Did you know that 10% of Ontarians are Condo owners?

With 1.3 million condo dwellers in the Province, Bill 106 is a welcome addition to the body of laws protecting these important consumers. WatervieW Condominiums being built by LJM Developments, is happy to provide you with a quick review of how this new legislation will protect you.

The State of the Province

Ontario has had a boom of condo building over the past two decades with the vast majority of those units being built in the GTA. With 700,000 condo units and over 10,000 condominium corporations there is a vast difference between unit size and amenities and quality of condo corporations.

Condominiums of course relate to the corporation that is developed after the structures are built and does not itself specify a structure. Condominium corporations include high-rise, low-rise, and row-housing with each of the three types of structures represented by roughly one-third of the total. 25% of condo dwellers are renters, non-family dwellers account for 45% while family households, with or without children are the second highest dwellers at 43%. These statistics are available through census data provided by StatsCan.

Growth of condominiums is on the rise now accounting for a third of all residential building across Canada, whereas in 1981 this figure was less than 10%. This drastic increase gave rise for a call for better consumer protections in regards to these large purchases.

New Legislation

The new Bill 106, Protecting Condominium Owners Act, 2015  was passed in December 2015 to address some issues in the condo industry surrounding condo corporate boards and the licensing of condo managers. The bill centered around improving several parts of the condo industry. The most important for consumers is the ability of the bill to address dispute resolution between owners, builders and condo boards, stronger consumer protections, more transparent condo finance requirements, greater openness and accountability for condo board governance and condo manager licensing and regulation. How will this specifically make a difference in your next condo purchase?

What it means for Condo Owners

The new bill puts into place two new governing bodies in the condo industry including a Condo Authority Tribunal and a Condo Manager licensing and regulation organization. The new Condo Authority that will be established in 2017 offers an alternative for dispute resolution outside of the expensive court system. This system will be used to enforce settlements between boards and owners only up to the Small Claims Court limit of $25,000. This new authority will be a not-for-profit corporation funded by a $1 per unit monthly fee levied against condo owners. The Provincial Auditor General will have oversight over the governing body.

Secondly the bill introduced governance requirements for all condo boards to include mandatory training for their directors. Directors are also being instructed to operate in a new level of disclosure, although to which degree is unknown at this point in time. Other changes in the legislation, which has yet to be enforced and is still in its initialization phase, include clearer rules for developers adding costs after a purchase agreement and before the final build, allowing 15% of owners to requisition a general board meeting by petition within 35 days, and a new administrative authority for Condo Managers to regulate property management companies through compulsory licensing and instituting a code of ethics.

This new legislation although passed into law will take about two years to be fully implemented with some of the changes in the law yet to be made clear as to their full application. However, it is meant to offer better consumer protection and hold developers and condo boards to a higher standard; hear hear we say.