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Tag: toronto

What Is A Heritage Building in Toronto, Ontario?

The City of Toronto has been experiencing a shift of rapid development, and the scarcity of property resources accessible for further growth have led developers to be creative with readily available structures such as heritage properties. The Ontario Heritage Act governs the provincial and municipal identification and protection of properties with what are considered as “heritage attributes”. These “attributes” are described in Section 1 of the OHA as characteristics of certain properties that contribute to the “cultural heritage value or interest” of the municipality. The general guidelines for designation can be found under s.29 of the OHA, and more detail-specific guidelines can be found in the Ontario Regulation 9/06 titled “Criteria for Determining Cultural Heritage Value or Interest”. If you’ve recently moved to Toronto, make sure you have a list of local contractors such as absolutedp.com in case of emergencies.Heritage Preservation Services (HPS) is the authority that protects heritage designated properties and guides the Toronto Preservation Board and City Council on matters relating to the OHA. The HPS typically manages heritage designation applications, the review of proposals regarding the development of heritage sites, maintenance of designated properties, and providing the policies, as well as

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CONDOMINIUM LAW: Too Many Loud Parties in Your Condominium Building?

Recently a Client who owned a condominium unit in a condominium building, came into my office and complained that he was being a target of an unjust campaign by members of his condominium corporation’s (“Corporation) board of directors (the “Board”) to drive him out of the condominium building.  The Corporation alleged that, amongst other things, the Client was lighting fireworks off of his balcony on holidays, having loud parties at all hours of the night, and allowing guests to run rampant all over the condominium building.  The Client admitted that on the occasion he would host small parties and get togethers but denied the Corporation’s version of his alleged activities. Initially, the Corporation began issuing letters through the property manager demanding that the client cease the alleged activity on every occurrence in which he would have visitors to his unit.  The client attempted to address the matter with the Corporation by asking for proof of the alleged conduct and for a meeting with the complainants to discuss their issues directly with him.  His attempts fell on deaf ears and the relationship between the Client and the Board deteriorated.The final straw came when the Client received a letter from the Corporation’s solicitor threatening legal action and charging him legal fees for the said letter as they were entitled to under the condominium’s declaration and rules.  The Client was furious because he felt that the Board

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CONDOMINIUM LAW: 10 Day Cooling Off Period and Giving Proper Notice of Rescission

The condominium market in Toronto is and has been hot over the past few years for a variety of reasons such a seeming stable Canadian economy, foreign investment, growth in Toronto’s financial services industry, low interest rates and lack of supply in desirable neighbourhoods.  Condominium Developers market new projects as sexy investments, and for the most part, over the last many years, Purchasers in desirable projects have seen a return on their  investment either through rent or resale.  Condominiums are out selling any other type of dwelling in Toronto and Toronto is North America’s leader in new condominium project starts.  During a hot condominium market, it is easy for Purchasers looking to invest  for themselves, their children or as an income property, to rush into a deal and a project without knowing all the pertinent facts.  Therefore It was good thinking by the government of the day to provide statutory rescission rights under the Ontario Condominium Act, 1998 (the “Act”) .  This article will briefly examine the rescission rights under the Act and discuss the proper methods of delivering the Purchaser’s intention to rescind if they do not wish to proceed with purchasing a condominium unit.

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REAL ESTATE LAW UPDATE: Is a Condominium Corporation Obligated to Buy the Superintendant’s Unit?

Coincidentally, the day I read the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision in Lexington on the Green Inc. v. Toronto Standard Condominium Corporation No. 1930, (2010 ONCA 751)[Hereinafter  “Lexington”) was the same day that I reviewed a client’s status certificate from the same Condominium  Corporation so it was extra interesting to review this case.Under the Ontario Condominium Act, 1998 S.O. 1998 (Hereinafter the “Act”), within ten days of the condominium  Developer registering the condominium declaration and description, the Developer (also known as the Declarant) has to appoint an interim board of directors (the “Board”) to manage the newly created condominium corporation (Section 42(1) of the Act), until such time that the Declarant no longer owns a majority of the condominium units.  Once the Declarant ceases to own a majority of the units, within 21 days the appointed Board must call a first meeting of the unit owners to elect a new board (section 43(1)).  The Court in Lexington considered Section 112 of the Act, which permits for a newly appointed board of directors to terminate agreements (such as property management and other service agreements) which the appointed interim board has entered into.  The purpose is to discourage and prevent any “sweetheart deals” impropriety between the Developers’s appointed Board and condominium goods and service providers who could very well be subsidiaries of the Developer.

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Property Tax in Ontario: A Primer

One of the most contentious issues in real estate and property is how real property taxes are assessed and charged to the property owner, of course, it is only contentious when one’s property taxes are assessed at a higher rate than it should be.In Ontario, the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) is a non-profit corporation created by legislation and is governed mainly by the Assessment Act R.S.O. 1990, although it also governed by other legislation such as the Assessment Review Board Act R.S.O. 1990, and the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation Act, 1997.  MPAC’s main duty is to evaluate properties in Ontario in order to assess their tax liability and to classify them for tax purposes as either residential, commercial, industrial, farm, etc.  MPAC looks at many factors when assessing a property but most importantly the following: Sales of comparable properties; location; lot dimensions; living area; age of the property; and quality of construction.  Other factors may include such things as improvements to the property and unique and key features of the property.  Properties belonging to or being used as churches, cemeteries, public education, public hospitals, some non-profit organizations, conservation lands, and lands owned by governments are exempt from property tax.

