CCI-London and Area's first newsletter of the 2020/2021 year.
President ’ s Message The world has changed. Condominium living has changed. And, CCI has changed. The concerns surrounding the COVID-19 virus linger for all of us, and we will continue to follow data-driven public health guidelines as we develop better ways to connect and get together with our membership for continued education on behalf of our communities. We are all working outside our respective boxes having to learn, navigate and be more comfortable with technology to hold meetings and create learning opportunities, and more importantly, to stay connected all the while being very cognizant that safety for all is paramount. Our volunteers who offer their expertise and time have remained as supportive and involved as ever and we do thank them sincerely for that. You continue to engage with our offerings and we applaud you for your commitment to that. Kudos to each and every one of you for the strength and resolve you’ve demonstrated so far – keep it up! The annual CCI Golf Tournament will be held at the Pine Knot Golf and Country Club on September 21 st with all the guidelines and adjustments that have had to be put in place to keep you safe and still enjoy the day we have long been anticipating. If you haven’t signed up to play or take advantage of sponsorship opportunities, please do so now, so we can meet and greet you at the golf tournament. We will provide more information for all of you so that we are aware of the guidelines that the golf course must adhere to for our safety. For forms, visit our website here OR contact the Administrator who will be happy to assist
Inside this issue
A Thank You ................................ ...2
Chapter Communique ………………..3 - 5
Event Recap/Future Events ......... 6 - 7
New Members ............................ ....7
Code of Conduct for Owners ....... .8 - 9
Borrowing by Condo Corps ….….10 - 12
Finding Good Board Members...13 - 15
Video Conferencing for Boards..16 - 17
COVID - 19: Stages of our Lives....18 - 19
Elevator Safety …..……………………20 - 21
Q&A: Budget Season Top Tips...22 - 23
Condominium Education ............. ...23
Advertisers .................................. …24
Social Media Connection ……………...24
Special points of interest
• Next deadline for Newsletter submissions: November 1
• Annual Golf Tournament:
Monday, September 21, 2020
• CCI - London ’ s AGM is Tuesday, September 22, 2020 at 11am. (subject to change)
Stefan Nespoli. P. Eng.
-President of CCI London & Area Chapter.
Our volunteers are the very best. They step up to offer and provide their valuable expertise and time so we can extend our education opportuni- ties via Zoom Meetings to you especially in these times while we continue to be guided by the pub- lic health agencies to keep us all safe. We are so grateful to each and every one of them for their generosity. The most recent event is recapped on page 6.
London & Area Chapter Board of Directors 2019/2020
President Stefan Nespoli, B.A.Sc.,P. Eng
Past President Chris DiPietro, R.I.B. (Ont)
MEMBERSHIP RENEWALS To-date we are pleased to welcome back members who value the benefits of CCI. Thanks so much for your support. You can check out the directory listings online to insure you are included in the 2020/2021 membership. Your can find the directories here. BEFORE YOU GO ANY FURTHER... The information and opinions contained in this publication are brief summaries of complex topics provided by the authors. The Chapter is without liability whatsoever. Readers should always obtain expert advice on their specific situations. For membership and/or advertising information, visit our website or contact the Ad- ministrator directly. Advertisements in this publication do not reflect an endorsement by CCI of any com- pany or product. Members are encouraged to compare rates and ask for references when contracting for goods and services.
Vice President Jennifer Dickenson, BSc (Hons), RCM
Treasurer Michael Watson, CPA, CA, LPA
Secretary Kristi Sargeant-Kerr, LL.B.
Directors Jeffrey Bell, BA (Hons), B.Ed., LL.B. Tony DiPietro
Séan Eglinton, ACCI Laura Glithero, J.D. Victoria Phillips, RCM Tricia Size, R.I.B. (Ont) Lisa Skirten, CIM
Permission to reprint is hereby granted provided:
1. Notice is given to the CCI -London & Area Chapter in writing to ccisw@cci- sw.on.ca; and
2. Proper credit is given as follows:
Administrator Trish Kaplan, CCI (Hon’s)
• “Reprinted from the CCI Review London & Area Chapter, [Year: Issue] All rights reserved”, and;
National Representative Jennifer Dickenson, BSc(Hons),RCM
Articles must be copied in their entirety.
NEWSLETTER DEADLINES Our newsletter is sent out quarterly. Please have the contact person from member cor- porations ensure that our Administrator is provided an updated Board of Directors list- ing, along with their mailing particulars, whenever there is a change and certainly prior to each mailing — no later than the 1st of August, November, March, and June . There is often a change in your board after an annual general meeting. This is a good time for your contact person to send the new board listing to CCI. Please email/ write the Administrator with this information here. You can CC your manager to let them know that you have carried out the task. They will be grateful for your assistance. As well, if the contact person has changed on your Board do email the Administrator — please do not send address or contact person changes to the National Office of CCI or to the Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario (ACMO) for the Condominium MANAGER (CM) magazine. The chapter provides the labels, addressed to the contact person, to a mailing service approximately 6 weeks prior to each mailing and they are responsible for the bulk mailings of the magazine to the members. We do not provide ACMO with our mailing lists.
