Five Key Considerations in a ‘Condo Crisis’

For purposes of this blog, the term ‘Condo Crisis’ is intended to refer to any circumstance that could result in significant unexpected expense to the condominium corporation/the owners. Here’s my list of five key considerations when a condominium corporation finds itself in a ‘Condo Crisis’.

  1. Do the status certificates need to change? For instance, does the corporation have knowledge of circumstances that may result in an increase in common expenses/special assessment?
  2. Does the corporation need expert advice (like the assistance of an architect or engineer)?
  3. Should the corporation’s insurer, and/or unit insurers, be notified?
  4. Is it necessary or appropriate to involve the owners? Should notice be sent to the owners? Should there be a meeting of owners?
  5. Should the corporation consider claims of any sort? What is the limitation period for any such claim(s)?
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ACMO and CCI-Ottawa Conference – Friday, May 30, 2014

Nancy Houle and James Davidson of Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP will be speaking at the Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario (ACMO) and Canadian Condominium Institute (CCI) Ottawa Conference on May 30, 2014.

The conference will feature industry experts from various law firms, management companies, trades and developers discussing timely and relevant issues that are geared towards condominium property managers, Boards of Directors and home owners.

Conference topics will include:

  • Condo Act Update and Licensing Managers
  • Hoarding – When is it a problem?
  • Canadian Revenue Agency and Taxation of Condos
  • Insurance – To claim or not to claim
  • Dealing with Bed Bugs

Find out more information about the conference and how to register.

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When is a By-Law Effective?

Section 56.(10) of the Condominium Act, 1998 states as follows:

A by-law is not effective until,

(a) The owners of a majority of the units of the corporation vote in favour of confirming it, with or without amendment; and

(b) A copy of it is registered in accordance with subsection (9).

Despite the word “until” in Section 56.(10), I believe that there is a good argument that the effective date of a by-law may be the date of the meeting at which the by-law was confirmed, provided of course the by-law is in fact subsequently registered.

Here’s my reasoning:

Once a by-law has been confirmed in accordance with Subsection 56.(10)(a), the condominium corporation has a fiduciary duty to register the by-law. The registration of the by-law is essentially a “housekeeping” step, to ensure that all persons acquiring an interest in the property have notice of the by-law. But this step may take some time. What does this mean for the period between the meeting and the registration of the by-law? In my view, everyone who knows that the by-law has been passed also knows that the corporation must register the by-law. So, I believe that the doctrine of “feeding the estoppel” operates to treat the effective date of the by-law as the date of the confirming meeting, provided the corporation proceeds with reasonable haste to arrange for registration of the by-law.

Applications of this principle could include the following:

(a) Elections held at a meeting of owners in accordance with a by-law passed at the same meeting.

(b) Insurance claims processed in accordance with a standard unit by-law and/or insurance deductibles by-law passed by the owners, but not yet registered, before the insured event.

I should be careful to add that this principle likely won’t apply to anyone who does not have knowledge of the by-law. The by-law won’t be effective, vis-à-vis those persons, until the actual date of registration of the by-law. Therefore, the corporation could consider:

  • immediately sending a copy of the confirmed by-law to all owners (following the meeting); and
  • attaching a copy of the by-law (along with a statement that the by-law has been confirmed at a meeting of owners) to all status certificates issued following the meeting.
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Canadian Condominium Institute (CCI) Seminar, “How to Run an Effective AGM” – March 20, 2014

The Canadian Condominium Institute (CCI) Ottawa Chapter Seminar, “How to Run an Effective Meeting” will be taking place at Nepean Sportsplex on Thursday March 20, 2014 at 7:00pm. Nancy Houle of Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP will be one of the speakers.

This session will cover practical skills that can assist in running a smooth meeting, including topics such as:

  • Proper notice
  • Registration and use of proxies
  • Rules of order, and
  • Dealing with contentious issues, etc.

For more details or to register for the seminar, visit “upcoming events” on the CCI Ottawa website at

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Upcoming Condo Primers – April/May 2014

We have scheduled our spring 2014 Condominium Law Primers for Kingston and Belleville. The dates are as follows:

Kingston: Saturday, April 12, 2014; 9 a.m. to 12 noon.
Belleville: Thursday, May 15, 2014; 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

These Primers are intended to address issues of interest to the condominium community. Topics will include:

  • Important Recent Condo Court Decisions
  • Anticipated Amendments to the Condominium Act
  • Dealing with Problem Owners
  • Reserve Funds
  • Collection Procedures
  • Smoking
  • Licensing of Condominium Managers [Note: We have invited a representative of the Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario (ACMO) – to speak on this topic]

If you are interested in attending one of our Primers, please contact Wanda Blakney at 613-531-7905 or

We are also planning an Ottawa Primer for later in 2014 or early in 2015. Stay tuned for more information on our next Ottawa Primer!

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