Obtaining a License for Condominium Management – an Overview

Mandatory licensing for condominium management is steadily approaching.  For details on this topic, see our previous blogs.  But in the meantime, we felt that an Overview might be useful.

Here’s a broad overview of the coming requirements:

Obtaining a License for Condominium Management – an Overview

I.   The first step is to consider the following question: Are you (or will you be) providing condominium management services?   In other words, will you need a license?  [Again, see our previous blogs on this topic.]

II.   Assuming you do need a license, you have until January 29, 2018 to make application. As of November 1, 2017, you will be able to make application (on line) at the website for the Condominium Management Regulatory Authority of Ontario. As part of the application process, you will of course be required to pay the applicable licensing fees.

III.   If you have less than two years of condominium management experience in the past five years (when you make application), you can only apply for a Limited License. You will then have five years to obtain your General Licence.

IV.   If you have more than two years of condominium management experience in the past five years (when you make application), there are two possibilities:

(a)   You can apply for your Transitional General Licence (but you will need to obtain a General License within three years of obtaining your Transitional General License).

(b)   You can apply for your General Licence, if you have fulfilled the necessary education and examination requirements. For now, this requirement is essentially the testing and examination requirements for an ACMO RCM designation.  Note that Managers with 10 years of experience may be able to fulfill these requirements through an abbreviated “refresher course and examination” process.  [For more detail, contact ACMO – the Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario.]

V.   NOTE: If you haven’t provided condominium management services during August, September or October of 2017, you may also only be able to make application for a Limited Licence.  [For more detail, see the CMRAO website.]

VI.   Condominium Management Providers will also be required to make application for their own licences and (as part of that process) to identify a principal condominium manager. They will also be required to pay additional licensing fees (quite separate and apart from the licensing fees payable by managers).

As of January 30, 2018, it will no longer be legal for a person or firm to provide condominium management services without a licence.

It’s coming soon!

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

 

The Condominium Authority is Up and Running!

We’re now into September (I can’t believe it!); and the province has announced that the Condominium Authority is now “in service”.

Some of the key purposes of the CAO will be as follows:

1.  An overall source of information for Ontario’s condominium community.

2.  On-line, mandatory training of condominium directors.

[There are already some “training modules” on the CAO website, but the website also includes the following note:

NOTE: Directors of condominium boards will be required to complete mandatory training at a later date in order to continue as a board member.  Completing the modules below will not count towards this requirement.  Stay tuned to our website for more information on CAO’s mandatory training program for directors.]

3.  Special Resources for condominium owners and residents (including template letters for certain dealings with condominium corporations and managers; how-to guides, information about changes to condominium law, and general information about condominium living).

4.  Help for condominium owners, residents and corporations in resolving certain issues between them, including on-line dispute resolution for certain types of disputes, through the Condominium Authority Tribunal.

Although the CAO is now up and running, it won’t really be “fully ready for business” until November 1st – which is when the first phase of the amendments (to the Condominium Act and Regulations) will come into force.   And even then, the CAO will only be dealing with matters covered by the first phase amendments.  For instance, it appears to me that the dispute resolution service – in the beginning – will only be dealing with disputes in relation to records (including owners’ requests for records).

So, there is still a ways to go before the CAO will be “in full swing”.

You can obtain much more information about the new Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO) at the CAO website:  www.condoauthorityontario.ca.

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

Condominium Returns

We now have proposed Regulations from the Province, governing the upcoming requirements for condominium corporations to file returns with the new Condominium Authority, and also creating a new publicly-accessible database of information respecting all condominium corporations in the Province.

There will be four new types of returns for condominium corporations:

Initial Return – To be filed after registration of the Declaration and Description (applying only to corporations declared after the new Regulations come into force).

Turnover Return – To be filed after the turnover meeting is held (applying only to corporations that hold a turnover meeting after the new Regulations come into force).

Transitional Return – To be filed by all existing corporations after the new Regulations come into force.

Annual Returns – To be filed annually by all corporations.

The attached chart provides a “snapshot” of the information to be contained in each type of return. Click here to access the detailed Chart of Condominium Returns

Condominium corporations will also be required to file “Notices of Change” – within 30 days – following a change to certain information in the corporation’s returns.