We thank you in advance for your attention to this message.
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Chapter Communiqué - by Trish Kaplan, Administrator
SPEEDY RECOVERY AND CONDOLENCES
Our relationship with COVID-19 is riddled with anxiety. Every day, we find out there is more that we don’t know about this virus. We depend on public health officials to keep us posted on the most effective guidelines and innovative safety elements to keep us all safe as we continue to plunge into unpredictable natures of the virus. The symptoms can range from being asymptomatic, in which case you may not even be aware you are carrying (and spreading) it, to mild symptoms with a quick recovery, to getting very sick and ending up in the ICU. More recently from studies being carried out all over the world, we are learning of the persistent and more varied symptoms from COVID-19 which would suggest, even to a lay person, that long term effects on our individual health will add to our worry. Notwithstanding immediate diagnoses, we continue to be made aware of patients experiencing ongoing symptoms and complications months later that will affect our health care system going forward. Again, there is so much more that we don’t know about this virus. It is not over yet. We must all dig deep for the patience we all need to achieve the daunting efforts to keep ourselves and those around us safe. The cases in London and area may seem low comparatively speaking, but this contagion is relentless and can change in a minute without the diligence we must all put into it to safeguard ourselves, our families and the wider community. Be safe out there!
Sadly, COVID-19 isn't all we have to deal with. Other unexpected medical concerns that haven’t taken a time-out while we deal with the virus have affected families and communities. For those who are getting through these health challenges, we send our best for a speedy and full recovery. To those who have suffered a loss in your family and community, we are saddened by your loss and we send our sincere condolences and hope that the blessings you share will help you through these tough times.
OTHER COMMUNITY CONCERNS
Weather challenges that may develop into insurance claims, scams that harm so many financially, and more have put some of our members in a spin and rightly so. The stress can be overwhelming, so your kindness to others does make a world of difference and is so appreciated by those on the receiving end.
Heavy rains and winds can cause substantial damage on the properties and within individual units. Being familiar with insurance policies that need to be in place are so important in the event of a claim. Education on insurance requirements and processes to report claims are crucial for boards, owners and tenants to protect themselves and their assets.
FOREWARNED IS FOREARMED
Reports of scams continue to plague us and the results are mind-boggling. It is critical that you do not provide any personal or financial information to anyone you do not know and trust. Despite all of the scam alerts reported on social media, in newspapers, on TV and radio, the impact of fraud is distressingly alarming. From the Canadian Police Association – “if it doesn't feel or sound right, it probably isn't”. Stay vigilant! If you have been a victim of fraud, don’t be embarrassed,. You are not alone. Up-to-date statistics continue to be alarming. Always contact your local police and report each and every one, even if you didn’t endure any losses. Otherwise, please file your report online through the Fraud Reporting System.
Before you make any plans for get-togethers, travel, or otherwise, do review information on the Middlesex London Health Unit, Public Health Ontario and the Public Health Agency of Canada for guidance on best and required habits.
Reopening information can be found here.
We have to maintain our careful attention to physical distancing, reduced community contacts, thorough hygiene practices and stay at home measures. Where necessary, testing, isolation and quarantine may be necessary. More recently, mask requirements have been issued to slow the spread. We have all seen or read about the horrific and painful losses of life that families have had to endure during this period. Don’t be a statistic.
2020/2021 — 1 — 3
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre collects information on fraud and identity theft. They provide information on past and current scams affecting Canadians. If you think you’re a victim of fraud, report it online here. •
matters that affect us all at one time or another. Our broader membership also benefits from the knowledge we share to support their own clients who may need to attend and respond to similar matters.
The membership renewal process was different this year. We took into account the manner in which we could avoid the spread of the virus, so the renewals went via email. Thank you so much to all of you who have been so prompt with your responses and con- tinued support. We truly appreciate it. EFT is avail- able now – transfers can be made to email@example.com. We are especially pleased to receive your greetings letting us know how you are doing through these uncertain times. From ac- counts, we are expanding our horizons and learning new ways to fulfill our responsibilities to the communities and to reach out and touch family and friends. Thank you all.
We are so fortunate to have the awesome contributors to CCI to address the many challenges that arise in the course of doing business. We thank our writers,
To get a sense of the sheer magnitude of the impact of COVID- 19 frauds, as well as the impact of frauds so far this year, please visit here. We have seen an increasing number of quizzes on social media. Cyber security expert Zincir-Heywood who teaches in the computer science department at Dalhousie University, cautions against taking them as while they may look harmless and fun, they can leave you vulnerable to identity theft or fraud. Hackers and scammers can collect, use and profit from the personal information you share. (CBC January 28, 2019)
presenters, instructors for their generosity of advice and recommendations.
