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Condominium Group

With the exploding growth of condominiums in Ontario, our Condominium Law Group is a leader in advising condominium corporations, boards of directors, owners and professionals in the condominium industry.  We have an outstanding team of lawyers and professional staff which enables us to provide exceptional service in a cost effective and timely manner.

 

Shibley Righton is pleased to make available updated verisons of our Buying and Owning A Condo Guide as well as our Condominium Owners and Residents' Guide.

Please click here to download a copy of our Board Member Candidate Disclosure Form

Please click here to download a copy of our GUIDE TO PHASE ONE OF THE CONDOMINIUM ACT AMENDMENTS

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Publications

Description

John Devellis HeadshotIn rejecting a ride-sharing company’s demand that a case against it be heard in the Netherlands at the expense of the plaintiffs, the Ontario Court of Appeal (OCA) has drawn a line on an “outrageous” clause in the company's contract with drivers, says Toronto labour and employment lawyer John De Vellis.



This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2019-04-22
Description

Audrey Loeb Head ShotWhen dealing with residents who have dementia, mental health or addiction issues that are posing a risk to themselves, the building or neighbouring units, condominium corporations should seek legal advice before taking action, Toronto condominium lawyer Audrey Loeb tells AdvocateDaily.com.

“It’s crucial to find out what you can and cannot do in certain circumstances. We also have resources we can forward to help management deal with these issues in a non-legal way,” says Loeb, partner with the Toronto office of Shibley Righton LLP.

“Managers aren’t hired to act as sociologists or psychologists — they are trained to manage the operations of the building. But when you're dealing with people, there are a number of interesting issues that pop up.”

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2019-04-15
Description

Joel Berkovitz Head ShotA Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) criminal decision offers important guidance to condos that monitor their property with video surveillance, Toronto condominium lawyer Joel Berkovitz tells AdvocateDaily.com.

All nine judges on the top court panel agreed that a former high school teacher should be convicted of voyeurism after using a pen-mounted camera to secretly record the faces and breasts of his female students.

But Berkovitz, a lawyer with Shibley Righton LLP, says it's the court’s lengthy consideration of the circumstances under which a reasonable expectation of privacy will arise that is most valuable to condo boards and their advisers.

“I think it really supports many of the best practices that people have been advocating with respect to video surveillance and how it should be undertaken on condo property,” he says. “If condos are going to use cameras, it’s valuable to have a written policy on the subject. Setting out the rules in writing will protect you if someone comes along alleging a violation of their privacy.”

The case made its way to the Supreme Court after a split decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal (OCA), which ruled by a 2-1 majority in favour of acquitting the teacher.

All three appeal court judges disagreed with a trial judge who had cleared the man on the basis that there was a reasonable doubt over whether the recordings had been made for a sexual purpose — one of two essential elements of the crime of voyeurism.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2019-04-03
Description

Audrey Loeb Head ShotA developer, who was found by the Ontario Superior Court to be behaving “unreasonably” in rejecting mortgage commitments for purchasers and then relying on that refusal to terminate their contracts and forfeiting their deposits, had no right to terminate the agreements, Toronto condominium lawyer Audrey Loeb tells The Globe and Mail.

The developer was trying to arrange for all the purchasers with whom it had agreements of purchase and sale to take their deposits back and walk away from their condominium purchases. The plaintiffs refused to accept the return of their deposit, maintaining that the developer had no right to cancel the project, the article states.

The Globe reports that the developer had acted in bad faith when it refused to accept the mortgage commitment papers delivered by the purchaser. This decision adds to the new precedents from the Ontario courts that could help tilt the balance of power toward new-home buyers and away from developers.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2019-03-26
Description

Warren Kleiner Head ShotCondo boards have two options if they want to prohibit smoking, growing or processing cannabis within their buildings — they can either amend their declaration or pass a rule, Toronto condominium lawyer Warren Kleiner tells Law Times.