The returns will have to be filed electronically.  However, the Registrar can accept another filing method if the Registrar is satisfied that electronic filing would cause undue hardship to the corporation.

The Registrar will maintain a public database (accessible on line) containing all of the information in the returns and Notices of Change, as well as certain additional information noted in the Regulations.

Persons have until August 22, 2017 to provide feedback to the Province, on the proposed Regulations, if they wish to do so.  To provide comment, go to the Ministry’s webpage respecting these proposed new Regulations.

CAO and CAT Proposed Fees

We now have the proposed fee (payable by all Ontario condominium owners) for the new Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO).  We also have proposed user fees in relation to the new Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT).

Here are the proposed Fees, recently posted on the CAO website (http://www.condoauthorityontario.ca):

Proposed “All Ontario Condominium Owner Fees” to fund the CAO

Monthly Fee Per Voting Unit (or per voter in a common elements condominium) $1 per month / $12 per year

Proposed User Fees respecting the CAT

Filing Fee For access to CAT’s unassisted on-line dispute resolution system $25
Assisted Resolution Fee For assistance from a dedicated mediator $50
Tribunal Decision Fee For a decision from a dedicated adjudicator $125

If you wish, you can offer comment – until July 18, 2017 – on the CAO website.

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

Municipal Regulation of Short-term Rentals

The City of Toronto is taking steps to regulate short-term rentals.  Other municipalities may not be far behind.

Short-term rentals are a growing concern in many residential communities, including residential condominiums.

The City of Toronto is proposing new regulations to control short-term rentals.  Among other things, the new regulations would

  • introduce a new land use called “short term rental”;
  • permit short-term rentals only in a host’s primary residence;
  • require licensing of companies (like Airbnb) that facilitate short-term rentals, with related licensing fees;
  • require registration of short-term rental hosts and premises, with related registration fees;
  • impose specific safety requirements for short-term rentals;
  • perhaps also introduce new taxes on short-term rentals.

It stands to reason that other municipalities may follow suit.

However, these new municipal regulations don’t change the separate rights of condominium corporations – including rights to enforce existing provisions in the corporations’ declarations or rules (prohibiting or controlling short-term rentals in the condominium) or rights to amend their declarations or pass new rules (again, prohibiting or controlling short-term rentals in the condominium).

In other words:   Although municipalities may be taking steps to regulate short-term rentals, condominium corporations will still have their own separate rights to regulate or prohibit short-term rentals in their specific communities.  Condominium corporations concerned about short-term rentals should review existing provisions in their declarations and/or rules, and may wish to consider declaration amendments and/or new rules, to regulate or prohibit short-term rentals in their condominiums.

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

HAPPY CANADA DAY!

We want to wish all of our clients, friends and loyal readers a Happy Canada Day!!   It will of course be a special celebration of the 150th anniversary of our marvelous nation.  We want to wish everyone joyous and safe celebrations.

And, we offer our usual reminder about the National Flag.

Our National Flag of Canada Act says (among other things) that persons in control of a condominium building (meaning condominium corporations and managers) are “encouraged” to allow the displaying of Canada’s national flag (ie. by residents of the condominium).

But of course, this does not create any entitlement to display the flag, and this also does not prevent the enforcement of the condominium’s governing documents.  So, for instance, if the condominium’s Rules prevent the displaying of flags, the condominium corporation would have the obligation to enforce those Rules – subject to any special or unusual circumstances (such as Human Rights) that might exist in a given case.

But in our view a condominium corporation could also consider a Rule to allow for the displaying of the flag (with any desired restrictions as to times, sizes, locations, etc.), as long as this is permitted by the Declaration.

Again, our best wishes to you all on this year’s special Canada Day!

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

Ministry Announces New Dates for arrival of Condo Law Changes

The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services has announced new dates for the planned arrival of changes to Ontario’s Condominium Laws.   Click here for the recent announcement from the Ministry.

Here’s a quick summary of the “next steps” noted by the Ministry:

September 1, 2017:

The new Condominium Authority of Ontario (responsible for various new administrative matters) will become effective.

