Condo Law Blog

Thou shalt not resolve by email

Time December 12, 2014 User Mario Deo Email Print Comment 0 Comments Share Link

 

We all love email.  It is convenient.  It is in writing.  It is instant.  However, “decisions” made by board members via email, are not legally effective, and accordingly cannot be characterized as official decisions of the corporation.  Only decisions made at duly convened board meetings are valid, binding, and official decisions of the board.

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Tags: board,  decision,  email,  resolution
 

Running Corporate Meetings

Time December 05, 2014 User Jonathan Fine Email Print Comment 0 Comments Share Link

 

Many condominium corporations’ Annual General Meetings run very smoothly, according to script, and are completed quite successfully in less than an hour.  Then, there are other Annual General Meetings which are a potential powder keg, such as when unit owners may be up in arms about a special assessment, a costly renovation or other controversial issues. The disgruntled unit owners may or may not be represented by a lawyer. In these types of meetings the one thing you can be sure of is that it is easy for the chairperson to lose control of the meeting. We have seen such meetings degenerate into name calling, loud yelling and even threats of violence.

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Important Notice to Managers and Administrators after Placement of a Lien

Time November 11, 2014 User Mario Deo Email Print Comment 0 Comments Share Link

 

We understand that it is easier to have Fine & Deo collect all payments and to manage the entire collection of the lien, and we do this to the greatest extent permitted by the courts. However, in recent cases, courts have criticized condominium corporations that have refused, returned, or rejected payments from unit owners. This has resulted in some court decisions disallowing the corporation to collect legal costs and interest from the unit owner.

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Condominium Rules

Time September 15, 2014 User Bradley Chaplick Email Print Comment 0 Comments Share Link

 

A condominium corporation’s rules, unlike its declaration, must be reasonable. As a general rule of thumb, a rule is most likely to be reasonable if it is no more restrictive than would be necessary to satisfactorily address the problem at hand.

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Tags: declaration,  rules
 

Proxies and Privacy

Time August 20, 2014 User Jonathan Fine Email Print Comment 0 Comments Share Link

 

A proxy is a person who attends and participates in a meeting of the owners of a condominium corporation, on behalf of a unit owner. The document given by the unit owner to the proxy is called an instrument of proxy, or a proxy form. A proxy form for a meeting where there is an election will indicate the candidate who the proxy holder is instructed to vote for.  The proxy is deposited into the ballot box instead of a ballot.  A problem arises in terms of confidentiality where a unit owner requests to inspect the proxies, and also with the scrutineers who tally the proxies.  

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Tags: meeting,  proxy,  scrutineer,  vote
 

Court of Appeal confirms condo directors can hold ethics review under by-law

Time July 21, 2014 User Benjamin Rutherford Email Print Comment 1 Comment Share Link

 

The Ontario Court of Appeal has upheld a by-law provision which empowers a condominium board of directors to hold an ethics review and disqualify one of its members if the board determines the member has breached the directors’ code of ethics on at least three occasions.  The decision can be read here.

This is the first condo by-law of its kind.  We blogged about the by-law on August 8, 2012.

While Codes of Ethics for Directors have found some currency in the condo industry, there has, to date, been no dedicated enforcement mechanism.

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Why You Should Pass A Standard Unit By-Law

Time July 15, 2014 User Marco Graziani Email Print Comment 0 Comments Share Link

 

All condominium corporations created prior to the enactment of the Condominium Act, 1998 (“the Act”) should pass a standard unit by-law, if one is not already in place. For condominium corporations created after May 5, 2001 the declarant is required by the Act to deliver a schedule defining the standard unit. Although the Act does not require condominium corporations, whether new or old, to pass a standard unit by-law, the following article will discuss the benefits of passing one.

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Disaster Planning - Is Your Condominium Corporation Prepared If Disaster Strikes?

Time May 23, 2014 User Jonathan Fine Email Print Comment 0 Comments Share Link

 

The world’s climate is changing and the effects of these changes are evident as we face disturbing fluctuations in temperatures, melting glaciers and rising water levels, stronger storms, increased storm damage and other extreme weather events. Do you recall the recent ice storm of December, 2013 which left hundreds of thousands of people all across Ontario and the surrounding areas without heat and power for days? What about Hurricane Katrina which destroyed much of New Orleans? In the past few years, there have been more reports on floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, snowstorms and blizzards, wildfires, volcanic eruptions, melting polar icecaps, and major health epidemics occurring all around the world than ever before. These events have an enormous impact on our communities, health and the economy. Governments are recognizing the impacts of climate change and have started warning and advising people on how to be better prepared for disaster.
 

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Tags: disaster,  plan
 

How to be a Great Condominium Property Manager

Time May 14, 2014 User Jonathan Fine Email Print Comment 1 Comment Share Link

 

The following list is meant to be an overview to help get you set-up as a property manager at your first condominium corporation. This list is not meant to be all encompassing, but rather is meant to get you pointed in the right direction. A prudent manager will be continually asking questions, attending courses and gathering further information to both improve his/her professionalism and to provide the highest quality service to his/ her clients.

