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Condo News
31 October 2016

The Great Divide
Condo owners’ rights advocates, who exist, view the balance of power in far more stark terms than condo professionals like managers and lawyers.

CityPlace condo residents worried about health as black mould found in building
What is interesting and different about this report is that they named the building.

State of emergency
Toronto’s downtown hospitals are struggling to keep up with a condo boom that has brought tens of thousands of new residents to the core and through the doors of emergency departments that were already bursting at the seams

Why artists are trolling Toronto with fake development proposal signs
Satirical signs ask Toronto to take 'critical look' at recent development projects

For Sale: Opulence galore in this old Montreal office building conversion to condo

This apartment is stunning. The photos are wonderful.

'Poo bandit' strikes in North York
More like a condo balcony bomber. Pedestrians; wear rain coats and hard hats. Convertibles need to keep the roofs up.

Mice a problem? Ask an expert
It is getting cold so mice will try to slip into warm condo buildings.

Condo News
29 October 2016

Coquitlam RCMP investigating after 2 seniors dragged down stairs by officers

This was a condo AGM gone real bad. The police actions are questionable. The video is disturbing.

Rooming house operator charged after west-end blaze seriously injures firefighter
A 72-year-old woman is facing several charges — including arson by negligence — after a fire broke out at an unlicenced rooming house she was operating, seriously injuring a firefighter, police say.

The flames broke out in a two-storey home on Dufferin Street near Alma Avenue, north of Queen Street West, shortly after 9 a.m. on Oct. 11. A firefighter was seriously injured.

The accused has been charged with two counts of arson by negligence and one charge each of criminal negligence cause bodily harm, mischief endangering life and mischief under $5,000.

This was in a detached house but there many unlicenced overcrowded rooming houses in condo townhouses and apartment units.

Condo News
27 October 2016

Education seminar for condo owners & directors
On Monday 24 October 2016, City Sites Property Management, a management company that services the GTA, hosted a free condominium education seminar at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga.

The speakers were:
• The Honourable Dipika Damerla, Minister Responsible for Seniors Affairs
• Stephen Chesney, Partner, CA at Parker, Garber & Chesney
• Mark Shedden, President of Atrens Counsel Insurance Brokers
• Armand Conant, Partner at Shibley Righton LLP Law Firm

Harold S. Cipin, President of City Sites Property Management chaired the seminar.

At least 100 condo directors and owners attended this event.

Dipika Damerla
Ms. Dameria said that the government saw the need for major reforms to the Condominium Act especially for dispute resolution between the board and owners and the licencing of property managers.

The plan is to have the regulations in place by the fall of 2017.

Stephen Chesney
Mr. Chesney described the role of the corporation's auditor and how he conducts condo audits.

There is an Expectation Gap between what the auditor's responsibilities are and what some owners expect the auditor to do. A condo audit is not a forensic audit but is limited to insuring that the income and expenses in the financial statements are factual.

The auditor also looks to see if the board has broke any financial rules and should also request confirmation letters for all investments from the institution that holds the funds.

Mark Shedden
Mr. Shedden explained the six different kinds of insurance coverage the condo corporation requires and why the owners need their own unit insurance.

He explained how insurance works in various situations such as when there is personal injuries, fire and flooding.

Armand Conant
Mr. Conant said that the major cause of disputes is the lack of knowledge among owners and the directors. Education will be a big component.

He spoke on the differences between the existing Condo Act and the new Act that will be in force once the various regulations are proclaimed. Mr Conant also said the the regulations may be phased in at different times.

The Authority believes that the they will be properly funded with a levy of $1.00 per condo unit per month along with service fees for the Dispute Tribunals and possibly for accessing the Authority's data registry.

The Dispute Resolution portion of the registry may be running by the fall of 2018.

Questions & answers
It was nice to see that there was sufficient time allotted for questions and that the panelists stayed after the meeting to talk with the directors and owners.