We certainly invite Directors and Managers to share information about CCI to those who provide goods and services. They may well appreciate the opportunity to expand the profile of their businesses.
Thanks to all for renewing memberships this year. It is nice to see new directors coming on board and we welcome them all. It is also not surprising to see long-serving directors from the communities being re-elected and returning to work in their communities. May you all go from strength to strength. Where the annual membership form was sent out with the renewal invoice for membership to managers where there is one and to the contact person on board-managed corporations, in some cases, the updated form was not returned with payment. If we don’t hear from you, we will assume that the contact person and listing of the directors remains the same. We so appreciate your assistance in making sure we can be in touch. We appreciate your attention to updating your contact person and board listing to ensure you are
ABOUT THE ARTICLES
Information to assist directors and managers to address the affairs of the condominium corporations is never lacking. The knowledge we gain and are able to impart spans a host of areas and we are grateful to the professional and business partner membership for their time and expertise. The importance of sharing information is never more real than it is now. Directors from condominiums have also been very helpful with their enquiries about information on particular issues they may be encountering in their property. This helps immensely. It provides CCI with opportunities to address specific
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… Chapter Communiqué
receiving our communiqués. Where not everyone wants to receive our emails, it is important that at least one email for the corporation is provided to receive communiqués, If you are receiving our communiqués and would prefer not to please advise the Administrator by email. PROFESSIONALS & BUSINESS PARTNERS New condominium developments are appearing in virtually every area of our city and counties surrounding. It is important for us to connect your businesses with those who are making decisions in the condominium communities, network with other business leaders and share information with other suppliers to the industry. Please feel free to share CCI with your colleagues and others who may benefit from this association.
THE CM MAGAZINE
A video series is being created to share condo- minium topics with you by professionals who serve in our communities. They will be expanded over time. Notification of online availability will be sent to the members through an Email Com- muniqué.
Complimentary copies of the CM Magazine , a publication from the Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario (ACMO), is sent out to all CCI individual, professional and business partner memberships. As well, the contact person on our record for the member condominium corporations will receive a bulk mailing equal to the number of directors on the board to be distributed to their colleagues. CCI is responsible to provide the labels to the distribution company from the updated membership listings – therefore, it is important that we are notified whenever there is a change on the board and we receive those changes with thanks.
2020/2021 - 1 — 5
CCI Review Has Gone Digital
As you know, CCI is a non-profit organization. Funding for the organization mate- rializes from membership fees, advertising, sponsorships, and participation at events. COVID- 19 has put a definite and abrupt dent into this year’s budget plans. In order for us to follow health guidelines to insure that our members remain safe, postponements were put into place and new plans promptly organized so we could proceed to share while maintaining our budget goals. While going digital was in our strategic planning for the future, COVID-19 brought that forward very quickly, not only to meet the funding portion of printing and mailing but also to minimize the possibility of spreading the virus. Once we have finalized each edition of the CCI Review , the Administrator will send out an email Communique to all members, along with the link. The benefit to an online version of our newsletter, includes our ability to expand on the number of articles we share. We appreciate your under- standing in this new venture.
September 22 nd, 2020
We are all being chal- lenged with coming up with a plan of action rela- tive to meeting dates and whether we will be able to do it in-person or via so- cial media. For condominium corpo- rations: On May 12 th , 2020, the Government of Ontario passed Bill 190 which amended the Condo- minium Act, 1998 with a number of temporary , province-wide, changes to help condominium com- munities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please visit the Condomin- ium Authority of Ontario for more information and updates. We will continue to follow guidelines put out by the Middlesex-London Public Health Unit relative to in- person meetings and noti- fy our members with in- formation on the process we will follow, all the while protecting our friends in the condomini- um communities.
We were thankful to revisit and produce the presentation on “Reserve Fund Studies, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” on July 21 st , 2020 (postponed from March when we went into lock- down). It was an excellent and well organized event.
The Moderator Stefan Nespoli, P. Eng., Edison Engineers Inc.
Monitoring the Chat Section Jennifer Dickenson, BSc (Hons), RCM, Dickenson Condo Management
The Panel Laura Glithero, JD, Partner, Cohen Highley LLP
Séan Eglinton, ACCI, Condominium Manager, Thorne Property Management Ltd.
Joe McGowan, P. Eng., Project Manager, Edison Engineers Inc.
Time and again we also applaud and thank the awesome generosity of our business members who assist with financing all that we do to share with you. Thanks to our sponsors for their generosity to this July 21 st event. We also thank all those who RSVP’d in advance to “attend” the event. We realize the time commitment you are making for the benefit of your communities and businesses. We certainly appreciate your dedication to the responsibilities you assumed to make your communities stronger.
