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Allstate Insurance Company of Canada and Abacus Data released some research that shows many condo owners are lacking critical knowledge about their insurance coverage, which could lead to costly mistakes.
Here are some of the major findings:
- 61 per cent of Canadian condominium (“Condo”) owners don’t know or incorrectly assume their building’s insurance will cover damage to another unit from water or fire that originated in their unit
- 74 per cent of Canadians looking to purchase a condo in the next few years don’t know what their personal insurance cover versus what the condo corporation’s insurance should cover.
- Only 39 per cent of condo owners and 26 per cent of condo buyers know that the belongings of a roommate or boarder are not covered under their personal condo insurance policies.
- 21 per cent of condo owners are not aware that the condo corporation’s insurance is responsible for incidents like falling concrete and shattering glass from condominiums.
As a condo owner, there are things you can do to make sure you are protected:
- Ask your condo board or management company to explain what the building’s insurance policy does or does not cover.
- Talk to your insurance agent about your policy. Being properly covered can prevent your getting stuck with the bill if your condominium’s policy falls short.
- Remember that damage done to your car in a garage or belongings in a storage locker are covered under your personal policy and not the building’s policy so you should ensure your coverage properly protects your car and any items you have stored in your locker.
You can find out more about this contest
Another problem from Condo Owners, it never ends. It is a true shame that these types of things are happening to condo owners all over the province As you are aware, COA was involved in the condo act review and it has been a concerning process. There are still substantial flaws. During the process and the over 90% involvement of service related trades may have compromised new recommendations for changes to legislation in particular funding for the CAO Condo Authority of Ontario and the CMRAO Condominium Management Regulatory Authority of Ontario. Are Condo Owners expected to pay for Property Managers to be licensed? Interesting, many Property Management Firms receive monies for their contracts from Condo Corporation and status certificate requestions ie. $125.00 there are many Property Management firms who keep $100.00 and the remainder goes to the online service provider. The question “Why is this happening when PM is a paid contractual services of the Corporation?” Why does the contract not already include this services of license property managers from licensed firms.
In many situation it is the fault of the Board of Directors who allow Property Managers free rein to do as they please. The numerous complaints the COA receives from Condo Owners is that they are concerned of kickbacks and overinflated contracts which impacts the financial stability of condo corporations. It could be from either Property Manager, the firms and/or the Board. Unfortunately without condo owners standing up for their rights and joining COA; it is difficult to combat. The Board has a fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interest of the corporation. Property Management firms are only contractual services and the property manager is delegated by that firm to over see the operations of the corporation ONLY on the instructions of the Board. If you are a past board member you may have been in a position to force changes for a new company but again that decision would have to be with a majority vote so if there is no support of this decision then you may have to call a meeting with 15% owners and try to force changes. Many condo owners feel they may be ostracized and or have more conflicts by complaining but the situation will get worst and there may be concerns on your financials.
If the corporation has broken personal ownership items of a Condo Owner they should be responsible however the Condo Act is self governed which lends itself to abuse and a one side power against Condo owners in many cases. We wish we could give more positive answers to help Condo Owners but there are none because the Condo Act has tremendous Flaws!
COA is always looking for support and volunteers because if we can grow with a strong following as the Teachers Association or any other Associations only then will Condo Owners have a strong voice and government will have no choice but to listen without the constant influence of service related trades protecting their own interest. Condo Owners have to stand up for their rights, it is long overdue!
On behalf of the Condo Owners Association (COA) we would like to clarify some of the details. The Condo Owners Association is a non profit Association representing and advocating for Condo Owners Rights is a Stakeholder in the Condo Act Review as announced on June 8, 2012 by the McGuinty Government. https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/21256/building-a-better-condominium-act This Review was a three-stage collaborative approach with public engagement to modernize the Condominium Act. An up-to-date report of Stage One Findings and an overview of the process to include move forward measures can be found on www.COAontario.com under Condo Act Review.
The Province of Ontario contracted Canada’s Public Policy Forum to create an Advisory Group of experts in the condominium sector. There are several members of our Provincial Government; in particular Ministry of Consumers Services involved and there was a Resident’s Panel which included 36 randomly selected condo owners and residents from across Ontario for consultation. Linda’s own experience as the Founder President of the Condo Owners Association includes 17 years as the President of 2 Condo Boards, 33 year well known Veteran Realtor and as a Director and Government Relations Chair of a Real Estate Board at the time she founded the COA. She understood the problems and difficulties over real world experiences, challenges and solutions in new vs resale condominiums to include warranty coverage (Tarion) and investment value vs maintenance fees vs reserve funds to identify the need for a long term sustainable future for all condominiums.
The Advisory Group includes condominium service related trades representation and their Associations and new construction representation from Builders and Associated Associations however their expertise has assisted in identifying concerns on the present Condo Act and potential resolutions. The Condo Owners Association involvement provides 100% representation and advocacy for Condominium Owners.
COA submitted numerous recommendations to be included in the new Condo Act, some of which MPP Marchese has identified in his Private Members Bill however he does not cover all of the necessary requirements. We have to consider both new and resale condominium requirements depending on the situation at hand. We may put an onus on the new building occupancy and registration side of the equation but at the same time, there are concerns with existing buildings relating to their age, condition and present financial situation. The Condo Act is very complex and it is not a simple solution to just have a Tribunal. In fact we see a Tribunal as an expensive and complicated process with unlimited time loss for resolution and potential conflicts not getting resolved in the interim while everyone waits in line.
COA would like to see the revised Condo Act include a strict mandate of consumer protection measures whereby Board of Directors fine process for non-compliance of the Act to ensure good governance and transparency, Government Licensed Property Management Firms and Property Managers; third party holders of Proxies to prevent the present day abuse and fraud plus good dispute resolutions and a series of other important changes. Sadly, the electronic system is not fool proof to prevent fraudulent proxies. In fact many Condo Board of Directors use this system to push Condo Owners into signing changes to By-Laws and the Condo Declaration when they constantly spam Condo Owners to advise them they must sign. They do not have to sign, in fact if anyone has a Corporation that is doing these types of Spams, they should immediately report it to the CAO, Condo Authority of Ontario. They need to protect their Human Rights and not be forced into signing off due to intentional, consistent spams. Virtual AGM’s have not been a good practice for Condo Owners. The Boards are not visible and/or accountable behind the screen. They have the ability to shut down anyone where they feel a comment may not be favourable to their practices. While we commend MPP Rosario Marchese for his initiatives with the Private Members bill in 2014; the Condo Act is too complex and needs the structure of this Advisory Group of Professionals who are involved on a day to day bases in the Condominium world. We originally had concerns on the possibility of biased recommendations however we have all developed a high level of working respect. The Condo Owners Association stands strong to represent and advocate on behalf of Condo Owners. If there is one complaint that has surfaced time and time again is the apathy amongst Condo Owners. One important point is to remind Condo Buyers and Owners to educate yourself about condominiums. The COA website provides you with an excellent resource of information.
If you are a Condo Owners please register with COAOntario www.COAOntario.com We have COA Divisions across the Province www.COAtoronto.com if you are in Toronto.
Condo Owners Association launched a very informative Condominium Information Section on their website to help keep consumers alert and informed. It contains new and resale condo buying information, board of directors, financing and maintenance fees, mortgages and financing, new to Canada information, Private Members bills and other Condo Acts in Canada Please review it at: http://www.COAontario.com