After years of planning and public/industry consultation, the Province recently released highlights from the proposed new Ontario Condo Act. The new legislation aims to better safeguard owners of Toronto lofts and condos against developer failings and to improve how condo corporations are run, ensuring that buildings are governed professionally and ethically.
The Act is not yet passed (and therefore not yet law) but has already been brought forward to the Legislative Assembly and is in the review process. You can keep abreast of the bill's status here.
The current Act dates back to 1998 before the major condo boom of the 2000s and fails to address many of the issues commonly faced by consumers. According to the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, the new Act will provide:
The most exciting of the proposed changes for our loft loving community is that buyers of Toronto lofts for sale in historic conversions may soon be protected under Tarion, just as buyers of new Toronto condos and soft lofts are.
If you're considering a pre-construction Toronto loft, this is great news. Toronto's loft scene is known for its hard loft conversions of old churches, warehouses and factories. Under the current Condo Act, these converted units don't qualify under Tarion which is ridiculous. To be honest, when we really needed this legislative reform was 10-15 years ago as there are fewer historic loft conversions underway now but we welcome the change as better late than never.
There is a total lack of equality in current consumer protection law that exposes buyers of newly converted lofts to a lot of risk. And you shouldn't have to assume more risk buying a newly converted hard loft versus a brand new soft loft or condo. Under the revised New Home Warranties Act, the general rules will likely be the same, i.e. Tarion warranties apply for one, two or seven years depending on the element and coverage in question. But for historic loft buildings, the warranties will only apply to the new elements of the loft - i.e. it won't cover the historic or pre-existing elements. Which is fair enough.
The tough bit is going to be in the administration of the law. Just exactly what the process will be for determining which pre-existing elements are exempt from warranty or how much coverage an owner gets if a defect effects both existing and pre-existing element(s) is not yet clear. But as soon as the law is passed (and there's no reason to believe it will be held up longer than necessary given the lengthy and thorough consultation process to get to this stage), loft buyers will have a whole lot to celebrate.
You can read more about the proposed new changes to the Ontario Condo Act on our partner company's blog.
Lead image: photo of Ontario Legislative Building © Benson Kua used via Creative Commons from flickr.