And what questions there were:

The first question from a gentleman asked if it was proper that the directors at his condo do not pay monthly maintenance fees and do not pay when they want to use the guest suites or the common rooms.

One owner complained that when she asked her property manager what does a by-law mean, he told her to hire a lawyer to explain it to her.

A owner had a question about smoking restrictions in condos.

Another owner has a question about support animals.

Another problem is over-crowding with a man stating that a one bedroom unit in his building has nine people living in it.

There was a question if the board had a responsibility to inform the insurance company if there were any safety or building code issues.

A woman asked about the Kitec plumbing pipes that were installed in her condo tower.

a group of owners are frustrated because the president of their condo will not answer their questions or allow them to examine documents. She is also the property manager and the condo does not hold regular Annual General Meetings.

It sounds like the Dispute Tribunals will be really busy.

For one, I hope that City Sites will host more of these seminars in the future.

Condo News
26 October 2016

Why is my hydro bill so expensive?
A short video by the Financial Post describing why Ontario consumers pay so much for our electricity.

How to keep downtown Toronto from going to the dogs—and their poop
Kilander prefers the park at nearby St. James Cathedral, rather than the parkette that's part of his condo property. "It's disgusting," says Kilander. "I only use it as a last resort."

Landlord Rescue
The blogs on this site are a wonderful source of information for everyone who rents a condo unit. Written by a property manager based in the GTA.

King Edward Hotel exterior masonry wraps up
With timely renovations, older properties hold their value. Four floors of this old hotel have been converted into condos.

Milton residents pen petition in opposition to eight-storey condo proposal
They don't want an 8-storey condo? What's wrong with an 105 unit condo building? The suburbs got to get real.

Alberta proposing stricter rules to help buyers bound by condo construction delays
'Right now the scales are tipped in favour of the developer and the industry,' minister says.

City of Vancouver sues to shut down Airbnb rental
B.C. Supreme Court petition cites zoning by-law as rationale to stop nightly rental of two-bedroom suite.

Articles from USA
People lose 40 pounds worth of keys every month on BART
(BART) is a public transportation system serving the San Francisco Bay Area.

New treasurer has questions
Did the old president use the condo fees to enrich himself? He will not say.

Article from Asia
Management sends bulldozer to crush apartment owner's minivan following dispute

Over the weekend, a video went viral showing why you don't want to start a dispute with anyone who has access to heavy machinery.

On October 18, 2016 a condo apartment owner surnamed Jing in Datong, Shanxi province complained to the management office about some damage to his home that had been inflicted by construction workers. Apparently, talks didn't go well between the two parties.

Afterward, in an act of protest, Jing directed his relatives to park his minivan right in front of the entrance to the parking lot of the community. In response, management then directed a bulldozer to smash the vehicle's roof in.

Police are currently investigating the incident and have been detained the apartment owner and the managers.

CondoMadness on Twitter
News on Airbnb, condos on Toronto's waterfront, crime in underground parking garages, dog poop and very intersting condo designs in Alberta.

Condo News
21 October 2016

Opening the door for Bell Fibe may be a good idea in condos
Toronto Star's Fixer seems to have changed his mind.

Evicted, again: 'Professional tenant' James Regan receives 3rd eviction notice
Watch out condo owners. James needs a new home by next week. Who will be his next lucky landlord?

This guy is a professional mooch.

Toronto builders say blocking streets and sidewalks unavoidable
Toronto mayor says city won’t approve of shutting down streets and sidewalks for long periods of time. (I'm betting that they will.)

Buyers camp out for a week … to grab a detached house

As Toronto prices rise, lineups may become common in region.

Lined up to buy a condo?

This long queue outside the future site of "The One" was not formed by anxious condo buyers waiting for a sales office to open. It was people waiting for TTC shuttle buses when Line 2 was closed for maintenance.

Little support for condo development
Brantford city councillors are rejecting a proposed 10-unit condominium development on Mount Pleasant Street even though their action may prove costly.

"It's likely that if we reject this it will go to the Ontario Municipal Board and if that happens it's out of everybody's hands."

