Toronto condo fraud: The Condo Act Review
The Ministry of Consumer Services has been reviewing the Condominium Act and consulting with the public and experts for more than a year. Recommendations for an updated act are expected soon.
According to a ministry spokesperson, the experts “have proposed a number of recommendations that strengthen transparency, accountability and owner involvement in a condo corporation’s financial affairs, thereby limiting the potential for abuse.”
One change already announced is that the new act will require mandatory qualifications for condominium managers.
Anne-Marie Ambert said her experience on the expert panel has led her to believe the review will lead to improvements in owner’s rights, but she is concerned there may be “glaring problems left behind.”
Ambert has been calling for an impartial body to oversee and regulate the industry such as a Condo Review Board, an Ombudsman Office, or a tribunal that could resolve disputes, levy fines.
Trinty-Spadina MPP Rosario Marchese has also been calling for the creation of a tribunal.
“Ontario needs a strong and independent Condo Tribunal, empowered to handle all disputes between condo owners, boards, managers and developers quickly and cheaply. Without this, any reforms of the Condo Act are going to fall short,” he wrote in a recent newspaper editorial.
Jeffery Cowan, the principal of Cowan Law and a columnist for Metro, said legislating condos can be difficult, especially when the lay people who own condos are ultimately in charge.
“So it’s tough, from a regulatory perspective, to make sure the law is adhered to,” he said.
Condo boards are made up of people who own their unit and therefore have a stake in its success—but sometimes they’re not the people who are best equipped to run the condo’s business.
“A lot of times people become board members for reasons other than trying to make sure it’s run efficiently or appropriately,” he said. “Sometimes there are egos involved. I find it’s often times the busybodies of the building who end up running for the board and the people who might be more appropriate don’t have the time or the interest to do so.”
How contractors inflate their fees
The mechanism of bidding fraud and kickbacks
What the law says
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