Marina Del Rey Condominium $15 Lawsuits, Toronto


The Toronto Waterfront area can be a beautiful place to live. I thought all my dreams had come true when I moved in to my condominium 23 years ago. It has the most spectacular view of this city! However, I soon discovered that purchasing this property would become my biggest nightmare! I have now been homeless for 13 years!

This is a cautionary tale about what happens to a condo owner at Marina Del Rey Phase I, 2261 Lake Shore Blvd. W, who is forced to commence legal action in an effort to rebuild her home after years of continuous water flooding problems, mismanagement, neglect of duties, and bad faith displayed by insurance companies.

I have started this blog with the hope that I can provide help and encouragement to others who find themselves in a similar situation. Insurance companies and corporations have lots of money and lawyers to fight us. However, we have the power of the internet and the social media to connect, support each other, and exchange helpful information.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Would You Just Walk Away?

Dear Marina Del Rey Condo Owners:

Some have suggested that a fair offer would be to pay me the value of my condo and I should then just walk away.

Walking away from my condo which I have owned for 23 years with a payment for its value is not good enough.  My condo is worthless.  Wrecked,  full of mould, water penetrates around window when it rains. Who would want to buy it?  Payment for the cost of my condo will pay off my mortgage and partially pay for my legal fees.  No Deal.

Do you realise that both the lawsuits were triggered by the fact that Marina Del Rey was in between condo managers and there was no one to take charge and deal with the flooding situations in my home.  After writing countless letters, emails, and filling out maintenance requests to no avail, I was forced to commence legal action to repair my home.  I also slipped on my flooded condo floor caused by defective windows (identified in 1997 and confirmed in 2003) after a rainstorm and broke my arm, injured both shoulders, and collar bone.  I am a landscaper who specialises in fish ponds.  I was unable to work.  When I fell behind in maintenance fee payments, I was threatened with liens. 

I was given the following excuses:  It's in the lawyer's hands, we are going to discuss it at the next meeting, our hands are tied - it's up to the Board.  I was also told, it happened before I started working (or was elected) and I don't know anything about it, sorry.  Another time I was told our hands are tied, but if you drop the lawsuit, maybe we can help you.  The file of evidence proving mismanagement, negligence, and failure to act is so big, no one has the time or wants to sit down and read it.

Did you know that for 75 days in 2001 I had no water supply to my unit?  To flush my toilet or wash, I had to go to the parking garage to get a bucket of water.  Did you know that for 21 months my walls and ceilings were left open after the condo plumbers flooded my unit?  I suffered from 2nd hand smoke, mould, insects came into my unit through the walls. I could hear all the neighbours sounds around me including going to the bathroom, dropping a penny or quarter, spoon or knife on the floor, drawers opening and closing, people talking, music, tv, piano.  I was kept awake by the sound of rushing water through the pipes, my pipes rattle and clang when the water is shut off above me. I still wake up at night to the sound of water travelling through the pipes and I am jolted awake fearing the next flood.  Did you know that because the walls and ceilings were left open, during a rainstorm a kind of wind tunnel / vacuum effect sucked in even more water and flooded my living room.  The smell of the wet floor, drywall and mould was horrendous - read visitors comments in 2011.  I believe my windows and frames would never have been replaced by the condo corporation or the holes closed in my drywall had it not been for the City of Toronto building standards department stepping in to help me.

What do I want?

1) I want to make sure this never happens to another person at Marina Del Rey or any other condo for that matter.

2) I want the condo corporation to take flooding and mould issues seriously.  They should be replacing failing pipes and defective windows, not spending our reserve fund on redecorating. 

3) I want owners at Marina Del Rey to understand these lawsuits are a serious matter and can cost the corporation more than just the deductible.  Compensatory and Punitive Damages are not covered by the condo corporation's insurance policy as noted in the financial statements presented at the last general meeting. 
Did you know that the condo corporation is about to be served yet another lawsuit from a resident who was hurt in the parking garage?  Too many lawsuits can cause the condo corporation to lose its insurance.  Lawsuits also bring attention to the fact that there are problems here - which is not good for our building's reputation or property values.

4) I need the mould that is growing in my walls to be remediated.  There is water damage around my windows = mould continues to be active.  The Doctor and the people at the hospital told me to continue to wear a face mask while in my condo.  My neighbour is worried about the mould in our common walls too.  It is affecting my ability to breath and I just went for a 4th lung function test.  It was confirmed that the air quality in my condo is affecting my breathing.

5) I need my ventilation system repaired.  The motor broke and the corporation refuses to replace it even though the Declaration, P. 17 and 18 says its the corporation's responsibility.  The exhaust fan motor is listed as part of the standard unit in By-Law 6

6) I want the condo corporation's insurer to pay to rebuild my home.  I have no kitchen or finished bathroom.  I need it gutted and rebuilt.