Three-year-old survives fall from window in Surrey
A three-year-old boy's fall from a third-floor Surrey apartment window was broken by a second-story balcony, preventing serious injuries.

Articles from USA
How the rich & famous protect their privacy
New features in high-end condos. Plus the old-fashioned but very effective security guard.

Russian buyer says $7 million ‘nightmare’ condo leaks so much he’s moving out
Alexey Knyshov says his brand-new unit at the Mansions at Acqualina has a leaky window and faulty fire sprinkler that caused water damage and mold in the 17th-floor apartment and led to health problems for his two young daughters.

Converting churches to condos brings logistical, social challenges
As churches’ congregations move to the suburbs and property values soar, increasing numbers of religious institutions are selling their properties in the city, usually with plans to move closer to their congregations.

Condo News
19 October 2016

Wynne calls Ontarians 'very bad actors' when it comes to greenhouse gas creation
Premier Kathleen Wynne says her government is introducing a cap-and-trade system next year because Ontarians are "very bad actors" when it comes to per capita creation of greenhouse gases.

The Liberal government predicts cap-and-trade will add about $5 a month to home heating bills and about 4 a litre to the price of gasoline at the pumps when it kicks in on January 1st.

Garage owner partly liable for car thief injury: Top court
This is a warning to condo boards and condo owners. Drunks, thieves and fools are looked on kindly by the courts.

Parking areas need security measures and cars should be locked with no keys left in them.

When condo construction hits delays, can purchasers back out?
'We don’t pay out purchasers who are unhappy. Absolutely not,' says developers.

Video: Officials spread the word on condo fire rules
With more highrise condos popping up around the city, fire officials are making sure people know what to do when the alarm goes off.

Articles from USA
Chicago condo association issued three citations over records requests
Fail to allow owners to examine condo records? After 30 days, a unit owner may sue to enforce compliance and, if successful, recover damages and attorney’s fees. The association can also be fined by the city. Repeated offenses can land condo board members and property managers in jail for up to 180 days.

If the whole board goes to jail, they can spend the time together playing euchre.

Miami Commissioners to consider mandatory workforce housing proposal
This is similar to Toronto's inclusionary housing proposals for condos.

Cops: Drug dealers invade condo, steal gun, slice two men
Man kidnapped, two sliced with razor & two shots fired. Not a normal quiet night for most condo buildings.

Articles from Brazil
Thieves steal 92 pairs of shoes during raid on footballer’s condo
Fenerbahce striker Fernandao reportedly had 92 pairs of shoes stolen by thieves who raided his home. Speaking after the incident, Fernandao said: “We think that we are safe in an upscale condominium luxury. But that’s not what happened. I’m thinking of leaving the site.

Condo News
17 October 2016

Condominium Management Regulatory Authority of Ontario incorporated
The Minister of consumer services wrote a letter to ACMO stating:
"I look forward to meeting the membership and executive of ACMO in the near future, and to continuing our mutually beneficial and productive relationship in the months ahead."

Isn't this like her meeting with the wolves and not with the sheep?

Condo mismanagement (“Larlyn Property Management Inc.”) leads to security guards (sold to you as “Executive Concierge”) sleeping on the job and Larlyn defending them

Guard leaving this morning with purple pillow in hand    Photo Charles Hanes

Charles Hanes is upset because he believes that the over-night security guard sleeps during his shift and the property management doesn't take action.

We will have to see if his posting this on his blog makes a difference.

A former licensed rooming house on Sherbourne St. is now posted on Airbnb
Travellers looking for a bargain find their way to this property “in the heart of downtown Toronto” via online lodging site Airbnb, where host “Silvana” offers 12 units starting at $34 for a “simple room with a single bed” to $100 a night for a room with two double beds.

Latest news from Toronto City Council
Condominium dwellers
Council asked City staff to consider developing online resources and leveraging current consultation initiatives as ways of providing information about City services and resources available to condominium dwellers.

