Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Ontario court ruling says condo buildings can ban sharing services such as Airbnb

TORONTO — In a ruling that could have wider implications, an Ontario court has said that condominium corporations have the authority to ban unit owners from renting out their properties on services such as Airbnb or Expedia.
In a 14-page decision released Thursday, Justice Robert Beaudoin of the Ontario Superior Court ruled that the owners of an Ottawa condo unit violated the “single family use” provision in the condo’s “declaration” because they had been making their unit available for short-term rentals on nine web sites, among them Airbnb,,, and
“‘Single family use’ cannot be interpreted to include one’s operation of a hotel-like business, with units being offered to complete strangers on the internet, on a repeated basis, for durations as short as a single night,” Justice Beaudoin writes.
The rule is based on the judge’s interpretation of Ontario’s Condominium Act, but it could have implications in other provinces with similar legislation.
“I would suspect that in most common law jurisdictions — that’s all of them except Quebec — a similar concept would apply,” says, Rod Escayola, the lawyer in the Ottawa office of Gowling WLG who argued the case on behalf of the condo building, Ottawa-Carleton Standard Condominium Corp. No. 961.
Douglas Menzies and his wife Norma White offered stays in their Ottawa condo unit through their private company, DGM Management Corp. The listings offered access to their unit, as well as the condo’s parking, exercise room, pool and common spaces. According to the court decision, the Airbnb listing asked that guests “be discreet about mentioning Airbnb to anyone in the building.”
The condo corp argued in court that making the unit available for short-term stays violated the condo’s “declaration.” This is the legal document that created the condo corp and that limits how unit owners can use the property. The condo corp also argued the rentals breached a rule the building introduced in April that bars unit owners from renting out their properties for terms of less than four months.
Judges have enforced four-month lease minimums in the past, so it was no surprise that Justice Beaudoin confirmed the Ottawa condo corp’s ability to impose the four-month lease limit. What’s important and novel about the Ottawa case is that Justice Beaudoin also found that short-term rentals breached the declaration.
Ontario law allows condo boards to adopt rules that govern things such as the number of pets a unit owners can keep or when residents can use the pool.
Rules can also govern short-term rental periods. Still, unit owners might argue these rules shouldn’t apply retroactively, especially if they’d been renting out their units before the rule kicked in. They might claim a “grandfather” exemption to the short-term rental ban. Banning short-term rentals at the declaration level wipes out that argument. The declaration is the pinnacle in the hierarchy of documents that govern a condo corp. It ranks in a superior position to the rules, and it’s a very difficult document to amend.
Escayola thinks the Ottawa decision gives a condo corp with a “single family use” provision in its declaration the power to enforce bans short-term rentals, even retroactively. Such provisions are a common feature of Ontario condo declarations. Condo lawyers in other parts of Canada will likely study the Ottawa decision to see if the reasoning will apply in their jurisdictions.
“I think it’s going to be a game changer in the province of Ontario.” Escayola said.
The declaration for the 244-unit Ottawa condo on Metcalfe Street has a provision that limits use “only for the purpose of a single family dwelling, which includes a home office … and no other purpose.”
Justice Beaudoin analyzed the phrase “single family use.” He found that it contemplates something more than short-term sleeping quarters or a hotel-like operation. Single family use, he said, is “incompatible” with the concepts such as check-in and check-out times, security deposits, cancellation policies, cleaning fees, what to do with dirty sheets and towels, and credit card payments.
Menzies is a lawyer. The judge considered arguments that the unit was sometimes used for law firm functions, to prepare expert witnesses for trial and to house out-of-town witnesses. He also considered the point that access to the condo unit was auctioned to raise funds for not-for-profit organizations.
The judge rejected those uses as fitting within the definition of single family use. “What has happened in this case is a commercial use of the unit,” he ruled.

For the full article, please click here

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Keystone Pipeline revival

With Donald Trump nominating Rex Tillerson, it appears that the Keystone XL pipeline is now back on the table in a big way.  Tillerson is the former CEO of Exxon Mobile Corp, arguably the largest company in the world.