“A rule is easier to pass, but a rule has to be reasonable,” says Kleiner, partner with Shibley Righton LLP in Toronto. “What we do think is problematic [is] when corporations take steps to ban cannabis but not tobacco. Rules have to be reasonable, and if you’re smoking in your unit and it gets into the hallway, what’s the difference if it’s tobacco smoke or cannabis smoke? Smoke is smoke; otherwise, a rule risks being overturned.”

The online legal news outlet reports that condo corporations that opt to ban cannabis could still grandfather rules to existing residents or owners if those guidelines to prohibit smoking were not in place before the Oct. 17, 2018 legalization date.

Even without a rule that bans smoking cannabis, it’s important for condo residents to understand they will still have to act reasonably, Kleiner says.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story
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Date_Published
2019-03-25
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Armand Conant HeadshotArmand Conant, head of the condominium law group at Shibley Righton LLP, said there’s a public perception of bias with Tarion because it’s funded solely by developers. He noted that having everything “under one umbrella” meant buyers weren’t able to find information about whether their builder or developer had a good reputation.

“I think we need more information about developers, or the development and the developer behind it, for the public,” he said, calling the government’s plan to increase transparency a good idea

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on thelawyersdaily.ca.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2019-03-13
Description

Deborah Howden Head ShotMore than a year into existence, Ontario’s Condominium Act Tribunal (CAT) is working effectively, Toronto employment lawyer Deborah Howden tells Law Times. 

Howden, partner with Shibley Righton LLP's Toronto office, tells the publication that while the tribunal only handles issues of access to records, that is the most common area of dispute between condo corporations and unit owners. 

“What’s distinctive about the CAT is this is a new tribunal in Ontario, and it’s a designated authority, and there’s only a handful of such authorities in the province,” Howden tells Law Times. 

“It’s our first and only online adjudication body.” 

She tells the legal publications that prior to the Ontario Condominium Act being amended, an owner with an issue had to have a reason related to the condo corporation to access to a particular document. 

A reason is no longer necessary for a purchaser, condo owner, or mortgagee of a unit to access that information, provided the record doesn’t relate to an exemption under the Condominium Act, Howden says.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2019-03-11
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Audrey Loeb Head ShotThis is an important decision for Ontario consumers and I am delighted that Shane Dingman showed interest in it as well.

Court rules against de­vel­oper on pre­sale can­cel­la­tion
SHANE DING­MAN THE LIST­ING
The Globe and Mail (Ontario Edition)
Mar 08, 2019

 

Date_Published
2019-03-08
Description

Audrey Loeb Head ShotA recent decision by the Court of Appeal continues a trend in condominium law regarding the obligations of Ontario developers when selling to purchasers.

This article appeared on The Lawyers Daily.



Date_Published
2019-03-05
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Armand Conant HeadshotA potential crisis is brewing as the shortage of qualified condo property managers intensifies, Toronto condominium lawyer Armand Conant tells AdvocateDaily.com.

While Ontario now has more than 11,300 condominium corporations, Conant, senior partner with Shibley Righton LLP, has heard that there are only about 2,500 licensed condo managers.

“Not every corporation needs a professional manager, and you get some smaller ones that handle it themselves, but demand is definitely growing for management services. Meanwhile, we’re not seeing a corresponding growth in the supply of people entering or staying in the profession,” he says.

“At the moment, we’ve got a perfect storm of factors coming together that I believe could result in a property management crisis.”

Anecdotally — and through his work — Conant has heard of management companies attempting to poach managers from other buildings, as well as individual managers demanding large raises to stay in their positions.  

“Some of these management companies are already operating razor-thin margins or running at a deficit, so they may struggle to stay in existence if they have to pay that type of increase,” he says.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2019-02-27
Description

Megan Mackey Head ShotShared facility disputes are a frequent source of litigation which is why cost-sharing agreements are worthwhile to iron out ahead of time, Toronto real estate lawyer Megan Mackey tells AdvocateDaily.com.

There’s no shortage of examples when two buildings adjacent to each other share such things as a parking garage, repairs, recreational facilities, roads, maintenance and operating costs, says Mackey, partner with Shibley Righton and an experienced real estate lawyer who works on behalf of condominium corporations, boards and unit owners to efficiently resolve legal matters. 

