CAI Set To Transform Canada’s Property Management Landscape

CAI Canada

The newest Community Associations Institute (CAI) chapter is based in Toronto with a mandate to help create great Canadian cities that owners and residents are proud to call home. CAI Canada was officially launched in January this year and it’s a big deal for our industry. Canadian condominium and strata owners, board members, and property managers should pay attention.

Community Associations Institute (CAI) is the go-to source for information on the rapidly changing property management industry. The organization gives its members access to practical knowledge and insights from leaders in the field, as well as best practices and useful tools for all condo community stakeholders.

CAI began in 1973 with a mission to foster competent, responsive community associations through research, training and education. Since then it’s grown to more than 34,000 members in the United States, Canada, South Africa, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

Canadian housing leaders have been CAI members for many years. It’s exciting to have the organization establish itself in Canada officially because it opens up CAI’s extensive resources and global network to more people in our industry.

Membership has its privileges

CAI members get access to information, resources, and education programs produced by the organization. These include a subscription to the award-winning Common Ground magazine; community newsletters; professional services directory listings; online communities, research library, and more to help members stay current on the latest news, laws, and issues that affect community associations, condos, and HOAs.

Local membership in CAI Canada gives you membership in CAI, so you gain a network of industry colleagues worldwide. Community managers who join have access to industry credentials and professional designations that are recognized around the world. Plus there’s a yearlong calendar of events, including the CAI Annual Conference & Exposition that brings together vendors and service providers, as well as compelling speakers and leaders who share on topics of interest to our industry.

Membership fees are reasonable and geared to different categories: community managers, homeowners and board members, vendor business partners, management companies, students.

So join CAI Canada if you haven’t already. Sign up online to become a member, or browse the local events calendar for an opportunity to check it out in person.

Are you a CAI or CAI Canada member? Why did you join the organization? If you’re not a member, why not? Share your stories in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

CAI Canada Founders

CAI Canada Founders | Source: http://caicanada.com/

Evercondo the leading web and mobile platform that facilitates quick, useful communication between property managers, the condo association or HOA board, and residents. Contact us for a demonstration or a free trial to see how we can keep your communities happy.

Airbnb Legal In Your Condo? Here’s What You Need To Lookout For

airbnb-condo-legal

The popularity of Airbnb.com and other short-term accommodation rentals booked through “home sharing” websites is growing. Meanwhile, condo associations across North America battle against the trend to protect their communities from a revolving door of Airbnb renters. While condo boards take steps to control how owners are allowed to rent out units, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open in a way that is beneficial to all community stakeholders.

Last December, Ontario’s Superior Court ruled that condominium corporations with a “single family use” provision (i.e., for residential purposes and not for hotel-like business) in the condo’s “declaration” have the authority to ban unit owners from renting out their properties on services such as Airbnb.

This ruling could be a game-changer for condo communities dealing with short-term rental issues, as other jurisdictions study the reasoning and apply it to their own.

Whatever happens in the aftermath of the court decision, the fact remains that Airbnb adds another layer of complexity to a lifestyle already beset with the complications of shared ownership and close community living.

If your condominium corporation is one that indeed allows Airbnb, beyond the hassles of dealing with a continuous stream of strangers taking up temporary residence, there are other aspects to consider. We’ve identified five topics that owners, residents, community managers, and board members should be mindful of:

Safety is an issue.

Renters in shared living spaces have access to common areas like a gym, swimming pool, parking garage, or rooftop. Airbnb guests, however, don’t pay fees for maintaining these areas and have little incentive (beyond common decency) to avoid misuse. Some owners may feel threatened with strangers, who are typically unaware of the rules, using their space. If Airbnb hosts are tolerated in your community the board should make sure rules for using amenities and common areas are posted in the unit(s) being rented to short-term guests.

Keep a clear, simple line of communication.

It’s important to be able to notify people in the community about problems or maintenance requirements. For example, if there’s a scheduled repair to the pool, or the hallway carpets are being cleaned, residents should know about it. Evercondo’s bulletin feature, which is accessible online or via mobile app, helps keep everyone in the community updated. Airbnb hosts included.