Trump has promised to move quickly on the pipeline, an 800,000 barrel a day conduit to the refinaries in the Gulf of Mexico.  This is a $10B infastructure project to build, creating significant construction jobs.

Please click here

The huge surplus of oil that's been sloshing through global markets is set to evaporate.

The International Energy Agency said Tuesday that it expects the global crude oil glut to start disappearing in the first half of next year, much earlier than it previously predicted.

There is one major condition: OPEC and its partners must stick to their agreement to slash production.
The collective action helped push prices to a new 2016 high above $53 per barrel on Monday.
Paris-based IEA said in its monthly report that if all parties stick to the agreement, "the market is likely to move into deficit in the first half of 2017 by an estimated 600,000 barrels a day."
But the IEA also warned that the oil market outlook remains uncertain in the longer term. That's because the production cuts were only agreed for six months, with a review due in May.
"This can be seen as prudent given the underlying uncertainties in the oil market and the global economy but also a warning that production restraint might not be extended," said the agency.
OPEC producers want to cut production in order to push prices higher -- but only within certain limits. If prices rise too far, high-cost producers including the U.S. shale industry could start pumping again.
But the IEA noted that some U.S. shale producers are already making new investments. The industry has put 161 rigs back in service since May, when the number of rigs dropped to just 316.
In November alone, the number of rigs in operation increased by 36 to 477.
for the complete story, please click here 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Condo sales continue to bolster Ottawa resale market

OTTAWA, December 6, 2016 - Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 995 residential properties in November through the Board’s Multiple Listing Service® System, compared with 986 in November 2015, an increase of 0.9 per cent. sales is 939.

“After a few breakaway months, the Ottawa resale market has come back down with sales typical of November,” says new Ottawa Real Estate Board President, Rick Eisert. “The condo market appears to be on the rise now, a welcome change compared to earlier in the year, with sales coming in at 16.2 per cent higher than November 2015. Several factors could have contributed to this increase – inventory levels trending downwards, steady prices, or buyers affected by the newly changed mortgage rules.”

November’s sales included 230 in the condominium property class, and 765 in the residential property class. The condominium property class includes any property, regardless of style (i.e. detached, semi-detached, apartment, townhouse, etc.), which
is registered as a condominium, as well as properties which are co-operatives, life leases, and timeshares. The residential property class includes all other residential properties.

“Year-to-date unit sales to the end of November have now surpassed all previous year-end totals,” explains Eisert. “This year has been an exceptional year for sales for Ottawa Real Estate Board Members, and the year isn’t even over yet. The cumulative days on market have six months of the year, then has shown the same steady increase, so that the cumulative days on market in November (105 days) essentially mirrored that of January (110 days).”

The average sale price of a residential-class property sold in November in the Ottawa area was $405,320 an increase of 6.5 per cent over November 2015. The average sale price for a condominium-class property was $277,650, an increase of one per cent over November 2015. The Board cautions that average sale price information can be useful in establishing trends over time but should not be properties have increased or decreased in value. The average sale price is calculated based on the total dollar volume of all properties sold.

“In the residential market the two most active price points were $300,000 to $399,999 and then $400,000$499,999 for the month of November, accounting for 50.3 per cent of the market. The condominium market was most active in the $150,000 to $249,999 price range, accounting for 55.2 per cent of the market,” says Eisert. “In addition to residential and condominium sales, OREB Members have assisted clients with renting over 2,900 properties since the beginning of the year.”

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Carleton University off market student housing opportunity

I have an interesting opportunity for a Carleton student housing opportunity near Sunnyside and Seneca.  There is a property, not on the market yet, asking $800,000 which is currently configured as a side by side semi detached, with 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom on each side.  Currently, each side is rented at $1800 monthly.  

The basement is high and dry.  I have not seen it, but the owner said the ceiling is high, so you could place 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom in the basement.  There is a fuse box and an electric furnace.  I would suggest each of these will need upgrading.  This would drastically lower the cost of utilities and the additional bedroom and bathroom would add another $600 monthly income to each side (monthly).  This would make each one of the units a 4 bedroom and 2 bathroom; grossing $2400 per month total.  

