Bill 9, The Condominium Property Amendment Act
From the CPA Review and Consultation Analysis Report, 2014
A general theme that emerged from this section of the consultation survey is the importance of a responsive, transparent and accountable board in the overall governance of a condominium. Boards need to be diligent in informing and educating owners about important matters such as ownership rights and responsibilities under the Act and the Bylaws and the financial state of the condominium. Stakeholders would like to see improved communication between boards and owners through timely delivery of documents and more frequent meetings with owners, in addition to other communication platforms (e.g. website, newsletters/bulletins). Stakeholders believe the government has a role to play in improving communication lines between boards and owners, namely by developing appropriate education tools to guide boards and owners.
New Condominiums / Developer Obligations
*Deficiencies in the construction of condominiums and lack of developer accountability is the single largest concern expressed by stakeholders in this section of the consultation paper. Costly repairs arising from defects in material, poor workmanship and building design flaws often result in significant special assessments. The pressure of paying special assessments within a certain period of time poses a financial hardship on owners and negatively impacts their overall condominium living experience.
For the most part, owners support paying common expenses in proportion to unit factors (i.e. owner share in the common property) but would like to see a consistent approach to ensure fairness in the assignment of contributions. They suggest the Act either establishes a formula for calculating the initial condominium contributions or guidelines for determining unit factors. Stakeholders suggest that developers be required to provide a standard purchase disclosure package be to purchasers, containing the information above and beyond what is currently required under the Act. Disclosure of the following is recommended:
*The type of condominium a consumer is buying (e.g. bare land, phased, conventional)
*For bare land developments, information about a) any proposed property intended for common use and b) how the proposed property will impact condominium fees
*Unit factor allocation and formula for determining condo fees
*Any private delivery and distribution systems that the condo corporation is responsible for maintaining, repairing and replacing (e.g. water mains, sewage lines).
*Any long term service agreements entered into by the developer
Developers are viewed as being in a conflict-of-interest position with respect to service agreements and are believed to be structured to benefit the developer financially at the expense of the condominium corporation in the future. Owners suggest that the Act allow a condominium corporation to:
*Terminate service agreements entered into by the developer without significant penalty.
*Strengthen the developer’s fiduciary duties and obligations in the Act.
*Compress timeline for the initial reserve fund study and require the developer to contribute “seed money” to the reserve fund.
*Some stakeholders also suggest that developers be required to post a performance bond with the municipality that would be released to the condo corporation in the event that a developer fails to complete the common property, such as landscaping, roads, fencing.
These are 2 of the areas of the CPA that desperately need revision. We’ll speak of some other next issue. Condos are still a wonderful option for various types of people and families. It may be the easiest form of first homeownership for young families, simplified options for retirement or investment, or a less stressful living arrangement for busy families or people on the go. Your professional REALTOR®will have invaluable information to share and it is never unwise to have condominium Corporation disclosure documents reviewed by a professional company.
Confidence is always in the details. We can help. CQ is pleased to share our knowledge and experience.