Insurance coverage should be checked.

Are Airbnb renters covered under your community’s master insurance policy? What happens when a renter decides to jump off the building? It pays to check into who is responsible for damages to common areas by Airbnb renters. Also, if a Airbnb renter gets injured (for example in a slip and fall) in a common area of the building, the condo association could be liable if short-term renters are not covered under the policy.

Noise complaints may escalate.

Often, renters who use Airbnb are on vacation, which means they may be up partying late or playing loud music in the unit. If such activities are subject to fines, be prepared to leverage them on unit owners who are Airbnb hosts—the tenants will be long gone once the fine is issued.

Get the community on board.

If you feel the risks of Airbnb renters are outweighed by the financial benefits they bring to owners, it’s a good idea to amend your bylaws to reflect this position. Have an open discussion with owners about allowing properties to be listed on Airbnb.com and other short-term rental websites. Amendments may include conditions that owners must follow when renting out their units (for example limiting the number of days a unit can be rented out) and require owners to meet the renters in person, as well as creating a list of rules about use of common areas.

Does your condo community allow Airbnb renters? How do you manage issues related to having short-term tenants? Share your stories in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Evercondo the leading web and mobile platform that facilitates quick, useful communication between property managers, the condo association or HOA board, and residents. Contact us for a demonstration or a free trial to see how we can keep your communities happy.

15 Helpful Steps to Create a Budget for your HOA or Condo Association

hoa-budgeting

Budgeting for a community association is both a difficult task and a massive responsibility. The process is a marathon, not a sprint. If you wait too long to start budget preparations, you’re adding the burden of last-minute panic to an already stressful project.

Give yourself at least five months to prepare next year’s budget before the end of your current fiscal year. If your year-end is December 31, for example, you should have started the budgeting process back in July.

To create a well-planned, realistic budget, board members and budget committees need to understand the community’s assets and operations. They also need to comply with condo or HOA legislation and governing documents – rules for disclosure to owners, time limits, and more.

The first rule of budgeting (besides starting early) is to always develop a budget by projecting income and expenses on a monthly basis, which then adds up to the totals for the year.

But before you start plugging numbers into a spreadsheet, you need to gather all the relevant information: utilities costs (adjusted for inflation); the current reserve fund study and financial statements; prior year financial statements; projected income statement; and insurance quotes.

Having all your ducks in a row will make the budgeting process smoother. A great place to get started is with this handy budgeting checklist created by ACM Community Management – it spells out all the steps you need to take, from preparing a business plan that outlines the community’s goals for the year to distributing the budget.

Here’s a quick reference of the 15 steps for creating your HOA or Condo association budget:

Prepare a business plan.
What do the board and residents want to accomplish, as a whole? Adding amenities (e.g., a playground or security gate) can be costly, or a luxury. Residents may instead want a budget that enhances the current property at this time.
Develop processes & assign tasks.
The goals and objectives of the association have to be reviewed, numbers must be crunched, resident input should be sought, and budget review meetings need to be scheduled. All of this takes time and effort. Put an organized process in place.
Review financial history
Examine budgets and financial statements, from at least the past several years to help determine a starting point. Compare this year’s actual expenditures to date against the original budget, so adjustments can be made as well in next year’s budget.
Project utility costs.
Do you provide water and/or heat to your residents and the common areas? Utility rates are soaring in many cities nationwide. Find out what the trends are in your community. Some increase, should always be built in for utility costs regardless.
Review vendor contracts.
Do landscaper or maintenance company contracts call for a price increase in the coming year? Are any contracts expiring? Review all contracts and seek bids.
Do a maintenance review.
Inspect the entire property. Are playground or pool repairs pressing? Any driveways or lots need repaving? Hallways due to be repainted? Preventive maintenance can prevent costlier problems.
Evaluate insurance policies.
Like your personal policies, your community’s policies should be reviewed yearly. Are limits and types of coverage sufficient? Do your reserves cover any deductibles that might be needed? Would a lower-premium, higher-deductible plan make sense?
Include legal and collections costs.
Few associations can translate 100 percent of their fees due into actual revenue. Referring to previous legal or collection actions might provide valuable insight into expectations for your future costs.
Create a worksheet.
When you determine known expenses, start inserting the numbers into a spreadsheet and compare them with expected revenue. At least you’ll know how much above or below your projected operating costs you are.
Prioritize projects.
Something will need upkeep or a change every year. Make sure needs — especially those that expose the association to liability
(e.g., stairwell repairs) — are budgeted for before wants (e.g., beautification projects).
Expect the unexpected.
Set aside funding for some “emergencies” that cannot be identified in advance. One year, mosquito abatement might be necessary; another year, vandalism might present a problem, or a storm might destroy landscaping. Being prepared is a good plan.
Plan out reserves.
Over a long enough period, projects such as replacing a building’s roof are as inevitable as they are expensive. Experts suggest a good reserve study should tell you how to fund your reserves.
Be transparent.
It’s not possible to keep every resident happy, but keeping the budgeting process open and transparent at least gives residents a chance to have their opinions heard.
Distribute the budget.
Distribute the proposed budget to the homeowners for their review and comment. Then, once the new budget has been approved by the association board, get it into the hands of all homeowners.
Follow the budget.
Except for emergencies that have not been budgeted for, follow your plan. The budgeting tool keeps the community operations on track.