I have created a ballpark spreadsheet of how this should unfold.  I estimated about a $2000 annual decrease in utilities by switching to gas furnace and approx $40,000 in renovations (general upkeep, two furnaces, two electric panels, two bathrooms and two bedrooms being built).  This would make the complete investment $840,000.  Based upon the new income and expenses, the value should be in the $860,000 range.

There is also a detached garage, which could one day become a secondary dwelling ... see attached package from the City of Ottawa.  The garage can probably be converted into a 2 bedroom and 1 bathroom unit.

The owner has a mortgage through TD Bank.  Their penalty is high, so the buyer would have to get their mortgage through TD, in a blend and extend process.  I have an excellent TD rep who can assist in the process.   

I have some additional photos the seller sent me, if you require them.

Let me know if you have any further questions, by clicking here 

DND move to Nortel campus - starting January 9, 2017

The first major move of Defence department employees to the former Nortel campus in west end Ottawa will be delayed until early next year so as not to cause workers too much stress over the holidays as well as to allow them to sort out their transportation arrangements to the site. 

The delay will also ensure that amenities such as a gym and doughnut shop will be ready for workers when they arrive, according to a message sent Tuesday to all employees by Vice Admiral Mark Norman, vice chief of the defence staff.

The message was obtained by the Sun.

The first major wave of Canadian Forces and Department of National Defence staff was supposed to move into the former Nortel campus starting in the fall.

But in his message Norman says that move would not start until Jan. 9.

Norman said that since the move to the Carling Avenue location is a large undertaking, it is causing changes to the work and personal schedules of employees.

Because the DND and Canadian Forces want to minimize such disruptions, the decision was made to delay the move.

“Even though the first building is just about ready for occupancy, I have directed that the move of Military Personnel Command not start before 9 January 2017,” Norman wrote to employees. “This means that when we do move in, there will be more services and amenities available, things like the gym, Canex and Tim Hortons,” he stated. “It means we won’t be adding to the stresses that the holiday season may bring to some. It also allows members of the Defence Team to visit the site as part of a programmed transition, while trying out your new commute before their official move.”

Some Department of National Defence employees and Canadian Forces personnel have voiced concern over the move, pointing out that many live in OrlĂ©ans and that the commute to the west end of Ottawa would be too long. A June 2011 briefing note for then-DND deputy minister Robert Fonberg described the Carling Avenue site as a “relatively remote location.”

Norman acknowledged in an interview with the Sun several months ago that some employees face a long commute to get to the new defence headquarters.

In total, about 8,500 federal workers and military personnel will be eventually working from the campus.

The first phase was to have seen the move, between the fall and summer 2017, of 3,400 staff from the offices of the military and civilian human resources branches, science and technology, information management as well as Canadian Forces Support Unit Ottawa.

It is unclear how the delay will affect the move phases that are to follow.

Under the original schedule, starting in the summer of 2017, another 3,900 would arrive at the campus. They would include staff from the Department of National Defence’s policy and finance branches, public affairs, auditors and those involved in infrastructure. Also included in that move would be staff from the Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Navy and some air force personnel. That phase is expected to be finished in 2018. The final phase will be conducted in 2019 and would include 1,190 personnel from the information management section and the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Norman said he is confident that when employees see what positive changes are in store for them at the new headquarters location, they will enjoy their work experience. “This adjustment will take time and will affect everyone differently,” he added in his message.

The campus consists of about 28 hectares once owned by Nortel and 120 hectares leased from the National Capital Commission.

The DND and military, however, will still continue operating DND’s main downtown location, the Major-General George R. Pearkes Building on Colonel By Drive, as well as its facility on Star Top Road. In addition, DND and military staff will still continue to work from the Louis St. Laurent complex, the National Printing Bureau building and the Hotel de Ville building in Gatineau.

For the complete article, please click here 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Amazing house

Thank you, Greg.

Thanks for showing us this amazing house. It was very nice working with you to find our dream home. We were really impressed with your professional service. You know and deliver your client's exact expectations. We didn't have to spend so many days looking at houses when you were able to send the list of houses that we would be interested in which made our selection that much easier. I would highly recommend your services to my friends and family who are interested. Hope we can work together in the future again.

Thank you