If you this yesterday’s blog was outrageous, wait until I dish you up today’s!
When we felt the resistance to turn over documents (we still haven’t gotten what is required under Section 43 of the Condo Act to be “turned over” at the “Turn Over Meeting“.
Doesn’t all of this sound neat and orderly.
Well, in Condoland neat and orderly just don’t seem to jive.
It is absolutely inexcusable and downright offensive to realize that consumers and especially “volunteer” board members are systematically exploited in the way that our condo has been.
Once, again fortunately for me having stumbled into this fight, our condo may have a fighting chance, but without my four and a half decades of exposure to this consumer-exploitive game called “Condoland“, any volunteer board of directors (there are no academic or expertise requirements) would simply be “road kill“!
The Turn Over Meeting went smooth as silk as the system has structured.
The builder’s lawyer gave her canned pitch.
This property manager gave his pitch.
And everyone was dusting off their hands for a job well done, when I stepped up with a few questions, not of which were satisfied at the meeting and it was admitted that All requirement under Section 43 of the Act “had not been met“.
Mysteriously missing were all financial statements.
Let’s face it budgets are useless without actual financials, none of which were made available.
The property management company made promises to email everything the following day.
Three weeks passed with repeated requests for the financial documents and balance of items not turned over relating to Section 43.
Frustrated, the new board of directors called a meeting and invited representatives of the builder’s “Ringer” property management company.
The meeting (held three weeks after the turn over meeting) opened with a discussion that the requested financial material was not being delivered.
Another key piece of advise that I’m known for giving new board members is to “record all board meetings on audio” to insure accurate transcription of Minutes. IPhones give us the perfect tool and saves it all “out there somewhere in the cloud“!
I hadn’t liked the two representatives’ of the builder’s “Ringer” property management company’s first impressions at the Turn Over Meeting, when in the first couple seconds, Matt (the “Regional Supervisor” – apparently there are over a dozen signing authorities on our account! For such a small contract there certainly seems to be a lot of fingers in the pie) showed arrogance with a couple hand gestures.
I have blogged historically (back at simplycondos.com) that the best thing any newly formed condo corporation can do is request a copy of the property manager’s agreement to be inspected at the meeting and follow this one simple rule . . . . . terminate that contract immediately.
My fellow board members expressed their concern to “study the contract first” which I agreed to after having made my position clear that at a glance I could see that this company had “entered into this 3 year contract just days before our Turn Over Meeting which I found suspicious, and we discovered that it was a three year contract that would be very difficult to get out of“. I found this highly unethical and immediately offered my thoughts to terminate without even reading further into the contract.
We were told that it would be emailed to us the following day but it was not and took until 3 weeks later when we called a board meeting over missing items to be turned over and at the meeting he again came up empty handed.
He claimed that they had had a contract back in 2014 but there were no board Minutes to support that allegation and there was no copy of any contract in the Minute Book (which was about as “naked” as they come but did include a limited amount of the documentation).
This has proven to always be the case in every condo turn over meeting that I have attended and I’ve attended more than many! That’s why I’ve repeated this message for decades now! Fortunately for today’s readers you can see just how far out of whack Condoland has gotten.
What we found in this instance was that this property management company had attempted to secure a contract with this builder in 2014, (that’s why he hasn’t turned over a contract for back then . . . . because the relationship did not get that far), they did minimal work to try to impress the builder, and were “dumped” (the builder only needed certain things done and once they had them done they didn’t want to have to pay going forward as the builder would be the one paying the “monthly maintenance fees“).
I certainly wasn’t impressed with what I heard at the board meeting about how our condo corporation was being run.
I have conducted a number of depositions in my background as an entrepreneur (litigation seems to follow me around as an entrepreneur and, as an entrepreneur, I couldn’t afford to pay lawyers to argue for me in every spat so I became as close to being my own lawyer).
We had notified their representative that a policy that our board had enacted was to record all meetings and asked him if he was comfortable with that, to which he replied he was.
The meeting was a virtual “swan song” in a litigative sense, and he opened up about the company meeting the company back in 2014.
He told us that the relationship “just went dead a few weeks after we did some set up for them“.
He went on to say that they “did not get paid or any compensation at the time“.
And he said, in February of 2017 (over two years later) they heard from the builder again about the site.
He informed us that he has discovered that the “Builder did NOT make any financial contributions to the condo corporation before February 2017“.
He informed us that the builder had not maintained the required (under law) financial records as set out in Section 55 of the Condo Act.
He informed us that the builder’s COO had been the president of the board of directors from “registration through to the Turn Over Meeting” and that that board of directors had entered into a “Backdated” property management agreement with the builder’s “Ringer” property management company in February but dating it December 2016.
He admitted on record that the property management company “did no work for our condo corporation prior to being hired in 2017” by the original board of directors.
Now, this was three (3) weeks before the legal Turn Over Meeting, where the builder steps away from the site and the owners take over their own destiny. A reasonable question would be “why couldn’t this contract have waited until the Owners were managing their own community“?
That might possibly be that the declaration advised Owners to “Self Manage” such a small site.
One would think that there would be all sorts of consumer protection around this type of an event. Consumers are handing over millions of dollars and this is what they get!
And they would only ever even discover all of this if I (I’m not a rocket scientist but I’ve been in condos all my life – I almost said grown up life but don’t want to start any arguments) wasn’t around!
The Builder’s “Ringer” property management company bragged at our meeting about having “250 Clients” (like us in probably more ways than one!). My bet is that a subpoena would return a road map to a systematic locking up of condo boards in precisely the same polished manner as has been attempted here!
Yet, here today after a month of haggling with these people for documents required to be turned over under law and getting nowhere, we discover that “they have full and total control of our bank accounts and the money therein“.
I have heard an unsubstantiated report that suggests that there are numerous signing authorities for our bank accounts (“14” or so signing authorities for this one small community of houses, I was told)!
The Minute Book, although sketchy at best, did show us that all the original board of directors had resigned as stipulated under the Act.
What it did not disclose apparently, is the fact that our condo corporations bank account appears to have been set up and owned/controlled by the property management company.
With that recommendation, I am sold and I’m waiting for a return call from them.
I’ve told you for years that this is an outrageously dysfunctional industry that is decidedly “Rigged” against the consumer.
This is but yet another clear example of everything that is wrong in Condoland.
Be are to stay tuned, and please tell all your friends and family who own or are considering buying a condo to please read simplycharles.com BEFORE biting the bullet!.