Can Owners Install Clotheslines Under the Green Energy Act?

In a previous blog, we mentioned that regulations under the Green Energy Act (the “Green Act”) will require some condominiums to report on their building’s energy and water consumption starting in 2019. In addition to this, some condominium corporations may also need to review their rules because of section 4 of the same Act.

Under section 4 of the Green Act, designated goods, services, and technologies meant to promote energy conservation will be allowed at condominiums even if a condominium by-law restricts it.

The provincial government has designated that clotheslines and clothestrees can be installed at an owner’s unit if:

• the installation does not impede safety or access to and from the building;

• it is installed in an area where the unit owner has exclusive use;

• it can be installed directly on the ground, on a deck/platform that is accessible to and no higher than the ground floor; OR on a step-stool or similar device that is directly on the ground or a deck/platform (that is described above).

For condominium corporations that have rules regarding this issue, a review may be necessary. The bottom line is that although unit owners are no longer prohibited from installing clotheslines and clothestrees (subject to the conditions in the Green Act), the corporation can pass a rule requiring unit owners to notify the corporation before installing a clothesline or clothestree. This could be a way for the corporation to ensure that whatever is installed does not damage another unit or hamper the use of the common elements.

Our readers in the condominium industry are welcome to contact our firm with any questions about this blog at blog@davidsoncondolaw.ca.

Some Condominiums Will Have New Obligations Under the Green Energy Act

A new regulation under the Green Energy Act will require condominium corporations in buildings that are at least 50,000 square feet and have more than 10 units to report on their energy and water use.

The timelines are as follows:

• For condominium corporations in buildings that are at least 100,000 square feet, the first report is due on July 1, 2019;

• For condominium corporations in buildings that are at least 50,000 square feet, the first report is due on July 1, 2020.

All areas inside the building, including the common areas, should be included in the gross floor area. Exterior and open-air spaces, such as parking lots, are exempt. If the corporation encompasses two or more structures, then the gross floor area is the total of the square footage of all the structures.

A corporation will need to provide information on the gross area of the building, the energy and water use in the building, and other information as set out in “Ontario’s Large Building Energy and Water Reporting and Benchmarking Requirement: Data Elements” document. The report must cover details on the previous year. For example, a report that is due on July 1, 2019 will contain information on water and energy consumption from January to December 2018.

The reports are submitted through Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager website. To register an account, the assessment roll number, property code, and an Ontario Energy Water Reporting and Benchmarking ID is required. Property codes for specific building types can be found on Ontario’s Ministry of Energy website while the Energy Water Reporting and Benchmarking ID can be obtained from the Ministry of Energy.

Once the corporation is in its second year of reporting, information about energy and water consumption at the building will be published in the Ministry of Energy’s data catalogue.

For more information, check out the Ministry’s Guide to Energy and Water Reporting here.

Are There Any Exceptions to the Requirements in the New Condominium Act?

As many of our readers know, the new Condominium Act (the “Act”) amendments that are soon to be in effect will create new requirements and obligations for condominiums and their Boards. What our readers may not know is that the amendments also contain some exceptions to these new requirements and obligations.

In this blog, we provide an overview of a few of these exceptions.

  • Notices to be filed with the Condominium Authority

As outlined in an earlier blog, condominium corporations will be obligated to file certain “Returns” and notices with the Condominium Authority, and will in particular be required to notify the Authority of any changes to the membership of the Board.  However, a condominium corporation will not be required to file a notice of change where a director is re-elected immediately following a preceding term of office (see section 9.3(2) of the Condominium Act for this exception).

  • Information Certificates

Condominium corporations will be required to send out certain information certificates (including periodic information certificates, and new owner information certificate).  However, where certain conditions are met, including where 80% of owners have consented in writing to dispensing with the requirement to send such certificates, the condominium corporation may be exempt from this requirement (see section 60(5) of the Condominium Act for this exception).

  • Matters to be adjudicated by the Condominium Authority Tribunal

The Condominium Authority Tribunal will adjudicate most matters that it is requested to consider, except disputes involving:

  • Title to any real property (units or common areas)
  • Easements
  • Occupier’s liability
  • Condominium liens
  • Prohibited activities described in s. 117 of the act., or
  • The constitutionality of any provisions of the Act or Regulations (see generally sections 1.35 – 1.42 of the Condominium Act for these exceptions).

Davidson Houle Allen LLP would like to thank our Articling Student, David Lu, for his contribution in preparing this Blog.

Stay tuned to Condo Law News for other blogs about the amendments to the Condominium Act, and upcoming events.