Condo News
13 March 2015

Class action suit
You get $20.00 if you qualify. Most likely you do.

Association of Etobicoke Condominium Corporations
In 1996, the Association of Etobicoke Condominium Corporations, formed in 1974, asked their member condo corporations to submit a list of problems to them so the Association could submit the collected findings to the Ontario Residential Condominium Study Group.

Eleven condo towers and five townhouse corporations sent replies that were collected and sent to the Study Group in May 1967.

I have just received a copy of these submissions.

The first condominium in Toronto, YCC #1 submitted a report on their construction deficiencies as did YCC #80 and fourteen others in between.

I was surprised and disappointed to read that most had similar problems. They included:
• leaking roofs.
• leaking and damaged underground parking garages.
• leaking and burst water pipes.
• leaking building envelopes.
• poor quality caulking.
• electrical problems including poor quality switches, outlets and fuse boxes.
• poor heating systems
• inadequate sound proofing
• poorly build roadways.
• poor drainage.
• poor workmanship.

One builder left his garbage including bricks up on top of the roof. Another building had no straight walls and uneven floors. Roadways would collapse when the garbage trucks came on the site.

It is obvious that a lot of work went into these submissions. All were typed as computers were unavailable back then.

It was also interesting to hear that this association was successful in lobbying the City of Etobicoke to have changes made that helped condo owners in their municipality including getting a Fire Route by-law passed.

Burst pipe floods condo garage damaging dozens of vehicles
A Bay Street condo had a major water leak that drowned all the cars in the P5 parking level. It took 10 hours to shut the water off and days to pump the water out of the parking garage.

Fraud charge could help solve Gravenhurst cottage scam, victims and police say
If the cops would lay charges for condo fraud I am sure that would help thousands of victims too.

3 arrested following investigation into condo corruption
More TV news video from Florida. The condo president and two top managers were arrested and charged with stealing from a unit in their North Bay Village building.

N.J. men accused of stealing more than $75K from condominium
More and more stories in the US about condos being victims of fraud. I guess it is because condo fraud is such an easy crime to get away with.

Condo News

12 March 2015

Bill 73: The Smart Growth for Our Communities Act, 2015
On Thursday, March 5th, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Honorable Ted McMeekin, announced the introduction of Bill 73: The Smart Growth for Our Communities Act, 2015.

MPP Peter Milczyn send out an e-mail giving the following highlights.

Development Charges, Parkland fees, and Section 37 Payments
The Development Charges Act will be amended to allow municipalities to collect more funding for Transit infrastructure and waste recycling and handling facilities.

Proposed changes will allow municipalities to derive fees on the basis of desired future levels of service or enhanced levels of services (The City of Toronto will be able to collect millions of additional dollars annually from new development. The precise amounts will be subject to the City of Toronto adopting a new development charges by-law).

Changes will require municipalities to clearly report how much money has been collected and how it is being spent.

Development Charges
There are a range of community benefits under Section 37.

Cash-in-lieu of Parkland dedication
A municipality that chooses to accept "cash-in-lieu" of parkland from new development will be required to create and adopt a Parks Master Plan showing where and when new parks are proposed to be created using the funds collected.

In reality this is an additional tax grab. The developers would put more money into transit and infrastructure improvements under proposed legislation but actually, it is the condo buyers that will be paying more.

Top Ten: Ways Your Condo Is “Dated”
David Fleming agrues that parquet wood flooring and green ceramic tiles makes condos look dated. Who can disagree? However I think he is wrong about white appliances and vertical blinds.

German city uses water-repellent paint to splash public urinators with their own pee
Hamburg's nightclub district fights a gross problem by giving public urinators a taste of their own medicine.

I can see this paint being used in staircases and on the exterior walls of some condo buildings.

HOA reconsiders denial of playhouse for girl battling cancer
Homeowner board refused to allow a Make a Wish playhouse for girl with cancer. Looking like jerks throughout the whole USA, they are thinking of allowing it.

What is it about being on a board of directors that makes people heartless.

Reserve Fund Studies work
Metro Vancouver roofing contractors are crediting B.C.’s new depreciation reports (Reserve Fund Studies) for a boom in roof replacements.

“We are booked through to the end of August if we work six days a week,” said Josh Gibson, co-owner of Benchmark Roofing Ltd. of Coquitlam.

The cost of replacing a multi-family roof runs from $12 to $15 per square foot. 
A typical roof lasts 20 to 25 years.

Since depreciation reports were mandated 14 months ago, about 30% of the 30,000 strata corporations in B.C. have completed a report, according to Jeremy Bramwell of Vancouver-based Bramwell & Associates Realty Advisors Inc., which operates one of the largest depreciation report departments in the province.

Strata corporations can opt out of the requirement with a 75% vote among members. As well, smaller condo buildings of five or less units are exempt from the legislation. (Since I suppose that people are buying units in condos there goes the myth of today's buyers are informed consumers.)

E-mails from readers
The Condo Act has to be amended and proclaimed very quickly. In the meantime, using the courts to punish owners should be stopped by the ministry changing the Condo Act regulations.

I so agree. It's disgusting that this continues to go on. Always such nonsense. Thanks for keeping us informed.

B.B.—ex-condo owner, Toronto

Condo News
09 March 2015

Audrey Loeb writes on fees at The Toy Factory
We worry that artificially keeping common expenses low for the purpose of increasing the market value of units will benefit those who are going to sell in the short term. It is, however, unfair to the community in the long term.

The suggestion that the occasional special assessment is a better way to go, rather than keeping common expenses higher to reflect the true cost of living in the condominium means that those who are benefitting from living in the property may not be paying their fair share. The burden of large expenditures falls then on those who happen to be the owners at the time that the special assessment is made, not those who have sold and moved on but enjoyed the benefit of owning a unit in the building for several years.

Negotiating with reserve fund engineers to have them change their decisions on costs and time frames is also not appropriate.

Read her full essay at:

Burst pipes
Over the last year, I am hearing more and more about very serious water leaks in large condo towers due to burst pipes. How serious? How about 75 owners having to evacuate their units for several months, floods coming down 48 floors, putting all elevators out of commission and flooding cars on the third level of the parking garage—that serious.

There seems to be three common reasons:
Lack of maintenance. Old pipes are not getting replaced as the regularly scheduled preventive maintenance was not getting done.
Sloppy work. When work is done in the parking garage levels and in the maintenance rooms, the insulation that was removed was not re-installed.
Work that had been scheduled and paid for was not actually done. No one was checking to see if plumbers actually did it.
The extra cold weather in January and February.

It is impossible to get good information on how often this is happening because the condo's management and the boards are keeping everything secret.

Wouldn't want potential buyers to be fully informed buyers, now would we?

Smoking in units—a Colorado court decision
The court acknowledged that smoking is not illegal, but likened it to “excessively loud noise.” Like noise, the court said, “smoke can’t be confined within a unit and can create a nuisance for others that the association had the authority to regulate.”  It concluded that the secondhand smoke, whether the smoke itself or just the odor, constituted a nuisance as defined by the condominium association's declaration and the amendment was not unreasonable, arbitrary or capricious.

Wild parties, theft, condom wrappers: The risks (and rewards) of Airbnb
The company’s website avoids even the implication of risk or distrust. Guidelines on “How can I prepare myself as a host?” make no mention of locking up valuables, a common-sense precaution, and a series of hosts-only online forums ask users to refrain from posting “doubts or problems with Airbnb.”

Eventually, the noisy gatherings prompted her condo board to ban Airbnb rentals, at which point Chiu decided to sell. The board then fined her more than $400 for common-area cleanup.

Sharing, it seems, doesn’t always mean caring on Airbnb.

Installation of Carbon Monoxide Detectors
A very good article on changes to the fire code. If the building has a garage, a carbon monoxide detector must be installed adjacent to each bedroom in each suite that has a common wall or common floor/ceiling assembly with the garage. (Ground floor units in most towers & many townhouse complexes may now require them.)

Decertify our condo board, residents tell Cambridge council
A small group of detached houses are finding the true costs of condominium living. In the United States they would be considered an HOA.

Recognition on Twitter

E-mails from readers
I am thinking of buying a condo in an older building in Toronto. The condo is very big with two bedrooms and baths. I think I can get it for less than $120,000. What do you think?