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We have scheduled our event dates for the year so now you can mark them on your calendars; however, the manner in which we will present remains a mystery at this time and will depend on the public health guidelines. We will advise you in advance via Email of the specifics. The Education Committee will continue to monitor and share more information by a Communiqué and on social media.
While we continue to pro- vide our events via Zoom, please note that the notice to Join Zoom Meeting is shared by the Administra- tor via email to those who have RSVP’d in advance of the event. This email notice goes out closer to the date of the event. It would appear that a small number of those who did RSVP may have missed the email that was sent out, or perhaps it was de- livered into a SPAM or Junk mail folder instead of the Inbox. Please check these folders regularly to make sure any messages from us are not hiding out there.
September 22 nd
Annual General Meeting, followed by Presentation
Note: The 2-day Condominium Course will be postponed at this time. We will revisit later in the year with a view to presenting it in the Spring. We appreciate your understanding and patience. We want to keep you safe.
December 1 st
Lunch & Learn
We appreciate all the sponsors of these events. If you have an interest in championing our events and at the same time profiling your company in the marketing of the event to our membership, on our website and social media, you can find the form on our website here. Other forms for advertising opportunities are located here as well. We thank you in advance for your generosity.
We are always pleased to welcome new members to our CCI family. The continu- ing growth in condominium development demonstrates the genuine need for ex- pansion in education and specialty professions that can provide the goods and services in our community. As new members join us, updates on the online Profes- sional Service and Trades Directory will be made. Please visit it for contact information for new and returning businesses; and check out the Condominium Corporation membership listing to ensure you are included.
Professional and Business Partners Condominium/Property Management
Nicole Heuvel, Parkside Property Management Ltd. Steve Quast, Parkside Property Management Ltd. Ian Carter, The Tricar Group Inc. Jody McKee, Plymouth Property Management
Condominium Financial, Jim Wallace
Property Restoration Services
Lubnow Restoration Inc., Scott Wain
London Condominium Corporation #9 Middlesex Condominium Corporation No. 109 Middlesex Condominium Corporation No. 171 Middlesex Condominium Corporation No. 280 Middlesex Condominium Corporation No. 650
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Code of Conduct for Owners—Is there one? - by Trish Kaplan, CCI (Hons), Administrator
its employees, without exception. Problem solving, conflict resolution and decision making are spelled out with the process they apply. A condominium corporation is a business. Every owner is a shareholder in the corporation. The success in this business case where owners have made
The question is not new and is usually asked relative to a behavioral characteristic. The quick response could be as easy and familiar as everyone should “treat others as you would have them treat you”. It encompasses the code of behaviour all individuals should strive to live by. It is possible though that this characteristic has been misplaced with all the rhetoric and vile discourse that has sadly become a norm on so much that we overhear and see. Most of us have experienced unexpected and even hateful forms of conduct at least once in our lives. How we react to it can determine whether it escalates. It is important to recognize that everyone you meet could be fighting a battle you know nothing about, that can ultimately affect their behaviour. Likewise, at least once in our own lives, our own inner demons may have affected our behaviour negatively and to our regret. Tip 1: When confronted with disrespectful behaviour, don’t engage, leave it until such time as the nature of the rift can be tempered. Tip 2: Don’t reward bad behaviour or it will be repeated and can escalate. Empathy and kindness can never go wrong and can transform another’s dark moment. Be the reason another can smile. They see a smile in person and in your voice. Very briefly, in business, a code of conduct is unique to the organization it represents. It reflects the organization’s daily operations, core values, its overall company culture and vision. While businesses do share certain characteristics, it is important they develop norms that create equality, positive and respectful communication among staff and clients, and an overall acceptably decent behaviour for all of
a substantial investment in the community is dependent upon
everyone doing the right thing with integrity and respect and all of the characteristics of a good business. A code of conduct in both cases is meant to complement relevant standards, policies and rules, not to substitute for them. Every owner has responsibilities to the corporation and the community, including toward the safety, growth and attraction of the property not only to protect their own investment for the future, but also to insure favourable responses from prospective buyers to the community. Owners are responsible to elect a Board of Directors to manage the affairs of the corporation. Presumably, owners will elect persons who possess obvious best interests in their community, play by the rules, conduct themselves competently, and have some experience in matters of business that will satisfy the members of the community that they are selecting directors wisely to carry out the very important tasks to protect the assets of the corporation. Directors elected to the board must understand they are part of a team to make decisions that will benefit the entire community and not any one owner. An owner will not always agree with the decisions of the board and it is their right to differ, but points can and should be made in a respectful manner. Boards will depend on professional expertise where there is conflicting
Trish Kaplan , CCI (Hon’s) is currently the chapter’s Administrator; however, she has served as a condominium director, manager and on the CCI Board of Directors as she studied and worked in the condominium arena. She was awarded the Distinguished Service Award at the CCI National Awards event in November 2006.
