Real Estate

Can I dispute a chargeback letter from the condo corporation?

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  • Nov 14th, 2020 10:52 am
[OP]
Newbie
Jul 31, 2018
57 posts
99 upvotes

Can I dispute a chargeback letter from the condo corporation?

So there was a leakage from my unit which has caused damage to the unit below. The property manager estimated the cost of repairs to be a few hundreds (her own opinion, not assessed by any professionals). So I didn't object and ask her to send me the copy of invoice after the work is done. It turned out that the repair company they hired charged them over 1000 dollar for the job. The manager didn't ask for my approval before the job commenced. Afterwards they sent me the invoice but I feel that they overpaid for the job. Today I received the 1st letter demanding me to pay the chargeback within a week, or they threatened me to put a lien on my property. Should I dispute this chargeback given that the manager didn't ask for my approval with a final cost estimate? If yes, how can I do it? Should I go for a lawyer, or I can file a claim with the Condominium Authority Tribunal? Thanks for any help!

Btw, my condo is in Mississauga, ON.
19 replies
Deal Addict
Aug 12, 2004
4483 posts
2139 upvotes
Calgary
Did you unit cause damage to the unit below? Yes? Then you are liable for the repair cost. Period. You don't have to agree to it.

Go through your insurance if it's too high, but this would fall within your deductible.

Don't be an owner if you cannot manage the liabilities of owning.
[OP]
Newbie
Jul 31, 2018
57 posts
99 upvotes
Firebot wrote: Did you unit cause damage to the unit below? Yes? Then you are liable for the repair cost. Period. You don't have to agree to it.

Go through your insurance if it's too high, but this would fall within your deductible.

Don't be an owner if you cannot manage the liabilities of owning.
I can't get reimbursed from my insurance because they don't cover persistent water damage. I don't have problems paying for the repair. But if I don't need to approve for the work, how do I know whether they have some shady deal with the repair company, such as kickbacks? Or whether they ordered some excessive and unnecessary work that are not warranted by the damage. I just want to know in general is there a cost-effective way to dispute this charge. It can also help the other owners.
Deal Addict
Oct 13, 2014
2222 posts
1452 upvotes
Just Moved To Somewh…
yughred wrote: So I didn't object and ask her to send me the copy of invoice after the work is done.
It certainly appears to me that you gave your approval, albeit sight unseen.
“Don’t irritate old people. The older they get, the less “Life in prison” is a deterrent."
Deal Addict
Aug 12, 2004
4483 posts
2139 upvotes
Calgary
yughred wrote: I can't get reimbursed from my insurance because they don't cover persistent water damage. I don't have problems paying for the repair. But if I don't need to approve for the work, how do I know whether they have some shady deal with the repair company, such as kickbacks? Or whether they ordered some excessive and unnecessary work that are not warranted by the damage. I just want to know in general is there a cost-effective way to dispute this charge. It can also help the other owners.
Sigh...condo board directors aren't in the business of scamming unit owners, they are unit owners themselves...and property managers do what is needed.

Kickbacks...good grief. We are talking of water damage here, you are lucky to only be out 1000$, you could have been liable for mold restoration had it occurred.

You can ask for the invoice and see it, and that's pretty much it.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Sep 4, 2007
1148 posts
613 upvotes
Firebot wrote: Sigh...condo board directors aren't in the business of scamming unit owners, they are unit owners themselves...and property managers do what is needed.

Kickbacks...good grief. We are talking of water damage here, you are lucky to only be out 1000$, you could have been liable for mold restoration had it occurred.

You can ask for the invoice and see it, and that's pretty much it.
That's naïve thinking
THE CHILDREN ARE FINE!!!
[OP]
Newbie
Jul 31, 2018
57 posts
99 upvotes
rcmpvet wrote: It certainly appears to me that you gave your approval, albeit sight unseen.
So the lesson is that I should request an official cost estimate before agreeing to pay for it?
[OP]
Newbie
Jul 31, 2018
57 posts
99 upvotes
Firebot wrote: Sigh...condo board directors aren't in the business of scamming unit owners, they are unit owners themselves...and property managers do what is needed.

Kickbacks...good grief. We are talking of water damage here, you are lucky to only be out 1000$, you could have been liable for mold restoration had it occurred.

You can ask for the invoice and see it, and that's pretty much it.
Condo owners allege former board members siphoned money, left them on hook for $750K
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cbc.ca/amp/1.4547396

I have the invoice. It's just I don't think it should cost that much. And even so, there should be a process for me to challenge the fee, just as tenants have the right for a hearing before any eviction.
Deal Addict
Oct 13, 2014
2222 posts
1452 upvotes
Just Moved To Somewh…
@yughred That would be my opinion.
“Don’t irritate old people. The older they get, the less “Life in prison” is a deterrent."
Deal Addict
Aug 12, 2004
4483 posts
2139 upvotes
Calgary
yughred wrote: Condo owners allege former board members siphoned money, left them on hook for $750K
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cbc.ca/amp/1.4547396

I have the invoice. It's just I don't think it should cost that much. And even so, there should be a process for me to challenge the fee, just as tenants have the right for a hearing before any eviction.
That's an extreme case.

Anytime water damage is involved it costs a fair bit of money, a lot more than you would think. I think the issue is you got the property manager's opinion and choose to stick with that.

You really don't have a dispute here, you will simply be hit with a lien on your condo if you don't pay.
Member
May 19, 2008
231 posts
108 upvotes
I think you're out of luck as you provided consent to PM to just bill you the invoice once the work was complete.