We talked by phone and I told you that I know that building. Since you are thinking of being an owner-resident, and you are on a very tight budget, you need to know that you are at some risk of having special assessments or paying your share of expensive loans sometime down the road.

That building needs expensive repairs that have been deferred for years now.

It is tough to buy a condo in that price range that has been well maintained, where the monthly common expenses will not unexpectedly jump up and the unit values will rise.

Before you go ahead, make sure you read the full Reserve Fund Study and compare it to the numbers in the audited financial statements. If you need help in deciphering this, let me know and I will look it over with you.

I also suggest that you ask the directors for a 15 minute interview before their next board meeting so you can ask them a few questions.

Only then, should you make a decision on whether to buy or not.

Condo News
05 March 2015

Purpose-built rental buildings making a comeback
This is good news as condos do not make for good long-term rental stock.

The common expenses conundrum
Chris Jaglowitz weighs in on the condo fees debate.

PwC principal Clarke and wife arrested amid dispute with condo developer
Getting arrested and facing criminal charges over a condo dispute is a very bad idea even if you are rich.

So You Think You Can Dance….And Sell Your Own Condo?
Another interesting and amusing article from David Fleming.

My clients went to see the property with the full knowledge that a seller who is listing his or her own property might have a few quirks and perhaps a couple tricks as well.

"The next day I asked Brandon if he spoke with his lawyer, and he informed me that any “extra” services would cost him more than the $199 he was prepared to pay for a lawyer’s services."

Toronro Condo News
Here is the web version of Toronto Condo News.

E-mails from readers

Rooftop amenities
Very important

Anybody who buys in a building with water features on the roof—like a pool or a fountain or a garden with irrigation lines—is just asking for it.

Roofs were meant to protect the building from water and roofs were absolutely not meant to be recreational facilities.  Get ready to spend millions on a disintegrated, filthy and costly roof if you have a rooftop pool.


All architects will tell you that flat roofs leak. That is why they are so rarely found on residential houses.

Swimming pools leak so indoor pools are usually found on the ground floor. This is true for both hotels and residential towers.

But rooftop swimming pools and gardens are now the rage. One New York City condo is going to feature a rooftop skating rink.

What can I say? Whatever you do, don't buy a unit that sits underneath the swimming pool or a hot tub. When it starts leaking, you may be the first to sound the alarm after your ceiling collapses.

Condo News
02 March 2015

Little Burgundy condo residents going on 11 days without water
Frozen pipe that serves water to 3 condo buildings in south-west Montreal means no running water for 30 people.

Debunking the myths about your condo fees
An owner of a real estate office says paying less than 50 cents per square feet for maintenance fees is a good benchmark if you wish to control your maintenance costs.

The average paid in the Greater Toronto Area is 59 cents per square foot, according to one study.

Could high strata (condo) fees affect the resale of your condo?
Tony Gioventu with the Condo Owners Association of BC says fees are not the biggest obstacle to resale. “What’s more critical is do we have the right amount of money so that we can properly maintain our building’s but there is no indication that higher fees have an impact on real estate prices,”

Conditional offer
A woman got her deposit back after her lawyer advised her not to purchase the condo unit. The status certificate showed that the fees were higher than stated and there was an undisclosed special assessment.

Why green building has hit the wall
Building owners and developers would prefer a certification process that’s simpler, cheaper and more useful. Unless mandated by policy or driven by government incentives, LEED is something for which they are increasingly saying deciding, “no thanks.”
Perceived benefits are slight: In most cases, the benefits include savings in energy efficiency that would be achieved in most cases without a green building certification.

Sales are picking up
Condo sales started to pick up in February with some condos, even ones in the lower price levels receiving multiple offers. I didn't notice this last year. We will have to see if the GTA condo market still has life in it.

E-mails from readers

Can't afford to leave
I live in the bldg because my mom lives there and because I can't afford to move because unit owners have sold so low that we would have to take a big loss.
Owner—North Etobicoke

Once you get caught in a condo that is losing value as much as yours has, it can be financially very difficult to sell as you come out of the deal with too little cash to be able to buy another home. Since people who have been burnt by buying a condo usually want to buy a free-hold rather than risk buying another condo, their only option is to rent rather than buy.

The Fee Fighters
There has been such a large response to my interview with The Fee Fighters, I posted the responses with the article at:

Condo News
27 February 2015

The Fee Fighters
I had a telephone conversation with Chris, one of three founders of the start-up consultant group The Fee Fighters who will assist boards of directors review their expenses, line-by-line, to find ways of trimming costs.

Statue of limitations
If your going to sue, in most situations, you have to do it within two years. These owners sued their board over a special assessment and lost.

A second note. if you buy a condo and your parking is from month-to-month with a commercial parking lot, you better have an alternative parking arrangement in mind.

Assisted dying
The law is not only changing to assist in the death of terminally ill people but also for ill condominium corporations. (In BC they are called stratas.)

The British Columbia Law Institute began work on the Strata Property Law Project—Phase Two in summer 2013.

Termination can be considered the end of life for a strata—the ultimate fundamental change. The timing is right to consider termination, as the earliest stratas created in British Columbia, which date to the 1960s, may soon be encountering difficult choices over repairs, renewal, or termination.

If you think that only condo owners in Florida can lose their homes, think again as we have similar laws here. All that is missing so far in Toronto is having re-sale prices collapse as much as they did in Florida and have a condo corporation sitting on a desirable piece of land.

Condo rooming houses
Here are a couple of recent listings for condo townhouses that have been converted to rooming houses situated just south of York University.

This one calls this residential home a Great Investment For Student Shared Accommodations. How many students/sardines are packed in this "investment" is not mentioned.

So far this one is my favourite. It is a four-bedroom residential condo townhouse that has five bedrooms and five bathrooms, two fridges, cameras for security and three televisions. Lots of parking too.

Who has ever heard of a townhouse with five bathrooms? Wonder which room was converted into the fifth bedroom and bath?

This little rooming house business sold for $425,000—just over asking.

One street north of this condo townhouse, there a semi-detached for sale that features seven bedrooms and seven bathrooms.

A second semi-detached that's for sale on MLS offers:
Fantastic Investment!! Steps Away From York U Campus, Future TTC Subway, 11 Bedroom Semi-Detached Home, Fully Tenanted, Monthly Rental Income Over $5500/Month, Great Investment, Start Collecting Rent Today!!! Tons Of Upgrades To Many To List, Prime Location, Make This Gem Yours Today!!! We Can Help With Financing, Call Us Today For More Info!!! **** EXTRAS **** 2 Fridge, 2 Stove, 2 Washer, 2 Dryer,

I wonder if those appliances are coined-operated.

E-mails from readers
Owners think that a condo corporation and building should stay exactly the way it was when they bought it. That's just not possible.

I remember an AGM where a lady asked the owners: "Well, how much do you want this new thing? Do you want to pay for it with higher monthly expenses?" Perfectly intelligent question.

The audience freaked on her.

Owners think that everything should stay the same always and they should never have to change themselves or the building and they should never pay more for anything.

And our owners believe they can "read" the real estate market by reading the newspapers. They read the Saturday Star and proclaim to their co-owners:

Who says? The developers who ghost-write Toronto Star real estate pieces?  Who cares what the Star says?  Are you happy owing and living here or not?  What do you want to do about it? Anything?

Mary—North York

Oh sure, owners want their lobby to look just like the newest buildings and have a roof-top swimming pool, skating rink, dog park, irrigated gardens, a helicopter pad (or what-ever else is latest rage) but they definitely don't want to pay for it.

Anyone who stands up at an AGM and suggests that their monthly expenses should go up will be lynched.

Condo News
25 February 2015

Dyke vs MTCC No. 972
This is a continuation of the well-known dance studio case. I write on this case in two places on this website, once under noise complaints and a second time dealing with court costs.

As this case demonstrates—the latest in a long series of cases—the Ontario government has to get condo disputes out of the expensive court system and give condo owners a cheap, quick and binding condo dispute tribunal.

Part of the judge's ruling
"I am mindful of ongoing concerns over access to justice. A condominium owner in Ms. Dyke’s position finds it difficult enough to deal with a board that is managed in the way of a large corporation like Metro Condo (MTCC No. 972 at 24 Wellesley Street West) appears to be." (Paragraph 25)

Oh, dear; what difficulties could the judge be referring to?

