I’ve blogged about the consumer rip-off in Oakville around these million dollar homes where consumers were lied to in print on the builder’s web site and sales brochures, lied to to impose “Occupancy” (a legal term that means you’ve got to pay to either leave your new home empty or live in a construction zone) when there were contracts to specifically protect consumers from this happening, lied to about remedying deficiencies, lied to at the turn over meeting where consumers duped into an offensive consumer-unfriendly and virtually impossible to get out of, renewing 3 year contract that gave full control of the community and its money over to a NASDAQ Fund that buys up Canadian property management companies.
And when all of this is fed up to our public broadcaster and our government agency that is allegedly in existence to protect consumers against just this kind of exploitation and abuse, AND NO-ONE EVEN NOTICES, I think it is safe to say that we have a serious problem here.
I’ve owned a bunch of condos and I’ve never seen anything like this!
I seldom volunteer to sit on boards of directors as I’m not that collaborative a person. I study a problem, come up with a strategy, execute that strategy and move onto the next problem while overseeing the initial problem.
Let me tell you, that with almost four decades in this business I can tell you that Condoland has and Condoland IS A PROBLEM!
As an owner in this small collection of homes on Lake Ontario just west of Toronto, this time I decided to volunteer as I had discovered that this builder had gotten away with the most unbelievable behaviour and abuse on those that bought from him that I couldn’t turn up the opportunity to expose this clearly defined “Consumer Exploitation In Ontario Real Estate” to my global readers.
I’ve just about finished writing my book (“Crisis In Condoland“) and if this builder and it’s American multi-national (NASDAQ) funded company of obvious scam artists (this is the new era “Sub Prime mess in the making”)!
The scam goes like this.
You get an unethical developer/builder to turn over total control of the condo corporation that the developer/builder forms to transfer ownership to once they’ve sold all of the homes.
That condo corporation, to these scammers, is a literal “cash cow for life” for them.
The builder (in this instance) voted himself to be the President of the Board of Directors of a not for profit corporation called Halton Common Element Corporation ## # #.
In this instance, this builder has proven consistently unethical in literally everything that he has touched. I say he as the company is very small consisting of just a couple guys and all the shots are called by these two proven unskilled and unethical guys!
The fact that our government ignores people like this and allows them to publish blatantly false content about themselves is intellectually offensive to me and fundamentally just wrong!
The abuse that they’ve gotten away with through lying is personal to the owners that believed in and trusted in them.
Owners have sued them and most trades people have put liens on the properties due to lack of payment.
And all the while, this builder remains a Builder in Good Standing With Tarion” (The Home Warranty Program supplier).
Anyone doing their own research cannot be blamed for falling for these guys.
And if abuse throughout the entire process from start to finish is not enough, now we see that the fangs of Condoland stay around the throats of consumers for life!
A year and a half late with the delivery of our house, this builder, using unethical and illegal (breach of contract certainly is a breach of law) tactics have bullied and abused its ten buyers here by a constant barrage of lies, misrepresentations and broken promises.
I don’t have to tell you how personal all of this emotional stress is on a consumer who has just spent their life savings and possibly mortgaged themselves to the eyeballs to buy that dream home that they’ve dreamt of all their lives.
When that dream ends up a nightmare that you must reside in the centre of, the emotional wounds cut very deep!
I’m thankful that one owner has the legal background to be able to sue these guys (It’s not easy as there are clauses in your contract that prohibit suing the builder) through whatever legal manoeuvring they did.
For the other half dozen families that this builder was able to dupe, it is shameful that there is no recourse. Once the Provincial Government showed these builders that they could get away with anything, our government unleashed an ability to exploit that no-one ever saw coming!
So even when the exploitation was supposed to stop, when “Title transferred to the new owner“, we have learned that it really just is getting started with the introduction of a new American scam that I’m calling “Property Management Company Roulette“.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there has always been corruption in Condoland. Where there is lots of money and no regulation you will always have corruption.
But not that corruption comes with extremely deep pockets (NASDAQ publicly traded U.S. Dollar “Funds“) buying up Canadian property management companies that take total control of condo corporations and thereby securing “Guaranteed and Permanent Cash Flow“.
All of these big American “Funds“, you know like the ones that almost took our global economies down the toilet just a few years back, make me nervous!
Not because they are real money or not because of the amounts of it. Not at all!
I like big!
But it always brings with it big corruption and when you add this new layer of corruption on top of the heavy threshold of it that already exists in Condoland, well you can imagine!
Our POTL (“Parcel of Tied Lands“) which is a Common Element Condo Corporation can show just how corrupt this new NASDAQ scheme is.
The company buys up property management companies with existing inventories of condo corporation clients.
In this instance, they bought Simerra Property Management.
