When condos go bad

Fascinating story reported by the CBC today about a derelict condo building in one of Toronto’s less fashionable neighbourhoods.

As much as $9 million of debt plus a rapidly deteriorating structure have caught up to York Condominium Corporation No. 82, which runs the 321-unit building in the Jane and Finch neighbourhood. And last week, an Ontario Superior Court judge cited an engineering report that found repairs needed in the 10-storey building over the next year would cost more than $14 million.

Like all condominium corporations, this one is overseen by a small group of owners elected to a board of directors. They have the power under Ontario’s Condominium Act to require all owners to pay for common expenses, no matter the price tag.

So that’s what they did.

On Sept. 2, the corporation sent letters to all owners informing them they had 15 days to pay a special assessment ranging from $30,000 to $42,500 per unit depending on its size — on top of monthly maintenance fees of about $800.

The total $11.2 million raised would be used to repay loans and chip away at a list of 70 repairs ranging from replacing plumbing to upgrading elevators to restoring the party room that’s been shuttered for the past 15 years, the letter said.

Apparently the total bill for repairs will be over $14 million. It’s a story that made me think of the collapse of the condo building in Surfside, Florida last year. It doesn’t sound like there’s any solution to a problem this large. What really shocked me though is that the resident they interviewed was paying a whopping $900 a month in condo fees to live in a “dangerous and dilapidated” building. This is insane, and highlights how poor people in bad situations can’t get ahead.

Meanwhile, residents, many of them seniors, are protesting the special assessment. But as at Surfside, this is pretty much their only option. You can blame lots of people for letting things get to this point, but they’ve made their bed and are going to have to lie, or die, in it.

5 thoughts on “When condos go bad

    • They’re stuck in a very bad place (both literally and figuratively). But it sounds like the building has needed major work done for a while and, of course, nobody wanted to pay for it. So things just got worse. I don’t think there’s anything they can do now. It would probably cost more to fix the building than it’s worth.

      Those condo fees though are mad, especially for what sounds like a pit.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We don’t have condos but do have flats (apartments) you can buy that are run by management companies, same sort of thing. I bought one 30yrs ago and the management company were useless, just money grabbers really.

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      • I live in a condo development, but it’s townhouses not apartments. I wouldn’t want to live in an apartment building. Because we’re small it’s also easier to run and our board (made up of owners) is terrific. Management companies really are money grabbers. A year or two ago their fees jumped up like crazy across the board. We have a cheap one and I guess they do an OK job negotiating with the various contractors, but we’re always wondering if we’d be better off without them.

        Liked by 1 person

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