Author Archives: Linda Pinizzotto

Condo Owners Speak Out

by: Linda Pinizzotto, DStG – Dame Order of St George –  Founder CEO COA – Condo Owners Association

Condo Owners rights? 

There are more than 1.3 Million condo owners in Ontario, the Condo Act must be taken seriously by Board Members and Condo Corporations.   Mandatory classes should be enacted for all Condo Owners so they understand their rights.   Sometimes the COA wonders whether it is only service related trades making recommendations?  The Provincial Government needs to listen to Condo Owners not Board Members and or service trades.  Are existing issues documented with the CAO being researched and considered?

Condo Owners are slowly waking up but they are still at a loss to obtain answers and find resolutions within their own Condo building.  They do not want to file with the CAO, Condo Authority of Ontario because they are afraid.  How do we finally open that door of communication?   We are addressing some concerns on the COA Blog.  We appreciate owners to submit their comments and complaints using this portal as a VOICE FOR CONDO OWNERS

Property Management or Board of Directors??

by: Linda Pinizzotto, DStG – Dame Order of St George –  Founder CEO COA – Condo Owners Association 

It is common for Condo Owners to be angry with the Property Managers blaming them for not returning their phones calls and/or not resolving their problems.  Property Managers ignore their requests for help;  frustrations develop and Condo Owners become angry and hostile towards Property Management.

Condo Owners are barking up the wrong tree.

The Board of Directors are to blame because they have the power.  The Board controls all of the operations of the building which includes contracts and all service related trades.  They approve Property Management contracts and the Property Management company designates a Property Manager to the building to do as the Board says at all expense because they want to ensure their contracts.  There is alot of money involved;  many of these contracts can range from $120,000 to $300,000 depending on the size and amount of buildings involved.  It is a very serious stake in the Condominium World but one that has created major controversy of responsibility because even though these Firms are paid by the Corporation they report to the Board and in most cases believe they represent the Board.

Be wary of getting into arguments with Property Management because once they report back to the Board of Directors;  chances are you will have more even more problems. The Board instructs Property Management.

How do Condo Owners know if their Board is operating in compliance to the Condo Act?    The $1 Million dollar question can be answered only if Condo Owners start taking responsibility and learn about Condos, watch their Boards and speak out if they feel things are wrong.  Until then;  Owners will suffer the consequences of disputes, theft, fraud and a serious problems with their Board of Directors.

STOP VIRTUAL AGM CONDO MEETINGS

by: Linda Pinizzotto, DStG – Dame Order of St George –  Founder CEO COA – Condo Owners Association 

Condo Owner must have in person Annual General Meetings and Special Call Meetings of the Board of Directors along with virtual.  Virtual is NOT a transparent replacement of in person!   HELP STOP the permanent passing of virtual meetings as per the proposed Act.

CONDO BOARD OF DIRECTORS need to be present and held accountable during all Condominium Annual General Meeting and Condo Owners Special Called Meetings.  The virtual meetings are controlled by the Board and many Condo Owners do not have the ability to voice opinions and concerns.  The meetings are not transparent nor do they protect Condo Owners.   Most Condos have meeting rooms and generally quorum is achieved plus possibly 20% owners attending.  To ensure ALL OWNERS have ability to protect their interest, ask questions on their own time in presence of the Board these meetings MUST be IN PERSON AND VIRTUAL allowing every Owner to attend and have an ability to speak their opinions and freely ask questions. 

The Government of Ontario under emergency order during Covid allowed electronic members meetings and board meetings ie. conference call, zoom and video call meetings.   Sadly they further amended the Condominium Act, 1998, to extend electronic meetings until September 30, 2023   The Board can have virtual meetings even if the by‑laws or rules of the corporation  do not provide for electronic meetings, the further amendment allows them. Extension Details as per CAO

This is wrong and should not be passed!  We urge all Condo Owners to read the following taken from Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery

Questions about the extension of the effective period of the temporary legislative provisions related to virtual meetings can be directed to OnCondo@ontario.ca.

Condo Act Review Information

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!

Building a Better Condo Act

by: Linda Pinizzotto, DStG – Dame Order of St George –  Founder CEO COA – Condo Owners Association 

Stronger Ontario Building Codes to keep Condo Owners Safe

If we go back to the time when Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister, Kathleen Wynne 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. Continue reading

Maintenance Fees

FINANCIAL STRUCTURE OF A CONDOMINIUM

by: Linda Pinizzotto, DStG – Dame Order of St George –  Founder CEO COA – Condo Owners Association 

What determines your Maintenance Fee?

The Condominium Financials includes the operating budget, surplus of funds, contingency funds and the reserve funds of the Corporation.  The maintenance fee for each unit is assessed in relation to the square footage of the unit, parking and locker (if included).  The Budget will include all of the expenditures based on a fiscal year of operations. Continue reading