The Coronavirus and Condos – Now Is the Time to Cancel AGMs and Close Amenities

With the news from this morning that the Ontario government has declared a state of emergency and prohibited gatherings of more than 50 people, condominiums are going to need to act fast to respond. I have been getting calls and emails all week about potential AGMs. Here are my 5 main recommendations:

1) Cancel all scheduled AGMS

Yes, the Condominium Act provides that AGMs are supposed to be held within 6 months of the end of the fiscal year. But these are not normal times. It is safe to say that the health of your residents (and the health of the rest of the city and province) takes priority over this Condominium Act requirement.

2) Immediately Close all Amenities 

Owners pay for the amenities through their common element fees. Nobody wants to be told that their swimming poor or gym is being closed. However, condominiums have no choice but to take these steps. If an owner is upset or complains, then they should be reminded that this decision is being made in the best interests of all residents.

3) Hold Unit Owner Meetings Electronically 

Residents want updates. Buildings should try to implement webinar style meetings so that all owners can be “connected” but online rather than in person. Having three hundred residents attend an in person meeting about Coronavirus defeats the entire purpose of the self isolation efforts that condos should be promoting.

4) Hold Board Meets By Teleconference 

Boards need to look at their by-laws. Some by-laws allow decisions to be made outside of the physical board meeting. However, even in the absence of a by-law, these are challenging times and Boards may still need to pass resolutions by email or by phone. I am happy to answer any questions that may arise out of this.

5) Prevent any Visitors Who Are Not Residents 

I appreciate that this could be unpopular, but if someone is not an owner or resident, they should not be visiting a condominium for the time being. There will obviously be exceptions to this to include, for example, medical and support staff. However, condominiums need to be very vigilant to monitor who is coming into their building every day. This is not the time for owners to be having gatherings in their condominium unit.

This article is not intended to serve as a comprehensive treatment of the topic and is not legal advice. All legal matters are dealt with pursuant to their specific facts and circumstance. Nothing replaces retaining a qualified, competent lawyer.