Ontario announces condo reform

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The Ontario government announced Wednesday that it has reformed condominium legislation, with the hopes of providing more consumer protection.

“It should add value to the condo living experience and perhaps even to the long-term financial health (of many buildings),” Anne-Marie Ambert, a condo owner who sat on the government’s review panel told Business News Network. “Now you have some condos that are going down the drain that aren’t selling any more or have no value and others that are on their way there.”

The overhaul is the first since 1998 when the Condominium Act was first passed and, according to the government, was much-needed given the fact that the condo landscape has changed so dramatically in the nearly 20 years since it was written.

Today, Ontario is home to 700,000 condo units and 10,000 condo corporations. It is estimated that 1.3 million Ontarians live in a condo.

“Due to the vast growth and change in the condo sector, the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services reviewed the current Condominium Act using an innovative and collaborative public engagement process, receiving over 2,200 submissions from condo owners, developers, managers and industry experts,” the government wrote in an official release.

The proposed changes include five areas of focus including; dispute resolution, consumer and protection for owners and buyers, financial management, how condos are run, and condo manager licensing.

Dispute resolution is one major focus of the reformation. The goal is to provide quicker, lower-cost dispute resolution and more clarity about condo owners’ rights.

The government plans to establish a an independent, self-funded not-for-profit condo authority.

“To fund its services, the Condo Authority would have the power to set its own fees, including a small fee for all condo corporations -- about $1 per unit a month, which would be collected from unit owners as a monthly common expense,” the government stated. “Fees would start to be collected once the Authority's dispute resolution services are in place.”

Click here to access the government’s release. 
  • LanceH on 2015-05-28 11:58:08 AM

    Hmmm, $1 x 700k = 700k per month. I dunno, seems high to me. I've never had to run a Gov Dept. Is that a lot folks? Just asking . . .

  • Michael on 2015-05-28 12:35:55 PM

    Hi Lance, great question - one that I immediately jumped to when I read how it was structured. I guess you'd have to look at what that gets you. If it's funding half a dozen people to work in a few otherwise unused office rooms in an existing Gov of ON building, then yeah, it sounds like a lot. If they have to find their own commercial office space, and have a number of remote agents/representatives in all major markets around Ontario that have condos, then maybe not. You need to see the total bill of goods to know if it's good value or not. I'm not a condo owner, renter, investor, or otherwise (I live in Toronto, but I like being able to put my feet on the ground in my own back yard) - but the question I have is: will this new organization provide any value that is currently lacking in the marketplace? There's a danger to setting up any Authority that has carte blanche jurisdiction to assess and collect its own fees. Authorities like that have a tendency to become bureaucratic, inefficient, and top-heavy... with a strong bias to create busy-work, rather than to perform productive, necessary work, in order to continue to justify their own existence.

  • LanceH on 2015-05-28 12:42:40 PM

    Yeah, great point about the bureaucracy Michael. We need someone to check the checkers. I think in fact it will add value if done right, as ensuring condos are well run, no one running off with the condo fees or hiring their relative for make-work projects and all kinds of other shenaningans I've heard of over the years. Guess it's a wait-n see for now.

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