There’s never been a better time to get involved in your condominium community. With big changes coming down the pipeline, condo owners can look forward to a set of regulations that ensures everyone is on the same page, from managers to owners and everyone in between. The Condominium Act Review, started back in fall 2012, is finally coming to a close with many changes affecting every level of the condo community.
What is the Condominium Act?
It is a way to regulate the running of condominiums all across Ontario. Between development and registration, every new condominium must abide by the regulations stated in the Condo Act. For such an important document to be left untouched since 1998, its modernization comes as no surprise – nor does its surrounding buzz.
The three stage process to update the act began with a public information session, a residents’ panel and an opportunity for the public to send in their ideas on what should change. These discussions surrounded five main topics; governance, dispute resolution, finances, consumer protection and condo management. With these 100+ recommendations, a review panel drafted a final Condo Act report which is now pending government approval.
Are condo owners really going to beaffected by the updating of some report? Will you feel an actual difference in how things are run?
The answer is yes, absolutely yes. The biggest change for condo owners is their access to education.From online courses teaching owners how to read financial documents and having online access to ongoing projects, to implementing complete transparency between management and owners, education is a major facet of these upcoming changes.
To enforce this transparency, there’s a new government called the Condo Office. They will be concerned with awareness, dispute settlement, licensing condo managers and maintaining a condo registry. To fund this Condo Office, every condo unit will experience a monthly levy of $1-$3. While the Condo Office would be a great tool for quick decision making (record issues, proxy issues, voting and other owner concerns), it’s a little bit surprising that a new governance gets a budget of $21.6 million while something such as the Ontario Municipal Board only receives $7.6 million.
Does it seem worth it to pay the extra fees each month for this new government?
Though the report is seen as finalized and complete, the outcome of the elections will shape the ultimate Condo Act. This discussion speaks about a possible waiving of the levy if the NDPs or Conservatives were to take office and the realities of having a required education for a condo board. No one quite knows which party will make what changes but you can be guaranteed that the eventual outcome of the Act is largely dependent on the winner of the election.
Another group of stakeholders who will benefit from the education are the condo board directors and managers. Any new property manager will be required to go through an educational process in order to become certified. This includes taking a course, passing an exam with 70% and getting two years of practical experience to become fully licensed.
Does this required training negatively affect the existing condo managers?
Not at all – in fact, current property managers are delighted that mandatory licensing is required for first time managers and board directors.
Catherine Murdock, Property Manager for DEL Condominium Management, welcomes the education of property managers with open arms. In her eyes, not only will the proper training and education “elevate the status of managers” but it will also “give board of directors that measure of confidence that we’ve at least gone through this process [of training, evaluating and practical experience]” required for any new property manager. As for current property managers, they will be “reevaluated and checked for a history of fraud and/or bankruptcy in case anyone has a past of dishonesty with other people’s money”.
The Condo Act is composed of a vast range of topics affecting every aspect of a condo owner’s quality of life. Click here for more information on the changes to the Condo Act and let us know what you think!
Picture from: Talk Condo