Condo’s account for half of the home sales in Ontario; there are currently approximately 1.3 million individuals living in condominiums. However, the average buyer will not understand the complex implications of signing legal documents, which can lead to numerous mistakes. Thus, you can imagine the need for a less expensive method to resolve disputes.
The provincial government aims to create a Condominium Authority to allow for a range of services including dispute resolution. This new tribunal will allow condo owners to avoid going to court to address disagreements with their neighbour(s) or condo board.
It means there will be less money spent on resolving simple condo issues and no time will be spent in court. This legislation is meant to help protect the consumer rights of condo buyers by helping them understand what is involved in the complex legal documents they sign when choosing to purchase a home.
Furthermore, the act will now promote clear language in contracts to ensure that the average person can understand what they are signing. To help accomplish this, the Condo Authority will provide the buyer with a guide to ensure that the buyers understand and know their rights and can ask appropriate questions.
Additions to the Condominium Act will put in place stricter rules to avoid surprise increases in condo fees. For instance, some developers choose to put in place clauses that allow them to own common areas including the lobby and then choose to lease these areas back to the board a year later, which results in a large increase in monthly fees for owners.
Finally, a new licensing system will be put in place for management firms as there are currently no credentials in place to become a condo manager. Directors will also be required to undertake basic training as new qualifications for the position will be put in place.
What does this mean for condo owners?
This new administrative body will provide: advice to condo owners, mediation services to address disputes including noise complaints, information regarding bylaw infractions and how to proceed if you cannot obtain financial documents from the condo board of directors.
There will also be new rules outlining how condo boards are to operate, to help make boards more transparent and accountable. Consequently, owners will be allowed to ask for a vote of the condo board regarding an issue. Moreover, the board will now be required to provide reports to owners concerning insurance and legal proceedings on a regular basis. Owners will now be informed condominium issues and changes.
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