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… Code of Conduct for Owners
understanding of a project or policy.
have offered their assistance in managing the corporation. That isn’t always easy for some. New directors can share strengths, which may be different from past directors. They can also be very effective. New isn’t bad! The objective of a board is to benefit and advance the corporation in every way they can and for the benefit of all. It is not without some logic that former directors may be called upon to offer an opinion by a new board to offer some historical perspective or background that may benefit the board in their deliberations. History can be constructive to new members of the board at times. The changes in the Condominium Act, 1998 will continue. Directors coming on board for the first time will bring new attitudes and perspectives that can be helpful to the future of our investments. “You never know when a moment and a few sincere words can have an impact on a life” – Zig Ziglar Proficient and respectful communication and language for in-person conversation or script for letter communication on any issue that might otherwise be contentious is significant. Properly worded in the framework of mutual respect, trust, safety and well- being in the relationships within the community is vital. It can be significant for boards to have master letters that subscribe to respectful and helpful communication in the community where the matter at hand can be articulated within the wording.
Many boards have elected to comply with a Code of Ethics as developed by CCI and respected by corporation owners. How can everyone share in the corporation’s vison? A first step to being a good owner and director is the careful review of the governing documents. It is important for everyone to know and understand that there are rules and regulations, standards and responsibilities. The old adage of “ buy a condominium and you don’t have to do anything” was a myth and is still an active one. The governing documents will give everyone equal insight as to their responsibilities and standing as a shareholder. Under certain conditions, changes to the corporation’s governing documents can occur. The appropriate legal counsel must be included in the process as there is legislation that needs to be included with every decision. Owners who volunteer to serve the community as directors are to be commended. As in business, there is much to learn and comply with. It is not a position without some peril. Directors in board-managed corporations are more exposed to clashes with owners as they are on the front line. This can make “being neighbourly” more difficult. It is important that owners understand that directors should be able to enjoy their homes in the same manner as they do. Everyone should respect and follow the defined channels of communication to report to the board. Decisions are made by the majority of the board at Board Meetings and not by any individual director who is out enjoying the property. This should be abundantly clear and adhered to. It is not so different where the corporation has professional management, however, the manager is more often on the receiving end of those clashes and conceivably better equipped to conduct such difficult exchanges in a manner that doesn’t create conflict among neighbours. We all aspire to harmony where we live and we all have to work together towards just that. Once directors complete their term of office (usually a 3-year term), they have earned a break and should be happy to hand over the reigns to new directors who
“What a Wonderful World” – by Louis Armstrong
This song reminds us that good things can happen even though the sound bites don’t always reflect that. Look for and discover those good things in your community to appreciate and learn what we seek – goodwill and harmony. A condominium community is a team effort – owners and residents, directors, condominium manager and the folks who provide goods and services are all part of an awesome team. The conduct of everyone involved will distinguish your community as one to be proud of. Each of us can make a positive impact on another’s day by being kind and bringing sunshine into other lives. — TK
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Borrowing by Condominium Corporations: How Does It Work? - by Jim Wallace
What are the challenges with the Special Assessment model? There is a strong possibility that a portion of the owners are unable to obtain the funds within the timelines of the Special Assessment, as the owners may not be approved for additional loans or funds from their financial institutions. This in turn could negatively impact the ability of the Condo Board to sign the repair contract as the full amount of funds are not then readily available to cover the repair costs. This is one of the benefits to borrowing through the Condominium Corporation as it offers immediate relief for Condo Boards and owners alike, by alleviating the anxiety of owners who cannot raise the funds and taking the stress away from the Condo Boards needing the repair work to be completed. Many owners can come up with their Special Assessment by their own means, but how many would prefer to use a condo loan if it was available? The following is an account of one of the Condominium Corporations I had an experience with to illustrate how the condo loan process can work. I will be using first person terminology for comprehension purposes only and in no way intend for this to be taken as marketing or advertisement. I believe that sharing this example will help explain the steps involved in the borrowing option and sincerely hope it will assist you if you encounter this issue in the future. In 2018 I began working with a Condominium Corporation where the owners were facing a Special Assessment in excess of $20,000 per unit to repair their common property.
The purpose of this article is to provide a basic overview of how Condominium Corporations can use powers granted to them to borrow funds on behalf of the owners. This article will give as much information as can be packed into it; but will not be able to answer every potential question the reader may have.
Jim Wallace is a highly respect- ed member of the Canadian condominium industry. In 2009, Jim created Condominium Fi- nancial Inc. Jim also is a mem- ber of the Canadian Condomin- ium Institute Northern Alberta Chapter. As a member of CCI NAC, Jim represents the insti- tute at a variety of functions and events helping to provide edu- cation through seminars, lec- tures, presentations and con- ventions enhancing the devel- opment and understanding of the condominium industry.
