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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

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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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Megan Mackey Head ShotCondominium boards and managers should deal with hoarding and pest issues quickly, going to court if necessary, to stay on top of potentially expensive problems, says Toronto condominium and commercial litigator Megan Mackey.

“Often, the condominium board doesn’t really appreciate how bad the problem is and what risks are associated with it,” Mackey tells AdvocateDaily.com.

She says hoarding typically comes to light as the result of a pest infestation or a plumbing issue.

“We may get reports of pests or leaks coming from a unit,” says Mackey, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP.

“If it’s reported as a plumbing issue, the plumber may refuse to go into the unit because he or she discovers there is a hoarding problem,” she says.

“For most condos, the annual fire inspection is a good way to keep an eye out for hoarding.”

Mackey recalls a hoarder that had both plumbing issues and pests in their unit.

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

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2018-11-13
Description

Audrey Loeb Head ShotCondominium corporations will only investigate if someone has been smoking or vaping cannabis in their unit when a formal complaint is lodged, Toronto condominium lawyer Audrey Loeb tells CBC.

“Here’s the thing: nobody is going to be going into the units on a daily basis to inspect if anybody’s smoking,” says Loeb, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP.

Even medical users who have a licence for cannabis can expect to face challenges in condos across Toronto, stemming from objections from other residents, she says.

“I think it’s going to be tough to get a doctor to say that the only way you can take cannabis is through smoking, and that’s the only way you’ll get relief (of symptoms),” Loeb says.

One medical cannabis user who was diagnosed with a condition that causes brain seizures received an exemption from his condo corporation and told CBC that using marijuana has helped him reduce the number of seizures by 80 to 90 per cent

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

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2018-11-08
Description

Armand Conant HeadshotToronto condominium lawyer Armand Conant tells CondoBusiness magazine he’s hopeful the new Ontario government will follow through with changes to the Condominium Act that haven’t yet been proclaimed.

The online publication says the fate of many of the planned changes is uncertain.

“While the Condominium Act reforms that have been phased in to date are now law, the outstanding legislative provisions are sitting on the books awaiting accompanying regulations,” it reports. “After regulations are in place, the outstanding legislative provisions must be proclaimed into force in order to take effect.”

Conant, a partner and head of the condominium law group with Shibley Righton LLP, tells AdvocateDaily.com that he's looking forward to some of those regulations, including one that would "better define for boards what 'adequate' means for financing their reserve funds — which is collected through the monthly fees and used to pay for major repair or replacement of the corporation’s components and assets.

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

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2018-11-06
Description

Joel Berkovitz Head ShotNow that Oct. 17 has come and gone, there may be a whiff of something else in the autumn air, Toronto business lawyer Joel Berkovitz writes in Shibley Righton’s Condo Law Newsletter.

The smell of now-legalized marijuana should be a reminder to condominium boards to reflect on whether they’re ready for the changes, says Berkovitz, a lawyer with Shibley Righton LLP.

“While much will be written about the effects of legalization on the country as a whole, condominium directors and managers will need to consider the effects of legalization on their individual communities,” he writes.

“Many condominiums have chosen to take this as an opportunity to address both tobacco and cannabis smoking in their buildings, with many choosing to pass rules which will eventually make their buildings entirely smoke-free,” Berkovitz says. “Others have taken a less restrictive approach and have only passed rules governing the growing of cannabis, and smoking of cannabis on the common elements.”

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

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2018-10-29
Description

Warren Kleiner Head ShotIn part one of two-part series on shared facilities agreements, Toronto condominium lawyer Warren Kleiner outlines the most common issues that arise.

Shared facilities agreements (SFAs) are a frequent cause of concern for condo corporations, Toronto condominium lawyer Warren Kleiner tells AdvocateDaily.com.

