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Tom B.
Tom B., Barrister & Solicitor
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 2415
Experience:  25 years in practice
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Am a condo owner. Am disputing charges that will be uplifted

Customer Question

Am a condo owner.
Am disputing charges that will be uplifted from my bank account on May 31 2015 re proposed repairs to exterior of building other wise a lien of non payment will be placed on my condo
This came as a surprise and was given only a two week notice
Two other payments June and July are to be uplifted as well.
Condo owners have requested General Assembly Meeting to question excessive cost to the tune of 3 million, we want answers re necessity of repairs and costs etc
We fear sticky fingers are involved and conflict of interest.
As I am not signing a check but had set up automatic withdrawal in the past re my condo fees I wish to know how my rights are protected. I plan to request that funds be returned to my account following day should budget be not accepted or ratified on June 2 2015 or at least that funds if not returned to my bank account be applied to future condo fees.
I need your help wording my requests so that my demands be respected legally.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Canada Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Still waiting for your answer
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I submitted question and payment via amx today May 27 early afternoon.
Still no answer
Expert:  Tom B. replied 1 year ago.
Hello
Just so you know, you made a deposit and did not pay for anything yet. You can get your money back if you desire. Alas a lot of people think we are lawyers in a big room waiting but we are mostly practicing and answer questions in are spare time.
If a builder has not been paid, they only have days to place a lien on a property. They cannot wait or they lose the right to lien which is only a small protection anyway. But, it can affect your property especially if you want to sell or refinance.
If there has been no repairs to the Condo and the lien is false, that is another matter.
It sounds like there are a few issues. You feel that perhaps the work was not necessary and/or the work was not in the best interests of the owners. That is between the owners and the managers and the Board. It could be that there is a law suit there if you are correct with your suspicions.
But, from the view of the contractor, if they have not been paid then some action has to be taken. The contractor just wants payment and again, only has days (45 from last work in most provinces) to lien. So no wonder why there is a threat. I am suspicious as to why the contractor just does not lean now. It is cheap to do and creates focus on payment.
It appears there is no existing lien and that the payments to be deducted take the matter beyond the ability of the contractor to place one. It sounds as though the threat of a lien is being used to explain why the payments have to be taken. A very bad bit of communication between the Manager, Board and Owners in my opinion.
Either the work was authorized or not and done or not and the bill is payable or not. That is the place to start. If work was done on the complex and not paid for, a lien could occur against all owners. Even if out of time on a lien, the contractor can sue and if they get judgment then a judgment can be applied to all units. There is no way of not paying the contractor if the work was done.
I cannot see your bylaws but assume you have agreed for properly authorized debits by Council to be taken from your account.
Unless there is evidence of some fraud on the part of the contractor, they have to be paid. That clears the Owners of any liens or judgments on title. Then, consideration might be made over a law suit against the people who are supposed to be looking after the interests of the Owners.
Requesting funds returned probably will not work. Again, I assume your contract states that Council can withdraw as required. This issue is solely whether the contractor's bill is proper and if so, why and how was it incurred without the knowledge of the Owners. The latter is an internal matter within the complex.
At this point it sounds like you need more information about the transactions than you have. Raise your concerns at the meeting including why the contractor has not been paid if properly authorized. No Owner should have no notice on such a matter with no real lien probably. The contingency fund should cover and then the Owners work it out.
The situation is difficult to predict on your facts. But it seems the lien is not real and that there is a movement to collect before Owners have been properly informed.
Ultimately, either the parties will come to an agreement on these bizarre facts or some Owners will need to consult their own lawyers with all paperwork including bylaws in hand.
Please let me know if I can be of further service.
Kind regards,
Tom

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