The first question generally asked is
“Why would the condominium need or want to borrow?” The response may sound familiar to you; “repairs are needed to the common property and there is not enough in the reserve fund to cover the costs”. This response is true if the Condominium Corporation is an older property needing repairs for wear & tear and upgrading; or if it is a newer property that may need to correct construction deficiencies; or if the property is any age and situation in between. Condo Boards are required by law to repair common elements on the property when necessary and cannot refrain from completing necessary repairs or absolve themselves of a difficult decision by deferring the repairs to a later date. This means they need to have the money to pay for the needed repairs in their reserve fund or acquire the amount needed if they currently do not have the money. Historically, Condo Boards, and the Condominium Managers that help
them, have only had one option available to them, this being the
Special Assessment model where each owner is responsible for paying their share of the funds required with a due- date for the payments to be made.
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… Borrowing by Condo Corporations
Although the Condominium Corporation had been diligent in managing their reserve fund, it is not always possible to project the exact costs associated with repairing the common property until the time comes to actually do it. When the board released the Special Assessment to the owners, naturally there were many questions and uncertainty about how the individuals would be able to raise the funds to complete the needed repairs. I was contacted by a board member who was hopeful for a viable solution to their problem and what could be done for their owners. I met with this board and explained the borrowing option:
Condominium Corporation, and after carefully deliberating & discussing the issue, determined to initiate the first stage of the loan process which is getting proposals from multiple lenders. These proposals are based on a review of all the Condominium Corporation documents, such as the financials, bylaws, minutes, budget, reserve fund study, just to name a few. I explained that they did not need to have an exact dollar amount for the repairs to start the loan process as they could obtain the proposals with an estimated repair amount. This can save valuable time for the Condo Board and reduce the risk of delaying too long to start the condo loan applications while waiting for that exact dollar amount. Many other things can be done simultaneously during the loan process such as; • Getting scope & specs from an Engineer for repairs and proceeding with tenders from contractors;
• Answered the many Frequently Asked Questions;
• Discussed the positive and negative aspects of this alternative; and how it could affect the owners; I described how the loan would be obtained and what decisions the Board would need to make to get it. I gave the assurance that I would work with the board throughout the process from start to finish to help answer any questions or address any concerns they may come across. Some particular points of interest to the board about a condo loan was that; • All the required funds could be borrowed to cover the entire amount of repairs without having to remove money from the reserve fund; • There is no lien registered against an owner’s unit because of the loan; • An owner’s condo fees would not be raised because of the loan; • Owners were given an opt-in or opt-out choice on participating in the loan; • In the future, if the current owner sells their unit, the loan can be automatically transferred to the new owner; • All owners were automatically qualified for the loan if they chose to opt-in; The Board had all the information that enabled them to decide if this was a potential option for their
Having an owners’ information meeting;
• Proceeding with a vote on a borrowing bylaw at the owners’ information meeting; • It is not required to finish one of these tasks before starting the next, the optimum result is to have the loan approved and the repair contractor ready to go at the same time; The importance of a proposal is that it outlines the parameters of the loan with key points such as: • Amount of loan asked for and how the loan money will be transferred to the condo; • Interest rate, length of term & amortization, monthly payments, renewal information; • Any loan conditions, clauses, restrictions and legal wording; Once these parameters are known for each lender proposal, the Board can decide on their choice of a lender and provide that choice and all the information related to the condo loan to the owners at an information meeting. At this meeting owners would be able to ask any questions they have on the condo loan process & vote on the Condominium Corporation borrowing bylaw agreeing to the loan.
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… Borrowing by Condo Corporations It is important for Board Members to know that proposals from different lenders will not always have the same parameters. When choosing a proposal, ensure you are aware of the differences and how those parameters interact with the specific circumstances or requirements of your condominium. It would be appropriate for boards to include their Reserve Fund Study Planner in the process of securing a loan and updating the Reserve Fund Study at the same time, even if it is outside of the requirement for a study to be updated. I met with the board again to share the proposals and to answer any further questions they may have on any of the proposals or the process. The Condo Board affirmed that the loan was a viable solution for their situation, chose a lender, brought the proposal and the borrowing bylaw forward to the information meeting for the owners to vote on and the loan was ratified. The Condo Board then proceeded with the commitment from the lender and legal loan documents were then transferred to the Condominium Corporations lawyer for preparation and signing by the Condo Board. Once all documents were completed and verified the funds were ready for dispersal. The Condo Board was impressed with the ease of the loan process and the quick turnaround time in which they were able to have the funds released to begin
repairs. Overall, the Board felt that borrowing was not as complex and difficult as they had envisioned or expected. In conclusion, here are a few other observations to consider; A major hurdle facing a Condo Board or their Condominium Manager in finding a borrowing solution for the Condominium Corporation is they discover that many banks or financial institutions in Canada are unwilling or unable to provide this lending due to the simple fact that common property cannot be put up as collateral. Lending to Condominium Corporations is a very specialized market and there are only a small number of institutions in the whole country that know how to do it and are willing to do it. Condominium Corporation loans can be a beneficial and workable resource for Condo Boards and Owners, who are faced with the difficult reality of Special Assessments when the reserve fund does not have the adequate amounts necessary to cover repair costs. Condo Boards and Owners want a solution that is easy to understand, easy to use and maintains or increases the equity value of their homes and the borrowing option can help produce that result. I hope that this article has been helpful & educational for you and I thank you for your time in reading it. — JW
THE CCI 9 TH ANNUAL GOLF TOURNAMENT IS ON – Sept 21 st , 2020
The Times They Are A- Changin’ Don’t delay! We are excited to be able to meet you at the Pine Knot Golf and Country Club.
