New Condo Guide

About five years ago, I received a phone call from a litigation lawyer friend, asking if I can refer clients to him. I suggested that he specialize in Condominium Law. I was happy to hear, later on, that he actually took my advice as there were many cases to deal with in this specialized area of law.

Condos comprise around 62 per cent of new-home construction, which translates to thousands of units, with an even greater number of people living in them. The combination of new condominium buildings, developers, Tarion and a great influx of people moving into these buildings, together with many management companies and lawyers, makes for a perfect scenario for disputes. The current Condominium Act would not have anticipated all of the upcoming issues, nor was it designated to deal with construction issues.

It is not uncommon that in the event of a dispute between developer, a resident, the board of directors or the management company, that the most common legal advice is to initiate legal action. I know of a condo corporation that was advised to start legal action against the developer, and in the process incurred approximately $75,000 in legal fees, just to settle the matter with the developer for the same amount. Nothing was gained.

Condominium disputes are most often resolved thorough the legal system. This should not come as a surprise to anyone. Each condominium corporation retains a lawyer immediately after the turnover meeting, so any issue which requires legal advice will be referred to the corporation’s lawyer. In the absence of any other resolutions that could be provided by an independent body, which could save a bundle in legal and mediation fees, the only other avenue is to commence legal action. It is imperative that any condominium corporation consider the options. Ask your lawyer the question: “What are our chances?” Do not accept an answer such as “Based on the information I currently have, you have a good chance.” Provide your legal representative with all the information you have. Remember that at the end of the process, it is your corporation’s money on the line. Explore every possible avenue to settle the dispute. This is a lot cheaper than taking the legal route.

Here’s a story: Two peasants brothers were each left with a parcel of land by their late father. In between two parcels of land was a ditch. After they buried their father, one of the brothers asked the local lawyer to ensure that the ditch formed part of his parcel. The next day, the other brother approached the same lawyer with the same request. The lawyer explained that he had a conflict because he was already acting on behalf of the other brother, but he offered to write a note to the lawyer in the next town asking him to act on his behalf. When the lawyer in the other town read the note, it said: “We have here two peasants. If you and I act correctly, each one of us will end up with one parcel of land, and the two brothers will end up in the ditch.”

The moral of the story: think twice before you start litigation because you may find yourself in a ditch!

Shlomo Sharon is CEO of Taft Management Inc. and a member of CCI since 2002. Taft Management Inc. is an ACMO 2000 Certified Property Management Company and has been providing property management services since 1996. Visit the website for further information or email him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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