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Proposed Condominium Owners Act: Better consumer protection

July 16, 2015

The province of Ontario has announced a review of the 16 year old Condominium Act back in June 2012.  From the review over 200 recommendations; collected from owners, management companies, developers, and industry professionals, were made.

These recommendations consisted of reforms and amendments to strengthen consumer protection.

Here is a short list of key changes / proposals.  For more information and explanations on the proposed changes go to Ontario’s website Proposed condo changes- Ontario.

  • Creation of an two administrative bodies to administer owner education, dispute management, condo registration roster, and licensing of condominium managers.
  • The creation of a consumer guide explaining how condos are governed, owners’ rights and duties, maintenance, & how owners can request meetings.  It would be mandatory for Developers to give this guide to all buyers of new condos at the time of sale.
  • Stringent qualifications for board directors of condominiums (criminal record check, legal disclosures, etc..)
  • Mandatory licensing, qualifications, & code of ethics for condominium managers and management firms.
  • Change to the sale or leaseback of common elements & units.
  • Better tracking of utility and common element shared costs between condo corporations, developers and parties who share services.
  • Creation of rules for standard disclosure statements & declarations to be mandated for developers making these statements easier to understand for buyers
  • Change to the Ontario New Warranties Plan Act so that most of the warranty protections for new condo constructions would apply to certain condo conversion projects.
  • Require developers to include proposed declaration, by-laws, key documents, search ability, & rules on the condo project website.
  • Redefine “material change”.
  • Require/expand the information included in the status certificate
  • Noise and creation of quiet enjoyment rights
  • Give owners better control and information over financial matters
  • Condo corporation changes without notice to owners.
  • Condo boards will have to notify owners if a proposed expense is higher than what is budgeted by a set amount.
  • Improved dialogue and information, in particular on finances, between owners and the condo corp.
  • Clarification of “Repair” and “Maintain” and who’s responsibility it is.
  • Reserve fund provisions (adequacy, purpose, expert opinion, first year contribution, accountability)
  • Re-define and clarify the meaning of a “standard unit” for insurance purposes.
  • Clarification of owner’s liability for damage to common elements, assets, & other units.
  • Clarity on charge-backs and rules surrounding when they can be charged.
  • Disclosure of operating cost within a set period of time after the corporation’s first year.
  • Training and support of board directors.
  • More accountability from condo boards.
  • Require regular information to be relayed to unit owners on insurance, legal proceedings, etc… by the condo board.
  • Creation of a sealed-bid contract procurement process for maintenance companies.
  • Provision to make it easier for unit owners to call condo board meetings.

For more information and explanations on the proposed changes go to Ontario’s website Proposed condo changes- Ontario.