Kleiner, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP's Toronto office, explains that the agreements are most often associated with recreation facilities such as pools, yards and activity rooms in developments that are home to multiple condo corporations and in relation to facilities such as shared roadways, gatehouses, parking garages and utility feeds, spelling out who is responsible for associated expenses.

“Any time a condo is not stand-alone, you should have an SFA, whether it’s between more than one condo corporation, or a few condos and a freehold entity,” Kleiner says. “And the costs can be pretty high. I have seen some condos where half of the common expenses are going towards shared facilities."

Many of the problems associated with SFAs arise from the fact that they are drafted by developers, often years before the subject condos become a reality, he says.

“They’re done in a conceptual sort of framework when nobody knows how things will work in reality, once everything is in existence on the ground,” Kleiner says. “The practicalities at the end of the day are not necessarily the same as what was envisioned when the SFA was written.”

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

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2018-10-24
Description

Deborah Howden Head ShotGrowing weed at home may be legal under the Cannabis Act, but that doesn’t mean everyone can do it, especially those living in condos, Toronto condominium lawyer Deborah Howden tells NOW magazine.

Condo corporations have the power to create rules that prevent growers from “unreasonable interference with the use and enjoying of” an owner’s unit and the common elements in the building, says Howden, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP's Toronto office.

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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Across Toronto, hundreds of condo boards have already banned both smoking and growing cannabis over concerns around the smell and mould that could form when growing the plants, she says.

Date_Published
2018-10-22
Description

Audrey Loeb Head ShotWith the clock ticking down to legal weed day, a growing number of condo communities are tackling the thorny question of what to do about marijuana use in individual units. Many have circulated surveys to their residents.

Yet as condo lawyer Audrey Loeb, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP, points out, many others “are doing absolutely nothing” to alter their rules.

To date, most of the public and media attention about this issue has focused on a few high-profile cases, such as a Mississauga woman with a life-threatening allergy to marijuana smoke.

But these sorts of conflicts are exceedingly rare, and tend to be addressed using human rights laws.

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

Please click here to read the complete story.


Date_Published
2018-10-22
Description

Deborah Howden Head ShotDewan v. Burdet, 2018 ONCA 195

Facts: A group of unit owners (the “Minority Owners”) claimed oppression by Claude-Alain Burdet (“Burdet”), the owner of a majority of the units in the corporation. The Minority Owners claimed that Burdet used his votes over the years and in his capacity as President, Treasurer
and Director of Carleton Condominium Corporation No. 396 (CCC 396), to benefit himself and his family at the expense of the Minority Owners and the corporation as a whole.

The trial judge found that Burdet oppressed the Minority Owners, was personally liable for the oppression, and terminated CCC 396 as a Condominium corporation. Burdet appealed those findings.

Please click here to read the rest of the story

Date_Published
2018-10-15
Description

Deborah Howden Head ShotFollowing the election of a new Provincial Government, the CCI-Toronto legislative Committee is working on behalf of all CCI members to ensure that we maintain the appropriate contacts with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, as well as all other Ministries which may impact the condominium industry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Please click here to read the rest of the story

Date_Published
2018-10-15
Description

Warren Kleiner Head ShotCondominium directors on the board could benefit from additional training in governance issues beyond what mandatory education courses provide, Toronto condominium lawyer Warren Kleiner tells AdvocateDaily.com.

The Condominium Act 1998 requires that all directors appointed, elected, or re-elected on or after Nov. 1, 2017 complete a training program provided by the Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO) within six months to assist them in understanding their obligations and best practices for good governance, according to the CAO website.

“That gives directors a better understanding of how condos work, but there are often other issues we are asked to comment on when the board is having problems,” says Kleiner, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP in Toronto.

The Condominium Director Training Program, provided by the CAO, consists of 21 short modules, one of which specifically addresses “The Role of Directors and Their Key Responsibilities.” It covers the statutory obligations and corporate governance principles that guide directors, but Kleiner has some extra tips for prospective and current board members.

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

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2018-10-09

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