I encountered a somewhat similar situation and escalated it to the board. We reached a compromise where I would only pay a portion of the bill. However, I never gave them the go ahead to bill me.
invoice-property-management-2366628/#p32368813

You can try escalating to the board, but I think it will be tough to refute the charge in this scenario.
Deal Fanatic
Dec 20, 2018
5178 posts
4235 upvotes
yughred wrote: So there was a leakage from my unit which has caused damage to the unit below. The property manager estimated the cost of repairs to be a few hundreds (her own opinion, not assessed by any professionals). So I didn't object and ask her to send me the copy of invoice after the work is done. It turned out that the repair company they hired charged them over 1000 dollar for the job. The manager didn't ask for my approval before the job commenced. Afterwards they sent me the invoice but I feel that they overpaid for the job. Today I received the 1st letter demanding me to pay the chargeback within a week, or they threatened me to put a lien on my property. Should I dispute this chargeback given that the manager didn't ask for my approval with a final cost estimate? If yes, how can I do it? Should I go for a lawyer, or I can file a claim with the Condominium Authority Tribunal? Thanks for any help!

Btw, my condo is in Mississauga, ON.
no, i mean you didn't/don't dispute it was you who caused the leak. you can still claim insurance if the cost is higher than expected.

not like suddenly you're not responsible just because the cost of repairs is higher than anticipated. You also don't get to choose where/who repairs it, just like if you crash into someone with your car, you don't get to choose where they take it for repairs
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Oct 16, 2008
8173 posts
2806 upvotes
Maple
yughred wrote: So there was a leakage from my unit which has caused damage to the unit below. The property manager estimated the cost of repairs to be a few hundreds (her own opinion, not assessed by any professionals). So I didn't object and ask her to send me the copy of invoice after the work is done. It turned out that the repair company they hired charged them over 1000 dollar for the job. The manager didn't ask for my approval before the job commenced. Afterwards they sent me the invoice but I feel that they overpaid for the job. Today I received the 1st letter demanding me to pay the chargeback within a week, or they threatened me to put a lien on my property. Should I dispute this chargeback given that the manager didn't ask for my approval with a final cost estimate? If yes, how can I do it? Should I go for a lawyer, or I can file a claim with the Condominium Authority Tribunal? Thanks for any help!

Btw, my condo is in Mississauga, ON.
1. Did you tell her send you the bill when it's done? - that's approval already
2. Did your unit cause the leak?

What do think you can dispute this?
Deal Fanatic
Dec 20, 2018
5178 posts
4235 upvotes
yughred wrote: So the lesson is that I should request an official cost estimate before agreeing to pay for it?
they don't need your agreement. just like if you crashed into someone with your car, they don't need your agreement on the estimate before repairs
Sr. Member
Dec 18, 2003
597 posts
123 upvotes
don't pay anything... tell them to deal with their insurance and your tenant insurence...

Stop responding to them and only communicate with them in writing.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Aug 18, 2005
20167 posts
4720 upvotes
Burlington-Hamilton
OP, strictly speaking, it depends on your standard unit by-law.

In most, cases you are liable for this kind of damage whether you 'agreed' to a repair price or not. It's in the condo by-laws and declaration. They don't have to ask.
If you want to be certain, you can hire a lawyer to review your condo's specific by-laws. But in the end, most likely you'll be liable for the repairs and any legal costs the condo took to recover the money.

Contact your insurance if you want.

This is why condo-owners always need condo-specific home insurance. There's a high chance you can be liable for something that was never really under your control to begin with.
Firebot wrote: Kickbacks...good grief. We are talking of water damage here, you are lucky to only be out 1000$, you could have been liable for mold restoration had it occurred.
Kickbacks can and do happen in the condo world. I have seen it for sure. I'm not suggesting it's happening in this particular case, though.

I am a former condo board guy btw.
- casual gastronomist -
[OP]
Newbie
Jul 31, 2018
57 posts
99 upvotes
Thanks for sharing your experience. I’ll check the bylaws first before deciding whether to escalate it the board.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Aug 18, 2005
20167 posts
4720 upvotes
Burlington-Hamilton
yughred wrote: Thanks for sharing your experience. I’ll check the bylaws first before deciding whether to escalate it the board.
Condos are like the CRA. They have enormous power. Better to pay first and fight second. Write "under duress" in the memo field of the cheque.

If they do a lein on your unit, you'll probably have to pay the legal fee of them putting on the lein as well.
- casual gastronomist -
Member
Jan 14, 2008
495 posts
265 upvotes
Toronto
Jucius Maximus wrote: Condos are like the CRA. They have enormous power. Better to pay first and fight second. Write "under duress" in the memo field of the cheque.

If they do a lein on your unit, you'll probably have to pay the legal fee of them putting on the lein as well.
This is true, i also experienced the wrath.

A few months ago i received a lawyer letter initiated by the condo board regarding complaints for someone elses tenant, living in a different unit on a different floor that we have nothing to do with. (It was a mistake on their end). However they backcharged my unit for the lawyer to prepare the letter. When i replied to them letting them know it was someone elses unit, they further backcharged my unit 2 hours of their lawyers time for reading my reply!

I spoke to a lawyer regarding this and they suggested me to just pay it and move forward, which I did. I spoke to the condo tribunal in Ontario that was setup recently and they were not much help.

Yes they are terrible.
No more condos for me..
Looking forward to changes in the system in the future.
Sr. Member
Aug 29, 2019
788 posts
357 upvotes
teoconca wrote: 1. Did you tell her send you the bill when it's done? - that's approval already
2. Did your unit cause the leak?

What do think you can dispute this?
I think he's wondering if there's recourse because the estimate was so much less than the final bill. Such as when a contracter gives you an estimate and you agree, the finished increase could only be 10% more. I think that's what he's asking.

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