1,000 homes get smoke alarms after triple fatal fire last month in San Juan Capistrano
A mother and two children die in an over-crowded California townhouse fire. There were no smoke detectors in the unit. There are four points here:
• no smoke detectors in a thousand homes.
• was there any fire prevention inspections at the condo?
• did over-crowding create additional fire hazards identical to hoarding issues?
• wonderful to see the community working together to prevent further deaths.

Condo buildings are banning smoking, even in residents' own units
Philadelphia is following New York City, where building-wide smoking bans have passed in recent years.

In general, buildings with such bans seek a compromise by grandfathering in current owners who smoke and allowing them to continue to smoke in their units. However, anyone who buys or rents after the date of the resolution may not smoke.

The exceptions can make a smoking ban difficult to enforce fully.

"Grandfathered smokers have to register before the start of the smoking ban, and then they are designated as living in smoking units," Krimstock said.

If there are complaints against grandfathered smokers for smoke and/or odor escaping from their unit into hallways or other units, those smokers must caulk and seal gaps in their units, and may have to buy special air-filter machines. If that doesn't resolve the complaints, grandfathered status can be revoked and they can be subject to fines and sanctions


Condo News

23 February 2015

Ontario aims to move new Condo Act this spring
From CondoBusiness
By Michelle Ervin

The Ontario government is aiming to introduce a modernized Condo Act this spring, Minister of Government and Consumer Services David Orazietti said Friday in a phone interview.

Specifically, Min. Orazietti said the government is targeting the spring session of the provincial legislature, which runs from Feb. 17 to June 4.

The government had originally planned to introduce a revamped Condo Act in the spring of 2014. The provincial election delayed these plans.

Min. Orazietti’s comments Friday suggested that the government is still grappling with how to deliver on calls for a dispute resolution system that provides an affordable and effective alternative to the courts.

“One of the challenges has been determining the process or the way in which the dispute resolution process will be funded,” he said. “But at the same time, I feel that if we were to move forward with only one component of the legislation — around the governance and transparency and condo manager licensing— without the dispute resolution component  — that that would not be in line with the sentiments that were expressed by the vast majority of individuals in the consultation.”

It looks like the government is worried about a backlash from condo owners if they put a monthly levy on every condo unit. Yet, the government does not want to pay for disputes resolution out of general revenues.

Politicians don't like making unpopular decisions. We'll see how they will handle this when the bill is introduced.

Condo News
23 February 2015

Are MPP seats for sale?
Was Rosario Marchese offered 30 pieces of silver to vacate his seat? Did he hold out for 30 pieces of gold? Say it is not so.

Every condo board is different
Some boards have high standards, for themselves, and for everyone that works for the corporation and they expect the property management company, the superintendents and the contractors to meet those high standards.

Other boards don't aim so high. When they pick contractors, the cheapest price is rated far higher than the quality of the work. However, cheap is seldom good and cheap usually fails to give enduring value.

In effort to be ‘green,’ property owners misuse coveted LEED designation
Posters displayed in hallways highlight the building’s green features with a logo touting “LEED Gold pre-certified”. But the office complex is not, in fact, certified for any LEED award by the non-profit group.

The Association
A YouTube video that is a trailer for a movie that unfortunately was never completed. An HOA is a Home Owners Association, like a condo corporation for houses.

E-mails from readers

A week to get out
Good Morning:
I totally aagree that supers need much more time to vacate the premises. I do not think that the seven-day rule is humane.


I believe that the president of that condo has been treating the superintendent terribly. The super told me that the president was holding onto his pay cheques and then he fires the super because he told an owner that the president is refusing to pay him. He lawyer's letter states that he was fired for telling an owner confidential information.

The lawyer's letter was a sweet St. Valentine's card.

Condo News
20 February 2015

Auditor general's report says savings to city were overstated by nearly $100 million
A new report says Toronto's city manager claimed savings resulting from KPMG’s recommendations were around $110.5 million. The auditor general says they were closer to $16 million.

If our previous mayor wanted to hear that he cut over $100M in savings, he heard that he found over $100M in savings.

It is the same with "efficency experts" with property management companies or candidates for the board who claim they can cut the fees with no cuts in service. Sometimes they can but most of the time services and maintenance suffers.

Ratifying all the board's resolutions
I was at an AGM this week where the corporation's lawyer, acting as the Chair, asked for a motion from the floor for the owners to ratify all resolutions passed by the board of directors since the last AGM.

I got to a lot of AGMs but this was only the second time I heard such a request.

I asked the Chair how could the owners pass such a motion if they do not know all the resolutions that were passed at all the board meetings?

The Chair asked for an owner to make the motion and none, not even any of the directors at the head table, would do so.

In my opinion, for the owners to even think of passing such a motion, the minutes of all the board meetings would have had to be included in the AGM package.

Etobicoke MPPs public fair
Here is an opportunity to find out what Ontario community services can help you. It is being held this Saturday.

Residents allege condo leaders are cashing in on positions
The State of Florida is investigating Oakland Park condo for allegedly failing to release financial documents. A must-see TV video report.

Neighbors upset with man housing dozens of snakes in condo
Well at least they are quiet and don't bark whenever someone walks by in the hallway and they don't make a mess in the elevators.

E-mails from readers

Fees are the wrong word.

Condo boards do not make enough exceptions when someone is disabled. It's because it's so easy to be a bully and terrorize the weak, it's a lot harder to financially manage a building. So they over-handle the small stuff and ignore the big stuff.

Fees are the wrong word. It gives condo owners the false notion that they are customers, and that profit is involved. I don't charge anybody a "fee. It's a projected common expense, based on projections from last years expenses and future expenses. It's not a maintenance fee, maintenance is only about 25% of what the common expenses comprise.

And condo owners aren't customers, whatever they are, they're certainly not customers.

Betty—North York

That is a good way to put it. Your right—the word fees could give people the idea that they are customers.

Publicity to the "masked men"
Thanks for the latest updates. I'm just wondering why you are giving so much publicity to the "masked men" without knowing who they are? Have you tried to contact these people to find out their identity and/or their credentials?

They refer to their team on their website. But who are they? How can these people promise to help lower their client's fees when it's not in their hands to do so. Management is running the day-to-day operations and its the board's responsibility to oversee that function.


I received a handful of e-mails asking me why did I mention this site.

This is the image of the team that is on The Fee Fighters website. I assume they want condo boards to hire them to suggest efficiencies that will lead to lower monthly fees.

I wasn't singing their praises as such. I was merely stating that they are a new consulting team that is open for business.

Condo News
18 February 2015

Are condo fees out of whack?
The creators of seem to think so and their site now compares a condo corporation's selling prices and monthly condo fees with the averages for the surrounding area.

They also give a plug for "The Fee Fighters" who will help a condo board of directors find ways to cut their monthly fees.

I am not convinced that in the long run low monthly fees are such a good idea. There are a lot of condos that have done this over the years and it hasn't worked out so well.

My nomination—Canada's Best Employer Award

The new condo president illegally held back the super's pay cheques. The union grieved and now the super has been fired.

Who can find an apartment in seven days, pay the first and last months rent, wait for the references and approvals to be processed, hire a moving truck and be out in seven days? Keep in mind that the seven days includes Family Day, a statuary holiday.

The super tells me that the president released two cheques but is still holding back one cheque for two-weeks pay. The union is taking this to court next Tuesday.

Directors removing directors
A lawyer argues that the majority of directors should be able to remove rogue directors without having the owners vote on the issue.

He doesn't say anything about a rogue majority on the board being able to abuse this by-law to remain in power or anything about adding whistle-blower protection into the by-law.

Man Who Fought To Keep Emotional Support Dog Kills Himself
Condo boards need to think hard before suing their owners over something as stupid as trying to stop a very sick man from having a small dog to help him cope with his disabilities.

Four-alarm fire at Coquitlam condo complex
Fire crews expected to continue fighting blaze overnight. Residents will be out for months. This is a warning for all condo residents to make sure you have proper insurance on your unit and possessions.
Condo News
16 February 2015

The Condominium Boom—Part 2
Audrey Loeb's report on the condo developers.

Toronto lawyer facing now facing 501 charges in $15M condo fraud

How to Design for Small Spaces - Miami Condo Makeover
A YouTube video by Bob Vila.

