May 9, 2013
The provincial government is currently reviewing the Condominium Act and has been consulting with the public and stakeholders on possible changes/updates to the Act.
The following is TREB’s input to the government’s consultations. These positions are based on Member feedback, which TREB solicited from Members last year and earlier this year. This feedback was then reviewed by TREB’s Condominium Committee, Government Relations Committee, and Board of Directors.
The following recommended positions are categorized into recommendations that are directly “Condominium Act Issues” and others that are “Non-Condominium Act But Related Issues”. This is to recognize that some of the issues raised may require changes to other statutes, but given the government’s review of this issue, this is an appropriate time to raise these related issues.
Condominium Act Issues
- The provincial government should ensure that all proposed changes to the Condominium Act are costed-out and potential cost implications on the provincial treasury and on taxpayers are considered.
- Condominium Board Members should be subject to higher standards and qualifications and should be required to undertake specific standardized training regarding their duties and obligations. Such training should be completed within a time period prescribed by the Act or regulations.
- Minutes from Annual General Meetings should be distributed to owners in a more timely fashion. They could be provided in draft format well before their formal approval at the subsequent meeting.
- Ensure management continuity by establishing procedures and requirements for document retention and transfer when there is a change in property management firms.
- An independent, arms-length, agency/tribunal should be established to provide assistance and enforcement in condominium dispute resolution matters.
- The agency/tribunal could provide a number of services including mediation, advice, information, and, ultimately, an authoritative decision-making ability for disputes involving condominium owners and condominium boards.
- The mandate and scope of the agency/tribunal should be carefully considered and it should be ensured that there is no overlap with the mandates of other agencies including the Landlord and Tenant Board and the Real Estate Council of Ontario.
Status Certificate and Declaration/By-laws/Rules
- Reduce the maximum waiting period for a Status Certificate from 10 days down to five business days.
- Expand the amount of financial information provided in the Status Certificate by requiring that financial statements for the preceding two years be included, along with those of the current year.
- Require that the most recent Reserve Fund Study, in full, be included with Status Certificate.
- Improve responsiveness by ensuring that Status Certificates are made available in electronic/digital format.
- Improve transparency for potential condominium buyers by facilitating easier and earlier access to the condominium Declaration, By-laws, and Rules, separate from the Status Certificate.
- Condominium property managers should be subject to increased/minimum standards to ensure expertise and consumer protection. New standards should:
- Recognize that there is a diversity of condominium types
- Account for differences between high-rise and low-rise condominiums
- Ensure qualified property managers but should not overly-regulate or capture unintended individuals (e.g. individuals who may act as a property manager for only a few condominium units). The definition of property manager needs to be carefully considered.
- Third-party enforcement/auditing of reserve funds to ensure adequacy and accuracy is needed. Reserve Funds and audited financial statements should be filed annually with provincial government and/or new arms-length agency/tribunal with mandate over condominium issues.
- Ensure clear and plain-language disclosure of purchaser’s ability/right regarding assignments, including any restrictions on marketing.
- Ensure that condominium rules do not unduly interfere with owners providing third-party access to their units and ensure that owners are provided with access to secure and convenient options and/or a location for the placement of devices (e.g., lock boxes), to allow for third-party access to their condominium unit for important/needed services (e.g., contractors, REALTORS®, etc).
- Provide for a plain-language summary of all necessary disclosures and information needed by purchaser to make informed decisions.
- Provide better protection for consumers by stipulating a time frame/limitation for interim occupancy and prescribe remedial measures if such time frames are not met by builder. In addition, ensure clear disclosure of purchaser’s ability/right to lease/rent unit during interim occupancy period.
- Provide greater protection for consumer in contracts (e.g., greater restrictions on builder’s ability to change contracts before closing)
- Separate regulation needed for non-residential condominiums (within current Condominium Act). Mixed-use buildings need to be accounted for to ensure appropriate protection of residential and commercial interests.
- OREA should consider further reviewing this issue to develop more detailed positions, with appropriate Commercial Member input.
Non-Condominium Act But Related Issues
- Tarion should provide protection for buildings converted to condominiums.
- Builders should be required to use sales representatives licensed by the Real Estate Council of Ontario, and sales representatives should be required to disclose who they are representing.
- Ensure transparency of builder history (e.g., disclose previous business names during construction of past projects).
Questions or comments can be directed to Mauro Ritacca, Senior Manager, Government Relations at 416-443-8151 or firstname.lastname@example.org