QUEEN’S PARK — NDP Housing critic and University–Rosedale MPP Jessica Bell has introduced legislation to expand the jurisdiction of the province's Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT), so that condo residents have a place to turn for issues like unfair condo fees or negligent building maintenance.
The bill goes to second reading on March 7.
"Ontario's 1.3 million condo residents deserve to live in safe, well-maintained homes," said Bell. "The failure of the Ford government to properly regulate Ontario's condo sector means that currently, residents have nowhere to go but court with problems like unfair condo rules, poor maintenance of common spaces, or conflicts of interest with condo board governance.
"No resident should have to spend thousands of dollars taking a developer to court just to get an issue like a common room repaired. This bill gives them another place to turn.”
Bell discussed her bill at a press conference Friday. She was joined by NDP MPP Tom Rakocevic, critic for Consumer Protection, and condo owners living without heat and other amenities, and fighting unfair maintenance fees.
In 2020, Ontario's Auditor General released a damning report of the province's condo sector, calling for legal and regulatory changes including expanding the reach of CAT. Since her report, the Public Accounts Committee has provided a clear roadmap for what the Ontario government should be doing to strengthen government oversight over the condo sector. Bell's motion would authorize CAT to adjudicate common complaints related to condo board governance, fees, repairs in common areas, short-term rentals, and reserve funds.
"The jurisdiction of the Condo Tribunal must be expanded so condo residents have a fast, affordable and fair way to have their concerns heard and addressed, without spending thousands of dollars and years of their life stuck in court," Bell said.
"For three years, we have been living in a construction zone. Amenities that were promised to us are still not built. Those that are built, go down for months with no progress. We have a faulty fire alarm system. Something is very wrong here. We feel powerless. And we cannot allow it to continue. We deserve the right to enjoy the home we paid for."
"We are left feeling unsafe, and uncared for in our own homes. We are asking for basic rights of dignity, and security. I have written repeated letters to management which have gone unanswered. I am shocked to find how little accountability condo managers and boards have to residents, when they are managing impressive heaps of our monthly maintenance fees."
"I strongly believe that Tribunal jurisdiction be expanded. Almost all the issues related to the compliance with the condo acts must be handled by the Tribunal. As it stands, condo owners in Ontario are completely unprotected. We had to hire a lawyer and pay more than $110 thousand in legal fees just to have an AGM."