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Condo News
28 May 2017

Housing complex fire sparked by smoking materials in planter
Since 2010, improper disposal of smoking materials has caused $52.5 million in damages in Edmonton.

Alberta legal Q&A blog
Robert Noce's excellent column from the Edmonton Journal.

Illinois Legal Q&A blog
A very good blog for condo owners.

What were they thinking?
The small Florida condo took down the fence around the pool in January. In May two young children drowned. Then they put up a fence.

Judge ends receivership that cost a Miami Gardens condo millions
The court-appointed receiver and his "team" charged the condo more than double their annual condo fees and left the condo corporation with a huge mess. This is such an outrage.

Rats gnaw on woman's face in her sleep
This news story out of Atlanta:
"You hear them banging on the ceiling. You're down here watching television, they're banging. You go in the kitchen, they're over the cabinets," she said.

But despite the rodents chewing through the walls, the owner and condo association continue to point the finger of blame at each other.


Condo News
25 May 2017
Here are your biggest complaints about living in Toronto condos
Noise, flying cigarette butts, owners who don't pick up after pets are realities for many.

Over the next few days, CBC Toronto will be examining the challenges and solutions that come from an increase in condos and highrises — as we all adjust to our vertical city.

How do we preserve the Distillery District but still make it liveable?
The existing condo residents oppose the building of three more condo towers.

Toronto's glass condos burning thermal holes in the sky
But there’s another glaring reality: many glass towers and other hastily built condos are falling apart faster than the old concrete giants–springing leaks, facing high repair bills and prompting lawsuits.

Not sure where the author gets this information from.

Grocery store snobbery provides food for thought
Plans to open a Food Basics in the Toronto's Junction Triangle are being met with howls of protest. Condo residents want a Metro; they want to pay more!

The Food Basics sign is green, and the Metro sign is red. A “colossal cantaloupe” at Food Basics this week will cost you $1.88 while at Metro the price is $3.49. Mangoes in the Food Basics flyer are 99 cents each, while over at Metro they’re advertised three for $5.

Video: Theft, lack of security at TCH building an ongoing problem
A CityNews viewer video shows a man breaking in to a vehicle at a TCH building parking lot on Jarvis. If thieves get away with this, they will hit nearby condos next.

North York, Scarborough and Etobicoke may get licensed rooming houses
'Multi-tenant houses' of seven rooms proposed for five areas

Pot farm causing Green Mountain Road residents live in fear of stray bullets, passing cars
Two dozen nearby residents attended a meeting with police local bylaw officials their local councillor Thursday, many expressing exasperation, fear and hopelessness.

He charged $525 per hour to save their condo
They welcomed him with open arms, because they thought he was their salvation. But two years later, the owners are now asking Judge Hendon to remove Pérez, who along with his team is charging more than $2 million.

Man buys cars to junk up his year as part of creative revenge plan against HOA
It may upset his neighbours but more like it will just backfire on him.

Pillars of Green: 85,000 plants on world’s largest vertical garden facade

An extensive living facade system in Bogota, Columbia, represents growth in the right direction, away from unrealistic tree-covered skyscrapers toward more sustainable and useful vertical greenery.

Volvo-driving, condo-living ‘communist hit man’ back in jail for drugs
Condo-living commie drug dealer? He'd be quite the neighbour.


Condo News
19 May 2017

If Toronto real estate is so hot, why the 45,000+ cancelled listings last year?
Days on market is one of the most important psychological factors impacting what a buyer is willing to pay. Manipulation of this number will have severe consequences. Is manipulating data in this way a good sales technique, or a serious problem with the way the system is set up?

North York condo proposal could push neighbourhood to its limits
This is a case of NIMBY where a few dozen detached home owners are upset that stacked townhouses and a couple of high-rise towers will be built behind their backyards.

This project will consist of commercial office space, condos and rental housing and will sit across the street from a subway station. What's there not to like?

Bay Street reopens after glass falls from Four Seasons
One block in Yorkville was closed to pedestrian and vehicle traffic after window broke on Tuesday night.

This renter turned a Toronto family's home into an illegal rooming house
An upscale family home in North York was turned into an illegal rooming house and crammed with as many as a dozen international students without the owner’s knowledge, a Star investigation has found.

This is NOTHING; NOTHING I tell you. I know of a one-bedroom condo apartment unit with a solarium and two baths near Yonge & Finch that was turned into a dirty six-bedroom rooming house with two filthy bathrooms for international students. This is not uncommon.

Condo Law: Is it reasonable to be forced to carry my pet?
Toronto Star: Gerry Hyman's condo legal column.

Landlord horrified by tenant-damaged house

Zachary Nenson was forced to come home early from his six month trip after he says tenants damaged his house. (CTV Regina)

He says he had found what he thought were the perfect tenants after calling their references. However after the tenants failed to pay their rent, his mother, managing the property while he was away, went to check on the house.