Tory’s budget fix isn’t ideal, but the best solution
is a political hot potato

"A $5-a-month increase in the average homeowner's property tax would do away with the $86-million hole, but politicians prefer to count on a fairytale rescue years away.

As anyone who has seen an ad for financial planning can tell you, a dollar invested in a retirement savings plan today is worth several invested a decade from now, thanks to the miracle of compounding.

That miracle is reversed — a disaster — when it comes to putting off property tax increases. A refusal to raise them an extra $5 a month now creates a need for more than $10 a month next year, which becomes a jump of $20 or more a month down the road."

It is the same when a condo board keeps the monthly fees increases too low. It is just pushing the financial problems further into the future. And a much bigger problem it will become. (With condos, these type of games is a sure recipe for an administrator.)
Condo News
12 February 2015

Orange may evacuate residents over safety concerns at condo complex
This is no place for children. This is no place for adults.

Outrageous court fees
Our growing list of Ontario court cases with outrageous legal costs that were rolled by by the courts.

Five condo renos that add value
Upgrading a condo every three years seems far fetched. Do it right the first time and you should be good for a lot longer than that.
We use $20 credit reporting early in the delinquency cycle, to motivate homeowners to pay delinquent HOA dues. Our success rate is 40.2% nationwide.

This may be an idea. if you miss out on a super-lien, you still have some leverage if an owner or ex-owner owes the condo money.

I have been wondering if collection agencies in Ontario would buy condo arrears and charge-back fees from condos.

Call 211
211 is answered live, 24 hours a day, every day of the year including holidays. Residents are encouraged to call 211 for services such as food banks if they are hungry, mental health support if they are in crisis, or for the non-emergency police number if they need the police but it is not an emergency.

More information is available at:

“211 is your one call to find services that are provided by any of the three levels of government, charities and non-profits," said Councillor James Pasternak (Ward 10 York Centre), Chair of the Community Development and Recreation Committee. "Residents can be connected to everything from finding the phone number for Telehealth Ontario to tax clinics for seniors and low-income people to homework clubs and seniors’ centres.
Call 211 for information about community, social and health services if you don’t know where to turn with a problem.
Call 311 or information about municipal services such as garbage collection, graffiti or litter and snow removal.
Call 911 for threats or harm to a person or property that require police, fire or paramedic services.

Condo News
10 February 2015

Two important court decisions
Yesterday morning, YCC No. 365 was successful in a superior court application to have it’s administrator’s term extended from an original 18 months to four years. The administrator argued that he would need at least that long to complete the major repairs to the corporation.

The administrator was also successful in getting the court’s authorization to assume a loan without the need for a loan by-law.

Micro condos will face their first real test in Canada this year,
experts say

The article talks about 500 square feet? Some shoeboxes that have been built in Toronto are a lot smaller than that.

You Can’t Be Home During Showings!
David Fleming gives condo owners a lot of great advice. Here is a word to those people who are selling their units.

Condo News
09 February 2015

If you are a condo owner, do you find that your city councillor is unresponsive? This remark by a Toronto councillor may shed light on why condo owners are often ignored.

"At one of the meetings, Councillor Jim Karygiannis (Ward 39, Scarborough-Agincourt) said that people living in high-rise towers don’t need the same kind of representation as their single-family household counterparts. After all, he argued, can’t they just call building management?"

Manitoba new Condo Act kicks in
New legislation favours condominium buyers. One example: it extends the cooling-down period to seven days

Food scraps recycling a challenge for Metro Vancouver condos
How long before this idea comes to Toronto

Low-priced condos & Ford Nation

Take a look at this map that shows the Toronto wards that voted for Doug Ford for mayor compared to the map below.

This map shows all the condo units in the City of Toronto that were listed in early February 2015 for between $25,000 and $150,000.

The low-priced condos are pretty much in Ford country. (The downtown units aren't condo residential units; they are underground parking spots.)

Looks like owners who buy into low condo fees may also buy into the Ford brothers "No Tax Increases" rhetoric.

Notice that their are no units selling for so little in the immediate 905 belt that surrounds Toronto.

Condo News
06 February 2015

Emotional-support BS is now out-of-hand
When a woman brings a kangaroo into a McDonald's as an emotional-support animal, it's time to say the joke has gone too far.

Nathan's Meeting Rules
Why every condo should buy the book and follow Nathan's Meeting Rules.

A condo rooming house

Think the federal and provincial governments support the small business owner? Sure they do but not as much as some condo owners.

Here is a recent listing for a unit in a Mississauga stacked townhouse condo that has been converted into a seven-bedroom unit by enclosing the two balconies and converting them into bedrooms.

This illegal business has a cash flow of $2000+ a month. The single-family units are subsidizing this unit through higher water, heating, garbage disposal costs and higher maintenance costs. That is so nice of them.

Condo News
02 February 2015

Presentation on condo fraud
On Thursday January 29, 2015, the Yonge Corridor Condominium Association hosted a presentation on "Fraud, Corporate Governance for Condominium Boards". I wrote a small report on the main points that all condo directors need to be aware of.

Renting your furnished condo
David Fleming doesn't think that it is a great idea.

California actor accused of rigging Toronto condo with hidden cameras
The CTV network says it was “shocked” to learn of the arrest of an actor who appeared on the network sitcom Spun Out.

Toronto police said Jean Paul Manoux, 45, of Los Angeles was charged Tuesday with voyeurism after two women discovered hidden cameras in a condo they were renting at Queen Street West, just east of Dufferin.

“We feel we’ve been played”… new home buyers re Liberal policy-makers
An other housing reform group, Consumers Reform TARION feels that the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services is playing games with them.

Condo News
30 January 2015

The “Nightmare on Elm Street” Is Proving Not To Be Such A Nightmare As It Is A Wake Up Call To All Condo Owners
Oh, please Charles keep hammering away at the need for potential purchasers and condo owners to either pay attention to what they are buying and to stay on top of how their biggest investment is doing.

I am waiting for Charles Hanes to finish his book.

YCC 42—management change
Vesta Property Management tendered their resignation and Networks Property Management has been selected to be the new property management company effective 15 February. This decision is very controversial within the condo.

A number of owners at this condo are disappointed at this announcement as they believe that Vesta has done an excellent job managing the three buildings under very trying circumstances.

This decision is being challenged by a few owners who want Vesta to stay and by one or more directors and some owners who want the board to select a third management company.

YCC #42 is located at 320-340 Dixon Road and consists of 897 units in three buildings.

Toronto's 2nd cheapest townhouse?

Sure it is a stacked townhouse and it didn't go for $35,000 like an east-end stacked townhouse recently did but these low prices break my heart.

People are getting hurt when they buy into badly run condo corporations that are owned by people who do not understand that a condo is first of all an investment that needs to be be maintained and standards of conduct enforced—both from day one.

Putting this price into perspective, the cheapest condo townhouses in Brampton go for over $200,000.

Builder quietly cancels condo complex
Kingsclub becomes second Toronto condo project in last few weeks to suddenly convert to rental apartments, leaving hundreds of pre-construction buyers out in the cold.

I think this is a very good news. It is time to end condos becoming huge unmanageable rental buildings

Study: Green Building Codes Don’t Save Energy
Not much of a surprise here. We keep on building bigger homes, installing bigger windows and buying more and more electronic gadgets.

Condo News
27 January 2015

Update—Condo election fraud
Sent:      Thursday, January 22, 2015 10:53 PM
Subject: AGM and ELECTION update

Dear neighbours,
I wish I could deliver you a better news, but I can not. At our AGM held on January 21st 2015 – the election winners were not declared due to alleged proxy tampering. All proxies as well as other evidence is now in possession of our legal counsel who was chairing the meeting. Our legal counsel will investigate this alleged fraud and make the ruling on the election within two weeks.

At this time I can only assure you that the two candidates who I supported in this election – were not involved in this serious allegation.

If you need more information – please feel free to contact me directly.

Thank you,

This is the second year in a row that serious manipulations of the AGM election process occurred at this condo. A couple of ex-directors are not frazzled by this because election fraud is an long-running game there, just as it is at many condos.

What makes this year's election interesting is that one of the candidates is an operations and project manager for one of Toronto's larger condo property management companies.

Read this court case  from YCC #42 to see how bad proxy fraud can get.

