Common Element Fees, Reserve Funds and Special Assessments
A Real Estate agent I know was telling me about two similar
condominiums that she has listed several units. Her story was not surprising to me. She
explained that one condominium, lets call it “Condo A”, historically had
somewhat higher common element fees than the other. Continue reading
Horlick Levitt DiLella LLP, Barristers and Solicitors, I am pleased to extend
their June 2015 newsletter entitled Exclusive Uses. In this issue of Exclusive
Uses provides three relevant articles of interest to condominium owners and
directors on the topics of; 1) Single-Family use provisions 2) Limitation
periods for special assessments and 3) Limitation periods for shared facility
agreements. Continue reading
A good time was had by all!
Several of our condominiums enjoy a community BBQ. They find it a great way to meet new unit owners, talk to their directors and to renew long time acquaintances. Here are a few photos from a recent BBQ sponsored by Vero Property Management.
Vero BBQ Pictures:
Being on the board isn’t easy.
Governing a condominium community has many aspects. Some obvious ones include being receptive to owners input, flexible in matters with many considerations and having the courage to look at hard issues and make sound decisions. What are the legal boundaries responsible for the maintenance of the property? Boards are expected to make those hard decisions with respect to budgets, the maintenance of the property and mitigating liabilities that may be a threat to the corporation. They are also charged with enforcing the governing documents, collecting the common element fees needed to pay the expenses of the corporation, and in general, providing for the welfare of the association and its residents.
As a member of the board and being in the community eye it is sometimes easy for other condo owners to attack board members, frequently behind their back, sometimes indiscreetly through blogs and other social media. But allow me to suggest that in your capacity as a new board of director, approach your position with clarity, citing those aspects of governance to which you are most comfortable with and if in doubt asked other board members or managers their opinion on the matter and inform the dissenters’ with empathy.
Frequently dissenters may attempt to rationalize their opinions down to a singular issue, often the common element fee or the cost to them. As a new member of the board you must approach the task with the responsibility that comes with the position knowing that there is no singular issue that the board is dealing with but many upon many. Understand that the decision you do or do not make today, will affect many other areas of governance and resident welfare in both the near and far term. But do make a decision and base it upon being receptive to all ideals, flexibility to the matter at hand and courageous to make the hard decision with sound inputs that you are prepared to back up from your growing knowledge of condominium governance.
As part of our review of the proposed changes to the Condominium Act, this post will focus on how Bill 106 would affect the calling and holding of condos annual general meetings (“AGMs”).
If the Bill is adopted as drafted, the province of Ontario would require condominium corporations to provide its owners with an advance notice of the AGM. This advance notice would have to be sent out 35 days before the AGM. The advance notice would be followed by the “regular” 15-day notice.
Presently, condominium corporations do not have to give such an advance notices. All they have to do is give the owners a 15-day notice before the AGM. Without an advance notice however some owners felt that they were not given an opportunity to put their name forward for election in time to have their name included in the AGM package and on the proxies. This, some felt, gave an unfair advantage to current board members as they could either put their name on the ballot or put the name of directors they supported. Bill 106 proposes to fix that (perceived) problem and to level the playing field.
The concept of the advance notice is not new. In fact, many corporations already provide their owners with such advance notices, allowing all owners the chance to put their names in the hat at the same time.
Bill 106 also proposes important changes to the level of quorum required at AGMs. The standard quorum required for an AGM to proceed will be fixed at 25% of the owners. However, in the event quorum has not been reached on the first two attempts at holding the AGM, quorum would then be reduced to 15% on the third and on any subsequent attempts. While this quorum seems low, keep in mind that, under the present legislation, 15% of the owners are already sufficient to requisition a meeting of the owners. This reduced quorum would allow for corporations to hold their AGM even though they are unable to achieve a 25% quorum.
Bill 106 would also allow for electronic or telephonic voting at owners meetings. Such voting could be made with the assistance of technological means such as telephone calls, emails, faxes, automated touch-tone systems or computer systems.
The introduction of this kind of technology will also facilitate the holding of board meetings, allowing them to proceed by way of teleconferences (even without a by-law, as is presently required under the existing act) provided that all directors consent.
Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP – Rodrigue Escayola
See the video here: http://toronto.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=696550
Condo fees are rising to an unaffordable level for residents of an Etobicoke apartment building.
After years of neglect, Eight million dollars’ worth of repairs were completed at a 200-unit condo building at 40 Panorma Court in Etobicoke. The building still needs another $600,000 in of work to repair mold problems.
Many residents in the condo building are already paying $1,200 per month in fees but with the new renovations expected, prices could rise to $2,000 per month.
Unit owners like Wansa Hamo, who lives in the building, are struggling to pay the condo fees. Residents are also concerned because when condo fees rise, the units fall in value.
“Either we will pay or they will put a lien on the unit and we will lose it to the power of sale,” Hamo told CTV Toronto.
Prior to the repairs, the condo was in such poor shape that a judge ordered that the building’s finances and repairs be handled by an outside company.
In a statement, Vero Property Management Services told CTV News that they “understand the financial hardships this will cause.”
“We are trying to correct years of neglect and make sure people are safe and don’t get sick,” the statement said.
Residents are asking management to spread the payments out over a longer period to ease the financial hardship.
With a report by CTV Toronto’s Pat Foran
Welcome to our new Blog.
Here we will share our ideas and suggestions with you. If you have a question or comment please drop us a note.
Introduced to parliament on May 27th, Protecting Condominium Owners Act, Bill
106, was designed to increase consumer protection for owners and buyers and to
provide improvements to how condominiums are managed. If passed Bill 106 will be the first major overhaul
the Condominium Act in over 16 years. Continue reading