Condoland is big business!
First and foremost each condo is a not-for-profit-corporation, owned collectively by the unit owners (“shareholders“) you might say, but unlike most corporations which are “limited liability entities” (limited to the money in them) condo owner shareholders are accountable for whatever comes down the pipe!
Our condo at College Park II pays our property manager around a quarter million dollars a year (for what is really a $50,000 a year salaried job in a rental building).
So, $50k goes to the person that actually does the job, comes in on the posted hours, and basically “manages the building” on the behalf of the owners collectively.
In our case he even gets an assistant who probably makes around $40k/year so the balance (over $150,000/year) goes to the company that employs them (in this case Larlyn Property Management).
Much like with Seinfeld’s “Soup Nazi” I guess some would call me the “Condo Nazi” as I am consistently trying to work with the property manager to make “my home and home community” (the condo) the best that it can be.
Of course the property manager doesn’t see it this way, and when I told him that our night “roaming guard” was sleeping all night, he got offended and responded that “we are lucky to have that company“!
Well, I’m sorry but we simply are not served at all by a security guard company (referred to in the sales material as “concierges“) that fails to supply “security“.
And the security guard company gets another quarter million a year!
So, we owners/shareholders are paying a half million dollars a year for basically nothing!
I’ve know condos and HOA’s that run quite well without either!
But this is the insanity that IS Condoland.
The thing I dislike the most about living in a condo, is the loss of “pride of ownership” as the decide majority of owners simply bought in to rent out the unit, never attend meetings and don’t even read material sent to them.
This breaks down the entire integrity of any condo.
Condos today are basically an unregulated commodities market in the pre-sale stage, and unregulated rental properties once they come into physical existence with the consumer being fleeced at both stages!
So, owners lose any “pride of ownership” that they try to inject, while living amongst “renters” (and wacko owners like this guy!) who really couldn’t care about the building, amenities or services as long as they can rent a place.
So much for the concept of that “dream home in the clouds“!
Yesterday I had the opportunity to experience one of the truly sad elements that comes with condo life in Condoland.
I’ve noticed this guy on a number of occasions previously, spreading out this old carpet right in the middle of our Fire Lane (as in the only emergency access route to our very expensive townhouses).
Previously he spent hours playing around with a “LINT BRUSH“, purportedly cleaning this carpet.
Yesterday for about an hour he was at it again.
Now, he obviously has a fundamental misunderstanding of condo life.
Owners own the unit, locker and parking space that they bought and received Title to.
All of the rest of the condo space is called “common elements“, which basically means that space is collectively owned by all of the owners.
No owner has any entitlement or right to use and of the “common elements“.
Some common elements are considered “exclusive use“, usually balconies, etc.
But, for the record let me again say that “common elements are not to be used by any one owner” for anything!
I really couldn’t get my head around why anyone would spread a carpet out on a dirty (most dog owners in both towers use it as their “doggie toilet“) , stone filled parking access to townhouse garages, to purportedly “clean it“.
The obvious dysfunction of his activity struck me almost as sharply as how offensive the “visual” was.
People are trying to sell and/or rent these townhouses and no-one has any right or entitlement to compromise the “curb appeal” by having some dysfunctional guy clean his carpet with a lint brush as an obstacle course to show their properties.
So, we went to the security guard (“Andrew“, one of the very few condo security guards in the city that has taken it upon himself to understand that he is supposed to at least “act” like a concierge and does an excellent job of it) as is the proper protocol when issues arise amongst owners.
And he told me that he had told the fellow with the carpet to “take it to the loading dock” but this guy chose to disregard his approval (it is this approval that allowed this issue the materialize as he should have just said “no you can’t do that as it is against the Rules as occupants are not entitled to use common element areas for their own activity unless posted“).
It really is just that straight forward and everyone living in a condo has an obligation to understand this.
Imagine, if I decided to was out rugs from my house in the hall upstairs on his floor outside his unit and clean them there!
Well, the issue is not about an honest mistake but rather an ignorant guy, insulted that someone would ask the guard to ask him to comply with the Rules (that he had sign a commitment to agree to live by before moving in) choosing to vent his frustration.
When we returned from our walk he was setting up in the outdoor space near the loading bay with a scowl on his face that only a mother could love.
He quickly blurted out some stupid abusive comment to my wife an I about what he called “our not having anything better to do in our pathetic lives but report him” (for breaking the rules of the condo that he had signed committing to respect and live by).
Now, this is the worst kind of offender. He feels “entitled” to be allowed to break the rules and when caught breaking them, he starts screaming at everyone around him (especially anyone that reports his unacceptable behaviour).
So, let’s set the record straight here. When you buy into a condo you commit to having read the rules, understood the rules and to live by them.
Using the common element areas anywhere, any time, for whatever reason is simply AGAINST THOSE RULES THAT YOU PLEDGED TO LIVE BY!
What is so confusing about this simple logic?
This clown didn’t get it even after I took the time to explain it to him.
Then came the barrage of insults that just about got him his light punched out.
I had a rather violent upbringing and some characteristics are tough to shake.
I don’t get emotionally involved with strangers acting strange often but when they start offending my wife and I publicly, well sometimes you just seem to revert to old ways.
I admit I was just about to put this clown to sleep, when he then confronted me with a mock attempt at intimidation and if it wasn’t for the guard still standing there, I can assure you this guy would have learned about a whole new level of pain.
His challenge triggered a response in me that led me to charge at him ready for combat only to have him jump behind the guard for protection.
You see most hubris like this guy was trying to throw around is more about showmanship and bullying simply does not fly with me.
I laughed with the guard about the guy hiding behind him after throwing around all those insults and threats!
The city is plagued with this type of ignorance (if we were in America I would conclude that this is a “Trumpie“).
Torontonians today are an ignorant crew, not all but in the whole, all you see around you much of the time in Toronto is down right ignorance.
From a crack smoking mayor to people that drive stupidly and give you the bird for even blinking your headlights at them (I had one of these clowns cut me off yesterday while giving me the bird – he didn’t even give me time to flash my lights or honk my horn at him)!
So, where does all of this come from?
Well it all boils down to mismanagement of the part of our highly paid (over-paid) property manager.
Rule must not be negotiable or apply to one and not all.
Our security guards park illegally on the property while stopping owners from doing so!
This clown should never have been allowed to spread out this carpet on common element areas anywhere . . . period!
The guard’s discretion was a nice gesture but nice gestures simply lead to abuse.
The only solution for me at least is to get away from this failing multi-residential concept called condos, as long as “entitled” people and incompetent property management companies are involved, the concept simply doesn’t work.
Enjoyed reading this kind of humorous take on some of the problems condo owners face. I think the frustrations you so clearly lay out here are shared by many in your shoes. One thing that can really help is open and clear communication among condo owners and technology can help here. There are some good ones on the market that are worth taking a look at. If you are really interested you can download our free guide to condo communication here.