June's contractor of the month is one that everyone should be familiar with: Shibley Righton LLP! Shibley has attended every one of our Annual General Meetings (AGM), and has represented the interests of our Corporation from the beginning. We truly couldn't ask for a better team than the lawyers at Shibley, and especially when it comes to Deborah Howden (Partner) and Armand Conant (Partner). Of course, you'll be seeing one of them at our upcoming AGM, too!
This month, I had the opportunity to interview Deborah, who I've closely worked with for a long time on projects such as the New Rules, 06 Riser Issue, and ongoing litigation. Deborah also took lead and spoke at our "Harassment and Violence in the Workplace" seminar.
Armand has also been involved with many of the above-mentioned issues, though his time has mostly been spent through his involvement in contributing to reforms of the Condo Act and other governing bodies of the Condo Industry, which he speaks about in City Sites' "We Speak Condo" podcast. In 2017, Armand won the "Special Recognition Award", which ACMO presents "to individual(s) for special achievements and/or services that have positively impacted the condominium industry in Ontario".
Thank you to Shibley Righton, and especially Deborah and Armand, who have had our Corporation's best interest at heart since the beginning, and have been a truly valued member of our Emerald Team in keeping our community fair for all.
Please read below for my interview with Deborah Howden (Shibley Righton LLP).
All the best,
President of the Board of Directors
of Emerald City One - TSCC 2368.
SHIBLEY RIGHTON LLP
Tell us about yourself: how did you start off in the legal world? What brought you to the condo industry? What other areas of law do you practice? If you couldn’t be a lawyer, what would be? What’s your favourite pass-time? What’s something quirky about yourself?
I always knew I wanted to be a lawyer. Growing up in a Montreal in the 1980s it seemed to me there was never any shortage of very public legal issues – from Bill 101 and French language rights to the introduction of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and everything in between. It struck me then, as it does now, that no other profession offers the opportunity to make profound changes in society.
I was attracted to the condominium industry because condo law is synonymous with dealing with people, which is something I really enjoy. I practice civil litigation and labour employment law as well for the same reasons.
If I could not practice law, I would teach French or English grammar. I am not sure what my attraction is to grammar, but I have always really enjoyed it, possibly because of the differences between.
Other things about me (maybe some quirky): I used to be an avid Diet Coke drinker. I would drink it all day, every day. About 15 years ago I finally weaned myself off of soda and now drink nothing but water and tea during the day. You’ll never see me with a can of pop in my hand!
I love the color blue, BBQs with friends, watching live hockey (Go Habs!) and the Quebec Laurentians, where I vacation every summer.
What makes an AGM run well, and what can derail it completely? What are your best and worst AGM stories?
Smooth running AGMs are definitely a function of how much preparation there is beforehand: an updated arrears list, and extra set of ballots in the event of a tie vote, an adequate registration desk, etc… In my experience, lack of preparation can derail an AGM pretty quickly.
I haven’t really had a bad AGM experience. My best story is how after an AGM, an owner invited me out to his church. I couldn’t figure out if it was a date or a pleas for redemption!
What is something that condo owners who rent out their units to tenants be aware of?
The first thing they need to think about, in the case of a short term rental, is whether the declaration and rules allow them to do so. Many condominiums have a prohibition against short-term rentals.
Subject to that, they should be aware that as owners, they continue to be fully liable for the actions of their tenants. Section 119(2) of the Act requires the owner to take all reasonable steps to ensure that tenants comply with the Act, the declaration, by-laws and rules. Condo corporations can enforce against the owner if the tenant is in breach of the declaration, bylaws or rules.
What should all condo owners be more aware of?
This is an easy one – [Owners] should all be aware of their governing documents – the declaration, bylaws and rules – of the corporation. So many owners do not understand what it is they have bought.
They should also be aware of how much work directors and property managers do on their behalf. It can be a thankless job running a condominium building or complex. Thank your condo manager and directors today!
What is/are one/some of the most memorable experience(s) you’ve had working with Emerald City One?
The staff at Emerald One is truly fabulous. The building is lucky to have such a dedicated team working on its behalf.
One of the most memorable experiences is attending the Corporation’s AGM two years ago. It was so civilized, that there was a break half way through for some snacks and dessert . The usual deal for AGMs is bottled water and a few cookies. The board and staff at Emerald City put on a great spread for their owners, which I am sure helped increase participation.
I am also in awe of the Board President [Andreea Birloncea] who continually seems to find and recover money for the corporation. She really pays close attention to the corporation’s agreements and vendor contracts!
Tell us your worst lawyer/condo joke.
I have two (I love jokes!):
My worst lawyer joke:
A lawyer tells her client, “I have some good news and some bad news.”
“What’s the bad news?” asks the client.
“The bad news is, your blood has been found all over a crime scene, and the DNA tests prove you did it.”
“What’s the good news?”
“Your cholesterol is 130.” Says the lawyer.
And here’s a condo joke – but it’s a corny one!
One day Kermit the frog decides that he wants to buy a new condo. He goes into the nearest bank and strolls up to the counter. In front of him there is a teller with the name badge "Patty Whack". Kermit says "I need to borrow money to buy a condo at Emerald City". She goes through usual procedure then asks him about a deposit.
He places this little tiny china elephant on the bench and says "Here's my deposit”. The teller replies "I'm sorry that's really not good enough, you need money". Kermit tells her that it's all he has. When the teller denies his request once more, he starts to get a bit angry. "Do you know who my dad is? He's MICK JAGGER. I WANT YOUR MANAGER", Kermit yells. Patty lets out a sigh and wanders off to find her manager.
The teller explains to her manager the story about the deposit, the china elephant, and who it belongs to. The manager places his palm on his face, looks up and says, "Geez… it's a knick knack, Patty Whack, give the frog a loan.. his old man's from The Rolling Stones".