She says signing contracts to determine who pays for what, and to what degree, can save each party time, money and legal tangles.

“There are also cases where reserve funds are required for unexpected expenses and long-term maintenance,” Mackey says.

If, for instance, the lighting system in a shared garage needs upgrades to reduce electricity costs, that kind of agreement and the price tag can be “split in accordance with the parties’ interests,” she says, adding that both should contribute fairly to the reserve fund.

Mackey also learned of one case where townhouses and two towers shared a massive water main, typically needing to be replaced every 70 years. “But when it comes up, the cost is very high. Sometimes there are those sorts of rare one-off events that really need to be added to the cost-sharing agreement,” she says.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2019-02-14
Description

Patrick GrecoToronto condominium lawyer Patrick Greco likes to feel involved in his clients’ communities.

Greco, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP, tells AdvocateDaily.com that condo law by its nature is a “very human area” of practice.

“I really like that aspect of it — getting to interact with owners, board members, and property managers,” he says. “I like to think of myself as a partner in their communities — someone who knows the owners and the board, and is just a call away when any of them needs help.

“I’m part of their team,” adds Greco, who tries to take a friendly and humorous approach to all of his dealings with clients.

“There’s already enough stress in the condo world, and if you can’t laugh, then you’d cry,” he says.

And Greco gets plenty of opportunities to develop those relationships since many of his evenings are spent attending or chairing meetings of unit owners or condo corporation boards, while his days are frequently filled with providing quick-turnaround answers to queries and concerns coming in from clients.

When he was a law student, Greco might not have recognized his current practice. He graduated around the same time as Ontario’s Condominium Act came into force, revolutionizing the regulation of condos in the province.

“It wasn’t something I had heard much about,” he explains.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2019-02-08
Description

Audrey Loeb Head ShotThe Ontario government should consider streamlining the Condominium Act, Toronto condominium lawyer Audrey Loeb tells Law Times.

The legal publication reports that expected amendments to the Act have raised questions about when they’ll be enacted and if the Conservatives will revise changes the previous Liberal government had planned.

Any amendments would be in addition to the first phase of changes introduced in November 2017.

Loeb, partner with the Toronto office of Shibley Righton LLP, tells Law Times that the approach to the first and second phases poses a problem because the amendments are overly cumbersome.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2019-01-29
Description

Audrey Loeb Head ShotChanges to Ontario's Condominium Act allowing electronic voting is not the panacea the government had envisioned, Toronto condominium lawyer Audrey Loeb tells AdvocateDaily.com.

The Act was amended in November 2017, which was the first overhaul of the province’s condo law in more than 16 years. One of the changes allows electronic voting, which “is separate and apart from the proxy vote,” says Loeb, partner with the Toronto office of Shibley Righton LLP.

However, the provision has only led to confusion, she says.

“The more the government has involved itself in trying to correct things in the Condominium Act, the more challenging the whole thing has become for many people. It’s not simple,” Loeb says.

Prior to the amendments, if condo owners were unable to attend a meeting they could assign a proxy to vote on their behalf, she says.

Electronic voting was supposed to make it easier for condo owners to get involved in meetings, but instead, the lines have been blurred, Loeb notes.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2019-01-21
Publication
Description

Joel Berkovitz Head ShotRobert Buckler, Joel Berkovitz and Derek Brovold discuss the implications of cannabis legalization on the property management field.

Please click here to read the full Article.

 

“Reprinted from The Journal of Property Management, Vol. 81, No. 1, with permission from the Institute of Real Estate Management. For more information on IREM and its publications, visit www.irem.org.”

 

 

 

 

Date_Published
2019-01-08
Description

Megan Mackey Head ShotCondominium corporations should enact anti-harassment rules to protect their property managers and staff, Toronto condominium and commercial litigator Megan Mackey tells AdvocateDaily.com.

Mackey, partner with Shibley Righton LLP, says it's an emerging and growing issue, and she has dealt with numerous cases involving emotional, and more rarely, physical abuse of those who work in condominiums.

