Condo Communication – Best of the Best

April 2016

New Town of York, MTCC 573

When it comes to communicating with its owners and residents, New Town of York (MTCC 573) is one of the best.

New Town of York is a 51-suite 10-storey building near St. Lawrence Market with a commercial unit on the street level. This is a quality condo building, constructed in 1981, with amenities comparable to other quality condo buildings in the city.

A great deal of useful information for condo residents, owners and potential purchasers is available on their website ( While the site may lack some modern features, the Board at New Town of York does not hide public information behind passwords and the website is open to all. What it includes is more useful information than any other site we have seen.

The Board at New Town of York recognizes that open communications is more beneficial than the more secretive approach preferred by some condo boards. Open communications force a level of disclosure and accountability. It encourages owner feedback and thus good decision making. It also minimizes the risk of ‘surprises’ at budget time and at the AGM.

All condo owners, when selling their home, seek to obtain the highest price for their property. Quality buyers, those prepared to pay the highest premium, are the most desirable owners for a condo building. Among these desirable condo buyers, more information and a high level of disclosure is highly valued. They recognize when relevant information is not being disclosed and are less likely to purchase a home where the condo corporation is less communicative.

A review of the information provided by New Town of York on their website provides insight into what we view as a uniquely run condo corporation. The Board appears to have adopted a full disclosure form of management that projects confidence in the board, management and the future of the corporation. There is easy access to the corporation’s declaration, by-laws and rules. Financial, contractual and local information (including interesting historic photographs) plus various reports is all available.

Much of this is relevant information typically not disclosed to condo owners, residents or prospective buyers. Some condo boards choose not to disclose some of this information while citing questionable legal and confidentiality restrictions.

There is a monthly communication, Highlights, that is well written, brief and warrants special mention; it provides detail about upcoming events, expenditures and deliberations. Highlights also attempts to answer questions from residents and provides some budgetary analyses; it is emailed to all residents and owners and is freely available on the website. Graphs and charts are used to explain condo corporation expenditures so that condo owners understand where and how their money is being used.

Outlines of current and past reserve fund studies are available. Operating budgets and annual audits are available for the current year and prior seven years. This history provides important and relevant information about how the corporation works with their engineers and makes it easier for owners to see how and why changes to reserve funding occur over time.

These documents – plus information in Highlights – provide extensive information about the operating expenses of the corporation, and how they have changed over time. This information shows that condo fees (plus monthly cable) are under $1,000 per month for suites over 1500 square feet. Property management fees, at less than $20,000, cover a part-time property manager. A full-time live-in superintendent handles typical building maintenance duties plus limited security and concierge responsibilities. With this level of overall disclosure, there is less need for a larger management team to respond to resident requests for information. The Superintendent can refer people to the website for information and any necessary forms for needs such as elevator reservations. Finally, a budget for legal fees of $5,000 and audit fees of $3,200 appears low suggesting both general harmony among residents and conscientious directors working to keep expenditures in check.

Outlines of contracts entered into by the corporation are available. These include a contract for cable services showing superior pricing for more equipment and services than negotiated by some larger condo corporations. This suggests that the property manager and the Board are more actively involved in contract negotiations and capable of obtaining superior pricing for condo owners. The website also includes various reports such as legal opinions with regard to chimneys and window replacements. There is an asbestos survey. These disclosures to prospective buyers lend further credibility to a corporation that appears to conduct their affairs in an open, public and reasonable manner.

New Town of York appears to have an active property manager and board of directors that commits time to adequately manage the corporation and communicate with residents.

Congratulations to New Town of York (MTCC 573) which has set a standard in condo communications to which all condo corporations should aspire.