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Real Estate law: Can You Refuse to Close if Your Condominium Square Footage is Less Than You Bargained For?

In real estate law, representations are very important elements to any agreement of purchase and sale.  Typically the party selling the property will represent things such as the size of the land, the size of the dwelling, that the chattels and fixtures included in the purchase price are free and clear of encumbrances and in working order, etc.  In law, a representation is defined as a statement of past or present fact without the statement necessarily also being a promise, although the law has recognized that a representation can be both a promise and a representation.  While the topic of representations in contracts is extremely comprehensive, 756289 Ontario Limited et al. v. Milan Harminc, (1998) CarswellOnt 1577, 98 G.T.C. 6206 (“Harminc”) is one example of where a representation affected a real estate transactions with respect to the representation of square footage.Harminc is a case wherein a buyer purchased a commercial condominium property from a builder.  The buyer refused to close and the builder sued the buyer for breach of contract and sought damages.  While the defendant buyer advanced a number of arguments for his defence, the case turned on whether the builder misrepresented to the buyer the square footage of the property and if so, whether that misrepresentation was material enough to entitle the buyer to rescind the contract and refuse to close.

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Contract Law: Rescission Anyone?

When a client has an issue with a contract he/she most certainly looks to whether the issues caused any damages.  I would agree that this is an automatic first step in the conceptual process involved in creating a remedy to address a client’s needs.  But what about the case where you simply want the contract to be treated as a nullity and be restored to where you were before the contract was consummated.  In that situation you are asking either the other party to the contract or the court to rescind the contract.There are essentially two types of rescission albeit there is some overlap in respect of the grounds which would justify such rescission.  The first (i.e. common-law rescission) does not require court intervention.  This occurs where the contract on its face has a clause which makes it voidable at one of the party’s option.  So what do you do?  You carefully review the clause, and fulfil the operative steps required to “rescind” the contract.  Other than where the contract specifically provides for it, this “common law” rescission applies where an infant has entered into a contract which is not binding on him/her; fraud; and where a contract has been procured by duress.  Here, the party also has the right to seek other common law remedies.

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Real Estate Law: Choosing a Real Estate Lawyer and Understanding Fees

Often clients will shop around for legal services as if they were a commodity and not a service and therefore the lowest price is the only consideration in their decision.  Like almost any good or service, you often get what you pay for!When looking for a real estate lawyer, one should always ask the following questions:1)     Am I going to be communicating with my lawyer directly or strictly his support staff?2)     How often or timely will my Lawyer address my questions or concerns?3)     Will my Lawyer properly search the history of title to my property, including    searching abutting lands, in addition to off-title inquiries?4)     Will my Lawyer order a property tax certificate or rely on title insurance?  Leaving me as the new owner to chase any shortfalls from my insurer.

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Real Estate Law: What the Difference is Between a Condition and a Warranty and Writing the Agreement of Purchase and Sale

One of the most important things I stress to Realtors and purchaser clients is to make sure it is very clear in the agreement of purchase and sale that everyone knows exactly what is being bargained for and the agreement is structured and contains clauses towards that intent.  An older case, Jorian Properties Ltd. v. Zellenrath (1984 CarswellOnt 1376; 46 O.R. (2d) 775, 26 B.L.R. 276) (“Jorian”) is a helpful guide that illustrates some these issues.In Jorian, the Purchaser entered into an agreement of purchase and sale with the vendor to purchase a legal five-plex (“Property”).  Upon the Purchaser’s lawyer’s search to the relevant zoning authority, it was discovered that the Property was only a legal triplex.  The Vendor who had represented that the property was a legal five-plex did not know that the Property did not comply with zoning.  After some negotiation with respect to an abatement of the purchase price, the Purchaser refused to close the transaction and then sued the Vendor for damages.  Evidently the Purchaser strongly desired the Property because the Purchaser wound up purchasing the same Property from a subsequent purchaser that the Vendor sold the Property to for a higher price, .

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Real Estate Law: Easements Affecting Your Property

Simply defined in the Blacks law dictionary, an easement is an interest in land owned by another person, consisting in the right to use or control the land or an area above or below it, for a specific limited purpose.  Often, easements are registered on title thereby granting or assigning rights to use the subject lands for a specific limited purpose.  A common easement registered on title grants access to utility companies and municipalities onto a subject property in order to service and maintain a specific utility or the lands, whether its cables for phones and internet or pipes for gas and water.  An easement could potentially hinder the enjoyment and use of a property and therefore can become a contentious issue during the course of a real estate transaction.The standard OREA agreement of purchase and sale (“Agreement”) contains a clause called “Title” and it states:

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