Posted August 7, 2019
At a 41-year-old Etobicoke condo on Kipling Avenue, residents and property management are amid a years-long feud over the state of the building and the way in which funds are being allocated toward repairs.
After Datsun Property Management took over the building at 2645 Kipling Ave. in 2010, some residents and some members of Etobicoke ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) say they began keeping track of the company’s expenditures.
These individuals are alleging the funds Datsun had allotted to complete work around the building were not used to properly repair areas that are unsafe or pose a health risk to those who live there — one of these areas being the underground parking garages, which underwent renovations between 2016 and 2018.
Slobodan (Danny) Pavloski, the owner of Datsun, said the garage renovations, which were completed in three phases and covered restoration work only, cost the company approximately $1 million.
Resident Darshini Benipersaud got choked up as she described the current state of one of the walls in the parking garage.
“It looks like it’s falling,” she said. “It’s scary because cars have to go up and down there. You don’t know when that wall could crumble."
Her partner, Krishnanand Ramkissoon, added that the garage is regularly affected by flooding caused by leaking pipes.
“Every time it rains it’s all wet and water is coming down,” he said.
Another resident, Kaloutie Singh, said because the leak wasn’t fixed, she noticed water coming down the walls just one week after a final coat paint was applied.
Pavloski said that fixing the leak would be a separate project that requires more funding, adding that he takes pride in the fact that for the past decade, he has “never increased the maintenance fees” in order to fund any of the work completed in the building.
Currently, the monthly maintenance fees range from approximately $373 for a one-bedroom to $567 for a three-bedroom unit.
Residents say the money collected by these fees isn't enough to deal with day-to-day concerns they claim have not been addressed throughout the building and in their own units, such as mould, leaks, bedbugs, cockroaches and blocked pipes resulting in sewage in their kitchen and bathroom sinks.
Benipersaud, who has been living in the building for seven years, says she is often worried while performing regular tasks, such as cooking in her kitchen.
“I’m afraid when I cook that a roach will fall in my food,” she said. “It’s scary.”
Pavloski said maintenance fees do not cover pest control in individual units — only mice and roaches that are in common areas.
"When (residents) say they have cockroaches and bedbugs, if you go to their apartment there is no place where you can step your foot," he said.
He added that there isn't any mould in the building, and any backup in kitchen or bathroom sinks is caused by clogged pipes of the residents' own doing.
On July 27, residents and Etobicoke ACORN members held a rally outside the building, calling on Datsun to address the building issues and demanding a new condo board and property manager.
The residents say they have asked Datsun for transparency with regards to releasing more detailed bank statements, as to whom payments have been made. This would be in addition to the annual financial statement they already receive.
The more detailed bank records, which are considered "non-core records," can be requested by residents through the Condominium Authority of Ontario, by filling out a form.
The condo corporation is then required to respond to the request for information within a specific time period.
Once that time period passes, if residents are dissatisfied with the response, or lack thereof, they can move forward with a dispute resolution process through the Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT).
The concerned residents at 2645 Kipling have gone through the request process as well as the dispute resolution process with the Condominium Authority.
Pavloski said for any residents who request the banking information and pay a fee, he can provide a copy of the original bank documents.
One resident, Shaheed Mohamed, said he paid the fee and received a PDF copy of the "non-core" documents, but he wants the official, stamped bank records instead.
"I don't want a PDF," he said. "I want the actual bank document."
William Stratas, managing director of Eagle Audit Advantage Inc., said that while he does not represent the residents of 2645 Kipling and is unaware of the conditions in the building, he believes residents deserve transparency in the business affairs of their own corporation.
"They are shareholders and owners. The business affairs are not opaque to those owners," he said. "When it comes to records of bank statements and investment reports for the reserve funds, I believe owners are owed transparency of those records."
He said there are ways for both residents and property management companies to address the issue of trust when dealing with the release of copies of bank documents.
"In my view, (residents) do have the opportunity to inspect the source of the scan," he said.
He added that in turn, the property manager should be willing to be transparent about that source.
Article by Veronica Appia for Toronto.com