Guidelines for bedroom design
Council directed staff to work with the Ontario government and other appropriate bodies to obtain greater local authority for interior building design so the City can require that bedrooms have a view to the outdoors. The action comes in response to recent experience with some residential units being built with bedrooms that do not have a window offering an outside view. The City considers an outside view important for quality of life.

Power outages at CityPlace
Council supported a motion to ask Toronto Hydro to review recent power outages in the CityPlace neighbourhood and report back on the matter, including on how to prevent future electrical outages. Residents in the tower community experienced four major power interruptions lasting between three and 18 hours during a three-week period in August and September.

Stunning new condo sets the bar for design in Toronto

Just where could have have got this idea? Is this another case, I wonder, of reality following art?

Burlington battles 26-storey lakefront condo plan
The city is locked in a pitched legal struggle with the developer over the Nautique, which it argues in a recent report is too dense and too tall for its relatively small site, a parking lot and adjacent residential parcel at the corner of Martha and Lakeshore.

2 years after purchase condo buyers upset with stalled project
They won’t give us any assurance that it’s actually going to be completed.

Wake up people
Stop buying pre-construction condos. If they are not built, you lose. Sometimes, when they are poorly built, you lose.

Articles from USA
The rise of the super-skinny skyscraper
In cities where space is at its scarcest, a new breed of tower has emerged: 1
the super-skinny skycraper.

CityPlace S. Tower rushes to fix roof tiles at West Palm Beach condo
This quotes says it all:
“In this day and age of greed, it’s ‘Let’s build it fast and get it up and running and sell it fast.’… But if you build too fast and don’t pay attention, things happen.”

Brown Bag Gets Complaints By People Living Nearby
Tenants at one downtown condo building in anchorage Alaska are voicing their complaints about a local restaurant that sells sandwiches by day and at night turns into a late night bar with music, sometimes keeping their doors open past two in the morning.

Articles from Europe
KLM Lost & Found service
KLM’s dedicated Lost & Found team at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is on a mission to reunite lost items as soon as possible with their legitimate owner. From a teddy bear found by the cabin crew to a laptop left in the lounge.

Very cute dog video.

Articles from Asia
Chinese Cities Restrict Home Purchases to Cool Buying Frenzy
Seventeen Chinese cities have imposed restrictions on buying real estate in the past week as China’s leadership tries to cool a home-purchasing frenzy that is sending prices soaring.

Condo News
13 October 2016

Rutherford and Mathews
Benjamin Rutherford and Joy Mathews have left Fine and Deo to start a new law firm specializing in condominium law.

Toronto condo owners sue after 'tunnel' found under building

Residents of Dundas St. condo building launch a lawsuit for up to $3million in damages.

The lawsuit has created other types of problems for the condo owners, yet none of the owners, their condo board, their lawyer or a real estate agent currently selling a unit in the building would talk on the record when approached by CBC News.

Another example of why potential buyers need to be both informed and wary.

Condo Smarts: Strata not required to obtain three quotes
Question: When we asked for information around the process, owners were told: “We are getting a good deal, so stop making trouble and more work for everyone.”

The answer was that a condo corporation does not have to get three quotes. However, if I was an owner at that condo, I would be very concerned with the attitude from the board.

Bell plays fast and loose on condo entry rights: The Fixer
Condo owners say they were told Bell was coming into their units to install Fibe wiring, and could not be denied entry.

Why we love disposable furniture: Canada’s love/hate relationship with Ikea
Buying and disposing these non-durable durable goods has become a national pastime and Ikea is helping to fuel it.

Airbnb says Vancouver's short-term rental licensing plan too strict
Didn't take Airbnb very long to start complaining. When will the lawsuits start?

New ownership for Four Seasons Hotel Toronto
The new owner paid $800,000 a hotel room, a new Canadain record.

Articles from USA
Woman paints entire first page of Harry Potter on a wall

Her penmanship is wonderful.