Nenson says she found the house empty of tenants and furniture, most of which had been stolen, along with floors and walls destroyed and covered in paint. He adds the walls were covered in paint and marker and the toilets in the bathroom were smashed to pieces.

“It’s $40,000 (in damage) with all the flooring, the bathrooms, the walls, the paint (and) new appliances,” said Nenson.

Lawsuit filed against Jupiter police chief for not paying HOA fees
Florida: Jupiter Police Chief Frank Kitzerow owes about $1,600 in homeowner association fees, according to a lawsuit filed against him in Palm Beach County Circuit Court. The homeowner’s association could foreclose on its claim of lien on the house if the foreclosure complaint is not settled.


Condo News
16 May 2017

Are you up to code?
On 18 April 2017, City Sites Property Management hosted an educational seminar: "Are you up to code?" for condo directors, and owners, held in the Mississauga's Living Arts Centre.

The topics and speakers were:
The Condo Act
Dipika Damerla
MPP (& cabinet minister) representing Mississauga East—Cooksville

Dipika told us that starting 01 Nov 2017 everyone who is paid to manage condominiums in Ontario must apply for a licence within 90 days.

Starting this fall, the Condo Authority will start charging condo corporations fees for its services. By the late fall an educational course for condo directors will be put in place. Also, The Tribunal will be in place to hear disputes over access to condo corporation's records.

Building codes
Paul Belanger
Belanger Engineering
Building code standards depend on when a building was constructed. Once a building is in compliance, it is always in compliance. However, major changes and extensions must meet the current building codes.

There is also retrofit legislation that condos must meet. Examples are some updates to the fire code, balcony guards and elevator cage fencing.

Condo boards need to be concerned with meeting Accessibility for Ontarian's, maintaining fuel tanks for emergency generators and, in older buildings, repairs to the underground garages .

Mr. Belanger also stated that condo corporations must address smoke and noise complaints.

Fire code 2015
Michele Farley
FCS Fire Consulting Services Ltd
The fire department will write work orders if they see anything wrong. One thing to watch for is if the Co2 detectors in your condos are inspected annually.
Issues that her company's inspectors find when they inspect buildings:
95% door closers.
93% fire separation (fire stops).
79% incomplete or missing records.
79% Junk and storage in the Maintenance Rooms.
70% Fire Safety Plans not up to date.

Harold Cipin, President of City Sites remarked that when his company recently took over a condo, they found four Fire Safety Plans in the white box, none were dated and no one knew which one was the latest one.

Michele stated that fire departments are more reactive now when they become aware of code violations. The elevator fire and smoke detectors need to be tested every three months and staff need professional training for Life Safety duties.

If you are not compliant
Josh Milgrom
lawyer with Lash Condo Law

Mr. Milgrom told the audience that condo boards are responsible to be compliant with:
• building codes
• fire code
• Accessibility for Ontarians
• Labour codes
• Human Rights
• Public Pool Regulations

He said that a condominium, that has an indoor pool, was recently charged by the municipal health department with two counts. One was because the chlorine measurements were not being taken properly. The staff were not properly trained. The second charge was for improper storage of the pool testing chemicals which could have resulted in an explosion. The pool company contract should state which party will be responsible for compliance.

Mr. Milgrom advised the participants that condos need good record keeping. Limiting liability requires that people act in good faith and reasonably and that in Life Safety complaints, the crown is reluctant to withdraw all charges.

Finally, he stated that boards need to insure that their Status Certificates are accurate especially #12: Potential increases in the common expenses and #19: Party to any legal proceedings.

Questions and answers
During the questions and answers session, the following points were made:
• there needs to be a gap under the suite doors to allow make-up air from the hallways to flow through the units. Blocking these gaps can cause humidity and mould issues in the units.
• Changes to the by-laws are not in effect until they have been registered.
• CCI is setting up training courses for condo directors that will in compliance with the new Act.
• Dipika said that the ministry is focusing first on the licencing of managers.
The panelists stayed back after the session closed to answer questions that the directors and owners had.

It was a very informative session and I hope that CitySites will continue to host these educational sessions.

New car sales & prices

New car sales in Canada are hitting record sales volumes proving that we have not lost our love for the car.

Whats more, prices have been steadily creeping up. This is partically due to inflation but is primarly due to Canadians buying more expensive vehicles.


Condo News
12 May 2017

Condo board announces new rule banning repetitive complaints
Why don't they just fix the fence? Time for owners of this obviously new condo to get a new board and management company.

Over 50% of Canadians are $200 month or less away from not being able to pay bills
The numbers in this report are scary. No wonder condo boards face resistance when they raise the monthly expenses. Maybe I should start up a pawn shop in a busy condo district.

Richmond Hill: Bad condo neighbour behaviour called out
The board is wrong to say they can't do anything. They have a duty to act.

Toronto's SwimSafe program
Check your condo's pool/spa health inspection history on the Internet.

Charging “Entry-Fees” for pre-construction units?

Think about it: with 40-50% of all pre-construction condo sales falling through during the automatic “10 day cooling off period,” the developer wants the buyer to be represented by an agent who will do everything to ensure that the deal doesn’t fall through.