Do you have any experience with creating a condo association or HOA budget? Share your tips in the comments below!

Since 1986, ACM Community Management provides high quality management services to town homes, multi-story condos, homeowner associations, and vintage buildings in the Chicagoland area.

Evercondo the leading web and mobile platform that facilitates quick, useful communication between property managers, the condo association or HOA board, and residents. Contact us for a demonstration or a free trial to see how we can keep your communities happy.

Why Directors and Officers (D&O) Insurance Is A Must For Homeowner Associations

do-insurance

Did you know that volunteering as a board member for your condo or HOA could jeopardize your personal financial security? You’re actually at risk from lawsuits against the board—whether they have merit or not. Having an indemnification clause in your bylaws helps protect directors financially but at a greater potential cost to the condo association than a comprehensive Directors and Officers (D&O) liability insurance policy.

It may not seem fair that being a volunteer director of your condo or HOA board comes with the potential for financial ruin. But it’s a very real risk—there are many cases where directors have been found personally liable for board decisions and required to pay expensive legal costs as a result.

One example from Ottawa, Ontario is the case Boily vs. Carleton Condominium Corporation 145, where a number of unit owners sued the board over repairs to a parking garage that resulted in “substantial changes” being made to the courtyard area. The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded in favour of the owners (a decision later upheld by the Ontario Court of Appeal); the directors were found in contempt of court and personally liable for more than $95,000 in legal costs.

Being a director is a somewhat thankless job that comes with big responsibilities. You have a legal duty to protect owners and their investment in the property. And if the board is not covered by the right liability insurance, you are at risk if the board is sued. No matter how frivolous a lawsuit might be, you are required by law to hire an attorney (with your own money) to defend your actions as a director.

Typical lawsuits that plague condo and HOA boards include:

  • Wrongful termination of an employee
  • Discrimination due to race, religion, sex, or disability
  • Defamation of character (i.e. libel or slander)
  • Breach of contract by a third-party vendor
  • Renovations by the building or homeowner
  • Noise by another homeowner, a contractor, or the building’s machinery
  • Subletting guidelines and restrictions
  • Pet guidelines and restrictions

While an indemnification clause in the bylaws will require the condo association to reimburse directors for uninsured legal fees incurred in their capacity as board members, it can become expensive if the board is sued.

On the other hand, a comprehensive D&O liability insurance policy can be a budget line item that pays for itself in the event of a lawsuit.

“Comprehensive” means that the policy stands on its own—it’s not D&O liability coverage that’s embedded into the property’s commercial insurance or general liability policy. This is important because a comprehensive policy provides coverage for elected or appointed directors, trustees, officers, employees, committee members, and volunteers now or in the past. But the embedded policy usually just covers the directors and officers in office during the policy period.

To protect yourself as a board member, make sure to consult the association’s insurance broker to see if the liability coverage can withstand a legal assault.

