Budget Should be Circulated to Owners

Gerry Hyman has another article for the Toronto Star.  Let’s discuss some of the questions raised:

QUESTION:  When a board issues a budget to the owners for the upcoming year, would it be proper procedure to also send the owners a spreadsheet setting out the new budget, the previous year’s budget with an itemized version?

ANSWER:  The board could determine to issue such a spreadsheet. But it is not obligated to do so and failure to do so would not constitute improper procedure.

Yes, the owners should receive the spreadsheet.  If the Board does not want to send out the spreadsheet there is something suspicious.  There is no logical reason to withhold the information from the owners at all.

QUESTION:  Do owners have the right to insist on minutes of board meetings being circulated by email — or in any other way — at the end of each meeting?

ANSWER:  Owners may suggest that the minutes of board meetings be distributed in a certain manner at the conclusion of each meeting. But they cannot require they be distributed. Apart from the corporation’s obligation to make minutes of board meetings available to each owner who submits the required request for the records, the distribution of such minutes to the owners is a matter to be determined by the board.

The Government recently updated the Condominium Act and it made it clear that the owners have a right to access the Minutes of Board meetings, as well as other documents.  The Board would be wise to create a portal or a website with a log-in section to place this documents in an easy to access way.

The Board should start approving two sets of Board Meeting Minutes.  One set is the formal set of Minutes that must be kept for legal purposes.  The other set, containing redacted information, should be approved at the same time.  The second set can then be placed on the portal/website for owners to look at.  That would solve the issue and make life easier for everyone.

QUESTION:  Our property manager appointed a law firm to be the corporation’s lawyers without approval of the board. Could the board call an owners’ meeting to advise it will proceed toward appointing another law firm?

ANSWER:  An owners’ meeting is not necessary. The board might advise the firm chosen by the manager that it was not approved by the board and that, therefore, they are not the corporation’s lawyers.

The rule that a corporation is bound by the act of a person having ostensible authority to bind the corporation does not apply to condominium corporations. The board is entitled to engage a different law firm.

I would be contacting the law firm and state that the manager had no authority to make the change and did  so without the Board’s authority.

I would also recommend that the Board discuss the issue with the property manager, and his/her superior at the management company.  The Board should make it clear that the manager did not have the authority to do this and that if this ever occurs again that the management company will be replaced for making such an improper action.

And finally:

QUESTION:  I’m the sold owner of a condo unit and I’m thinking of mortgaging it. Must I advise management or the corporation before I do?

ANSWER:  No.

Nope – however, the mortgage company could request the contact for the condominium as the company is entitled to receive information from the condominium if it desires.

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