Cross-Dressing in the condo lobby!
For the past six months, one of the male residents of the building has been putting himself on display by wearing woman’s clothing and spending hours and hours in the condo lobby.

Neighborhood 'mourners' want New Orleans short-term rentals regulated
Residents from the St. Roch, Marigny and Bywater neighborhoods staged a mock jazz funeral outside New Orleans City Hall on Tuesday (Sept. 27) to convince the City Council to approve new short-term rental regulations.

Carrying two black coffins with "RIP real neighbors" and "RIP affordable housing" scrawled on the lids, members of three neighborhood associations stood in front of City Hall as the Treme Brass Band played a funeral dirge. Speakers during the demonstration complained that their neighborhoods have been particularly hard-hit by investors scooping up houses and flipping them, only to rent them to people using online short-term rental services.

Articles from South America
The disadvantages of condos in Providence, Guyana
A young person writes a letter to the editor:
"Let’s not even talk about the fact that persons from different back grounds and ways of upbringing will have to share space. Conflicts will definitely arise – forgive me for being negative but it is the reality of life – people have disagreements daily."

Condo News
11 October 2016

The Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO) was incorporated
Although happy that progress is being made, I am worrying about the lack of information from the Ministry and how one director states that the CAO will be a resource to the whole industry. I hoped that it would be a resource primarily for the condo owners as they are the ones who re being taxed to pay for all of this. The "industry" are freeloaders who are not paying a nickel into this.

Circa is developing family-sized condos in Toronto
The company breathes fresh life into the understated, two-storey walk-up apartments near Bathurst St. and Eglinton Ave.

The units are pricey. A bigger concern could be governance. With very few owners, electing a board and raising the needed Reserve Funds could be a problem.

A world-class address’: Nowhere else will you find such desolation and gloom as in the solitude of The Shops at Aura
Calum Marsh wrote this National Post article in the Arts section of the paper. He swings the hatchet with such force I was reminded of Jan Wong, a reporter who was notorious for hard hitting journalism.

Sit back and get a fresh cup of coffee before you start to read why a huge flood of retail shops under all of our new condos may not be a path to riches after all.

Condos planned at former Cobourg jail
Condominiums are being proposed for the former exercise yard of the Old Cobourg Jail inn and restaurant complex at 77 Albert St., Cobourg.

Concierge of Vancouver puts real-estate plight on-stage

Shaul Ezer’s comedy links together an expensive near-empty condo building in Coal Harbour, a reclusive donor who gives away millions each year to worthy causes, and a tenacious reporter who’s investigating an international banker.

Vancouver renters fight for right to Airbnb
But after the house was sold for $2.6 million, their new landlord wanted them to stop using Airbnb, saying his insurance didn’t cover short-term stays.

“He came to us saying…stop using short-term stays, and we gave him the finger,” Glaze said, adding that after fighting several eviction attempts, he and Slaw decided to buy a condo in False Creek.

They gave their landlord the finger? Some nerve.

Condo Questions: Owners at fault for failure to comply
Robert Noce writes the most informative column on condos in Canada. I recommend all condo owners to add the link to your web brower.

Vacation condo rental prices rocked by Caribbean based website Super Condo Deal
SuperCondoDeal offering 75% discount giving major competitors a run for their money. If this is on the up-and-up there may be some great deals on a Jamaica holiday.

The company website:

Articles from Asia
Security management flaws may lead to burglaries
This article gives several reasons why break-ins happen in condos. Short-term rentals is just one of them.

Vancouver-style homes for sale, just outside Beijing

Vancouver’s west side exists in a parallel universe, and it’s located in a sprawling gated community in Beijing.

Vancouver Forest is a Chinese interpretation of Vancouver’s west side, designed by a Vancouver firm to look like the old houses of Dunbar, Shaughnessy or Kitsilano.

E-mails from readers
I have been reading your posts, as usual, and want to say that you do really good work.
A.M.  Toronto

Condo News
07 October 2016

Developer threatens to fight plans for Toronto rail-deck park
How could city hall not know about this?

