Well, it finally looks like we are making some headway with respect to bringing the Condo Act, and other related issues that I’ve been blogging about for the past 15 years, into the 21st Century!
Bill 106 passed its third reading in Parliament in December, and they will now move forward, (I hope), to the “implementation stage“.
Let me state for the record, that “this is all long overdue“!
For the forty years that I’ve been directly involved with condos here in Ontario, the consumer has been completely overlooked, let down and in many cases abused.
There literally has been “no substantive protection” for the consumer who, by the way, are the only ones actually “spending any money” throughout the entire complex infrastructure that is Condo Land.
It is my sincere hope that the Ministry realizes the need for an experienced, “hands-on ‘industry’ insider” to structure the actual “implementation” of these new consumer protections, or as we’ve seen historically, all the best of intentions get washed away.
We’ve already seen the industry try to subvert the implementation of a true Consumer’s Protection Bill, with developer’s high priced lawyers submitting amendments, etc. and I doubt that we’ve seen them simply give up.
Condo Land has been the “goose that lays the golden eggs” for developers throughout my entire career!
I am most interested in, and intending to offer my services to play a key roll in launching and building the “Condominium Authority” to enable me to remain in the forefront in protecting Ontario consumers as I have for the past fifteen years (I’ve consistently been the “only voice for consumers“).
I have fought developer’s high priced litigators for a decade and a half now, trying to publish truthful commentary of what actually goes on here in Condo Land.
Throughout all this time I’ve stood alone as even most consumers being abused by the system that is Condo Land don’t want to step forward in fear of everything from reprisals from fellow owners to fears of their major investment (their home) depreciating “if the word gets out“!
So, the consumer pays for it all and plays no other role at all. They are not communicated with (other than Delay Notices) throughout the entire time period from buying to occupying (normally a couple years).
My genuine fear is that, as usual, the bureaucracy selects a bureaucrat, academic or other industry outsider the head up the new agency and, although they will probably set up an impressive bureaucracy, they will miss the point all together.
To “fix Condo Land” you’ve got to have “lived Condo Land” as I have for the past almost 4 decades.
With all due respect, Condo Land IS “the land of snakes” and I have been known as “the King Cobra” since getting into the business in the late 1970’s!
I am tremendously impressed that the MPP’s spearheading this initiative have gotten it this far.
I used to meet with Rosario Marchese, (prior – NDP Member of Parliament) who fought valiantly to install some kind of protection for the consumer but who’s party lacked the clout to push any legislation to a vote.
For the past 15 years I have fought for disenfranchised consumers that were being “taken advantage of under a seriously ‘flawed’ industry standard“.
With these new measures the consumer can expect some changes that will immediately benefit them, specifically with regulating property managers.
An industry outsider, as academically distinguished as they may be, will not have an “aptitude” to face the well polished machine that developers have perfected over the past four decades that I’ve been around.
When it comes to the game of buying pre-construction condos in Ontario, the previous Condo Act (last updated in the early 1987) left the consumer totally out in left field!.
I see the changes as a good start, but only that!
The entire process and industry must be addressed, analyzed and scrutinized by someone with intimate knowledge of how all this got to this!
If not, we’ll end up simply “putting a bandage on an open wound” that IS Condo Land, where life saving surgery is immediately called for.
The playing field has not been level for consumers in Ontario since I entered the business back in 1979 when I was called in by the Reichmann Family to turn around their failing development (“Queen’s Quay Residences” on the harbour).
On and off for years I represented developers selling “TO” consumers until in1989 (when the Ontario (and North American) real estate market “crashed“.
I’ve never shirked the nickname “King Cobra” (in the land of snakes there’s always a ‘King Cobra‘) as I was paid by developers to “sell” their condo units.
In 2000, (feeling somewhat remorseful for many times over-aggressively selling condo units to people who, in many instances did not intend or even want to buy them), I got my real estate licence and introduced “Buyer Agency” to Condo Land and for the past decade and a half my blogs (www.simplycondos.com and www.simplycharles.com) have represented one of the only “true voices of integrity” for the consumer relating to buying condos.
People from all over the globe literally flooded my “Buyer Agency web site” (40,000 “Hits Per Day” at its peak)!
I’ve always found the manner by which consumers are dealt with when making the single most significant investment in their lives (their home) to be outrageous.
Don’t get me wrong, the consumer continues to bewilder me with how little “due diligence” they undertake prior to buying their condo!
That’s why “high pressure” sales professionals like me do so well in condo sales.
The entire game, as CBC recently called “The Condo Game” in its documentary of the same name, is “rigged against the consumer“!
Toronto Life Magazine published a stunning article “Faulty Towers” that shows the many condo law suits under way and the shortfalls of the Ontario condo industry!
There is not much factual information out there and any that is published, is drowned out by the tsunami of “advertorial” web sites and blogs that paint a distorted picture.
So, most consumers, whether genuine end-user buyers or speculators in Condo Land are at best dealing on “flawed” information if they took the time to research before jumping into the deep end!
How else could we end up with the mess that we have on our hands, and my fear is that the Ministry, in its admirable efforts to remedy the outrageousness of Condo Land, simply lacks the “insider-experience” needed to legitimately hope to be able to address the problem.
So I am excited and optimistic that finally our government has taken the much need corrective steps to put the consumer (the only one who puts up money – everyone else gets millions per tower!) at the rightful position in the game!
We’ve got to dissect the entire game, starting with the substance matter of this new legislation to see how it applies to the real life nitty gritty that is Condo Land.
We’ll also need someone experienced in Cold Start Up’s to build the actual organization, “Condominium Authority“, which will be no easy task.
As an entrepreneur, I have a successful background in both disciplines (Condo Land and start-ups) and am uniquely qualified to bring the unique blend of expertise, experience and knowledge that will be needed to get this much needed agency up and running.
It is my intention to offer my professional services to head up the Condominium Authority.