A Look Forward at 2021

In this blog, I provide my list of top five things to look for in 2021.

Here goes.

Top Five Things to look for in 2021.

1. We can expect some further amendments to the Condominium Act and Regulations.  As a reminder, here’s a list of what is “still to come”:

  • No Fines can be charged to Owners
  • Unit Entry without notice (in an emergency) only permitted if the Declaration or By-laws say so
  • It will be possible to charge an owner for actual expenses, and to add those amounts to the owner’s common expenses, if permitted by the Declaration. [**This should hopefully resolve some of the confusion and difficulties created by the Amlani decision!]
  • ALSO: Owner to be notified of specific additions to the owner’s common expenses; Owner then to have a prescribed procedure to challenge this (if desired)
  • Shared Facilities Agreements are to be mandatory in many cases
  • Limits are to be placed on the legal rights of Declarants
  • New Procurement Processes (tendering) to be required for certain contracts (to be prescribed)
  • Various amendments respecting first year performance audits
  • New procedures for Requisitioned Meetings
  • Significant Changes respecting Directors to be elected by “non-leased owners”
  • Enhanced Disclosure Obligations for Declarants – including specifics about first year Reserve Fund budgeting. New Declarations also to say how the Declarant arrived at common expense sharing
  • More detail in relation to claims for First-Year budget deficits (including detail respecting calculations for phases of Phased Condominiums)
  • Owners to be notified of budgets and certain budget overages
  • Changes relating to Repair and Maintenance obligations, including new Definitions of Repair and Maintenance
  • Reserve Funds: Additional permitted purposes; Specific Definition of “Adequate”; Expert opinion required if Reserve Fund balance falls below a certain prescribed amount
  • Common Element Modifications:  Revisions to “minor changes” that fall within Board’s authority; Also details about calculating the “cost” of a change
  • Insurance Deductibles: Insurance Deductibles By-laws to be ineffective; Will require an amendment to the Declaration – Existing By-laws might be grandfathered.
  • New prescribed Standard Unit Description (for condominiums that have no description)
  • Clarification respecting permitted investments (CDIC requirement)
  • Unreasonable noise to be prohibited (by the Act). Other unreasonable disturbances may also be prohibited by regulation
  • New prescribed mediation and arbitration procedures (where corporation has not established procedures by by-law)
  • Arbitration awards to be made public
  • Court orders (for compliance): Clarification of rights of winning party to costs
  • Increased penalties for Offences under the Act
  • Perhaps increased jurisdiction for the Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT)

2. We can expect changes to Tarion and to new home warranties. As we reported in January 2020, we can all expect some big changes in these areas in the coming years (in the wake of the Auditor General’s “Special Audit of the Tarion Warranty Corporation” published in October 2019). Some things to look for are:

  • The creation of a new organization – separate from Tarion’s warranty administration – to handle regulation (including licensing) of Builders and Vendors. [**This is already “in the works”, with the new organization set to start in February 2021!]
  • The possibility of a “Multi-Provider Insurance Model” to replace the current model (under which Tarion serves as the single provider).
  • Perhaps other steps to ensure that the “warranty assessor” (currently Tarion) is entirely independent (without having any “stake” in warranty approvals or disapprovals).
  • Anticipated steps to better inform pre-construction condominium buyers (of their warranty rights).

3. Amendments to Ontario’s Occupier’s Liability Act will likely come into force. Bill 118 – the Occupier’s Liability Amendment Act, 2020 – if and when proclaimed in force, will require that notice be provided within 60 days of the “occurrence of the injury” in order for a claim to be brought in relation to “personal injury caused by snow or ice” against an occupier or a snow removal contractor hired by an occupier. [Note that there are additional procedures / exceptions / saving measures set out in the legislation.] Look for the Occupier’s Liability Amendment Act, 2020 to be proclaimed in force in 2021.

4. Perhaps improvements in the area of condominium insurance. The condominium industry badly needs some key changes that can hopefully alleviate the current crisis in condominium insurance. CCI Toronto has a special Committee dedicated to offering input to the province on this topic. The key, I believe, is to “shift” some of the current insurance burden from condominium corporation insurers to unit insurers. (There are a few options by which to achieve this.) Unit insurance underwriting is better suited to providing coverage for some risks that are currently covered by condominium corporation insurers.

5. Continued “Zooming”. The sense I have is that electronic meeting and voting is here to stay, even when the pandemic (hopefully) starts to subside. “In person” meetings will undoubtedly return one day. But I think that many Boards and owners will still be attracted to the convenience of electronic meeting and voting for the long term. All condominium corporations will want to ensure that they have the necessary by-law provisions in place to allow for electronic meeting and voting (and for mail-in balloting, if desired) – particularly once the current emergency order(s) expire.

Here’s hoping that 2021 will be a better year. In the meantime, the DHA Team wishes all of our readers a Happy New Year!

Stay tuned to Condo Law News to keep up to date on the latest developments on condominium law!