In addition to amending the Condominium Act, Bill 106 also enacts the Condominium Management Services Act. This legislation will require mandatory licensing of all individual condominium managers, and condominium management companies (which are referred to in the legislation as condominium management providers).
Like the Condominium Authority, which we discussed in an earlier blog post, the licensing authority will be an independent not-for-profit corporation, subject to oversight by both the Minister of Government and Consumer Services and the Auditor General. After the initial government funding, the licensing authority will fund itself through licence fees.
While many details will need to be set out in the regulations, which have not yet been drafted, the proposed Condominium Management Services Act contains a number of provisions designed to protect condominium corporations:
1. No individual or company can provide condominium management services unless licensed or otherwise exempted under the regulations. “Condominium management services” is defined in the legislation as any of the following:
•the collection or holding of common expense contributions or other amounts payable to a condominium corporation, and/or
•exercising powers and duties delegated by the condominium board of directors, including making payments to third parties on behalf of the condominium, negotiating or entering into contracts on behalf of the condominium corporation, or supervising employees or contractors hired or engaged by the condominium corporation.
2. An unlicensed manager will not be able to commence legal proceedings for payment of remuneration for any management services rendered.
3. Minimum qualifications to be a condominium manager will be prescribed in the regulations. (It is expected that the regulations will set out transition periods for current managers to comply with the new licensing requirements.) However, even if an applicant meets the prescribed requirements, an application for a licence can be refused, if:
•having regard to the applicant’s financial position, the applicant cannot reasonably be expected to be financially responsible, or
•the applicant’s past or present conduct affords reasonable grounds for belief that the applicant will not perform the licensed activities in accordance with the law and with integrity and honesty, or
•the applicant makes a false statement in the application.
4. Every licensed condominium management services provider must, within five days, notify the Registrar of the date of commencement or termination of the employment of every condominium manager that the provider employs, and in the case of termination of a condominium manager, the reason for the termination.
5. Anyone providing condominium management services must have a written contract with the condominium corporation governing the services provided. The contract must comply with the requirements set out in the regulations.
6. In the event the manager has a conflict of interest with respect to any contract or transaction, the condominium manager or condominium management services provider must disclose the conflict in writing to the condominium corporation.
7. Upon termination of a condominium management services contract, all books and records are required to be immediately transferred to the condominium corporation and cannot be retained as a means of pressuring for payment of unpaid fees.
8. The legislation contemplates that a code of ethics will be set out in the regulations. A breach of the code of ethics can be referred to a discipline committee. In the event of a breach of the code of ethics, the discipline committee will have considerable powers, including the ability to impose fines to a maximum of $25,000.
9. Complaints about a condominium manager or condominium management services provider can be filed with the Registrar, who will have considerable powers to deal with the complaint, including:
•mediating the complaint,
•providing a written warning to the manager,
•requiring a manager to take additional educational courses,
• revoking a manager’s licence, or
• if the manager has failed to comply with the code of ethics, referring the matter to the discipline committee.
10. The licensing authority can appoint inspectors who will have the authority to enter the business premises of a condominium manager or condominium management services provider without a warrant or court order. Inspectors’ powers will include the ability to freeze the assets of a licensed condominium manager or former licensed manager.
11. It will be an offence to carry out condominium management services without being licensed. Any person or entity convicted of an offence is liable to be fined or imprisoned, in the case of an individual. In addition, the court making the conviction may also make compensation or restitution orders.
The mandatory licensing of condominium managers is welcomed not only by condominium corporations, but also by the condominium management industry. The many reputable, qualified condominium managers and condominium management services providers have for years called for a licensing process to set out mandatory minimum qualifications and to prevent unqualified and/or unscrupulous persons from providing condominium management services.
As Bill 106 has only had first reading, readers should note that the provisions of Bill 106 could change before the legislation is finally enacted.