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First Step - Fire your property manager?

Jadebeach

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HELP!!! Brookefield is killing my condo building

Brookfield is the worse company ever. They have been recently handling our building for the last 3 or so years and the maintenance fee is out the roof and keeps increasing.

Furthermore I feel like I'm living in a prison because they are making all these rules and changes.

Even worse they decided they are changing the colour of our condo to a vomit colour. When the owners were asking for a different colour they basically told them too bad that what we chose.

I need advice on how to go about to remove them OR how to control the situation. I get the "fire them all" BUT easier said than done.
 

DSC

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Brookfield is not the real boss. They work for YOUR Board of Directors and if you have problems with how the building is run or the choices being made you need to talk to your Board. You can contact them through the Property manager or go directly - you can ask for a list of the names of the current Directors if it is not posted somewhere.
 

Condo Madness

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Dumb or lazy board members want to rely on the management company. In return, the manager insures that a compliant board gets re-elected.
 

PIX

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Reading many of the posts in the Cityplace facebook forum there seem to be quite a number of issues with the developer's chosen management company. I think the worst I've heard about so far was andrejs. What are some companies that have mostly positive track records?
I can concur that developer appointed management is bad and Adrejs is the worst of (of the worst) management companies that I've had to deal with in the condos that I've owned over the years.
 

PIX

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sent a PM

From everything I have seen personally and heard, both of those companies are very good.

Of course, a lot of it comes down to the actual property manager. Another concern we had was how the company would be able to replace a PM -- some companies don't have the available human resources to do that easily. Staffing PM companies can be tricky with so many new condos -- it takes time to train people properly, for them to gain "in house" experience, etc.
Brookfield was my first experience dealing with property management. My condo was flooded from unit above less than a year after moving in. Brookfield hired a terrible contractor to repair my ceiling. I could have done a better job myself. To fix a small area of ceiling which was suppose to be a simple job they ended up using leftover paint (with lumps) that didn't match and ruined the entire kitchen/living-room ceiling. Additionally they dabbed a ton of plaster on a tiny hole above the kitchen and didn't sand it down resulting in a huge bevel. I told Brookfield that I didn't want the contractor back in my unit but Brookfield kept hounding me that they would make everything right. I finally agreed to let them in and the end result was that they matched color with more lumpy paint on the entire kitchen/living-room ceiling. Didn't sand the big lump in the kitchen. I asked Brookfield how I could bring up how this was handled with the Board and I was told that my only option was to give them the complaint and they would submit it to the Board.
 

Condo Madness

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Charles Hanes has bad things to say about Brookfield on his blog.

The board is the boss and the management company is just the contractor. A strong board stays in control while a weak one lets the manager run the building.

I hear bad stories involving big and small property management companies. Channel is not the only rotten management company around.

Some managers are domineering, some crooked, some useless. A competent and ethical board will get the bad managers replaced, a board that really doesn't care, or is lazy, crooked or incompetent will not.

I am concerned that the owners in all these huge 400-600 unit condos will never get a feel for what is going on and a poor performing board will be able to stay in office forever.
 

rbt

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I am concerned that the owners in all these huge 400-600 unit condos will never get a feel for what is going on and a poor performing board will be able to stay in office forever.
A poor performing board is the result of the entire population of the building not being interested in running it well. It usually doesn't take very much effort to get yourself elected onto the board; often just putting your name on the ballot is enough to win by default. With 600 units you can usually find enough volunteers that someone will know what they are doing or take an interest in learning.

Also, today's buildings aren't actually larger despite being much taller. 633 Bay and 1001 Bay have roughly the same number of units as Casa and Casa II on Charles; and that's despite units being 30% larger (800sqft versus 550sqft).

In fact, the largest condos from the 80's like The Summit (701/705/725 King West) tend to be some of the best run. Fairly low maintenance fees and most major systems in the building have been replaced.

It's the 100 to 200 unit buildings, large enough to require complex systems but a fairly small knowledge pool for board members, combined with high rental ratios (owners do not live in the building) that ran into severe difficulties; Dixon Road has numerous examples.
 
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Condo Madness

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YCC #42 on Dixon Road is a case study of everything that can go wrong. I have written a whole chapter on that complex at: http://www.condomadness.info/contents-YCC42.html

It started off with overcrowded rented units in the late 1980's and it has been down hill every since. Units that sold for $150,000 can be bought now for $60,000. When there are power of sales, as low as $40,000.

How many of these new condos that are really not much more than rental buildings with 200 or more individual landlords will end up the same in the next 10-15 years? Some for sure.
 

rbt

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YCC #42 on Dixon Road
I'm aware of them; specifically mentioned Dixon Road as a problem area in my last message. Condos were new in the 70's; laws on how they are maintained have changed and many of the issues with that Kingsview Park cluster are considered illegal today.