Do you have any experience with lawsuits as a condo/HOA owner or board member? Share your story in the comments below!

Evercondo the leading web and mobile platform that facilitates quick, useful communication between property managers, the condo association or HOA board, and residents. Contact us for a demonstration or a free trial to see how we can keep your communities happy.

Ontario’s New Condo Law Reforms Recap 2016

ontario-condo-act-recap-2016

It’s a big topic, there’s a lot to digest, it’s somewhat hazy and a lot has happened. Like a big puzzle of 100,000 pieces, it’s hard to put the pieces together. Here’s a quick recap to help you stay updated on what has happened over the past year.

Ontario’s updated condominium ownership legislation (otherwise known as Bill 106) was passed in December 2015. One year later the bill’s provisions have yet to be enacted—but condo directors and managers in Ontario should prepare for changes coming in the summer of 2017.

If you haven’t been following the news, here are our past articles that can get you up to speed with the new act:

Till our next update on the new condo act, here are some table talk points that may come in handy during discussions:

Which “letters of the law” are changing

The Protecting Condominium Owners Act will reform (not replace) the existing Condominium Act. It will also introduce the Condominium Management Services Act and establish two administrative authorities—the Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO) and the Condominium Management Regulatory Authority of Ontario (CMRAO). Read this Condo Business news article for more details about the condo law reforms.

The purpose of the new legislation

The new law will help ensure the sustainability of healthy condo communities. The act’s core commitments include better protection from unexpected costs for buyers of new condos; establishing a Condominium Authority to resolve disputes more quickly at less cost; improving condo governance with training for directors; strengthening rules to prevent financial mismanagement; and introducing mandatory licensing and education requirements for condo managers.

There’s a transition plan

The thing about legislation is that it takes time to draft up new rules and regulations. Fortunately the new law’s regulations will have provisions to smooth compliance during the transition period. Premier Kathleen Wynne has set a Fall 2017 deadline for implementing “key elements” of the Protecting Condominium Owners Act. And while the government finishes writing up the legal details and works to establish the new bureaucratic framework, Ontario’s existing Condominium Act remains in force.

Evercondo the leading web and mobile platform that facilitates quick, useful communication between property managers, the condo association or HOA board, and residents. Contact us for a demonstration or a free trial to see how we can keep your communities happy.

5 Apps That Makes Life Easier for Condo / HOA Managers

apps-productivity-hoa-manager
The tech world today is more advanced and sophisticated than ever. There’s a lot that the condo / HOA management industry can benefit from but with so many options out there, where do we even begin? That’s why we will be featuring some of the best apps and technology solutions that can benefit you as a manager, board member or resident. Here are the first 5 apps that we think will help you get more done with less time.

Your workday as a manager is hectic, jam-packed with tasks to get done. But all too often your attention is hijacked by demands or situations that interfere with your other priorities. We can’t all afford a personal assistant and with only 24 hours in a day, you need technology to help you do more in less time.

A property manager’s job would try the patience of a Zen monk. Typical days are hectic and crisis-filled, making it tough to balance the overflow of “inputs” (building emergencies, requests for information, resident complaints, etc.) on top of your already-full plate.

Fortunately, technology can help take some of the pressure off and make your days easier to manage. Here are 5 easy-to-use apps for getting things done more efficiently:

Slack

Team messaging – real time communication that works. Its a chat app and who says managers and board members aren’t a team. We believe that communication between board members and property managers should be a constant activity and not just a once in a week or month chore. Slack can really get things moving and keep your inbox clean.

Grammarly

Billed as “the world’s most accurate grammar checker”, Grammarly is a free Chrome plug-in app that helps you write mistake-free on Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and most other web platforms. It corrects more than 250 types of grammatical mistakes and poor vocabulary usage with word-choice suggestions that instantly improve the readability of your copy.

Boomerang

Both a mobile app and Gmail plug-in, Boomerang gives you more control over your email habits. The app lets you write emails in advance and schedule them to be sent automatically whenever you want. You can also use the app to set follow-up reminders for sent emails, so important replies don’t slip through the cracks. Boomerang is available in a free version (with 10 messages per month) as well as three other paid versions that offer more features and unlimited messages.