FORMS for Player/Team Sign-up and Sponsorship opportunities can be found here
As you know, public health guidelines will be in place. Closer to the event team contact per- sons and sponsors will receive notice of those guidelines as well as other information in place at the time. In order for you to plan your timing though – the Shotgun start is at 11:00 a.m. The golf course has asked that golfers do not show up any earlier than 30 minutes be- fore the shotgun time. More to come!
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Finding and Recruiting Good Board Members - by Laura Glithero, JD, Director and Stephanie Sutherland, LL.B., ACCI
Condominium corporations are operated by volunteer board members. While self-managed boards clearly require committed and engaged board members, even professionally managed condo corporations rely on individuals to selflessly volunteer their time and energy to properly operate the corporation’s property for the benefit of the entire community. Anyone who has attended an owners’ meeting or AGM that I have appeared at knows that I always say that being a volunteer board member is a thankless job that is often unrecognized and underappreciated. Even in normal times, serving on the board is challenging and often forces people to make unpopular decisions. The current pandemic has proven to be an exceptional challenge for condominium communities. From CCI-London and Area, our board would like to thank all of the directors for their hard work over the last several months. It really has been an exceptional time and the efforts you have put forth have been noticed and appreciated by all of us working in the condo industry. Board members are elected for a specified term, and are not expected, nor should they, be on the board “forever”. All board members have competing demands and may eventually feel that they are ready to move on from their positions. The question becomes: What is a corporation to do when a director leaves and no one is interested in taking their place? Here are 10 tips to think about when considering recruitment and succession planning for condo
1. Plan ahead. Don’t make the mistake of waiting until a current board member has announced their intention to not stand for re- election. It takes time to find and recruit committed and engaged individuals. An ideal candidate may not volunteer without encouragement or put their name forward because they do not know what is involved. If you wait for individuals to notify you after the preliminary notice of meeting or to raise their hands at the AGM, you may be left with vacant positions on the board. 2. Think carefully about your ideal candidates. Carefully consider the skills you require and think about the skills that are currently lacking at the board level. Start compiling names and thinking about potential candidates well in advance of when a position will be vacant. This will give you time to approach the individuals about a future opportunity, so that they are ready when a position becomes vacant or an election is called. 3. Diversity is key. A room full of people with similar backgrounds, education and careers may come up with great ideas but frequently those ideas are similar and/or not represent the community at large. Engaging people with different education, careers, connections, and life experiences will make for a lively board with varying opinions where the best ideas will flourish.
Laura Glithero , JD is a partner with Cohen Highley LLP in Lon- don. She has extensive experience in condominium law and acts for many property managers and con- do corporations. She also practices administrative law, landlord and tenant matters, provides practical advice to businesses about imple- menting the Accessibility for On- tarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). She was elected to the CCI Board in 2016. . Stephanie Sutherland is an associate in our Kitchener Of- fice. Cohen Highley LLP has offices in London, Kitchener, Chatham, Sarnia and Stratford. Laura and Stephanie provide risk management and regulatory compliance advice to condo- minium corporations, unit own- ers, and property management companies.
4. Be honest about the
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… Finding and Recruiting Good Board Members
commitment. Be upfront about how much time and work commitment will be required. New board members will not be appreciative if they are told there will be little commitment, but are subsequently asked to attend numerous meetings and get dozens of e-mails a week. Thinking honestly about the time commitment also provides boards with a good opportunity to reflect upon the level of work that is required of volunteer directors: is the corporation being reasonable in its requests of directors? Are appropriate processes in place to ensure that the time commitment is reasonable? Is there a better way to handle communication with owners or communications between board meetings? 5. Highlight Education. Board members are required to take mandatory on-line training courses and have opportunities to self-educate. Do not relay this as being onerous or a burden, but rather as beneficial. Board members need to understand the responsibilities of condominium boards and their
role in the management of a corporation. Without appropriate and ongoing education, mistakes can be made, and some mistakes can prove to be very costly, simply because the board did not know better or were not up-to-date with current legislation. Highlighting the education and supports available to board members can be useful so that potential board members do not feel like they are unqualified because they have not yet taken the training. 6. Match interests and needs. Strike a balance between people who are passionate about the community and the needs of your board. It is important to have board members who are active in the community, but you may also want to look at board members with professional experience that is relevant: engineering, accounting, project management, human resource management skills, and so on. A good way to look at it is, a board is managing a business. Experience and expertise is required.
