New condo rules will help 1.3M Ontarians
Some 1.3 million Ontario condo dwellers will be better protected and have more rights under long-awaited new provincial legislation that has passed unanimously at Queen’s Park.
In a province with 700,000 condominium units - and 10,000 different condo corporations for their residents - Government and Consumer Services Minister David Orazietti said it was time to update the law.
“The condo sector has been a bit like the Wild West,” Orazietti said in an interview this week.
“It came down to a couple of key things: first of all, the licensing of condo managers was one of the top priorities (and) establishing some kind of regime for condo managers so they would have training and those sorts of things,” the minister said.
- A new Condominium Authority will be established in 2017 to prevent common disputes and serve as a cheaper alternative than the court system to resolve problems. It will be an independent, not-for-profit corporation self-funded by a $1-per-unit monthly fee and will fall under the oversight of the provincial auditor general.
- There will be mandatory licensing and education requirements for condominium managers. The new administrative authority is designed to regulate condo managers and property management companies through a compulsory licensing system and a code of ethics.
- Governance requirements for those on condo boards will include training of directors. Boards would no longer have to pass a by-law in order to hold a conference call or virtual meeting online. And they would be required to update owners regularly on insurance and any legal proceedings.
- There will be clearer rules to protect owners from sticker-shock costs after purchasing newly built units. Developers will be required give buyers a guide to condominium living at the time of sale and the Ontario new home warranty will soon also apply to some condo conversion projects in older buildings.
- Improved regulation for condo corporations should help curb financial mismanagement and organizational bungling and reduce fraud. It would forbid condo corporations from finalizing some maintenance contracts unless they have sought competing bids for work and give owners more information about their corporation’s finances and clarify rules about reserve funds.
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