November 1, 2017

The Phase I amendments to the Condominium Act will come into force.

The new licensing requirements for condominium managers will come into force.

The Condominium Management Regulatory Authority of Ontario (which will deal with licensing and regulation of condominium managers) will become effective.

The Condominium Authority Tribunal (which will deal with certain condominium law disputes) will become effective.

February 1, 2018

The remainder of the Condominium Management Services Act (apart from licensing matters) will come into force.

In the “near future”, the Ministry will also release:

New forms under the Condominium Act.

A set of plain language guides and fact sheets respecting the new condominium law changes.

The education and exam requirements for condominium managers.

We don’t yet have an indicated target date for the further changes to the Condominium Act (after Phase I), but we know that those changes are “in the works”.

Hold on tight.  The changes are getting closer!

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

Condo Act Amendments and Common Expense Increases

At the ACMO / CCI EO Condominium Conference on June 2nd, I offered my view that the Protecting Condominium Owners Act, 2015 (including amendments to the Condominium Act and the introduction of mandatory licensing for condominium property managers) will likely mean an increase in common expenses for most condominium corporations in Ontario.

In my view, common expenses can be expected to increase for at least three reasons:

1. There will be added burden on condominium property managers – for various new procedures and requirements under the Condominium Act. Condominium management fees should therefore increase.

2. Condominium managers will also be faced with annual licensing fees and other expenses under the new licensing requirements – which of course will need to be passed on to condominium corporations.

3. Condominium corporations will be required to make payments to the new Condominium Authority of Ontario – which payments are currently estimated to be somewhere between $1 and $3 per unit per month.

It’s difficult to know what sort of common expense increase this will mean for a given condominium corporation, but there seemed to be general agreement at the conference that the amount will be somewhere between $5 and $10 per unit per month.

This raises the following question:  Should condominium corporations mention this (now) in the status certificates? 

In my view, this might not be necessary (because such increases will result from circumstances that are public knowledge); but I still feel that the safe thing is to add wording to the status certificates (paragraph 12) along the following lines:

The corporation has no knowledge of circumstances that may result in an increase in the common expenses for the unit except:

The Protecting Condominium Owners Act, 2015, will bring some important changes to condominium law and administration in Ontario, including changes to the Condominium Act, as well as mandatory licensing for condominium property managers.  As a result, condominium management fees are expected to increase.  Also, condominium corporations will be required to make payments towards the new Condominium Authority of Ontario.   These matters are expected to result in an increase in the common expenses, and the increase is currently estimated at between $5.00 and $10.00 per unit per month. 

These changes are expected to come into force in phases, from 2017 – 2019.

Condominium corporations might also want to let their owners know about these coming increases.

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

Insurance Deductibles By-laws – A Continuation

There’s been considerable dialogue across Ontario on the following:  When Section 105 of the Condominium Act is amended, condominium corporations will no longer be able to pass Insurance Deductibles By-laws.  But what about by-laws passed before then?  Will those existing by-laws still be effective?  Will they be “grandfathered”?

We’re pleased to advise that the province has offered some helpful additional comment on this issue.

The bottom line is as follows:  No decision has yet been taken about the possible “grandfathering” of insurance deductibles by-laws passed before the new Section 105 comes into force.

As mentioned in my previous blog on this topic, the draft new Regulations say that Periodic Information Certificates (PICs) to be issued by condominium corporations will include reference to insurance deductibles by-laws.  The province has confirmed that this doesn’t mean that insurance deductibles by-laws will necessarily be grandfathered.  It’s just that Section 105 won’t be amended as part of the first phase of condominium legislation amendments – and the new requirements respecting PICs will be part of the first phase.   The point is that existing insurance deductibles by-laws will certainly still be effective – at least until Section 105 is amended (some time in future) – and therefore will need to be mentioned in PICs (at least for the time being).  That’s what the new Regulations are saying – nothing more.

However, the province has also said this:

“No decisions have been made as to whether there will be transitional rules and, if so, how they would apply, in relation to the coming into force of the amended s. 105 of the Act. …This is something we intend to consult on as part of later phases of regulation development.”