It is illegal now to not have an annual engineers report which specifies a maintenance funds target and to not meet it. The property manager would lose their license and the board could even be charged and prosecuted.

In the past it was assumed that building owners would ensure the building was well maintained; just as most house owners will reshingle the roof when required.

How many of these new condos that are really not much more than rental buildings with 200 or more individual landlords will end up the same in the next 10-15 years? Some for sure.
10 to 15 years? None. Even the ones you pointed out were perfectly fine in 86 (15 years after construction).

There are hundreds of condos/apartments from the 70's which are in perfectly good shape today. You found a few that are not.

There are also dozens of condos/apartments from the 70's which have been demolished to make way for yet larger buildings.
 
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Condo Madness

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I think you underestimate the number of older condos that are in very serious financial trouble. Many or even most pre-YCC # 500 condo corporations have underfunded reserves and serious mechanical/structural problems.

Just because a condo must have a Reserve Fund Study does not automatically mean that the board raises fees to raise the money that the fund states they need. I wish it was so.

I read a lot of condo financial reports, which is something most owners do not do. I am shocked at what some of them show.

I have been at an AGM where the corporation's Reserve funds were short $600,000. The board said that it was not important as the study was over two years old and may have contained errors. The president then went on to change the subject by bragged about how she baked home-made cookies and served them and coffee in the lobby at Christmas.

Too many newer condos are full of renters in very small units. That is a recipe for a multiple of problems that will show up sooner than later. Many US condos limit rental units to a maximum of 25% of the building. Ontario has no such limitations. Some of the same condos have very serious water penetration problems through the building envelope or in the underground garages. These issues will take millions to fix.
 

BMguy30

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It is not only the management companies that create problems for residents, but many times it is the actual board who act in their own interest and utilize condo fees for their own benefit.

We live in a residential condo building managed by 360 Community Management (offices located in Markham). 360 recently took over from a previous management company and are absolutely horrible. Chris Antipas is the president of 360 and acts in the interest of the condo board, not the owners. Anna Krupp is the appointed property manager in charge of our building, and she doesn't know the first thing about managing a property. It's a real concern that such companies can be allowed to charge for their services and we as owners have no power to fire such incompetent individuals. There is a group of us that are trying to get the property manager replaced, but first we will need to replace the board president, who we feel is corrupt and personally benefiting from 360 managing our building. We feel that is the reason the old property manager (who was doing a great job) was replaced and the new one hired. The president of the condo board considers our entire building his own personal playground, and continually violates the rules and regulations as he wishes.

Who has the time or resources to fight such boards, as they are quick in putting up road blocks for the owners to access the information to fight such corruption and incompetence.
 

James

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Too many times, the people on the condo boards simply have no business acumen and are not qualified to run anything, much less a condo meeting. Some boards I've witnessed are comprised of individuals who are not there because they're qualified, but because they have the time. Unfortunately, when you let a group of average people run your building, you're going to get average results.
 

Condo Madness

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There is a group of us that are trying to get the property manager replaced, but first we will need to replace the board president.

The president of the condo board considers our entire building his own personal playground, and continually violates the rules and regulations as he wishes.

Who has the time or resources to fight such boards, as they are quick in putting up road blocks for the owners to access the information to fight such corruption and incompetence.
A president who openly gives himself/herself special treatment creates a lot of resentment. I have not heard anything about 360. They are a small company.

It seems that you have figured out what is going on and you know that the management company works for the board not the owners. You have also got a group of owners who feel the same.

Check out CondoMadness.info:
http://www.condomadness.info/challenge_board.html
for ideas on how to replace directors on the board.

It is not easy, it's not fast and it may take a lot of work but it can be done.
 

Condo Madness

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Some boards I've witnessed are comprised of individuals who are not there because they're qualified, but because they have the time.
I see that a lot at the AGMs I attend. You have presidents who cannot preside a meeting, secretaries who cannot write minutes or handle the corporation's correspondence and treasurers who can't read the financial statements.

They are just puppets warming seats. The property management company does everything.

At the AGM, when the "directors" are asked direct questions, they look stunned until the district property manager comes to their rescue.

The owners are often frustrated as they know something is wrong, they just don't know enough to figure out what exactly it is.

I am going to an AGM tomorrow night where the owners are asked to ratify and approve all decisions made by the board over the previous year. This property manager has this as an item on the agenda every year.

Since the owners don't know what decisions were made, or why they were made, how can they ratify and approve them? Maybe I wll learn how tomorrow.
 
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