A typical buyer-agent would insist that the buyer have a lawyer review the thick package of documents that accompanies a pre-construction condo sale.  I spoke to one particular buyer this week, who is absolutely buried in a building on York Street, who said, “My agent told me that the lawyer’s review was a waste of money.”

Webinar: Ontario condo enforcement
Watch a free condo rules & declaration enforcement video. There are other webinars (educational videos) at this link

Reasonable doubt
This column is published by Now, a Toronto newspaper. Timothy Duggan is a condominium lawyer and civil litigator with Horlick Levitt Di Lella LLP.

Alberta: Condo Property Act deals with dirty, disruptive tenants
A very good newspaper Q&A column on condo issues.

Three legged rescue dog saves owner’s life during two alarm condo fire
On Tuesday he used his only front paw to wake his owner as their condo filled with smoke from a two-alarm fire.

Dominic Baccus says his three-year-old foster-turned forever fur-baby woke him up around two in the morning by pushing his paw into his chest and neck Tuesday.

Baccus soon realized why: smoke was rapidly seeping into his apartment. When he opened his back door he discovered his two-story condo buildings was on fire. The units just beneath his were already completely engulfed in flames.

Valet parking squabble pits Alexander Hotel condo association against owner of 40 rooms
A condo-hotel is in legal disputes with the owner of 40 units who uses their own valet service. One building with two valet companies?


Condo News
07 May 2017

New Provincial Rental Legislation Already Hurting Ontario Tenants
"I'd like to believe the risk to tens of thousands of new purpose-built rental suites, and the loss of billions of dollars in investment in Ontario were the unintended consequences of last month's policy announcement by the government," says Jim Murphy, President and CEO, Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario.

Four measures that will create more rental units
One idea The Toronto Region Board of Trade has is to change the Condo Act to allow condo towers to be developed explicitly and entirely as “rent-only condos,” packaged with slightly different rules, services and governance structures to attract rental-oriented investors. When units are sold in these towers, they’ll stay in the rental supply.

Globe and Mail report on how flippers at one Toronto condo made up to $2,900 a day.

Selling condo units before city approval ‘misleading,’ councillor says
Where has Josh Matlow been all these years? Just figured out this has been going on?

Toronto CityPlace: Growing Problem Or Just A Growing Neighbourhood?
Author states Toronto should consider CityPlace a good example of how a vertical community should be planned. I can't say I agree with him.

Sellers offer trips, freebies as Calgary condos sit empty
There are nearly 1,650 apartments and condos for sale right now, with only 286 sold last month. Yet the average price is holding steady at just over $300,000 and more units are under construction.

Smoke alarm saves life in Niagara Falls fire

Photo: Bob Tymczyszyn PostMedia Network

Ben Trendle, a captain with the Niagara Falls Fire Department, is prepared for the Wake-Up campaign. Throughout the month of May, firefighters will go door-to-door on Mondays to Thursdays to check if homes are equipped with the required number of smoke alarms. In homes without the required alarms, firefighters will install the devices for a nominal fee.

$554K price tag to replace iconic tree at top of condo building
Think roof-top greenery is cheap? The cost to replace the roof-top tree? $35,000 per unit. The price of the tree is on top of this price.


Condo News
04 May 2017

More common than you think

This Tweet is about a condo president in the United States but we have condo presidents here in the GTA who have the same sense of entitlement.

There is a president in Toronto who wasn't paying his monthly fees and he ordered the manager not to tell the other directors because his arrears was information that was protected by the privacy laws and he would sue anyone who told the owners. Of course he had no qualms about liens placed on other owners' units.

How Toronto's condo boom gives chain stores the upper hand
Councillor Mike Layton. “It's the same five stores at the bottom of every condo. Why would anyone come to Queen St. if the stores are the same here as everywhere?” Doesn't he undertsand that the chains can afford the rent.

What to watch out for when it comes to condo fee increases
Paul Foggia had borrowed to his limit and was living at the edge of his budget when he purchased a brand new condo in downtown Toronto in 2012.

"As soon as I walked in, that was it," he said. "You walked outside, you could see the whole Harbourfront Centre. It was just beautiful."

But that beauty became a beast to pay for. The debt-laden Toronto man saw his maintenance fees jump by 20% over three years.

When they hit $500 a month in August 2015, he says he had no choice but to move and rent out his condo.

Frustration rising at downtown condo as elevators remain out of commission
Having no elevators is not much fun yet the City of Winnipeg says passenger elevators are considered a convenience. It says in an emergency, residents needing assistance would be helped by first responders and transported by the stairs.

BC: Fines can’t replace enforcement of dog by-law
President allows an owner to pay fines instead of obeying by-laws.

Chicago law firm allegedly sends ‘anonymous’ email to condo owner
...apparently forgets IP address was recorded
The threatening e-mail easily traced back to a local law firm.

I have been following this story for some time now. All the owner wants to view his condo's financial records.