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CAFCOR Forum
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#180
Noname ()
How are you going to help owners? 2007/07/03 23:54  
I am an owner of a condo that is not being maintained.
Why would the Board of Directors deal respond to you, if they are not responding to the owners?
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#182
Yvon ()
Re:How are you going to help owners? 2007/07/04 17:08  
Hello Noname,

CAFCOR is not a law firm nor are its members lawyers. We do not provide legal advice and any opinions expressed by CAFCOR members should not serve as a substitute for the professional advice of a lawyer.

In response to your question, despite the fact that it is the Provincial Government that is responsible for enacting condominium Legislation, there is a refusal to enforce the Condominium Act, 1998 by the Government of Ontario as evidenced by the letter on our Homepage from Christopher Ferguson, Director of the Consumer Protection Branch of the Ministry of Government Services.

Of course, there are condominium organizations who encourage unit Owners to become individual members yet do nothing on their behalf; Promote Codes of Ethics for condominium Boards of Directors yet offer no practical relief for unit Owners or sanctions of Directors if these are breached.

There are condominium industry organizations which claim to protect the integrity of their members' services yet will not accept complaints by those very unit Owners who pay their invoices.

Then there is CAFCOR! Here at CAFCOR, we are a very resourceful group of unit Owners, well experienced and well versed in the area of dealing with incompetent, malicious, opressive and law breaking Boards. Almost all of the members of our executive committee are former or currently serving Directors and/or Officers in their respective Corporations. As was shown with proposed Bill 185, An Act to Amend the Condominium Act, 1998, it was CAFCOR members who announced its introduction to unit Owners when other organizations appeared to have no prior knowledge of this Bill. As a matter of fact, it was CAFCOR founding members who took the time to be present in the gallery of the Ontario Legislature for the Debate on this Bill. MPPs even used and quoted CAFCOR members' information during the Debate. We remain in constant communication with media representatives, MPPs from all political parties, beaurocrats, lawyers as well as individuals within the condominium industry who share our concerns for unit Owner rights but whose exact functions and positions we cannot disclose for obvious reasons. Of course, not every problem which a unit Owner contacts us about is a problem with his/her BOD although such complaints form the bulk of them. We also assist Directors and Boards with problems they face in their relationships with PMs, PMCs or with simple matters of governance.

How does CAFCOR help unit Owners? We endeavour to assist unit Owners and their Corporations in resolving disputes in a timely and cost effective manner. We provide referral services to unit Owners and Directors when the problem demands professional attention but most of the time we are able to assist without the need to do so.

Of course, we cannot disclose all of the methods we use to help further the interests of unit Owners but many have sought and recieved our assistance with favourable results thus far. Remember that our organization is very new but we intend to make a positive impact on the condominium Lifestyle in the interests of unit Owners. Owners Helping Owners is what we are about. After all, where else can unit Owners get help?

Noname, if you are a condominium unit Owner or a Director, Please feel free to contact us at info@cafcor.org with any of your problems and we will be happy to assist in any way possible.
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#222
wotan ()
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Re:How are you going to help owners? 2007/07/14 06:11  
And CAFCOR can become a very effective lobby group for owners. The problem with many issues I have heard about condos comes down to lack of communication and lack of Government involvement. CAFCOR can help owners learn more about their rights and responsibilities (as well as those of Boards) which chould help with the communications problem and by putting pressure on the Government to force changes like an Ombudsman and "Condo Police." Although not invloved with the actual operation of CAFCOR, I do hope that what I am saying will (and is) being done to help owners and Boards (an informed Board can only be a benefit!)
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#233
Jamie ()
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Re:How are you going to help owners? 2007/07/15 17:50  
I must agree with Yvon. CAFCOR has helped me and our entire condo in ways we would never have expected. We now have a new board of directors and our pmc has been replaced by an independent property manager who answers to our board. We now get twice the service for 2/3 of the money we were spending before. Our board now has control of the bank accounts and contracts and only we have signing authority. Our owners are optomistic that things are looking up mind you the old board is embarassed by their obvious lack of oversight, I'm sure they'll come around eventually. Thanks again CAFCOR.
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#242
Jony ()
Re:How are you going to help owners? 2007/07/16 00:48  
Great !!!
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#386
Mark ()
Re:How are you going to help owners? 2007/07/22 18:15  
Wotan, I agree that "CAFCOR can become a very effective lobby group for owners" and "can help owners learn more about their rights and responsibilities".

