As we are quickly approaching a new year, we’ve taken a look back at the condominium legal landscape in Ontario over the past year. This has been quite the year! In prior years our year-end review focused primarily on notable case decisions released by the courts. But this year, legislative changes and news about short-term rentals dominate the highlights. Click on the links below to read our full blog posts on each of the topics.
- Amendments to the Condominium Act, 1998 – When the Ontario Government enacted the Protecting Condominium Owners Act, 2015 (the “PCOA”), this was the first major reform of the existing condominium legislation in over fifteen years. On November 1, 2017, the first of a number of changes became effective. Click here to access our practical guides for managers, directors and owners outlining these changes. This is just the beginning – more changes will be implemented in 2018.
- Condominium Management Services Act, 2015 (“CMSA”) – Effective November 1, 2017 the provision of management services is regulated by the Condominium Management Authority of Ontario. All condominium managers and management companies must be licensed and license applications must be submitted by January 31, 2018. This legislation is also being implemented on a staggered basis with more changes to come in 2018.
- Establishment of the Condominium Authority of Ontario – The Condominium Authority of Ontario (the “CAO”) is up and operating. All condominium corporations are required to register with the CAO and pay by December 31, 2017 the initial assessment fees of $1.00 per month per voting unit. Effective November 1, 2017 the CAO’s dispute resolution services became effective, but for the time being applications are being accepted only for disputes relating to condominium records. The CAO has also set up a website that will help educate condominium owners and residents about condominium living. The website also provides access to free on-line director training that is available to condominium owners, residents and members of the public.
- Short-Term Rentals – The issues and controversy surrounding short-term rentals continue to make headlines world-wide. In a recent case, the Court refused to amend a corporation’s declaration to eliminate provisions in the declaration that specifically permitted short-term rentals. Another Toronto residential condominium corporation whose declaration specifically permitted short-term rentals entered into an agreement with Airbnb to regulate short-term rentals. Without this agreement in place, the corporation had no effective way to regulate short-term rentals on the condominium property. The City of Toronto recently enacted regulations that limit short-term rentals to principal residences and require hosts to be registered with the City and short-term rental companies to be licensed.
- Bill 109, Reliable Elevators Act, 2017 – After numerous media reports about people being trapped in elevators and long delays in getting non-operating elevators repaired, Bill 109 was introducing as a private member’s bill to address elevator reliability and safety in high-rises, including condominiums. The Ontario Ministry of Consumer and Government Services has also instructed the Technical Standards and Safety Authority to commission research that will pinpoint the causes of elevator unreliability and recommend solutions.
- Electric Vehicle Charging in Condominiums – The Ontario Government recently released draft regulations to facilitate the installation of electric vehicle charging stations in condominiums. Comments on the draft regulations can be submitted by no later than January 2, 2018. The proposed regulations are targeted to come into force in the spring of 2018.
- Ontario Regulation 20/17 under the Green Energy Act, 2009 – All condominiums equal to or greater than 50,000 square feet will be required to annually report their building energy, water and greenhouse gas emissions data to the Ministry of Energy. The first report for condominiums of 100,000 square feet or more must be filed in 2019 with data for 2018. The first report for condominiums of at least 50,000 square feet, but less than 100,000 square feet will be due one year later.
- Condo Balcony Fires – Toronto Fire Services held a press conference about the increasing number of fires on condo balconies caused by cigarettes being carelessly tossed from balconies.
- CCC No. 282 v. Yahoo! Inc. – A condominium corporation obtained a court order requiring Yahoo! Inc. and Yahoo! Canada Inc. to provide information to help identify the author of allegedly defamatory e-mails anonymously sent by a disgruntled unit owner to the other owners and occupants.
- CIBC Mortgages Inc. v. YCC No. 385 – The Ontario Court of Appeal confirmed that a lien expires three months after the default that gave rise to the lien has occurred (i.e. the date that the payment was due). While a condominium corporation has the discretion to defer payment, this does not give the corporation the right to extend the time period to register its lien after the default in payment has already occurred.
2018 should also be an interesting year. Only parts of the PCOA and the CMSA have been implemented with more changes to become effective in 2018. With the legalization of marijuana in Canada next July, this will present new challenges for condominium corporations.