The new company (I’m not publishing their name as they’ve already got litigators snapping at my heels – I’ll be blogging about that soon) has lined up with our unethical builder who, contrary to the story they promote about being a large company really boils down to about five people, all of whom have proven totally untrustworthy by me personally.
This developer and this new NASDAQ Fund American owned property management company entered into a “back-room” 3 year renewing management extremely consumer-unfriendly contract that proves virtually impossible to ever get out of! This was done with our condo corporation’s “then” Board President (the builder himself) “selling out our condo corporation” and presenting a flagrant case of director malfeasance!
They drew up the contract just days before our “Turn Over Meeting” and, despite my having requested a copy of it in writing weeks before the turn over meeting I was refused!
I was born at night . . . . but it wasn’t last night and their refusal to comply with my reasonable request set off alarms with me.
Despite our Disclosure Statement and Declaration “advising owners to consider ‘self-management’ of our condo board“, the malfeasance-stricken president of the board and the American multi-national chose to sign this ludicrous contract to the detriment of the owners and thereby INCREASE our monthly common element fees by almost 80% (to pay their contract)!
Need I restate that our condo component is only “the road, light polls, sidewalks“).
If you’ve read my blogs that broke the Minto Plaza “toilet swindle” you will already be aware of how dangerous it is to give control over to a third party property management company! The article shows that fraud happened twice at Minto!
In our instance, we weren’t given the opportunity to decide. Our condo owners face a highly polished “shuffle from the bottom of the deck” by the builder’s lawyer and property management company to “lock our owners into paying excessive monthly fees”!
Apparently, this builder is so unethical, that (according to testimony offered by the new company’s representative) it even screwed the new company over” at first by having them open the required bank accounts and set up the corporate structure etc., and once t got what it needed it dropped them like a hot potato. To quote the rep: “the line went dead for over 18 months“.
He also confirmed that the condo corporation’s “bank had no transactions in 2015“.
He told us that they didn’t get paid or to the contract stage reaffirmed by the Minute Book having no contract or Minutes to support any suggestion that there was.
He did say that they opened bank accounts in 2014”!
And this is quite significant as he testified that there was no contract thus there could not have been any legal approval for them at the HSBC in downtown Toronto, who acknowledge the existence of accounts in our condo corporation’s name but confirmed that the “accounts are owned by the property management company”.
We could not request the bank to give us our money because in their records the accounts were owned by the property management company.
We are seven weeks into trying to get our records that are all required under the Condo Act, and volunteers are working outrageous hours trying to get answers and no-one is complying!
Our condo corporation has no liquid assets as the property management company is retaliating at our having given them notice of termination and have not complied with any of their obligations under law!
So, now the owners are left with no choice but to hire a lawyer (when our budgets show $250 for legal)!
We’ve notified the Provincial Government twice now yet have not received even the courtesy of a confirmation of receipt of our communications.
We cannot pay our bills.
We cannot even set up our company as the previous handlers (the builder and their chosen property management company) have not complied with the act and kept corporate records, turned them over, turned our bank accounts over, or complied with our repeated polite requests for disclosure.
They have simply walked away!
So, where is our government protection in all of this!?! I hear all the noise about “” and can only chuckle.
My fellow consumers in Ontario, we are being played for fools and ripped off accordingly!
I’m hoping that someone out there can tell us and my readers how this has come about and what we are to do about it, knowing that the only remedy is for the consumers to hire lawyers!
Thanks for you input Dan. It’s always good to hear from readers. We actually are talking with lawyers but trying other tactics that have proven successful for me in the past as well. We are informing Tarion as well.
Please don’t feel sorry for us though. I don’t get emotional about this type of thing. I have no doubts about our ability to get this resolved. The objective of my blog is to continually show people that this is taking place as it is by no means unique to us or this development. This is the systematic and systemic way consumers are exploited and my efforts are to show it enough (yes I do repeat myself but that’s because my readership is so time sensitive) so consumers and hopefully government officials will say “enough is enough” and stand up and actually do something for the consumers of this Province.
Thanks again for commenting and I hope readers take time to read your book.
I’ve been reading your posts on a regular basis and sympathize with your plight.
You keep on repeating that developer and now Property Managment breached the law, which is not uncommon at all.
Wonder why you did not commence a legal action for damages, maybe even a class action against those entities, and if you informed Tarion, against them as well.
The Consumer Protection Act of Ontario is very clear on the remedies available to consumers under the section: Unfair Business Practices.
Find a good and competent lawyer and go after them with vengeance.
I came to realize many intrinsic problems with the condo ownership back in the 1980s, when I was building them myself.
I wrote many articles about the problems associated with condos, You can find them at danoncondos.com.
I also wrote a book, The Condo Bible, which explains the potential trappings of buying preconstruction developments.
I humbly suggest to read this book and feel free to quote its contents in your future posts.
I feel sorry for you and your fellow investors I wish you all the luck.