Calendly

One of the most frustrating things about booking meetings with the board or other groups is keeping track of the “when are you free?” back-and-forth email conversations. Calendly eliminates that problem without the need to give up control of your calendar. You simply set your availability preferences to ensure meetings only happen on your time, and keep all details of your existing appointments private. It checks your Google or Office 365 calendar for conflicts, so you’re never double-booked. The app has a free version as well as moderately priced premium and pro versions, and it can be used on a smartphone, tablet or desktop.

Evercondo

Sure we’re tooting our own horn, but hear us out. Ever wondered whether your residents actually read the bulletins you sent out? Our bulletin feature allows managers to send out important notifications to all residents via email, SMS, push notification and voice calls with tracking capability. This means, when a resident opens up an email of your bulletin, it will be tracked and logged for your reference. No more worries. It’s magical. You can try Evercondo free for 30 days—sign up today to see why thousands of property managers, condo associations, and HOAs rely on it to optimize their daily operations.

What are your favorite productivity apps? Tell us about them in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

CES 2016 – The Best New Devices For Smart Condos

Smart Condo

If the products at CES 2016 are any indication, 2016 looks to be the year smart homes become mainstream. Smart home devices have increasingly taken centre stage at the event, which attracted 3,600 exhibitors and over 150,000 attendees on a global stage where next-generation innovations are introduced to the marketplace.

This year was no different as we saw the largest display of smart home technology ever. With so many gadgets to choose from, we picked out the ones most likely to make their way into condos in 2016 and turn your condo into a “smart condo.” 

I know what you’re thinking: the Jetsons already showed us what the future looked like. Though the market is full of systems and appliances that work without human input, we are still a ways away from a futuristc utopia. Smart home gadgets do not necessarily make living easier in condos. That’s especially true for condos because of their unique living arrangements. Here is something to consider before you start tearing our wires and unscrewing your lightbulbs; connectivity should only be considered if it is going to make your life easier.

While you are waiting for the Jetson’s trusty robot, Rosie to arrive, here are some gadgets that will surely make living easier and more convenient in your condo.

Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo

The Amazon Echo is labelled a music player, but what makes this product intriguing is that it is primarily controlled by Amazon’s Alexa voice command platform. Through voice commands, the device is able to link to and control other devices such as Philips’ Hue light bulbs. That means you can turn your lights on and off with your voice. The possibilities in the future are endless with this platform – think turning on your TV, vacuuming, making coffee all with your voice.

 

Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator

Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator

This may be the most complete kitchen appliance ever. With a 21.5 full HD Super AMOLED touchscreen and stereo speakers, the Family Hub Refrigerator aims to be just that: a family hub. It allows you to see recipes on the monitor, see inside of the fridge (via interior camera) without opening it, and order grocery straight from the fridge to have food or milk delivered to your door among other things.

Tado

Tado

Tado automatically turns on your heating when you’re headed home. Not only that, it turns on the lights, disables the alarm system and can call the elevator as you arrive. The point is, it’s meant to have ‘everything’ ready for you when you’re heading home. What’s even cooler is that allows you to automatically save energy and have your home ready for your return using  your smartphone’s location. Yes, that means it knows when you’ve left the house or when you’re on your way back based on the your phone’s location.

 

LG Hom-Bot Turbo+

A device that cleans your condo – we’ve seen that before. What’s different about the LG Hom-Bot Turbo+ is that it has a mounted camera that sends live video while it works (i.e., cleaning) to a smartphone or tablet. That means, it can double as a security camera, with an option to send you pictures whenever it detects movement. Not only that, you can order the device to clean certain areas of the floor via your smartphone.

Although not as sexy as some other smart devices, Honeywell’s Wi-Fi Water Leak Detector does exactly what its name says – when it detects water, it communicates this imformation, which in turn lets you know via smartphone so that you can take action. The sensor measures temperature and humidity as well. This moisture detecting device is used as preventative measure that helps you avoid expensive damage to your condo.

