Toronto Condo News has followed progress of the Golden Girls Act. This private members’ bill, designed to prevent municipalities from preventing affordable housing solutions, has been making its way toward legislation. Its intent is to amend the provincial planning act to prevent municipalities from using local by-laws to prohibit seniors from cohabiting. See Golden Girls Act in the May 2019 Toronto Condo News.
The Golden Girls Act is now law intended to help address Ontario’s housing crisis. According to housing minister Steve Clark “Solving Ontario’s housing crisis is going to take new and innovative ideas.”
Realtors and banks love the law. Homes can now be more easily sold and mortgaged to unrelated parties. Condo communities are not likely to be so excited.
Imagine four or more unrelated people co-owning a single high-rise condo unit. They may be seniors, related family members, unrelated individuals or students. Each has an individual mortgage.
Rather than dealing with a single owner, management may now have to deal directly with each owner, their bank(s) and, in event of an insurance claim, multiple insurance companies.
Who pays condo fees or must they be split per person? What happens if one individual fails to pay their fees? Can a lien be filed if only one of four owners fail to pay condo fees? Who is responsible if one individual owning 25 percent of a unit undertakes improper renovations?
It remains unclear who can vote in condo elections and how to deal with in-suite matters when disputes arise. Legal conflicts are likely to increase.
More people residing in a suite mean greater use of common areas and amenities. Who pays these higher utility, maintenance and more frequent renovation costs?
Communities that may not yet have established governance relating to unit occupancy, and fees for units where higher unit occupancy is allowed, may soon feel the need to do so. This may include added fees when multiple first mortgages are held by numerous individuals for a single condo property.
Much work is necessary before the Golden Girls Act is a practical option for high-rise condo living.