Q: Our rental condo property recently sustained significant water damage due to a burst hot water pipe. What steps should I take to ensure my unit gets repaired to its pre-damage condition? Should I get my own contractor to assess necessary repairs and compare it to the board or insurance company's assessment? I was told that the board has to decide whether to claim insurance or use the reserve fund.
A: First, I do not understand how they can possibly use reserve fund money for a potential insurance loss. I find that hard to believe. Perhaps you misheard them. Further, under the Condominium Property Act, the condominium corporation is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the common property, so it makes sense for the corporation to repair the common property after an insurance claim, but what about repairing damage to a unit? The unit is owned by an individual owner and not the corporation.
The condominium corporation may have no legal authority to repair a unit or the improvements to the unit after an insurance claim, and the board may not want to become involved in repairing the units to the satisfaction of the individual owners. Additionally, some owners prefer to be in charge of repairs to their units after a loss to make sure that the work is done to their satisfaction.
Helpful Hint: When the condominium corporation and the affected owner communicate with one another, outstanding issues can more easily be resolved.
Q: I own a condo unit that comes with an underground parking stall. For the past six months, I have had issues with my garage remote. All of the remotes were replaced in 2009 without cost to the owners, but mine does not work properly. The property manager is ignoring me.
A: First, you need to determine whether the remote is your responsibility or the condominium corporation's responsibility. If it is your responsibility, then just get it fixed by a professional and incur the cost yourself. If it is the responsibility of the condominium corporation, then your inconvenience needs to be addressed.
Helpful Hint: Again, communication can solve the problem.
Q: We are an eight-unit condominium whose entire board has just resigned. We have sent notices to every owner requesting their presence at a meeting and the response has been very negative. What happens if we do not elect a board?
A: First, every condominium corporation must have a board. A board speaks for the condominium corporation. Without a board, no one speaks for the condominium corporation, and therefore the condominium corporation will be unable to negotiate any contracts or deal with any issues. This is a disaster for you and the other owners! In fact, I would suggest that if you do not get this issue resolved quickly, the value of your units will be negatively impacted.
Finally, if a board cannot be elected, then I would strongly suggest that an owner or a group of owners retain the services of a lawyer to make the necessary application in court to have an administrator appointed so that someone can operate the condominium corporation. This will come at a high cost to the condominium corporation and therefore individual owners (i.e., higher condo fees to pay for all of this).
Helpful Hint: The thought of owners resigning en masse and then having no one else interested in the condominium corporation is an absolute disgrace, and makes no sense for anyone having an ownership position.
Q: Our condo bylaws clearly state that draft minutes of a board meeting are to be sent to each owner or resident within 10 days of that meeting. At the following meeting, they will be checked for any errors or omissions, corrected, and then approved. Our new condominium manager seems to have taken over the care of the board meeting minutes and will not send out draft minutes, but insists that approval and distribution of the minutes must wait for approval at the following board meeting. This can take a while, as the board usually meets every two months. The last minutes we received were from November 2014, even though there have been several board meetings and an AGM since then. In view of the above disregard of our bylaws, what recourse do we have?
A: If the board is not following the bylaws of the condominium corporation, then an owner or group of owners should hire a lawyer to assist them in bringing an application in court alleging improper conduct on the part of the board. If, in fact, it can be established that the board failed to follow the bylaws, then the court may grant any order it deems necessary to ensure that the board follows the bylaws. If you are not interested in the court process, then I would suggest that you call an Extraordinary General Meeting. If your bylaws allow for this, have every board member removed from the board and elect a new board that will follow the bylaws.
Helpful Hint: The onus will be on the owners to deal with this problem. There is no condominium police that will come to your rescue.
Q: What are the board president's rights with respect to voting and other actions? Our president votes, makes motions and runs the meeting.
A: First, the chair of a meeting has every right to make or second a motion. I would need to review your bylaws to determine whether or not the president or chair's right to make motions is limited in any way. It would appear as though you have a strong president.
Helpful Hint: A lot of times these issues are raised not because of a legal concern but rather due to a personality conflict.
Originally published by The Edmonton Journal.
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