Homelife Superstars realtor accused of duping homebuyer of $12K
Real Estate Council of Ontario says onus is on consumers to protect themselves

Downtown 3-bedroom condos
In 2009 the City of Toronto planners and the left-wing councillors came up with a plan to force downtown condo developers to make 10% of all new units in some new developments three-bedroom units so families could live downtown.

Some downtown condos have three bedroom units. Are enough families buying them ito make this social planning model work? Er, no.

So who is living in downtown 3-bedroom condos.

Condo bargain? Surrey micro-suites start at under $94K
That is a real good deal compared to the prices similar units in downtown Toronto go for.

The Real-Life Barbie Penthouse
A real-estate entrepreneur buys a condo formerly owned by the creators of the Barbie doll. Then she remakes the space into her personal Barbie Penthouse.

Condo News
24 January 2015

Preparing the condo's budget?
Utilities have not stopped climbing. Toronto's garbage rates are climbing and water rates are going up by:
8% in 2015 (starting in April)
5% in 2017
5% in 2018

The "no fee increases" boards are going to have to start buying lottery tickets to  keep their condos from sinking to debt.

Another proxy scandal at an AGM
I have been told that the election results, at an AGM in Etobicoke last Wednesday evening, were not announced due to suspicions that as many as 60 proxies may have been altered. The chair, who is the corporation's lawyer, will announce the results of the election in two weeks.

Similar allegations of massive proxy fraud rocked YCC #42's 2013 AGM where the chair's decision to annul the election, resulted in that decision being reversed by a superior court judgment.

Last year, this condo's AGM was postponed a month so that new proxy forms could be distributed to the owners after questions were raised about three incumbents having their names pre-printed on the proxy forms.


Condo News
22 January 2015

Nightmare on Elm Street
Here is the latest on the most recent Minto Plaza fiasco written by Charles Hanes on his website:

“Apparently, the board of directors has chosen to not co-operate with the Toronto Police Fraud Squad and that has to lead you to wonder why!  After all, these owners who volunteered to search as board members signed an affidavit swearing to “protect the best interests of the owners"!

"When you buy into a condo you become first and foremost a “shareholder’ in a not-for-profit- corporation. That corporation handles a lot of cash! Where there is money, especially cash, there is fraud and theft.  I hate to be pessimistic but I stand by this statement."
The full article can be found here.

That the condo is running a $178,000 operating fund deficit does not surprise me, it is the list of items that is alleged that were bought on the condo's tab that caught my eye.

Toronto skyline’s ‘absolute transformation’
How Toronto's skyline has been changed by lake-front condos.

The Anxiety Disorder—HOA Syndrome
Professor Solomon fathered, defined and popularized the anxiety disorder, HOA Syndrome, similar to PTSD.

Can living in a shared residential community (HOA, condominium or a co-op) make you ill?

If you live in a toxic condo corporation—and I have seen a couple—I am convinced you can become physically sick due to the stress that a nasty board that abuses its power can put an owner through.

In the last year, I have advised a dozen owners to sell their units rather than fight against their boards and the majority of owners in their condos, in what would probably be lost causes. The ones that sold are a lot happier.

You can download a free copy of Professor Solomon's book.
Condo News
17 January 2015

Review for Section 37 funds
Why John Tory is asking for a review on how Section 37 money is allocated.

Inside management rule
Why do contractors, managers and even condo lawyers forget that the Inside Management rule doesn't apply to condos?

That the directors don't understand this rule is understandable since no one tells them about it and they think they are being clever by by-passing the minority directors.

The contractors who do not know about this can get themselves into a lot of trouble. If they are small companies, ignorance of this could bankrupt them.

Trade associations, warn your members. The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services needs to do the same. Corporate lawyers, warn your clients. CondoMadness, inform your readers that any contract that was not legally passed as a resolution at a properly called board meeting, may not be binding on the condominium corporation.

Condo with parking for only half the units
Will people buy a condo in Hamilton if it doesn't include a parking spot? This developer is counting on it.

Green homes use more energy
Energy efficent building codes did not reduce energy use because people installed more glass windows in bigger homes and bought more energy using appliances and electronics.

Condo News
13 January 2015

Condo 101
Date:  Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Join Robert Buckler, B.A., M.Ed., RCM., Condominium Consultant from Beredan Management & Consulting Inc. Condominium living has become the most prevalent form of home ownership in recent year in the Greater Toronto Area. Learn what it means to transition from a house to a condominium and the basics of 'condo' living.
Bernard Betel Centre
1003 Steeles Avenue West
10:00 - 11:30 am
in the Synagogue
Cost: $3/$6
For more information, please contact Sharon 416-225-2112, ext. 124 or

What are POPS?
If you live in a new condo in Toronto, you may have helped pay for one and are now paying for its maintenance. If a new condo is going up in your neighbourhood, you can ask for the developer to build one.

Top Condo Cases of 2014
The courts have been busy this year! While that is good news for law bloggers, it means far too many condominiums are spending money on lawyers when they could be spending it on solutions. Here are the highlights from cases in Ontario:

Condo News
11 January 2015

Animals & legal rights
Animals are starting to get legal rights. Will this lead to the end of pet-free condos? Maybe some day.

Election fraud
The biggest surprise for CondoMadness in 2014 was the amount of election fraud that we uncovered in Ontario's condos. We went from having a single page in mid-January describing election fraud to two full chapters.

We are still learning about different tricks that are being played.

What's that name again?

I'm amazed this condo sold. Didn't anyone look at this listing before putting it on MLS?

Condo News
08 January 2015

Small Claims Court E-Filing
If you are filing a claim for a fixed amount of money (e.g. a debt owed to you under a contract) in the Brampton, Oshawa, Ottawa or Richmond Hill small claims court, you can now file your claim online through the new small claims court e-filing pilot.

E-filing is a simple, convenient way to file a claim in small claims court without setting foot in a courthouse.

Examples of claims that can be e-filed include:
• credit card debt
• NSF (non-sufficient funds) cheques
• overdue rent
• other debt owing under a contract

Claims where the amount of money owed is in dispute can't be e-filed at this time.

It is anticipated that the service will be available province-wide in early 2015.

Illinois gets condo dispute legislation
A new law creates a condo ombudsperson within the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation who will help resolve disputes and educate condo owners.

Globe and Mail interviews with Realtor David Fleming
Here are the links to three very short videos on condo ownership.
The other costs of condo ownership

Help or handout? Parents giving kids an assist with home buying

Should young adults buy a condo as a first home?

Parking spots & bicycles

I am not convinced that getting rid of parking spaces in condos and replacing them with bicycle racks is such a great idea. It may be more of a fad than anything else.

Don't agree with me? Well then hop on a bicycle and commute to work every day this week in this weather. John Tory better not tear down the Gardiner any day soon.

Condo News
05 January 2015

Bill 39
I went to Peter Milczyn"s New Years levy on Saturday where I had the opportunity to ask him about his private-members' bill that has passed second reading at Queens Park.

It is important for all condo owners to understand what he is proposing.

To read the whole chapter on affordable housing and condos, read:

Top 10 condo law cases of 2014
Chris Jaglowitz
I agree with his picking YCC 42 v. Gosal, 2014 ONSC 2035 as the #2 top case for 2014. Many of the issues leading up to this court case are described in our chapter YCC #42 Saying "This train-wreck of a condominium continues to generate jurisprudence and astonishment." hurts but unfortunately, there is still a lot of truth in it.

A new posting on Condo Advisory
It looks like a young lady is running a personal services business out of Mississauga residential condo unit. Someone posted this on Condo Advisory, an Internet condo rating site.

"Unit 401 = Whore House"
Name of the Intercom System: XXXX
Name of Prostitute : Mya
Unit: 401

The poster copied this advertisement from the from the back pages of Now magazine.

I can't see why the manager and the board could not shut down this small business fairly quickly.

Condo News
30 December 2014

Man drowns in Bamburgh Circle pool
Scarborough Mirror
29 December 2014

A man drowned in a Scarborough pool Sunday, Dec. 28.

Police said the man, who was in his 20s, was found at the bottom of a pool at 255 Bamburgh Circle (MTCC 634), near Warden and Steeles avenues, around 10:30 p.m.

He was pronounced dead in hospital.

His identity has not been released pending notification of next of kin.