“It’s a very serious problem that can affect a person’s whole life,” she says. “Managers have to deal with all kinds of things in their work, whether it be floods, snowstorms, or unexpected staffing shortages. But there’s no reason why they should have to put up with harassment in the workplace. It’s completely unnecessary.”  

According to Mackey, condo corporations can make her job easier by incorporating an anti-harassment policy into their rules that specifically prohibits unit owners and residents from harassing people on the site.

“Anti-harassment provisions give us more tools to address problematic behaviour in the event we have to go to court,” she explains.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2018-12-31
Description

Audrey Loeb Head ShotA disclosure obligation for candidates of condominium boards in Ontario will help ensure boards consist of members working for the good of all, Toronto condominium lawyer Audrey Loeb tells AdvocateDaily.com.

“Anybody who wants to run for the board already has to disclose if they have any convictions or legal proceedings and other information set out in a bylaw,” says Loeb, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP. “We convinced the government to add a new requirement that board directors also disclose whether they own or occupy a unit in the building.”

She says this mandatory disclosure obligation came because of efforts to expose some individuals trying to gain control of multiple condo boards and through investigative reporting by CBC News journalists.

Loeb says she became aware of people seeking to become board directors at multiple condos in Toronto and Mississauga through a client.

“They heard rumours some individuals were making efforts to get onto their condo corporation board,” she says. “In one of our buildings, we prevented these people from succeeding in doing this.”

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2018-12-19
Description

John Devellis HeadshotAs the first few cases trickle out of the new Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT), Toronto condominium lawyer John De Vellis says the decisions released so far largely follow existing case law.

“Many of the cases are following the same jurisprudence,” says De Vellis, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP. “For the most part, none of the tests has changed. It’s just that you have a specialized tribunal handling matters.”

The tribunal was set up as an online-only body, devoted exclusively to condo-related disputes in Ontario. The hope, says De Vellis, is that specialized adjudicators ruling on written submission will allow cases to settle more quickly and inexpensively than going through the courts.

So far, CAT’s jurisdiction extends only as far as record disputes covered by s. 55 of the Condominium Act, but will likely expand as time goes on, he tells AdvocateDaily.com.

The stepped process begins with a $25 access fee that allows the parties to try to settle the issues themselves. The next stage, which costs $50, escalates the matter to mediation before a final adjudication stage by a tribunal member, which costs $125.

Below, De Vellis picks out some of the highlights of the cases decided so far:

Legal invoices case

This decision involved an owner’s request for unredacted copies of the invoices from the condo corporation’s lawyer.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2018-11-19
Description

Warren Kleiner Head ShotIn the final instalment of a two-part series, Toronto condominium lawyer Warren Kleiner discusses solutions to some of the common issues that arise with shared facilities agreements.

A community-focused approach can help defuse tensions caused by shared facilities agreements (SFAs), Toronto condominium lawyer Warren Kleiner tells AdvocateDaily.com.

As Kleiner, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP's Toronto office, explained in part one of this series, SFAs, which spell out who is responsible for expenses associated with common facilities, are a frequent source of strife among condo corporations and freehold entities.

However, he says there are a number of steps parties can take to get ahead of disputes or to avoid them spiralling out of control.

Co-operation

“Working together is critically important for parties to an SFA,” Kleiner says. “If it involves three condos, any solutions must work for the entire community.”

Community thinking is even more important for those on the shared facilities committee tasked with making decisions relating to the agreement.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2018-11-16
Description

Audrey Loeb Head ShotThere is no doubt the varied uses of technology are here to stay, but Toronto condominium lawyer Audrey Loeb says the use of drones and artificial intelligence could clash with the privacy rights of condo dwellers.

Loeb, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP, tells AdvocateDaily.com there are many technological changes happening in the condominium corporation industry, like the introduction of artificial intelligence to monitor HVAC systems and the use of airborne drones to police properties for infractions of no smoking policies.

In preparation for the forthcoming changes, she offers this advice — "hold onto your hats."

Loeb foresees that "privacy, or the lack thereof, is going to be a problem."

"I just don't think we have an idea of what's actually going to happen," she says of the construction and surveillance technology under development.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2018-11-15

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