After reading about so many problems facing condominium owners, I would also like to see CAFCOR's involvment in mediation in case of a conflict between any of the following parties: owners-BODs-PMCs (at least until there is a government body designed to do so). Too often people give up their rights if they have to go through a costly litigation process.

Perhaps this is too much to ask for but it would be great if CAFCOR can also help with more efficient management of corporations.

Mark
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#389
Jony ()
Re:How are you going to help owners? 2007/07/22 22:50  
Most of the condo has problems between PM and Owners even though PM reports to BODs. PM knows what they are doing so most likely condo owners get affected either way if money involves. it would be great if any owner can get advise/mediator/educated or any kind of help for free or for less money.
Now it is way expensive to fight against a board or a PMC.
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#393
wotan ()
User Offline
Re:How are you going to help owners? 2007/07/23 00:32  
I believe that the #1 problem in condominiums is that lack of communication. The PM may have a valid reason for doing a particular task in a particular way (for example, he may have been instructed to do so by the Board) but if he doesn't explain it to owners when the ask, he appears to be ignoring the owners (and/or being disrespectful to them.)

One example of how lack of communication also works is when work has to be carried out in the condo. The Board and the PM should advise the owner of what exactly has to be done and when they anticipate its completion. In our condo, for example, our Jacuzzi was out of service for over a week to have some of those non-slip strips placed on the steps (the rough strips that allow your feet to grip to, in order that one is less likely to slip.) There was no notice that this was going to be done in advance, and we were only told that "Health and Safety upgrades" were occurring and that the Jacuzzi would be re-opened "in the immediate future." This does not look good on the Board as they should have known that this was going to happen, what was going to happen, and how long it should take. They should have instructed the PM to put a notice up at least a week prior to the work being started to inform the owners. But out Board is very anti-communication and very anti owner involvement.
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#402
Mark ()
Re:How are you going to help owners? 2007/07/23 04:25  
Sure, sometimes it is a lack of communication. It could also be:
- lack of knowledge (e.g. not many people read the Condominium Act)
- arrogance (on any side of the triangle owners-BOD's-PMs)
- lack of foresight (e.g. some people don't understand that technical problems of a building would intensify when it ages and no proper maintenance is performed)
- laziness (why would a director pay attention to details if a PM can "take care of everything"?)
- dishonesty
- ... the list goes on and all of us could possibly contribute additional items.

Now, if there is someone who could step in and
- point to sources of information
- explain the legal aspects of a problem
- bring some technical experience
- find a piece of advice from the accounting/financial point of view
- negotiate and mediate to end a conflict and propose options and solutions
- etc.

I think that would be a real help. Whether CAFCOR would be able to provide such a service is another question. What I am saying here is that there is a need in the condominium world for someone who can reach out, bring some common sense, diffuse conflicts and who will not leave all parties bitter and financially broke. And, by the way, this Forum is already a part of such a plan, isn't it?

Mark
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#405
Jony ()
Re:How are you going to help owners? 2007/07/23 21:08  
I have experiences with 2 different PMC,None of the PM have educational background or act professionally.

Anyways, 2 buildings that I know managed by the same PMC more than a decade.
Those buildings went to the special assessment 2 times so far and financially, now, they are in bad shape again.

The building owners have tremendous problems within themselves and it is disturbing their daily life.
When they have AGM or special meetings they do have security/police presents.

I think they definitely need out side help or mediator. something somewhere it is wrong.
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#407
Yvon ()
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Re:How are you going to help owners? 2007/07/24 07:15  
Hello All, sorry for the delay in getting to these posts. I just returned from CAFCOR meetings in Toronto over the weekend. I can only say that I always return energized and more optimistic that condominium unit Owners are about to experience the lifestyle which condominium living was intended to provide. Change is on the horizon and for some Corporations, it has arrived. I am always struck by the unwavering enthusiasm, dedication and commitment of the members who work tirelessly in the interests of individual unit Owners and whole condominium Corporations. Given the short amount of time which has elapsed since CAFCOR was founded, I am truly astounded by the numbers of unit Owners and Directors who contact us with their problems and the number of them who have been, and continue to be, helped. A very big "CONGRADULATIONS" and "THANK YOU" to our executive committee and those professionals who contribute their time, experience and knowledge to our vision of a better condominium lifestyle for all unit Owners.