7) I want the condo corporation's insurer to provide me personal insurance coverage for the next 5 years or for 5 years after my next flood.  That is how long it takes to clear your record.  You must be incident free for 5 years.

8) I want reimbursement for all my costs.  Legal fees. Maintenance fees & mortgage payments I had to make on a condo that was classified as "unusable space" by MPAC and I received a property tax refund.  Money I spent to rebuild my home only to have it destroyed by another flood.

9) I want to be compensated for my loss of income due to health problems, psychological trauma, broken arm and injured shoulders.  The damage to my business must be recognised.  I would have made a lot more money operating my business with out all the stress and distraction of continuous destruction of my home.  At one point in my business I had up to 10 employees / subcontractors working for me constructing water feature projects for:  zoo, casino, hotels, restaurants, condominiums, retail stores, and high end residential projects.  The work I did was featured in magazines, newspapers, TV shows.  I lost all of that and now am just self employed.  For many years I slept on my office floor because my condo was wrecked and then gutted.

10) I want a public apology.  The way I have been treated by some people at Marina Del Rey is inhumane.  I have been a resident at Marina Del Rey for 23 years.  My problems were ignored for 13 years.  I did not deserve to be bullied, ridiculed, called a liar, nut job, wacko, etc.

My problems were legitimate, deserved attention, and required immediate action.
No one should ever have to go through everything I have been through. I have been homeless for 13 years.

If this happened to you, would you just walk away?
  
Sincerely,
Christina

6 comments:

  1. On my way to church this morning, I ran into a long time resident who is familiar with the situation. I used to often see him in the gym before I broke my arm. He used to be very sympathetic and friendly. Today he told me in an angry tone: "GIVE UP, drop your lawsuits. You will NEVER win. You can't win against 300 other condo owners." He also mentioned something about a woman losing a lawsuit in Phase III at Marina Del Rey with a similar lawsuit. I have heard from others that there are leaking windows in Phase II and Phase III, does anyone know about this lawsuit at Phase III?

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  2. I would walk away and try and get on with your life and put it behind you. You've mentioned depression, stress-related rashes, living with no kitchen/bathroom etc. That is not living. Forget being compensated. Take stock of what you have, what your real monetary losses would be to walk away (what's the mortgage etc.) and then decide. You are holding out for getting paid what you feel you are owed, but in the process are being held prisoner. No amount of money can make up for being a prisoner in this mess for 13 years. You are playing the role of martyr/victim, but it is time to stop. I agree, what happened to you is not far. You didn't deserve it. But you are prolonging the agony. You've been heard on CBC by millions of viewers and through your blog but you're still a prisoner. End your suffering, maybe use your experience to become an advocate for others. But you need to get out from your prison before it becomes the death of you. I've lived through depression and through an abusive marriage of almost 15 years. That was my prison. I had to walk away and give up my gorgeous house in dowtown Toronto (my ex has it now). But, I almost comitted suicide twice and decided to focus on moving myself forward and accept that life is not fair. It sucks. But being a live is better than being a dead martyr/victim.

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  3. What goes around comes around!

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  4. Not sure what you hope to gain. You are bringing everyone down with you. I love the building and love living there - you've added so much stress to my life with your frivolous lawsuit - why should I be accountable for your frivolous suit. What gives you the right to impact the value of my home?

    You could have easily resolved the issue and you've done nothing. We've experienced water damage, we repaired it and got on with it.

    "What do I want?" says it all really - it's all about you.

    I hope this gets settled soon.

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    Replies
    1. I have tried to rebuild my condo countless times with my own money. I lost my insurance coverage because there were too many floods. The saddest part was almost having my unit finally rebuilt in 2009, just ready to install the kitchen counter top when the condo corporation plumbers flooded my unit and destroyed it and the contents. They were changing pipes throughout the building. Holes were left open in all my walls and ceilings buy the plumbers. My unit flooded when it rained. I slipped and broke my arm on the flooded floor after a rain storm. I was unable to work as a landscaper. The City of Toronto issued multiple Orders against the condo corporation to stop the flooding in my unit, replace the windows, and repair the broken ventilation system. My unit has no finished kitchen or bathroom now for 15 years. The living conditions in my unit are against the Landlord Tenant Act. You don't care about me. Only yourself. This lawsuit is not frivolous. See you in court.

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  5. Sure your lawsuit is frivolous! The very fact that you keep changing lawyers is evidence that it is frivolous; as your lawyers slowly realize that their fee (probably a contingency fee) will not be paid because they will lose the case they move on and you have to go and convince another unassuming lawyer to sign up for another shot at a big contingency fee.

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