- Feedback From Readers
- Condo Fraud, Kickbacks and Conflict of Interest
- Issues with Management Companies and Managers
- Issues with Boards of Directors
- Abuse of Legal Letters and Liens
- Wasted Condo Money
- Issues with Lawyers
- Issues with Condo Industry Interest Groups
- "Harassment" and "Defamation" Redefined
- "Troublemakers" and "Traitors"
- Issues of Owners’ Right to Information & Access to Documents
- Horror Stories About Special Assessments
- Problems with Owners
- Lack of Enforcement of Condo Acts in Canada
- Issues Regarding Townhouses
- Noise Issues
- Useful Tips for Buildings
Feedback From Readers
This website is updated periodically. Some updates may include recent letters sent through the Contact Us feature by condo owners and other interested persons.
Permission is always requested before a letter is posted and confidentiality is assured. AMA
January 2013 Updates!
Who Sends Letters?
2,081 persons sent letters between July 2009 and December 31, 2012.... in other words, we heard from over 20% of all condo corporations in Ontario.
Of these letters, 1,546 were sent by owners; 333 were sent by current and past board members; 145 by current and former managers; and 57 by current and former contractors and related professionals in the condo industries.
What Are the Most Common Problems Reported?*
Managers are far more frequently reported as the source of problems than boards of directors: 79% versus 63%. However, in over 50% of the cases, both are jointly mentioned.
- 52% of letters focus on financial problems including unwarranted expenditures and waste of condo monies; misuse of the reserve fund; special assessments not explained or out of proportion to the work done; rigged contract bidding process; contracts being awarded to the same contractors preferred by the manager with consequent loss of money; unnecessary work done by contractors; staff not doing their job so that more staff or outside contractors have to be hired; fees going up too quickly; kickbacks, fraud, and outright theft (see further down).
- 50% mention lack of communication from boards of directors and/or managers, especially about money issues such as reasons for fee hikes, prices of updgrades and large maintenance; special assessments; loans; lack of information about board meetings; refusal by boards/managers to respond to owners' enquiries and to provide information requested.
Lack of communication (or truthful communication), particularly about money issues, is a red flag for other problems in a condo. These same boards/managers are too often, but not exclusively, the ones who threaten owners who report problems. Who have recourse to unwarranted legal letters against owners. Who do not attend to noise problems. Or who waste condo monies. These same condos are also more likely to be where conflicts of interest and even fraud occur.
- 35% of letters are about repairs/maintenance that are not being carried out, often for months and even years, or refusals to attend to water penetration problems in units or damage caused by water penetration; mold in fan coils and other places; broken windows/doors; pool areas that are unsanitary; etc.
- 33% of letters report that boards and/or managers refuse access to condo documents to which they have a right.
- 31% of owners also write about the fact that they end up intimidated, bullied, discriminated against, or threatened by boards/managers when they request services or make justifiable complaints. Many receive accusatory letters telling them to stop their "harassment" and numerous others receive unwarranted letters from the condo's lawyer and often have to pay for these letters. Consult the letters on "Harassment" and "Defamation" Redefined .
- 21% of letters are about condo lawyers sending owners unwarranted legal letters for which owners have to pay,abuse of liens, and even abuse of power of sale; lawyers who protect dysfunctional and/or dishonest boards and managers against owners. Also included is failing to do anything when there are fraudulent proxies gathered by managers and/or boards; new by-laws that are against the Condo Act; inventing or twisting rules to suit boards or to go against owners the board doesn't like.
Report of legal abuse in general by corporation lawyers have increased dramatically this past year. Consult Abuse of Legal Letters and Liens
- 21% of letters detail conflicts of interest on the part of managers and/or board members in terms of the rules they choose to enact and to enforce; parking privileges; repairs; improvements; specific contractors, etc.
- 19% report their inability to contact their boards of directors (generally because managers prevent owners from reaching the board).
- 19% report noise issues that are not attended, even for years. Noise from other units, faulty ventilation systems, water pumps, elevators, party room, shared facilities,etc. The pages on noise issues are some of the most frequently consulted pages in this website. Thus, noise problems are far more common than seen in the letters received.
Some owners cannot sleep and suffer from depression as a result; others have seen their blood pressure go up or experienced cardiac problems; others have had to take a leave of absence from work or gone on disability for a while. Yet, nothing is done. It is shocking that this is allowed to go on because it is scientifically proven that noise constitutes a health hazard.
- 14% mention fraudulent proxies presented by boards/managers at AGMs and Requisitioned Meetings.
- 14% detailed cases of fraud and kickbacks more often on the part of managers than board members. Consult the letters in Condo Fraud, Kickbacks, and Conflicts of Interest. Also included are cases of board members being paid "salaries" of $600 to $1,800 a month without permission from owners and without a by-law allowing this situation.
Most readers do not want their letter posted because they are afraid that they will be unfairly treated if recognized by management and boards. Their fears are too often justified: In fact, the word "threatening" recurs in letters and a specific section is devoted to this problem. The larger implication is this: It can be costly for condo owners to seek justice, especially in a public way. The reality is that the Condo Acts too often protect the various condo industries' vested interests rather than those of owners.
* The percentages above go beyond 100% because over 75% of writers have more than one issue or question. Percentages lower than 10% are not reported.