Alberta lawyer gives up his licence
Leslie Meiklejohn admits he failed to live up to sales agreements for Leduc’s Bellavera Green condo development. He didn’t pay the $100,000 per unit stipulated by the deals, while failing to disclose units already had other mortgages registered against them.

The partially constructed Bellavera Green condo development fell into financial trouble in late 2011, when millions of dollars in mortgages and loans disappeared, leaving multiple claims on Frederick’s highly leveraged real estate holdings.

2014—Best discovery; the Kealey Commission Report
In existence for just ten years, Ontario condominiums were rife with problems and disputes and in response, the Ontario government created the Ontario Residential Condominium Study Group (the Kealey Commission) in 1977.

This Study Group was established to investigate residential condominiums, identify the main problems and to suggest recommendations.

Why this report was buried and forgotten by a ministry that was looking for ideas to licence condo managers and introduce a quick and cheap condo dispute system is extremely puzzling.

You can find a .pdf version of this report on CondoMadness below. You can also find out how most of our present problems with condos were identified 38 years ago and practical solutions to resolve those problems were included in the 126 recommendations made by the study group.

Condo News
27 December 2014

Charles Hanes on Minto Plaza
In his blog, Simply Charles, Mr. Hanes updates us on the ongoing issue of alleged mis-use of the condo corporation's money by the property manager and an apparent lack on concern by the board of directors.

It sure shows that the owners of a condo corporation need to stay on top of what is going on with their money.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne's other side
Robert Fisher says that now that she has a majority government, Ontario is seeing a different Kathleen Wynne.

Wynne's approach—often echoed by her cabinet ministers—is now more of: we won, you didn't.

And as a result, she wants legislation passed quickly, limiting debate, refusing to allow all-party committees to travel outside of Queen's Park.

Mr. Fisher's column is repeating what a couple of opposition MPPs have told me. Bills are now being pushed through with very little debate and the hearings after second reading are just a formality.

I am concerned that the new Condominium Act will get rushed through without condo owners getting an adequate opportunity to have their concerns heard and we will have a bill that was written by the industry's special interests.

2014—Most interesting Superior Court judgement
Any top of the chart list is by its nature subjective but after seeing one Top Ten Court Cases of 2014, I wonder why YCC #42 vs Gosel et al and the counter-motion YCC #42  vs Karim et al was not sitting at the top of that list. It didn't even make in the top ten.

This case had everything:
• large scale election fraud.
• a chairman who exceeded his authority.
• a lawyer who who ignored the inside management rule and claimed to
  represent the condo corporation instead of just two directors.
• a ruling that stated that a property manager conspired with two directors to
   overturn an election.
• two directors ordered to pay the corporation's $30,000 court costs.
• a court order governing the use of proxies at the corporation's next AGM.

Anyone who thinks election fraud is not a serious concern in Ontario condo elections needs to read this judgment. Better yet, go down to the University Avenue courthouse and read the full court records in all its shocking details.

Condo News
21 December 2014

A flurry of red-tagged emergency generators
Toronto ice storm last winter exposed code non-compliance in condominium buildings. This is an extremely important article that was published in Condo Business that all condo directors need to read.

The Condominium Boom
This article by Audrey Loeb in the Fall edition of CondoVoice is mandatory reading for anyone wanted to understand what difficulties Toronto will face with all the new complicated corporation structures. Audrey asks:
"Are condominiums growing at the expense of consumer protection?"

Condo News
18 December 2014

YCC #187 vs All Owners & Mortgagees YCC # 187

The board of YCC #187, a condo tower at 3390 Weston Road (near Finch), made an application in Brampton Superior Court today for the courts to appoint Mr. Bill Thompson, owner of Malvern Condominium Property Management as an administrator.

A group of owners responded by requesting the court to appoint an alternative candidate to be the court-appointed administrator.

The judge heard all the evidence and will announce his decision tomorrow.

CondoMadness will provide more details on this case once we have sorted through our notes and have received the judgment.

Sara Celestini vs TSCC #1786
A director on the board of TSCC #1786 was successful today in Brampton Superior Court in having Armand Conant appointed as an Inspector. The corporation did not oppose the appointment.


Disabled Calgary man stranded in condo for days after elevator breaks
16 Dec 2014
CBC News

Oliver Costa, who uses a wheelchair, hasn't been able to leave his Bridgeland home

A Calgary man with cerebral palsy says he has been trapped in his second floor condo for more than a week because the elevator is out of service.

Oliver Costa, who is in a wheelchair, hasn't been out since the elevator in his Bridgeland building stopped working a week ago.

“I'm stuck. I can't get nowhere,” he said.

The property manager, Connelly and Company, told Costa the repairs are delayed because of a shortage of parts.

Costa said after he spoke out his landlord suggested it might be time for him to find a different place to live.

"Three years and never missed a month's rent, this is the way I'm treated. I'm very, very disappointed," he said.

"Seven days is too long."

Jeff Dyer, executive director of Accessible Housing — an agency that finds accommodation for disabled Calgarians, said finding suitable housing for physically disabled people in Calgary is a major challenge.

“[They’re] not in a suitable location and they've got no way of maintaining their independent living anymore, so unfortunately there's a lot of people like this individual,” he said.

Costa has been told the elevator should be fixed on Tuesday.

Mr. Costa's landlord needs to be nominated as the "Canadian Humanitarian of the Year." I also wonder if his neighbours and property management knew of his plight and gave him assistance during his times of trouble.—editor

What can Condo Corps do when Airbnb moves in?
Rodrigue Escayola, an Ottawa lawyer specializing in condo law wrote a very interesting article on how a condo corporation can stop Airbnb and other short-term hotel-suite type rentals in your condo building.

Condo News
16 December 2014

Prison sentence for owners of Toronto rooming house after fatal fire
City of Toronto—News Release
A criminal court has announced a conviction resulting in a prison sentence of three years plus $26,100 in restitution against the owner of a Toronto rooming house in connection with a fire in March 2011.

The owner was found guilty of criminal negligence causing death, criminal negligence causing bodily harm and four counts of criminal mischief.

The Ontario Fire Code charges are still in the provincial court system.

Toronto Fire Services reminds landlords and tenants they can contact the City of Toronto's Fire Prevention division to request an inspection by calling 416-338-9107. Non-compliance may result in legal proceedings under the Criminal Code and/or under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act.

The prosecution of these charges was made possible through the combined efforts of the Ontario Fire Marshal, Toronto Police Service, and Toronto Fire Services.

Private space
I have written about overcrowded condo units and that balconies, living rooms and even insuite storgae rooms have been converted into bed-sits but I was taken back to find out that tiny "private spaces" in Vancouver were renting for $650 a month.

Condo News
12 December 2014

So How Is Your Condo Corporation, Board of Directors And Property Management Company Actually Doing?
By: C.L. Hanes

Charles Hanes gives us an update on the accusations about the property manager at 38 Elm Street in Toronto.

"My source goes on to inform me that on November 27th (2014), police fraud detectives requested the assistance of the board of directors of Minto Plaza (MTCC 933) to go forward with criminal charges, allegedly due to “sufficient evidence of the alleged acts of financial impropriety to permit the laying of a criminal charge to enable a Court to determine whether or not it can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that said financial improprieties actually took place.

Since November 27th the board’s co-operation has proven uncertain and the police have now held off on the criminal charge, and without the co-operation of the board of directors the criminal case may be dropped."

Read more on this at:
Condo News
10 December 2014

The condo you bought is getting 'crusty': Kevin O'Leary
“Crusty” and “shoebox” probably aren’t to go-to buzzwords realtors are using to push condo living on the mature millennial set, but that’s how Kevin O’Leary sums up the units he says young people are buying on the assumption prices will continue to push higher.

He says the 17-year crawl to the lowest interest rates in a generation have made borrowing too easy and millennials too eager to take on debt at an early age.

“I’m looking at the people who work for me in my companies in the mid-20s all buying condos and I beg them to rent them,” said the chairman of O’Leary Financial.

He says servicing debt at a floating interest rate is sure to get more expensive in the next five years. That’s a tough sell for those under 30 who have grown up with low rates and booming real estate, along with comments from those claiming rates have nowhere to go but up and housing is in bubble territory.

Markets and mortgages aside, O’Leary says the condos themselves are disposable and shouldn’t be considered a viable investment.