Now for the Forum! Thank you Noname, Mark, Wotan, Jamie and Jony. As I stated in my post above, CAFCOR is not able to disclose all of the methods which are used to resolve problems which are presented to it, however I must agree with Wotan that many problems arise as a result of a lack of communication from BODs. The fact that many Boards would rather delegate their authority and responsibilities to PMs and PMCs appears to be a significant factor in condominium disputes between unit Owners and their Corporations. Simply put, at the risk of offending good Directors, many, many Directors are "directors" in title only and do not take the necessary time to aquaint themselves with the Condominium Act and Regulations, the governing documents of their respective Corporations and do not discharge their fiduciary duties to their Corporations. Many will run to the PM or the Corporation's lawyer at the first sign that a unit Owner may be questionning their decisions or lack thereof. In an effort to help difuse conflict before it gets out of hand, CAFCOR does provide mediation to Corporations who do not wish to end up in the depths of financial trouble brought on by the very costly route of arbitration and/or litigation. With help from CAFCOR, the parties are able to place principles before personalities and deal reasonably with the real issues at hand. In addition to the economic costs to all unit Owners on both sides of an issue, there are certainly "social" costs to be considered. Many times, the social consequences of an arbitrated or litigated solution "imposed" upon the parties can serve to permanently scar a condominium community. CAFCOR is about unit Owners helping unit Owners. Of course, in some situations, unit Owners or Boards must resort to the "system" for assistance and CAFCOR can provide referrals when needed but our experience is that once the issues are laid bare by the parties, they can almost always be dealt with in a manner satisfactory to all parties in the interests of all of the unit Owners within the Corporation.
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#409
argonut ()
Re:How are you going to help owners? 2007/07/24 16:49  
Congratulations Yvon to you and your folks working on this serious Condo problem (for owners). Your thoughtful words must certainly have a comforting (and calming) influence on most if not all.

Be sure to realize that these efforts are appreciated by all even if not recognized openly very often.

Best regards, argonut
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#410
wotan ()
User Offline
Re:How are you going to help owners? 2007/07/24 17:42  
Well, I have to thanks all the people at CAFCOR (including Yvon) for their hard work for all stakeholders (owners, directors, managers, engineers, auditors, etc.) as everyonr involved in running a condominium needs to know their rights and responsibilites, and the rights and responsibilities of the other stakeholders. Also I thank them for working towards changes being made to the Act so that the stakeholders all win.

As for communication - I do see our building delegating items to the manager. When a group of owners petitioned for changes to our Recreation Centre, each item was refused, and a response, sent by the manager, was only sent to the one owner who offered to hand in the petition (which is how we know that they officially refused.) Not only did the petition state that we wanted every owner to receive a response, the Chairman of the Committee, nor anyt other member, signed the response when one of them should have. By the way, it is a shared facility, and owners from each condo did sign the petition - the centre has a manager (one of the condo's managers) through a seperate agreement, and only directors are on the Committee.

We are now considering a Requisition (and other options) in the near future (we have seen at least one new director elected in each condo this year, so we are waiting to see if they can't get anything done.)
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#411
Jony ()
Re:How are you going to help owners? 2007/07/24 18:30  
It is true that we all have to work hard to get our own rights.
it is always better if we can have some kind of courses for directors.
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#412
wotan ()
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Re:How are you going to help owners? 2007/07/24 20:00  
Well, this past Saturday had two articles on self-manaded condos. In one of the articles the person being interviewed had done state that in their condo, directors are sent to seminars and the seminars are paid for by the condominium. If owners are want responsible directors, they ashould accept paying for directors to attend these seminars to learn more about running a condominium.
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#418
Rodney ()
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Re:How are you going to help owners? 2007/07/25 02:38  
Yes thanks cafcor. Keep up the good work. You are helping many people. There is nowhere else to go.
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