 Keen Home Smart Filters

Keen Home Smart Filters

Ever play the guessing game when it comes to replacing your filters? No more guessing! Keen Home Smart Filters mounts onto vents to monitor air quality and to keep you informed about when you they need to be replaced. You can also pay $3/month for a filter subscription, which sends you replacements whenever you need them.

 

Love them or hate them home automation is here to stay, we’re predicting better connectivity and communication across devices in the future. For now, we’ve filled our homes with a few of our favourites. Connecting your home is one piece of the puzzle, the next piece is connecting to your condo community. Be sure to build the whole puzzle and not just the edges. Connect more than just your lights, learn more about how Evercondo connects you to your condo.

Do you have a home automation story to share or a favorite gadget? If so, let us know in the comments!

Property Management Advice for New Professionals

Property Management Advice for New ProfessionalsIn the theater world, it’s called stage fright. In love, you might say someone has “butterflies” or “the jitters.” If you’re starting a new job, especially in a management role, you may feel nervous, excited, or anxious, too.

When we’re new to something, aside from gaining the experience ourselves, the next best thing we can do to get comfortable is to ask for tips from someone who’s been there.

Property management advice, like so much other advice, is about as common as popcorn at a movie. But as helpful as Uncle Rob tries to be with his tip about using duct tape to cover the hole in the roof so you can save money, all the advice you’re given isn’t always helpful. The property management advice shared here is gleaned from some of the best in the business to help new management professionals know what to expect, and how to prepare for a successful career in condo property management.

[Read more…]

7 Property Management Tips That Will Get You a Raise

7 Property Management Tips That Will Get You a RaiseTry these property management tips when working toward a better salary

A raise sounds good, doesn’t it? You work hard. You’re in the office daily, on the phone late, checking on emergency repairs over the weekend, and making sure the property you are responsible for is in top shape. But it’s been some time since you’ve had a salary increase. Let’s change that.

These property management tips will help you take the fear and uncertainty out of negotiating a raise. Think about it; you negotiate all the time in your job. When you get bids for any construction work or when you plan community events you’re negotiating. You may be negotiating with different people’s schedules or with the association’s funds, but you’re still conducting business and trying to find something that works for all the parties involved. [Read more…]

Top 5 Sessions from the 2015, 19th Annual ACMO/CCI-T Condominium Conference

The 19th Annual ACMO/CCI-T Condominium Conference was one of the most successful conferences in its history. Held at at Toronto Congress Centre, it set new records with over 170 exhibitors and over 1,600 attendees. The level of creativity in terms of swag and fun also hit a new level (here’s a glimpse from our list of Top 10 Exhibitors from the Conference.

The theme this year was #leadingtheway, which represents ACMO and CCI-T’s aspirations to usher in a new era in condominium management and governance. We think this is a fitting theme, especially with Bill 106 having made large strides and expected to cause ripple effects in the industry in 2016.

In all, there were 19 very informative sessions covering a wide range of topics relating to condominiums. We picked out our 5 favourite sessions for you:

#1. Great Director Debate

Richard Elia (Elia Associates) moderated a highly controversial debate about whether there is a place for professional directors in the future of condominiums. Christine Dunn and Bill Thompson (Malvern) argued in favour of the need for professional directors while Ian Waldron and Carol Dirks (Fogler, Rubinoff) took the opposing view.

More specifically, the question was about whether it makes sense to bring in outside help to run a condo. Both sides had very strong arguments, but the “in favour” side seems to have won this debate by a slight margin. Here are some of the arguments convincingly articulated by both Dunn and Thompson:

At the top of the list for the “in favour” camp is the fact that professional directors would bring about a) more competency; and b) lower eventual expenses. The belief is that increased education to current directors would not be sufficient in accomplishing both a) and b).

Towards the end, however, both sides showed a hint of possibility of a middle ground between the two opposing views:

For now, this concept is somewhat theoretical. The real answer as to whether this is an appropriate solution to running a condo can only be seen when it is tested in reality. Further, the urgency (or non-urgency) will become more obvious after we have a chance to observe the effects of increased and mandatory education to board members.

(To see a list of the specific issues of the debate, here’s a summary of the presentation from ACMO.)