Ontario corporation Tarion spends millions in salaries, advertising, conferences
Now you know where your Tarion warranty money goes. Will the new Condo Authority use their new condo fees to provide such rich pork for a few hand-picked executives?

Conant appointed a founding director of Condominium Authority of Ontario
Toronto condominium lawyer Armand Conant has been appointed a founding/first director of the Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO).

Conant says the CAO was incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation in July and the four founding/first directors have already held several board meetings and are working hard to get it up and running and then certified by the government as an Administrative Authority.

I notice that he doesn't name the other three directors.

Scarborough subway might already be off track
It looks like Toronto may not be able to build a six kilometre, one-stop subway extension in nine years. Don't even ask if it will be on budget.

This billionaire started out as a man with a van
“I don’t take a building and just do condos,” he says in a thick Israeli accent. “I bought 45 buildings in two years in Miami because I build lifestyles around neighborhoods. My business model is a bit different.”

Articles from Australia
Flood of AirBnB listings sees hosts income drop by 40 per cent
Basic Grade 9 economics. As supply continues to increase, sales and profits decrease. The weaker hosts will have to accept less income, go independent or get out of the short-term rental business.

E-mails from readers
Please note my new email address.
Keep up the great work!

Thank you for the praise. I am glad you enjoy the updates.
Your e-mail address has been updated.

Condo News
05 October 2016

Tenant turned Airbnb proprietor becomes landlord’s nightmare

A tenant that does not pay her rent while renting the unit on Airbnb is the point of this news report.

Yet there is so much more. The owner did an amazing job of going after her deadbeat tenant. Criminal charges laid. Wonderful.

Then there is a bizarre tale from one of her Airbnb guests: "She and two of her friends, slept uncomfortably, sharing a queen-sized bed. The fourth friend slept on an air mattress in the living room. Can't forget the dog and a cat.

The host slept on the balcony, where she was joined, in the middle of the night, by her son and daughter." (Just how big is that balcony?)

Seven people sharing a small bathroom? Did anyone accidentally step in the litter box?)

Wow, that is a wonderful Airbnb experience that will for sure be the highlight of their vacation.

Wait—there's more! The condo's security staff knew the deadbeat tenant as she earlier ripped off two other owners in the same condo building.

Councillor trashes condo signs littering sidewalks
A-frame signs advertising sales offices are a hazard, says Josh Matlow.

Everyone needs a hobby.

Woman with Alzheimer’s gets free service dog training after condo asks for canine to be removed
The board says that if the dog gets certified, it can stay.

Articles from USA
What's with condos ignoring water leaks?
This older condo in Virginia is the latest example of bad things happening when long-term water leaks are ignored.

Water leakage damaged support columns so one end of the building dropped two to three inches. Some units are uninhabitable and the whole building lost its gas supply.

They never had a special assessment in 25 years. They most likely will have one now and—like the Vancouver condo I wrote about two days ago—it could be a huge one.

Condo News
03 October 2016

Judge orders Vancouver strata to impose $16.8 million levy to repair leaky condo problems
On average, each unit will have to pay $62,000. This is the second levy for leakage issues. The first one was for $10 million.

Everyone can be duped by fake news, experts say

But why did so many fall for this one?

Strata crackdown locks out Airbnb guest
Airbnb customer's fob stops working during his stay in Vancouver because the condo building doesn't allow short-term rentals

Articles from USA
Meet the armed patrol members who carry assault rifles around their Bexar County subdivision
I cannot understand why any homeowners association would allow this. If anyone gets shot by these gunmen, the liabilities facing the owners could be enormous.

One of the River Towers condo buildings in Alexandria was evacuated

It happened in one of the three towers on Wakefield Drive around 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Officials said some residents called complaining about cracks and crumbling of some bricks on the pillars outside of the building.

Tijuana condo boom: The new San Diego?
The condos are cheaper than on the American side but they will not be cheap. The article also describes the risks that foreigners take when buying real estate in Mexico.

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