance with the Fire Code
• maintain the fire alarm system and sprinkler system in operating condition
Charges have also been laid against Keyong Tao as well as the following persons and/or companies associated with York Fire Protection: Bushra Rauf, Maf-Bar Consell Ltee., Dave Daniels, 8281076 Canada Ltd. and Rauf Ahmad in relation to both 77 and 79 Harbour Square.
(both are residental condo buildings.)
The fire code violations include failure to:
• ensure a person performs the inspection, test, repair, replacement and
   alteration of a fire alarm system
• ensure elevators are tested
• ensure emergency power systems are inspected, tested and maintained, and
• ensure the annual inspection is conducted for tanks for fire protection, tank
  supporting structures and water supply systems
The Ontario Fire Code requires fire and life safety systems such as fire alarm systems, sprinklers, emergency generators, elevators and emergency lighting be inspected, tested, repaired, replaced and altered in accordance with specific standards to ensure the health and safety of the public and responding firefighters. The penalties for violations run up to $50,000 and/or a year in jail for individuals and up to $100,000 for a corporation.
Toronto Fire Services is continuing its investigation into other properties that may have been impacted to ensure public safety and compliance with the Fire Code.

Also see this detailed Global News report: