Condoland’s dysfunction has gotten so extreme, that I am left only to realize (or better stated try to help my readers to understand) that as a consumer (you know the ONLY party putting up any money in this masquerade that we call the Ontario condo market) in today’s residential condo market, you have absolutely no control over your own destiny.
You see, the whole concept upon which Condoland was (supposedly) built, was that consumers could enjoy a lifestyle underpinning their goals for home ownership, but what they’ve gotten is just flat out wrong!
There are a least two visible profiles getting shafted in Condoland, one that legitimate buyer looking for a home and two investors. Now, investors come in all sizes, shapes and colours but at least the local ones are all “consumers“.
The legitimate buyers looking for homes end up buying into what amounts to a rental building thereby losing the sanctity of and environment built on “pride of ownership“.
And investors get shafted by being invited to flagrantly misrepresented “VIP Pre-Launch Sales Events” that lead them to believe that they mistakenly have the opportunity “to attend a private pre-launch party and invest in a unit at a preferred price with premium selection of suites“.
And “the shaft“, unfortunately does not end once the buyer/investor takes “Occupancy” (another dysfunctional concept).
I live in a 2000 square foot multi-level luxury condo in College Park (I’m actually building a new home in Oakville and keeping this beautiful residence as an income property).
It is part of the mega project rolled out over the past decade along the Bay Corridor just above the Financial District.
When our Condo Corporation (“TSCC 1961“) was Registered and a Condo Board was elected the first thing they did was re-design the elevators, add multiple video camera, spending a considerable amount of money from the newly formed reserve fund.
They they spent heavily equipping the gym facilities which told me that the board was influenced by members who did not live in the building but rather held investment units in the building.
The average size of a suite in the building is around 750 square feet so basic math tells you that the townhouses pay three times what the average owner in the building pays, for all the benefits that cost justify owners paying every month for the services and facilities that they have agreed to maintain.
So, this morning at around 5:00 a.m. as I walk out of my townhouse to attend the gym (the only use of facilities that we enjoy, and it’s actually a “stretch” to use the word enjoy), I’m confronted with a nude guy changing in the first tower’s loading dock.
I had to tell security!
Here a development with four on duty security guards (2 per tower, one at front lobby desk and one roaming guard per tower) and video camera all around the property and especially one in the loading dock area) this guy is doing whatever it is that he is doing and absolutely no-one of our paid security staff even knows that he’s on the premises.
I’ve tried advising our notably inept property manager about all these glaring deficiencies but he just doesn’t get it. Not only does he not get it but he’s the guy we keep seeing smoking in front of the “No Smoking” sign in the access lane to our back door, so we get to suck in all those toxic fumes from smokers because he “set the example“!
And then, as I returned from the gym, my eyes caught the filthy condition of the entire townhouse access lane.
Despite all of the units in the building having their doors dusted, floors cleaned, elevators kept immaculate, etc., the rear entry way (it is the only entry way right now since the city tore up the park and blocked off our front doors without reasonable or responsible notice or communication with owners).
Wouldn’t you think that a quarter of a million dollar compensation package for professional property management would have had that party talking with the City Officials and knowing up front what was to happen and when?
Not our guy! I told him on the day that the plywood walls locked off our front doors!
I tell you all of this not seeking sympathy, but rather to show you how dysfunctional Condoland really is.
With townhouse owners paying 300% of what the average owner pays in the condo corporation it does not seem unreasonable to think that our properties would receive at least the same amount of attention and respect as all the other owners.
So, what are your alternatives if you find yourself in a similar situation as a condo owner?
Well, unfortunately I’m sorry to tell you that you don’t have any choices!
That’s right . . . . there’s nothing that you can do.
Oh, an academic will tell you to run for the board and change it, but I can tell you from experience you will end up frustrated, as most units in Condoland are owned by investors who do not attend the Annual General Meeting (most condos can’t even get a quorum to hold their AGM) so you might get yourself elected but you won’t be able to change much as condos need upwards of 60% of owners to vote to do anything!
Have you ever tried to get 60% of any group of people to agree on anything, or worse ask them to actually educate themselves to a situation and then vote to change it?
I’ve taken on Condo Boards and HOA’s and I can tell you it is virtually impossible (I’ve managed to throw out two HOA Boards) for the average person to make any kind of headway whatsoever.
I have clients who have thought they could, only to get back to me venting their frustrations.
The amount of theft and corruption, including kickbacks and the like tells you there is lots of money in Condoland floating around and people tune into this and may become full time board members of condos or HOA’s.
So, I clean my own exterior of my home, take care of my own security (my wife can’t walk her dog alone on the premises) and actually fill the void in our existing security by notifying them of the obvious, but don’t get the civil respect and/or services rendered to owners who pay 1/3 of what I pay every month for these basic condo services.
The concept of condo living is excellent, unfortunately the delivery of that concept became jaded.
The towers have more units and votes than the townhouses. So the towers rule.
As far back as 1976, the Kealey Report stated that mixing townhouses and towers in the same condo corporation was not a good idea.
Interesting share. In our industry, this is exactly why millennials would not to go work for big banks, or major corp or people who worked for these big corp leave to go work for a startup as they can make an impact. Unless these big corp starts change their culture to ask like a small startup.
Personally, glad the condo building we rent (harbour sq) has more owner residents and can see the difference at other condo building (more so rental buildings)