Keeping an Eye on Your Condo Governance

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After an investigation by CBC Toronto reporters revealed some startling practices at a wide array of downtown Toronto buildings, Condominium governance has come under a lot of scrutiny. Property managers and owners in those buildings have filed allegation against a group of people who aggressively sought budgets of multiple condos and control of the boards, with contentions including contentious contracts and voting irregularities. If you are a condo owner or are looking to buy into Toronto Condos for sale, you must be fretting over if your condo board is trustworthy or making good use of your money, or simply wish for more involvement in the board activities to make sure your condo is well managed, here are a few tips to make sure that you are well versed in the field of condo governance.

Be Aware of who runs the place

Experts assert that when it comes to the board of directors of a condo corporation, not just any one can sit at the table. Preferably, you want people who have some business experience or are financially literate. Ideally, board of directors should oversee the managers, not manage the building themselves. In addition, the property manager should be preceded by a good reputation and independent of the board. You should notice a red flag if the condo board of directors don’t own a unit in the building. In an ideal situation, they should live in the building. Within condo boards, conflicts of interest never fare well. Board of directors shouldn’t have any financial interest in transactions with the vendors or the property manager, and directors should follow a code of ethics in their dealings with others in the community.

Put on your reading glasses

As a condo owner, you should spare some time to peruse through your building’s declaration, which is in essence your condo’s constitution or charter. Stay tuned to learn about any rules or bylaw instituted by your board. If you are looking to invest in a new Toronto Condo for Sale, you need to have a lawyer, who is well-versed in condo laws, review the disclosure statement provided by your developer. The disclosure statement is replaced by a status certificate in case of a resale condo. Buying into a condo building is a huge investment, so make sure you don’t meet any surprises down the road. It’s common for a lot of people to overlook their due diligence upfront, and then bemoan the surprises that line their way. Potential condo owners should read up on the status certificates or disclosure documents provided by the seller.

Participate in the board Activities and Speak up

Ask to see the Condo documents to gauge how well-run your condo is and see if the association obliges. Your board should at least be willing to share the minutes of the meeting. As an owner, you are also entitled to ask for the financial statements. Generally, regular condo board meetings are closed but you need to attend the annual meetings and let your voice be heard. Even if you miss the annual meeting, you can still vote on various issues by proxy, where you email the proxy documents to the owners directly.

If you have any misgivings regarding your condo corporation’s board, you can bring about a change as a condo owner. If you have issues with a board member, or the board as a whole, you can even requisition a meeting to replace the member or even overthrow the entire board. If you feel up to the task, you can even join the board yourself. If you want to see to it that your condo is maintained well, you need to show some involvement. Even though sitting on the board can take up a huge chunk of your time, your involvement means that you get a voice. Most people are oblivious to how grueling the task is, especially in the initial years of a condo’s life, when you are clueless how to proceed.

Make sure professionals are involved

Professional expertise is needed for good condo administration, according to most auditors. The condo corporation should include an engineer, an auditor, and a solicitor who’s doing the reserve fund study. All these people should be experienced professionals in the industry and know what they are doing. Condos have become extremely complex entities over the years, so a solicitor is important to set things right when they go south. Look at it this way; condo corporation is the fourth level of government, after the feds, the province, and your city!