“All of these condos are what I call ‘shoebox condos’ . . . 440 square feet, two tiny bathrooms, no parking, pure commodity, square box of cement. There is no value to me as an investor. To me, it’s a depreciating asset. The building in 10 years is an old shoebox condo. I think it’s worth less,” he said.

Those drawn to the convenient car-less condo lifestyle in hip urban centers are playing into the hands of developers according to O’Leary and would be better served by renting.

“To me a condo is just a piece of cement that gets old and crusty. The bathtub is old and crusty. The sink is old and crusty. Why don’t you just rent and get a new un-crusty condo in five years,” he said.

Affordable Housing Bill
Everyone seems to agree we need more affordable housing in this city, but how should we create it?

Matt Galloway spoke with Peter Milczyn. He is the Liberal MPP for Etobicoke Lakeshore and a former Toronto city councillor.
(A seven minute audio radio interview)
Condo News
06 December 2014

The high cost of low fees
In condos, ignoring reality is a sure recipe for disaster.

Here is the listing for a stacked townhouse that sold for $35,000 almost half of the listed price.

The board of directors had been recently replaced by a court-appointed administrator. Badly needed repairs, especially to the underground garage, saw the monthly fees for this unit jump to over $1,100 a month.

Presently, there is a 1645 square foot unit for sale at this condo on MLS. It is listed for $69,900. The monthly fees, including the special assessment is $1,298.77 a month. What will it sell for? We will have to see.

What is the lesson here? Owners need to stay informed about their corporation's affairs, elect competent directors and insure that needed repairs are done when they first arise and don't let them fester.

Condo News
05 December 2014

Man followed women into elevators and engaged in “indecent act”
Toronto Star
Sam Colbert Staff Reorter
28 November 2014

Police are searching for a man who followed two women into the elevators of their downtown apartment buildings and engaged in an “indecent act” in separate incidents earlier this month.

At about 9:45 p.m. on Nov. 5, a man followed a 27-year-old woman into her building in the Yonge St. and Wellesley St. E. area. He got into the elevator with her and “engaged in an indecent act in the presence of the woman,” according to Toronto police. He followed her out of the elevator, and the woman fled and called police.

At about 10 p.m. the next day, a man followed a 24-year-old woman into her apartment building near Front St. W. and Bathurst St. He rode in the elevator with her to her floor, followed her out and again engaged in an indecent act. She got inside her apartment and contacted police.

Police are looking for a single suspect in the incidents. Police are alerting the public and seeking assistance in identifying him.

He is described as white, 5-foot-10 with a medium build. He was wearing light blue jeans and a suede beige construction worker’s jacket.

Those with information are being asked to contact police at 416-808-1400, or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).

Toronto Condo News
here is the first issue of a free Toronto-wide monthly condo news maazine that is presently distributed in 600 condominiums in Toronto.

Condo bill designed to fix leaky legislation
CBC News
02 Dec 2014

The Alberta government has released its new condo bill designed to fix the province’s leaky condominium legislation.

Bill 9, The Condominium Property Amendment Act, upgrades and modernizes the current legislation with more than 50 changes, said Service Alberta Minister Stephen Khan Tuesday morning.

“What this is about is increased consumer protection, establishing certainty for developers and enforcing consistency for condo boards,” Khan said.

“This will create a healthy and stable ecosystem for condo associations and for condo developers and for consumers.”

The amendments follow consultations with condo owners, builders and boards lasting more than a year, he said.

Khan said some of the changes include:
• Creating a framework for a new condominium dispute tribunal;
• Improving disclosure of financial and other necessary information to buyers of new and converted condominiums;
• Developing a framework for qualifications and standards of practice for condominium managers; and,
• Improving governance of condominium corporations.

Robert Noce, an Edmonton lawyer who specializes in condo law, says the amendments don’t go far enough, and in some cases don’t specify remedies for problems.

The government plans to add those details through future regulations, but Noce wants them written into law.

“Then, if it requires any amendments it has to be done on the floor of the legislature as opposed to amending a regulation which is done privately by way of cabinet order.”

More than 8,000 condominium corporations operate in the province while condominiums account for about 20 per cent of homes sold annually, the government said.

Cat missing for 4 months after condo blaze found alive and well
CBC News
02 Dec 2014

More than four months after she was thought lost in a massive condo fire, a house cat named Harmony has proven to be incredibly resilient, suggesting cats may in fact have more than one life.

Harmony was last seen by her owners in July 2014 before the blaze broke out at  the South Hamptons condominium complex in southwest Edmonton.

The fire caused an estimated $10 million in damages and forced about 400 people out of their homes. Months later, the residents are still waiting to return home.

In the days and weeks after the fire, Harmony’s owner Megan Martin made every effort to find the cat, even calling in help from a rescue organization which originally saved Harmony from being euthanized at the pound prior to her adoption.

“It’s almost like losing a child,” said Martin. “You don’t think that your pets are going to be that close to you but it was very heartbreaking.”

Hoping to help out, Kirby Seidlerwith the Safe Team animal rescue organization left water and food out for Harmony at the site of the fire just in case she survived.

Seidler also began putting up posters with Harmony’s picture around the neighbourhood and contacted the security and recovery companies involved in cleaning up the site.

But despite her efforts and months of searching, the cat remained missing – that is until Monday, when a demolition worker at the site of the burnt-out building found Harmony alive, huddled inside a section of wall for warmth.

“Today she was found in the walls of the third-floor unit that was below us,” Martin said, adding that she has no idea how Harmony survived the fire and so many months on her own.

“She obviously tried to survive all this time on her own and managed.”

‘Something out of a movie’

Because of Seidler’s earlier efforts to find the cat, the workers who found Harmony knew who to call when the cat was discovered.

“Total miracle she survived the fire. The vet said ‘This can't be real, after all this time she is found – this is something out of a movie,’" wrote Seidler in an email to CBC News.

Other than being underweight, a vet told Seidler Harmony was in good shape after her four-month ordeal.

Apart from being severely underweight at just 2.8 kilograms, the vet declared Harmony healthy. After feeding her a good meal, Seidler returned the cat to Martin and her family.

“It was disbelief to see that she was there and she recognized me,” said Martin of her reunion with Harmony. “I started to cry right away.”

Harmony, who is understandably a bit skittish at present, is now back home and making up for lost meals.

And Martin says this is the best Christmas present she could ask for.

“She’s our family, she’s part of the family, so thank you! From the bottom of our hearts, we appreciate it so much.”

As for Seidler, she remains modest about the role she and her organization played in getting Harmony home.

“We are so thankful she has been returned home safely and happy we were able to assist ... in getting her there,” she said.

Safe Team is a volunteer-based organization that has been rescuing animals from across the province since 2010.

Pig named Ernest Hamingway lives large in Whitehorse condo
CBC News
25 November 2014

The story of an Alberta family's fight to keep their pot-bellied pig is hitting close to home for a Whitehorse family.

The hamlet of Sherwood Park, Alta., may force the family to give up the animal it has had for four years.
Andrea Merschilz has lived with Ernest Hamingway, a 27 kilogram pot-bellied pig, in her Whitehorse condo for the past year.
1 of 4
Andrea Merschilz has lived with Ernest Hamingway, a 27 kilogram pot-bellied pig, in her Whitehorse condo for the past year.

She`s watching the Alberta situation closely and says if anything similar happened, her family would be forced to take drastic action.

“We would move.”

Thankfully for Merschilz that won’t be necessary.

The city has granted a permit allowing the animal to live in the condo, and the condo board is in support too.

Merschilz describes Ernest Hamingway as an ordinary pet who begs for treats, goes for walks and gets dressed up in cute costumes.

An allergy sufferer, Merschilz says the hypo-allergenic animal works well for her, but she admits his living conditions are somewhat unusual. “Basically for his exercise him and our kitten go out in our hallway of our condo building and they chase each other up and down the hall.”

The case of the Alberta pet pig goes to court sometime early next year.

Condo News
02 December 2014

Fraud Alert: Rogue management firm at large in Halton
By Chris Jaglowitz on December 1, 2014

Here is a fraud warning issued by Chris Jaglowitz on The Ontario Condo Law Blog.

Unfortunately, he could not name names but he does give some excellent advice for all boards of directors. The treasurer should always run a transaction report on their accounts from their bank account and compare it to the monthly financial statements supplied by the property management company.