I think this means that existing insurance deductibles by-laws might be grandfathered.

[This might be achieved, for instance, by saying that the new Section 105 won’t apply in certain circumstances – or in other words that the new Section 105 will only be proclaimed in force for certain situations.  For example, the current Section 105 might be allowed to continue in certain cases – for instance, where an insurance deductibles by-law has been passed prior to the date on which the new Section 105 comes into force.]

So again:  Existing insurance deductibles by-laws MIGHT be grandfathered.  We just don’t know.

What does this mean for condominium corporations?

Condominium corporations might wish to consider passing (or amending) insurance deductibles by-laws (pursuant to the current Section 105) for two reasons:

(a) Such by-laws will certainly be effective for the time being – until Section 105 is amended; AND

(b) Such by-laws also MIGHT be grandfathered (and therefore may continue to be effective even after the new Section 105 is proclaimed in force).

Here’s the added wrinkle:  In order to pass such a by-law, we of course need the support of the owners of a majority of the units.   It can be tricky to explain these insurance deductibles issues to owners (and to obtain their support).   I wonder if this will be even more difficult if we’re required to tell owners that the by-law might only be effective for a limited period of time (i.e. until Section 105 of the Condominium Act is amended).

Stay tuned to Condo Law News for more blogs about amendments to the Condominium Act.

 

Insurance Deductibles By-laws – Will Existing By-laws be Grandfathered?

There’s been considerable dialogue across Ontario on the following:  When Section 105 of the Condominium Act is amended, condominium corporations will no longer be able to pass Insurance Deductibles By-laws.  But what about by-laws passed before then?  Will those existing by-laws still be effective?  Will they be “grandfathered”?

My answer to this question is:  Maybe; but I don’t think so.

In my view, the amendments to Section 105 of the Act are clear:  Insurance deductibles by-laws will no longer be effective after the amendments to Section 105 come into force.  Put simply, the amended Section 105 says that the corporation’s deductible is a common expense except in certain specific circumstances listed in the Section – and a by-law is not one of the circumstances [As our readers will know, one new exception will be an amendment to the Declaration.]

The bottom line is as follows:  For insured events that occur after Section 105 is amended, I don’t see how a by-law can have any effect on responsibility for the corporation’s deductible.

HOWEVER:  According to the draft new Regulations, the information to be contained in Periodic Information Certificates (to be issued by condominium corporations) will include the following:

If an insurance policy obtained and maintained by the corporation in accordance with the Act contains a deductible clause that limits the amount payable by the insurer, a statement that,

(i) describes any such deductible clause, including the portion of a loss that would be excluded from coverage,

(ii) clearly identifies, for any such deductible clause, the maximum amount that is to be added to the common expenses payable for an owner’s unit under section 105 of the Act or as a result of a by-law passed under clause 56 (1) (i) of the Act before the repeal of that clause came into force, and

(iii) warns owners of their liability as described in subclause (ii).

This is unquestionably confusing.  Why refer to insurance deductibles by-laws in Periodic Information Certificates if such by-laws will no longer be effective?

I think there may be two answers:

(a) Insurance deductibles by-laws will of course continue to apply to any insured events that occurred before the amendments come into force. Adjusting those “pre-amendment losses” may take some time; and

(b) The amendments to Section 105 are not expected to be part of the planned First Phase of the amendments (whereas Periodic Information Certificates ARE expected to be part of the First Phase). Therefore, insurance deductibles by-laws may still be effective for some time to come – ie. until Section 105 is ultimately amended.

The Canadian Condominium Institute is checking with the province to see if the confusion can be resolved.

In the meantime, what should a condominium corporation do?

If you don’t currently have an Insurance Deductibles By-law, I suppose you could consider passing such a By-law.  The by-law certainly will be effective until Section 105 is amended.  And the by-law might continue to be effective after Section 105 is amended. But I have two cautionary notes:

I. Again, I think there’s a real possibility that such by-laws will have no further effect after Section 105 is amended.

II. Owners might be reluctant to consider passing a by-law that might soon be ineffective.

Stay tuned to Condo Law News for more blogs about amendments to the Condominium Act.