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
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.
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.
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)
CBC NEWSBROADCASTING ON CBC NEWS AND THE NATIONAL
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
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 afterall it is the Board who is instructing Property Management to ignore your requests. If you have a good Board – it would never get this far.
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.