Summary of the Proposed Regulations now available: the Condominium Database, and filing Returns

Regulations supporting certain amendments to the Condominium Act, 1998 are being proposed relating to:

  • Condominium Returns which Condominium Corporations are going to have to file with the Registrar (appointed by the CAO); and,
  • the creation of the publicly accessible Database of information about Condominium Corporations in Ontario.

These changes are anticipated to come in to effect in early 2018.

The Summary and proposed Regulation provisions are available here.

Returns

Condominium Corporations may have to file any of the four types of Returns proposed (depending on whether the Condominium Corporation is created before or after the Return provisions are in force), which include:

  • Initial Return
  • Turn-Over Return
  • Transitional Return
  • Annual Return

If the Condominium Corporation was created after the Return provisions come into force, the Condominium Corporation would have to file an Initial Return and Turn-Over Return.

If the Condominium Corporation was created prior to these Regulations being in force it would have to file a Transitional Return.

In addition, each Condominium Corporation will also have to file an Annual Return.

The required content for the Transitional and Annual Returns are similar in content to each other. The information required includes basic identifying information (name of Condominium and type of Condominium, address for service, municipal address) as well as information about the names of directions, number of units, maximum number of votes that could be counted at an owners meeting, management information, fiscal year, whether an administrator or inspector is appointed by the Court, and the date of the last AGM. A Condominium Corporation may choose to provide an email address as well.

Annual Returns must be filed between January 1 and March 31 of the current fiscal year.

Notices of Change are also required to be filed with the Registrar to update various changes to the information in the Returns, within 30 days of the change.

Returns and Notices of Change will be filed electronically other another method prescribed by the Registrar.

Database

The proposed publicly accessible database will be available for non-commercial purposes. It will be accessible on the Internet, will be maintained by the Registrar, and will contain all of the information filed by Condominium Corporations in their respective Returns (except email addresses, if provided) as well as any information about s. 134 orders against the Condominium Corporation that relate to non-compliance with provisions dealing with condominium Returns.

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

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 .

Christy Allen discusses Airbnb and Condos -Saturday morning on 580 CFRA

Listen to Christy Allen of Davidson Houle Allen speak about Airbnb and condominiums, on the June 17, 2017 Podcast on The Newsfeed with Kristy Cameron on 580 CFRA!

Find Christy’s appearance on ‘Hour 2’ of the Newsfeed on June 17, 2017 (starting at minute 22:43)

http://www.iheartradio.ca/580-cfra/shows/the-newsfeed-with-kristy-cameron-1.1818974

Christy talks with Kristy Cameron about the increasing presence of condominium units listed on Airbnb, particularly in anticipation of Canada Day and the market for accommodations in Ottawa.

Christy explains how condominium units being rented for nightly/short term rentals are a growing problem for condominiums, and such rentals may be in breach of a Condominium Corporation’s rules.

She discusses condominiums’ enforcement rights to deal with an owner or tenant renting for short term/nightly rental on websites like Airbnb, and why short-term rentals are significant concerns for Condominium Corporations, related to security, safety, community, responsibility for common elements, and use of amenities.

Christy also discusses why the recent steps to regulate Airbnb rentals in Toronto are relevant for Ottawa, and whether such steps may be useful here.

Stay tuned to Condo Law News for more blogs about caselaw updates related to condominiums.

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 .

Reminder: ACMO CCI-EO 5th Annual Conference on Friday June 2, 2017: Jim Davidson and Nancy Houle presenting

Davidson Houle Allen LLP Condominium Law is proud to be a Gold Sponsor of the 5thAnnual ACMO CCI-EO Condominium Conference being held in Ottawa on June 2, 2017.

The schedule for the day includes exciting presentations, with timely and relevant issues geared towards condominium property management to be discussed. Jim Davidson is presenting on the Condominium Act updates, and Nancy Houle is speaking on the Legal Panel.

The conference has a comprehensive array of fantastic exhibitors ready to speak with attendees about condominium issues throughout the day. Davidson Houle Allen LLP has a booth; please come by and visit us !

Register today by visiting the CCI -EO website here !

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

First Phase of the Condominium Act Amendments -Update

The latest we’ve heard is that the “arrival date”  for the first phase of the Amendments (including the arrival of the new Licensing Requirements for Managers) will now occur later than anticipated, in the fall of 2017, not July 1, 2017.

We look forward to providing our readers with more exciting updates about changes to the Condominium Act, as information becomes available.

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

 

 

 

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.