As a condominium property manager, you should:

  • review the condominium corporation’s condominium documents
     
    • make note of whether there are any special condominium documents such as a standard unit by-law, mediation/arbitration by-law, etc.
       
  • review and familiarize yourself with the Condominium Act, 1998

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Status Certificates

Time February 28, 2014 User Jonathan Fine Email Print Comment 0 Comments Share Link

 

Status certificates are dealt with in s. 76 of the Condominium Act, 1998 which is a consumer protection statute.  The purpose of a status certificate (for a purchaser) is so that the purchaser can make an informed purchase decision.  The reason that this is important to a purchaser is that condominium unit owners are personally liable for the debts and liabilities of a condominium corporation.  Therefore, the purchaser wants to ensure that he/she is not purchasing an existing or known liability.  The effect of giving a status certificate is that the status certificate is binding on the condominium corporation with respect to the information it contains or is deemed to contain as of the date it is given.

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Tarion Is Not the Only Warranty Stream

Time November 27, 2013 Email Print Comment 0 Comments Share Link

 

By Mario D. Deo and Joseph W. Ryan

The responsibilities taken on by the board of directors of a new condominium are considerable, cannot be underestimated and are often overwhelming.

For example, in the condominium corporation’s first year, the board has to deal with myriad issues, such as: getting communications with unit owners up and running; ensuring that all of the documents that the developer is required to deliver are, in fact, delivered in accordance with turnover requirements; reviewing all service contracts affecting the condominium corporation to determine whether the corporation will resort to remedies available under the Condominium Act, 1998 (the “Act”) for relief from those contracts. Those are but a few examples.

However, perhaps the most important of all of those issues that must be dealt with is the necessity to identify and address construction deficiencies at the condominium, and the corporation’s owner-elected board is invariably confronted, early on after turnover, with the steps that must be taken by the corporation to audit and assess those construction deficiencies.

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Tags: deficiency,  tarion,  warranty
 

By-law upheld enabling boards to remove directors for ethical breaches

Time October 16, 2013 User Benjamin Rutherford Email Print Comment 1 Comment Share Link

 

It is not only a vote of owners that can remove a board member.

The court has upheld a by-law permitting a condo board to hold an ethics review and disqualify a member who breaches the directors’ code of ethics on at least three occasions.

The case, Stanley Gordon v. York Region Condominium Corporation et al., is attached.

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York Condominium Corporation No. 17 v. Ge

Time September 27, 2013 User Ashley Shaffer Email Print Comment 0 Comments Share Link

 

A recent decision from the Superior Court of Ontario sends a clear message that unit owners who ignore enforcement letters or proceedings may lose their chance to present their side of the story.

In this case, a delinquent unit owner breached single-family dwelling provisions by operating a rooming house.  He ignored compliance letters sent by the condominium corporation and its counsel, refused to participate in a mediation and refused to participate in an arbitration.  The unit owner waited until the condominium corporation applied to Court to enforce the arbitration decision to defend himself.

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Durham Condominium Corp. No. 56 v. Stryk: Chargebacks and Refusing Payments

Time September 12, 2013 User Bradley Chaplick Email Print Comment 0 Comments Share Link

 

The court in Stryk upheld the practice by condominium corporations of collecting chargebacks from unit owners by applying monthly pre-authorized payments or monthly common expense cheques to the outstanding chargebacks, rather than applying the payments to the unit owner’s monthly common expense contributions. The unit owner’s monthly contributions are then considered to be in arrears, even though the unit owner is often under the impression that he or she has already paid his or her common expenses. The newly outstanding common expense arrears can then be secured by a lien. While this practice is legal in the right circumstances, condominium corporations should always obtain appropriate legal advice before proceeding in this manner.

On a separate issue, the court in Stryk also held that a condominium corporation does not have the right to refuse common expense payments when tendered by the owner, merely because there is a lien registered on title to the condominium unit. We recommend that condominium corporations seek advice when payments are being tendered to make sure that the condominium corporation preserves its legal rights in these circumstances.

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Tags: arrears,  lien
 

Live-in Caregivers – A Breach of Single-Family Dwelling Provisions?

Time July 22, 2013 User Ashley Shaffer Email Print Comment 0 Comments Share Link

 

Recently, a condominium corporation in Alberta sued an elderly couple for breaching its single-family dwelling provisions because the couple resided with a live-in caregiver.  Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench determined that this situation did not breach a condominium corporation’s governing documents. 

While not raised as an issue in the above-mentioned case, in Ontario, Human Rights legislation would have bolstered the unit owners’ position.  In Ontario, prohibiting live-in caregivers from living in units on the basis of single-family dwelling provisions would likely give rise to a successful claim of discrimination on the basis of disability. 

Click here to read the case. 

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Categories: litigation
 

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