Category Archives: Condo Issues

Condo Game on CBC DocZone

 

Condo Game

Date:   November 21st –  CBC DocZone

Don’t Miss it

The Condo Game – a documentary examining the forces at play behind the fastest moving condo market in North America. Nov 21 on CBC Doc Zone.

Description

This documentary from Bountiful Films examines the forces at play behind the fastest moving condo market in North America – Toronto – and discovers that the glittering glass hides a sea of troubles. The first startling revelation for many people will be how very much the condo market is focused on investor profit, not affordable housing. One expert even says that it’s really not primarily a housing market but a commodities play. And that means that average Canadians, just looking for a place to call home, are joining a game for which they don’t have the rule book. The Condo Game, Thurs Nov 21 on CBC Television’s Doc Zone

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The Condo Owners Association (COA Ontario) were delighted to work with Bountiful Films in their production of  “The Condo Game” documentary
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Follow iTunes the “Condo Xpert”
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Condo Act Review Has Flaws

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 is involved in the condo act review and it has been a concerning process. There are substantial flaws in the process and the over 90% involvement of service related trades may be compromising the new recommendations for changes to legislation in particular the Condo Office where Condo Owners are expected to pay for Property Managers to be licensed yet they are employees of Property Management Firms who already receive monies for their contracts from Condo Corporations.  If you are a Condo Owner “SAY NO TO CONDO OFFICE”  it will cost you $$$ Millions of Dollars!!   Where does it stop? Why does the contract not already include the 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. In many cases we are also finding that there are concerns of kickbacks and overinflated contracts which are jeopardizing the financial stability of condo corporations. It could be from either Property Manager, the firms and/or 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!

Toronto Star article Failing Condo Act

On behalf of the Condo Owners Association (COA) we would like to clarify some of the details outlined by MPP Rosario Marchese in Today’s Toronto Star. The Condo Owners Association which 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. This Review is 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. My own experience as the Founder President of the Condo Owners Association includes 17 years as the President of 2 Condo Boards, 33 years as a Realtor and as a Director and Government Relations Chair of a Real Estate Board. I founded COA understanding 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 has 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 Tribul. 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. While we commend MPP Rosario Marchese for his initiatives with the Private Members bill; 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 Information

Condo Owners Association has just 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

Stronger Ontario Building Codes to keep Condo Owners Safe

Stronger Ontario Building Codes to keep Condo Owners Safe
Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister, Kathleen Wynne has announced changes to strengthen the Ontario building code to help prevent balcony glass of newly constructed buildings from breaking and keep Ontarians safe in high-rise buildings.
http://news.ontario.ca/mah/en/2012/06/ontario-strengthens-requirements-for-balcony-glass.html
While this initiative is an excellent start, Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing needs to address the inefficiencies of the New Home Warranty Program and Tarion Warranties for new construction and the limited 1-2 years warranties on existing buildings. These warranties do not protect the value of a $80 Million dollar condo building when the time period and list of coverages are similar to those of a single family dwelling. There needs to be a separate coverage to address multi-family residential condominium buildings.
Today’s announcement relating to new Ontario rules and better building codes to prevent glass from breaking off high-rise Balconies was another example of how COA is helping Condo Owners. COA worked with CBC news “throw-away buildings: Toronto’s glass condos. Falling glass from balconies from several buildings in downtown Toronto created major issues of safety concerns for owners and the general public. The Condo Owners Association – (COA) reported problems relating to glass balconies and deficiencies relating to energy efficiency supporting a CBC special featured story by John Lancaster.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2011/11/13/tor-glass-walled-condos.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0a9q_DqF1o
Value issues relate are affected by unwarranted costs relating to premature deficiencies which fall past the minimal and limited Tarion Warranties. COA has played a very active role in moving forward for a better understanding of the problems and bringing this information to the forefront. Cam Wooley’s “Know your Rights” on CP24 welcomes our input as well as Matt Galloway – CBC Metro Morning in conversation with Linda Pinizzotto, Founder, President/CEO of the Condo Owners Association about the risks condo owners face and the limited protection they have. Listen (runs 6:54)
RADIO
http://www.cbc.ca/video/news/audioplayer.html?clipid=2102259830
CBC NEWSBROADCASTING ON CBC NEWS AND THE NATIONAL
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZglE1czXyo
COA continues to work with Government to embrace the issues to help Condo owners ensure their safety, investment sustainability and good business infrastructure of the condo world.
The mass construction of Condominiums in the past few years has identified over 1.3 million Condo Owners in our Province. Last Friday, our Ministry of Consumer Services announced “Building a Better Condo Act” to modernize the present Condo Act (1998). The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing needs to participate to embrace resolutions to the Act relating to safety and better construction standards. Specific requirements and restrictions relating to the construction aspect of new and existing Condo Corporations.
All information and comment on articles geared to Condo Owners and Condominiums should include comment from COA Ontario as the governing body of COAtoronto, COAmississauga, COAottawa etc. COA has chapters in each City across Ontario
– See more at: http://www.oreablog.com/2012/06/ontario-government-introduces-stricter-requirements-for-balcony-glass/#sthash.MSPIFjTH.dpuf