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… Finding and Recruiting Good Board Members
7. A well-known candidate is not always the best choice. An individual who is well-known in the community or who is a personal friend of an existing director, while possibly a great addition to your board, may not always be a good fit. Candidates who can make a commitment will serve you better than a person who wants to help but is too busy to come to meetings or follow-up on action items. 8. Think about potential conflicts of interest. A conflict of interest does not disqualify a candidate but candidates must disclose conflicts of interests to owners. It is unfair to ask someone to sit on your board if the potential exists for him or her to be in a conflict of interest and place the board in a position where the board frequently loses quorum and cannot make a decision. For example, if spouses are both board members of a three-person board and they want to alter their unit, they are both in a conflict of interest with respect to the proposed contract (the alteration agreement) and the board does not have a quorum to make a decision to approve the alteration and sign the agreement.
9. It’s all in the attitude. Be positive when you approach potential board members. After all, you are not just asking them for a favour – a well-run corporation is an asset to all owners! 10. Personal requests work best. General calls for board members might generate some interest, but the best boards go after the future candidates they want and personally ASK them to participate. Ultimately, a functional and well-managed corporation is what all unit owners want. Even the best condo managers rely on board members to provide direction and make decisions. Without good board members, condo corporations can face serious governance and compliance issues which can have a direct impact on property values. All condo corporations, but especially self-managed corporations, need to always be thinking about recruitment and succession planning. - LG, SS Sources: http://communitysector.nl.ca/voluntary- sector-resources/board-development/tips-recruiting -board-members
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Leveraging Video Conferencing as a Value Tool for Condo Board Governance - by Alexander Ramirez
context where all that is required to avoid using this option for a board meeting is for one director to oppose the proposition. As a result, teleconferencing or video conferencing for board meetings would hardly ever be exercised. The overwhelming vast majority of board directors were accustomed to, and more comfortable with, the traditional structure of in-person board meetings. Many things could have contributed to this resistance to virtual board meetings: the fear of the unknown, a preference to the traditional way of doing things (don’t fix what is not broken), and perhaps the burden of time to learn new skills/technologies when condo directors already have their time spread thin with mounting responsibilities. For the argument of efficiency, it all boils down to time. Which method will ultimately save more time? The pandemic unilaterally forced condo boards to adapt to virtual meetings, whether they liked it or not, with some positives emerging as a result. One is a recognition that video conferencing has enabled meetings to be less adversarial. Because directors are in the comfort of their own homes, or their own comfortable space, this has eliminated the adversarial (and at times) toxic interactions that would take place at in-person board meetings. Another growing recognition is the ability to be more flexible with meeting times. Since directors could join in their meeting with an internet connection from any given location, the ability for boards to meet during alternative times throughout the day; not just the evenings, has presented a tremendous opportunity for condo boards and property management to
Should condo boards continue to use video conferencing after emergency orders are lifted? The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about unprecedented changes to all aspects of everyday life around the world. Among these changes, perhaps the most widely adopted behaviour has been the necessity to adapt our interpersonal communication with one another through video conferencing, both in our professional and personal lives. The use of video conferencing is not new to the world; it has been utilized for decades now. However, it is the mass adoption of this technology across the globe at once; quite literally, which has placed tremendous implications in the world of work, and the economy as a whole. Work-From- Home policies are beginning to have significant implications on commercial and residential real estate value in urban centres; directly impacting the condo real estate world. From a governance point of view, debate continues as to whether in- person meetings vs. video conferencing meetings are more efficient. This debate can be best exemplified in the condo governance landscape. Section 35 sub-section (5) of the Ontario Condo Act outlines the provisions for meetings of directors, specifically dealing with teleconferencing and/or video conferencing options. Due to the way in which this particular law is written; requiring a by-law and unanimous consent of all directors in order to exercise teleconferencing or video conferencing, it created the
Alexander Ramirez holds a Combined Honors Degree in Political Science and Labor Studies from McMaster University with specializations including Administrative Govern- ance, along with a Post- Graduate Certificate in Dispute Resolution from York University and CCI's Condo Governance certi- fication. Born and raised in a condo community and attending AGMs since he was 14 years old, Alexan- der specializes in multi- party consensus decision- making and provides his customized and proven methodologies for direc- tors and boards in condo communities. Alex is a member of the CCI- Toronto Chapter and can be reached at solu- firstname.lastname@example.org
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