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November 2017 Archives

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. 

New Airbnb partnership may impact condominium law

Technology and business developments such as Airbnb have caused a stir in both the rental housing and hospitality marketplaces. Many people have called for new condominium laws in Ontario to address this new factor, while condo boards have penned bylaws to limit owners' ability to rent their properties through Airbnb. However, one condominium has taken a different route and signed an agreement with the website. The partnership is the first of its kind in Canada.Airbnb calls these agreements its "Friendly Buildings Program." By signing on with Airbnb, the condo building in Fort York historical district will be able to use the website to show which units are hosting, the number of guests staying, and when the guests will be there. Through the partnership, the condo board can set guidelines such as pet control, and it will receive a percentage of each booking.

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