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Things to know about condominium ownership in Ontario

Condominium ownership comes with many benefits. It also comes with rules and regulations that govern everything from maintaining your unit and how much your condominium fees will be every month to what type (if any) pets you can have.

As a condo owner, knowing some of the ins and outs of condo governance may help you to become more aware of your rights. It may also help you to make a decision on whether or not condo life is suited to you before you purchase a unit.

The dynamics of contesting a will

Wills are an important part of the estate planning equation, and they are intended to allow for a smooth transition as one's final wishes are preserved. However, there are times when you may feel that some of the provisions in a will are not legally justified - so much so, that you may actually want to contest or challenge the will.

Communication is an important part of estate planning and the creation of a will, but many individuals take the process for granted because of how well they may assume they know their loved ones. So, often the first time you see what's in a loved one's will is after his or her passing. The hurt you feel may just add to your grief over losing someone you love, and you might start questioning several aspects related to the creation of the will.

Eli M. Udell Joins Merovitz Potechin LLP Partnership

Merovitz Potechin LLP is proud to announce that Eli M. Udell has joined the partnership effective January 1, 2018.

Eli has been practicing real estate and development law for over ten years, and has been part of the experienced team at Merovitz Potechin LLP since 2012. Over the years, Eli's practice has expanded to include commercial acquisitions, sales and re-finance transactions, residential and condominium development work, and land titles conversion registrations.

"Summary Judgment and Evidence of 'Material Change' - Hepburn v AlarmForce"

In a recent case, Hepburn v AlarmForce, 2017 ONSC 6012 ("Hepburn"), the Ontario Superior Court of Justice considered the circumstances in which a "material change" may trigger the disclosure obligation in a renewal of, or extension to, an existing franchise agreement. The decision also addressed the evidentiary considerations engaged in the context of a motion for summary judgment.

Vaughan lawmakers change real estate terms for new development

Clear definitions of property types are important for any new development. For example, detached houses and commercial properties have different regulations by which they must abide. In Vaughan, Ontario, city regulators are making a change to which properties fall under condominium law. While the term "condominium" traditionally refers to a unit in shared building, the GTA is introducing the concept of a detached home condo in order to encourage real estate development.

The concept of a detached home condo was approved by staff and city councillors as a means of approving a new housing project in the historic village of Kleinburg. Residents are concerned that the redefining of "condo" will set a precedent that will allow more developers to build projects that impact the historic area. The controversial move has been actively opposed by dozens of residents.

Business law increasing minimum wage will start January 1

Businesses always need to stay aware of changing legislation which may affect their operations. Ontario owners have a big update coming on January 1, 2018, when minimum wage increases to $14 per hour. The new business law will be accompanied by further labour reforms, including a corporate tax cut for small businesses and an increase in emergency leave entitlements.

Like many business law changes, the sweeping reforms are controversial in Ontario. Labour advocates and workers polled by the government approve increasing minimum wage, while businesses group analyses suggest that it may lead to a decrease in jobs. Part of the concern comes from the short time frame the government has provided for a relatively large increase. The minimum wage is currently $11.60 in the province.

Are online auctions the future of Ontario real estate sales?

The Internet has changed the way that many Canadians buy and sell real estate. But would an eBay style auction for homes ever be adopted by Ontario residents? One Vaughan real estate brokerage is hoping their online auction platform will increase transparency and fetch the highest price for properties.

The platform gives clients the option to list real estate on the brokerage's website with a countdown. Once the auction goes live, potential buyers can view the house and details of a home inspection before placing a bid. Sellers will be able to set "reserve" prices to ensure they receive a minimum amount for the property.

Online tribunal may help with some condominium law disputes

With over 10,000 condo corporations across the province, conflict between residents, condo boards and ownership corporations happen with relative frequency. To address some of these issues, Ontario has launched an online tribunal to help resolve condominium law disputes. The Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT) will give parties immediate access to mediators and adjudicators. This is the first online-only tribunal in Ontario, but its success may inform future projects.

The CAT process starts with a $25 fee, giving users access to a system to try to resolve the issue amongst themselves. Subsequent steps offer access to a mediator for $50 and, finally, an adjudicator for a $125 fee. Currently, it is only being used for issues related to the access of condominium records but may be expanded to apply to other types of disputes. In the system's first week, two complaints were filed.

Condominium law restricting rents may affect investors

There is a great deal of news surrounding the rising cost of rent in Canadian cities. However, many condominium owners who seek to earn rental income from Ontario real estate investments are actually in the negative due to the cost of purchasing and maintaining a property. Proposed changes to condominium law and rental law may require these landlords to restrict the rents they charge while costs related to condo ownership continue to rise.

For example, the average rental rate in Toronto is currently $2.99 per square foot. That adds up to $2,219 for a 734-square foot condominium. Despite this 10.3 percent jump in price over the last year, a recent report shows that many landlords are still producing no income. An incoming condominium law is expected to expand rent control to prevent such sharp increases in rates. Currently, buildings constructed after 1991 are exempt from the law, which requires landlords to limit rent increases to the rate of inflation.

Business law prepares for legalization of marijuana

The legalization of marijuana has been a hot topic in Canadian business news. Ontario has released a plan about how it will handle the substance under provincial business law. Others across the country and around the world are looking at how the marijuana industry, valued at $23 billion, will operate and be legislated.

The value of the industry is expected to come from an increase in retail sales, transportation, security, taxes and tourism. Depending on how business law in Canada manages the substance, the country could be on the forefront of a global trade related to cannabis. Federal regulations, laws and bylaws all need to be created to allow for both economic opportunity and safety across the country. 

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Ottawa, ON K1Z 8R1

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