Ontario is in the midst of a condo boom and as a condo owner you need to learn about your rights and responsibilities. Some laws are there to protect you and some are there to protect your residents. Either way, as a condo owner, you have a lot of responsibility on your shoulders. Familiarizing yourself with existing laws and knowing when it’s important to consult a condominium lawyer are keys to success.
The Condo Board
Each condo unit participates in a condo corporation and is allowed votes in board meetings (one vote per unit, not per owner). The board of directors is elected and makes decisions on behalf of the owners. The corporation is responsible for matters such as the property, finances, corporation records, reserve funds and any other related issues. Be sure to consult with an attorney if you need assistance with condo corporation set up.
After a condo corporation has been created an annual general meeting must be held within three months. Owners have the right to vote on any major decisions.
Disputes and Resident Accommodations
Conflict and disputes happen when you are running a condominium. There are several steps owners may take when resolving conflict. They may to speak at the next board meeting or the annual general meeting. Owners may also call a special owners’ meeting. They need 15% of the units to sign a petition in order to set this up.
In addition, managing a condo also means accommodating new renters. For example, if your new resident has a disability and is unable to climb stairs, the condo corporation must build an access ramp even if this access ramp will only be utilized by this one resident.
Condo Management and Consulting an Attorney
Recently, Ontario overhauled its rules regarding managing condominiums. The province now plans to require condo boards to provide more financial disclosure to owners and potential buyers and require education for condo directors. The training and education meant for condo directors revolve around the complex rules for condo living. This is meant to reduce mismanagement of condo boards.
When running a condo board, it’s important to have a lawyer on hand when making decisions. They can assist with financial and contractual issues and act as a consultant when making difficult decisions. In addition, if you must turn to mediation as a step during conflict resolution you may want to involve a lawyer who can best protect your interests.
According to the newest rules released by Ontario two new condo authorities will be created. One will license and regulate the 2,500 property managers within the province area and the other will resolve disputes between condo boards and their owners. The new resolution service is meant to be far less expensive than resolving disputes in the court system and will be less expensive for everyone involved.