Condominium Authority: Cash grab or not?

A new plan for resolving disputes between condo owners is drawing mixed reaction from landlords and investors – many torn on whether it represents a net positive or money-grab.

“This is long overdue,” Omer Quenneville, a Toronto-based real estate broker said in a CREW forum. “[We could] finally have a voice for the people against property management companies that seem to be doing less and stacked boards that push their own agendas.”

The broker’s comments follow legislation proposed last Wednesday that would seek to create a new body called the Condominium Authority. It would ideally handle dispute resolution between owners and neighbours, or building owners, without going to court.

The authority would be funded by a levy on condo developers and a monthly charge of $1 that would be paid by more than 1.3 million condo owners in Ontario.

Some view the proposed legislation as a key force in resolving disputes between condo boards and management companies, some of which face various corruption and mismanagement allegations.

“Right now, the condo act has everything in it to protect the owners but there’s just one problem – to enforce it, a resident would have to go to court,” said Quenneville. “As it stands now most condo boards and management companies are riddled with corruption. The only thing more prone to corruption is [Toronto] city council.”

Others, however, are taking a different stance and speaking out against the move in what some are calling a “government scam to raise tax funding.”

“If condo owners took more interest in their affairs, this would not be needed,” said Dick Brady, an agent with Royal LePage who also weighed in on the CREW forum. “You can't blame condo management companies from running amok if nobody is keeping an eye on them or controlling them.

“However, if the government can squeeze another dollar out of someone/anyone in the name of better organization, they will!”

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