What Would I Change About Condo Law?
At the 2019 Ottawa Condominium Conference (put on by CCI Eastern Ontario and ACMO), I was proud to participate as a member of the Legal Panel session. One of the questions that the panel members were asked was as follows: If you could, what would you change about Condo Law? Here was my answer:
- I would make all multi-unit residential condos in Ontario smoke-free (subject only to clearly demonstrated medical needs to smoke cannabis in units and subject to, say, a two-year grandfathering for existing smokers, from the date of my proposed amendment to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act!). However, I would allow for designated smoking areas on the outdoor common elements, to be approved by Rule. And maybe condos could allow “regular” smoking in the units only if they pass a by-law to permit such.
- I would make it clear that Common Element Modifications by Owners can be recorded in, and regulated by, By-law [Individual Section 98 Agreements are, in my view, impractical in most cases!].
- I would reduce the required vote to remove a Director to an ordinary vote.
- I would keep insurance deductibles by-laws.
- I would add a strong indemnification provision (requiring that owners cover all reasonable costs incurred by the corporation, resulting from any act or omission of the owner or of an occupant or invitee of the unit and also stating that such amounts are added to the owner’s common expenses) to the ACT. I would eliminate the need for any such provision in the Declaration.
- I would increase the reserve fund study period from 30 years to a period that is sufficient to include at least one cycle of each component of the common elements or assets that has a life expectancy that is less than the life of the building. [I expect that the study period would be at least 60 years in most cases.]
- I would reduce the required vote to pass a by-law to an ordinary vote (except for borrowing by-laws, by-laws to authorize the granting of easements, leases or licences, and perhaps one or two other items of “more serious by-law business”).
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