What Mr. Chris Jaglowitz says about our local police forces is very disappointing as in 2007, four years before he fled the country with over $21 million, fraud committed by Manzoor Khan was reported to the Peel Police—backed up with 200 pages of evidence—and no action was taken. Seems little has been learnt since then.

All condo owners in Ontario must thank Mr. Jaglowitz for bringing this to our attention and reminding us why we must be vigilant.

Condo News
30 November 2014

Trump Toronto's restaurant can't get any respect
In March 2012, the Toronto Star's food critic reviewed Stock, the Trump's five-star restaurant. The Star found it over-priced with terrible food and service.

"The $26 hot dog, the most popular lunch item, is ridiculous. Sure, it's made from prized Wagyu beef — but that just makes for greasy tube steak. The shredded beef on top looks and tastes like bloodied sawdust, the fries are limp, the condiments banal. The $1.99 steamies at Little Dog are 20 times better."

The food or service can't compete against a hot dog stand? That hurts.

So, the restaurant gets a remake, a new chef and a new name. "Stock" becomes "America" and now it is reviewed by the Globe and Mail.

America at the Trump hotel: The food is amazing – but you shouldn’t eat here, ever
My favourite quotes:
"If you build it, creeps will come."
"It was as if nobody had ever worked in a real restaurant before."

Toronto Star 2012
1 star (for decor)

Globe and Mail 2014
0 stars

Condo News
28 November 2014

The Only Hope Left For Consumers Is A Condo Tribunal To Handle All Disputes That Arise In CondoLand
by C.L. Hanes
21 October 2014

So, is there any hope for the poor unsuspecting condo buyer out there in search of a home?

Not unless things change drastically and you can bet that that’s not about to change anytime soon!

Marilyn Lincoln: Leaky windows lead to bigger problems so need to be fixed promptly
Waiting six months to have a leaky window taken care of is far too long. Your board needs to take action as soon as possible to correct this problem. Directors should keep in mind that they have an obligation to ensure the property is properly maintained to the highest standards possible.

B.C. condo flood leaves owner in insurance nightmare
An accident by a contractor caused damage across four units

Many condo owners are also under-insured. More than half of B.C.'s condo holders do not have homeowners' insurance, according to McIntyre.

Owners of Leaky Luxury Condos Get $5.3 Million Arbitration Award
Water problems in a high-end condominium complex built on a former industrial site on Stonington Harbor Connecticut led to a long-running legal dispute between residents and architects after water began leaking into the condos. In a recent decision by an arbitration panel, the architects were ordered to pay just over $5.3 million.
Condo News
22 November 2014

Adoption fees being waived for black cats at shelters
Toronto Star
Saturday 22 November 2014
By: Katherine DeClerq Staff Reporter

“People tend to adopt non-black cats and dogs more quickly than black,” said Tammy Robbinson, spokesperson for Animal Services. “We're not 100 per cent sure why—It may be that they are not as "eye-catching" as some of the other dogs.”

Over the next two days, Animal Services will be hosting a “cat adoption blitz” in honour of Black Friday. The $75 adoption fee will be waived from four different animal shelters across the city, as well as at a number of partner locations. The only cost to adopt a black cat will be a $15 license fee. This cost is cut in half for seniors.

All cats have been checked by vets and have been sterilized, micro-chipped, de-wormed and vaccinated.

The adoption fees will be waived at the following shelters and partner locations:

North Animal Shelter and Spay Neuter Clinic
1300 Sheppard Avenue West
North Animal Shelter Phone: 416-338-8723

South Animal Shelter
140 Princes' Blvd,
Phone: 416-338-6668

East Animal Shelter
821 Progress Avenue
Phone: 416-338-7539

West Animal Shelter
146 The East Mall, Toronto, ON M9B 1B9
Phone: 416-338-6271

Private Member's Bill—Tarion
NDP Critic MPP Jagmeet Singh will be introducing a Private Member's Bill and holding an associated media conference on Wed 10 December 2014.

Your attendance at this event will will let the Members of the Ontario Legislature know that consumers need adequate protection related to the largest purchase most consumers make - a new home! We hope you will join MPP Singh and CPBH at this event!

All events on Wednesday Dec. 10 will be held in the Queen's Park Main Legislative Building. Here is how the day is shaping up:

• 9:00 am - Arrive and get signed in at Security

• 9:45 am - Observe a news conference held by MPP Singh in the Media Studio. (Any consumers who wish to speak to the media themselves may have the opportunity to do so before or after the news conference.)

• 10:30 am - Attend Question Period and watch democracy in action!

• 11:45 am - Lunch in the cafeteria - This time will give everyone an opportunity to meet other homeowners/Ontarians concerned about these serious issues. Previously homeowners have advised CPBH that this has been a very valuable experience.

•  3:00 pm - Introduction of the Bill by MPP Singh

Condo News
21 November 2014

Taking building challenges, solutions to John Tory
BILD’s Steve Upton named to mayor-elect’s transitional advisory panel.

I have concerns when I hear about plans to expand the condo market by such schemes as "rent to own". Condos do not work as affordable housing because condos is NOT cheap housing.

Putting low income persons into condos is a recipe for low-fees and neglected maintenance which will lead to future court-appointed administration and large numbers of these people losing their homes.

Modest zero-lot housing, free-hold townhouses and single-purpose rental buildings work best for affordable housing.

How Much Money Should Be In The Condo’s Reserve Fund?
Here is another interesting blog by David Fleming.

Marilyn Lincoln: How do we retain our building’s value, without a say in alterations?
The board of directors is entitled to alter the common elements. However, they can only replace the marble tiles with porcelain tiles if the porcelain tiles cost less than marble. The board may carry out the alteration once they have passed a resolution.

In the above case, the board is not obligated under the Act to notify the owners and give them the opportunity to requisition an owners’ meeting to vote on or discuss the marble replacement — if, again, the cost of the porcelain does not exceed the cost of marble.

Michael Sona sentenced to 9 months in jail for 'callous' robocalls
Former Conservative staffer Michael Sona has been sentenced to nine months in jail plus a year on probation for trying to keep some voters in Guelph, Ont., from casting ballots in the 2011 federal election.

Earlier, Hearn said Sona's crime showed a "callous and blatant disregard for the right of people to vote" and said Sona was a major participant in this "ill-conceived and disturbing plan."

"This was not an amateurish grade eight election campaign for student council," Hearn said.

Sona, 26, was the only person charged with planning and setting loose a misleading robocall that hit 6,000 voters in Guelph in an attempt to keep them from casting ballots in the May 2, 2011, federal election. He was found guilty in August and faced a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Between 150 to 200 people who received the robocall went to the wrong place to vote.

Condo News
19 November 2014

Man charged after explosion inside condo blows out elevator doors
A 36-year-old man has been charged in connection with an explosion at a Toronto condo building in that police say may have been caused by a "clandestine drug lab."

First responders were called to a building on East Liberty Street shortly after 6:30 p.m. on Monday after residents reported an explosion. It happened inside a sixth-floor condo unit.

After the blast, residents of the condo were temporarily evacuated. Capt. Adrian Ratushniak, of Toronto Fire Services, estimates the explosion caused approximately $120,000 in damages.

Condo News
16 November 2014

Water main break floods condo at York Mills and Yonge
Residents forced to wade through water to exit the building. The elevators are out.

Real estate lawyer in hot water over missing $3.5M
The Law Society of Upper Canada believes a lawyer has left the country amid complaints from her clients about $3.5 million in missing mortgage funds she was holding in her trust account.

Mississauga, Ont., real estate lawyer Rita Grewal has abandoned her home and law practice, and her credit card activity suggests she may be in India, according to a law society ruling in which the regulator suspended her licence to practise law for fear she poses “a significant risk to the public.”

How will our glass condo obsession affect us 20 years from now?
Another university professor states that all our window-wall condos will need very expensive repairs and replacements in 15-20 years.

Selling Your Condo While Tenanted = Leaving Money On The Table
by David Fleming
Time and time again, I see properties sitting on the market, and eventually under-selling, because the seller, listing agent, or both, decided it was a good idea to sell the property while tenants were living there.

Highrise church-condo planned on Mountain Park Avenue
For the past year, church officials have been working with a local architectural firm on a plan that would essentially see the church hand over its land on Mountain Park near Cliff Avenue in Hamilton to a developer who would dem

top  contents  news archives  newer  older