#2. To Be or Not to B&B

The AirBnB concept has single-handedly altered the hotel landscape and is now increasingly causing disruption in condos in Toronto. Is it even a problem? How prevalent are AirBnB users in Toronto? What is the impact on condos? How do you ensure compliance? Tania Haluk (FirstService Residential) hosted Roger Thompson (FirstService Residential) and Jason Rivait (Lash Condo Law) to answer these questions and more.

The session revealed that there are currently 6,000 active Airbnb listings in the GTA, many of them in condos. The consensus was that this poses many problems.

In order to deal with the growing trend of short-term rentals, developers seem inclined to draft declarations that are more accommodating.

However, to managers and residents of condos, this causes major headaches, many of which Mr. Rivait has previously discussed in other publications. There are wide-ranging issues from compliance, security, insurance, community engagement, tenancy and more.

While it doesn’t look like Ontario condo legislation will step in and regulate the phenomenon, other jurisdictions have taken different approaches. Most notably, New York City levies hefty fines under certain circumstances involving AirBnB.

The panel points out that the best way to ensure compliance is with proper communication between all stakeholders involved, from owners, tenants and managers. This is a topic that will certainly come up again – it won’t be surprising to see more concrete rules and regulations regarding short-term rentals in the future.

(For a summary of the presentation, here is a link of the presentation. Here is also a great article from Rod Escayola on what to do when AirBnN moves int your condo.)

 

#3. Condo Strength

The Conference had a highly-anticipated unveiling: an education platform for condo directors called CondoSTRENGTH. To usher in a new era of education and competency in condos, Marc Bhalla (Elia Associates) got together with Mo Killu (GPM Management), Josh Milgrom (Lash Condo Law) and Ernie Nyitrai to explain what this program consists of.

When finally unveiled, the program, which is made for directors, by directors, looked very promising. It remains to be seen whether it will live up to its hype, but the response so far has been very positive.

An aspect that had been discussed for a very long time, the program will consist of three branches: resources for directors, networking opportunities, and recognition for the hard work that goes mainly unnoticed by directors.

Further details will be provided in the Winter 2015 issue of CondoVoice magazine. In the meanwhile, you can find more information about the program on its website, www.condostrength.ca, which was also unveiled during the session.

(For a summary of the presentation, here is a link of the presentation.)

#4. Shared Facilities

Shared facilities are often times a major source of controversy in condos where the concept applies. There is a whole host of issues that can arise when more than one corporation has to share facilities with another. Catherine Murdock (DEL Property Management) moderated a panel that included Stephen Chesney (Parker Garber Chesney), Deborah Holmes and Warren Kleiner (Miller Thomson), to address “scared facilities.”

In a lengthy discussion about various issues, the overarching theme with regards to dealing with shared facilities was one of cooperation. Concerted efforts are of paramount importance to effectively co-exist when there is/are shared facilities and the panel echoed those beliefs.

To alleviate the heavy burden of living in harmony, Bill 106, thankfully provides for a much-needed standardized shared facilities agreement to set proper guidelines.

#5. Status Certificates – Managers and Condo Corp Liability – It’s a Nightmare

Status certificates have been at the centre of several recent court decisions. The timing of this session is on point. Denise Lash (Lash Condo Law), who has written many times on this subject, moderated a panel with David Thiel (Fogler Rubinoff) and Michael Kalisperas (Royale Grande Property Management).

There seems to be a lot of misconceptions about status certificates, their purpose and what they really are. The panel addressed all of those with a thorough overview and also discussed recent case law that sheds new light into the subject.

Two recent court cases have had profound impact on questions surrounding status certificates and the panel took the time to discuss those as well.

Also, Bill 106 looks to affect status certificates for the better. Most notably, there is a likelihood that the new legislation will change the form of status certificates.

(For a summary of the presentation, here is a link of the presentation.)

 

And there you have it, a roundup of the top sessions. Our hats go off to the ACMO / CCI teams who worked tirelessly to bring the conference to life, as well as exhibitors and attendees who’s endless smiles and enthusiasm kept us going all conference long.

What was your favourite session? What topics are you most looking forward to hearing about next year? Let us know in your comments below or share with us on Twitter @EvercondoApp