Real Estate

Condo registry aims to improve efficiency, transparency

By AdvocateDaily.com Staff

A new registry of condominiums across the province will finally paint an accurate picture of condominiums in Ontario, including the identity of all directors and property managers and the number of units, says Toronto condominium and commercial litigator Megan Mackey.

This will provide greater transparency for those seeking information about condominiums, she tells AdvocateDaily.com.

As part of the sweeping changes to the Condominium Act, the Condominium Authority of Ontario is requiring condo corporations to register their buildings. The original December 31, 2017 deadline has been pushed to Feb. 28, reports Condobusiness.

A new government regulation under the Act also requires all condo corporations to file returns on an annual basis and keep this information up to date. The returns are to contain specific key information about the corporation, according to the Condominium Authority of Ontario's (CAO) website.

Smaller, self-managed buildings may have only recently learned about these obligations so the extension will allow for a more complete picture of how many condominiums exist in Ontario, Mackey says.

"The overall process is quite involved when combined with other new requirements under the Act, so condominium corporations have been given more time to register," she says, adding that one of the challenges condominium corporations and management companies face is the sheer volume of work they must undertake to comply with the new regulations.

“Many of the larger management companies may have hundreds of condominium corporations to register, while the smaller buildings may not even know about the requirement” or what to do, and it may take them more time to get up to speed, she says.

To help support its operations, the Condominium Authority will impose an assessment of $1 per unit per month that the corporations will pay. Those that fail to register and pay their first assessment by the end of February may face late charges, Condobusiness notes.

Mackey, a partner with the Toronto office of Shibley Righton LLP, says the new registry will add to the transparency that underlines many of the recent changes aimed at condos.

“As part of the reforms to the Condominium Act, there is a push for all condominium corporations to go digital with electronic records and to make information more accessible to owners,” she says.

“The creation of this database achieves both of those objectives. If there’s a registry of condominiums and a list of their directors, that information will be accessible to the public, and it will also be digital.”

Previously, to get information about a condo board, individuals were required to request a status certificate, pay a $100 fee and wait for the details. The alternative would be to try to contact the building directly and hope that the information provided was accurate.

“The increase in transparency and communication from condominium corporations will certainly be a benefit for owners,” Mackey says.

That, by extension, will also help prevent fraudulent activity, she adds.

"There have been instances in the past when bank loans were granted in the name of the condominium corporation, when, in fact, the money was handed over to a party who was unknown to condominium owners," Mackey says.

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