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TORONTO CONDO MAINTENANCE FEE STUDY 2017

Toronto Condo Maintenance Fee Study 2017

 

How much are you paying each month in condo maintenance fees and what do those fees truly pay for? If you don’t know the answer to that question, you might want to read this study.

Maintenance fees (MF) are a constant topic in condo real estate, both during your search process and once you own a home. Back in 2015, we released a study that revealed the truths and myths behind maintenance fees in Toronto condos. But two years is a long time, especially in today’s real estate climate, so we’ve come back with our Maintenance Fee Report 2.0.

 

But first, a bit of maintenance fee 101

 

Every homeowner will pay maintenance fees in one form or another. Whether you have a freehold house or a condo apartment, a homeowner’s maintenance fees cover a wide range of home upkeep costs from lawn care to roof repair.

For a freehold house, the everyday upkeep costs will vary from year to year, depending on the condition of the house and whether there’s a need for sudden repairs. Unexpected costs are the most common worry with owning a freehold house. When a pipe bursts or the furnace quits, you can be hit with a sizable bill.

For condos, the maintenance fees tend to follow the rate of inflation, acting as a fund for the on-going upkeep of your unit and building in a range of ways. That fund, if managed well, can keep unexpected costs away for good.

That’s the key benefit of the structure of condo maintenance fees over freehold: the potential to remove sudden, unexpected costs.

It’s not surprising that there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding condo maintenance fees. In this report, we’ve picked the most common concerns that our Condo Pros hear from clients and broken them down into true or false answers.

 

1. Maintenance fees have no legal increase limit

 

TECHNICALLY TRUE

 

There is no legal regulation regarding the amount that a condo building’s maintenance fees can be increased annually. There is a general rule that maintenance fees increase to adjust with inflation and/or the needs of the building. Condo corporations are non-profit entities made up of unit owners within the building, not an outside group. The cost of operation adjusts for the true cost of maintaining the building. The condo board members who may vote to raise maintenance fees are in the same boat as all other owners in the building.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Lower maintenance fees mean lower monthly costs

 

FALSE

 

Maintenance fees cover different elements from building to building. Some buildings include the cost of water, heat, hydro, insurance, and other elements in the maintenance fees. Others may not. If those elements are not included in the maintenance fees, you will have to pay them separately. That’s why it’s important to know exactly what your maintenance fees cover. A low maintenance fee does not necessarily mean low monthly costs.

The maintenance fee that includes water, heat, hydro, and A/C is obviously more expensive, but these elements must be paid regardless. If you’re paying for these elements separately, the total monthly costs could be much higher than if they were included in the maintenance fees.

 

3. Smaller boutique buildings are less expensive than high-rise towers

 

FALSE

 

Condo building maintenance fees depend on a lot of factors. At the top of the list is the building’s footprint and the number of units. Between two buildings of a similar footprint, it doesn’t matter if the buildings are five-storeys or forty. It will cost the same amount to maintain and repair the roof. That cost is dispersed across the units. The more units, the broader the dispersal; and the lower the fee for each individual unit.

Building amenities are another key contributor with a range of factors. But it still has to do with the number of units. A concierge service shared between ten boutique units will be more expensive per unit compared to a concierge shared between 400 units.

Between two buildings of a similar footprint and similar amenities, the one with more units will tend to have lower maintenance fees. However, the building with more units will have a higher opportunity for wear and tear of common elements, which might in the long run cost more to maintain.

 

4. Maintenance fees always spike within 3-5 years for new buildings

 

TRUE AND FALSE

 

Every building is managed differently. Builders often market new buildings with low maintenance fees to make them more appealing to buyers. Once the condo board takes over, it is common to see fees undergo slight increases as the board fills out the reserve fund. After an initial increase, however, fees should stabilize. In the case of well managed properties, maintenance fees even come down. For instance:

 

Toronto condos maintenance fee decreases

5. Low maintenance fees are a sign of value

 

FALSE

 

Maintenance fees should be priced in accordance with the true cost of operating and maintaining the condo building. If that true cost is low, and the maintenance fee is low, then great. But if maintenance fees are low for the sake of attracting buyers, and are not adjusted to the true costs, then you could run the risk of a mismanaged reserve fund.

A better sign of value is smart building management. The maintenance fees fill the reserve fund and are used for big repairs, upgrades, etc. If a building is poorly managed, the reserve fund may deplete, at which point the condo board will have to issue “special assessments.”

During the condo search process, however, you may still want to look for buildings with low maintenance fees as a means of maximizing your purchasing power. With a lower all-in monthly maintenance fee, you can allocate more of your monthly budget towards a mortgage payment, thereby increasing the size of the mortgage you can carry. Just be mindful of the building’s true operating costs.

 

6. Cost of Parking Spot and Locker are included in maintenance fee

 

FALSE

 

Parking spots and lockers are often separately titled properties, which means they have their own maintenance fee attached to them. If your parking spot or locker is separately titled, then you have to pay a separate fee on top of your condo maintenance fee.

 

Source: via Condos.ca as of Jan 4, 2018. All data is for 2017 unless otherwise noted.
Disclaimer:
Condos.ca has worked diligently to ensure the accuracy of this information and our calculations including the removal of any small samples and data anomalies that could skew results. However, we cannot guarantee the information with 100% certainty due to factors including but not limited to potential incorrect information entered by listing brokerages or agents on MLS. This information and the views and opinions expressed here are intended for educational purposes only. Condos.ca accepts no liability for the content of this study.
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Advice for retirees who must answer the question: Buy, sell or rent?

It wasn’t that long ago when the outlook for retirees focused on baby boomers downsizing and moving into smaller homes in the country — trading an urban lifestyle with a relaxing, rural retirement.

Fast forward 20 years, and many retirees are opting to stay in their homes for longer: renovating, upgrading and improving accessibility along the way.

A comfortable home is a comfortable lifestyle that many are not willing, or wanting, to give up.

The definition of “old” has changed.

Joseph Segal, the founder of Kingswood Capital, has just put his tony 22,000-square -foot home in Vancouver’s west side up for sale, for $63 million.

Why? Because they are downsizing to a smaller home in Vancouver.

“I’m an old man,” said the 92-year-old Segal, and “it’s a big place.”

Many of us are living longer and have healthier lifespans with various sources of retirement income, and ultimately we will ask the question: should we buy a condo, downsize to a smaller home or cash in and rent?

All options have pros and cons.

Is a condo right for you? 

Buying a condo may mean downsizing our footprint, but in many cases it doesn’t mean downsizing the cost.

Retirement communities are being pitched to seniors across the country with promises of amenities such as entertainment, hospitals to retail.

Many choose to be closer to families along with the desire to live in accommodations that are maintenance free. It can be enticing.

On the other hand, the concern over new costs such as condo fees or retirement residence fees can be worrisome.

Is it time to downsize?

In a hot real estate market, the temptation to cash in and lock in your appreciation can be overwhelming.

But before you do, Ted Rechtschaffen, president and CEO of TriDelta Financial, said in a BNN interview to ask yourself: is the house I’m in now too large or too difficult for me to manage?

And consider where your wealth is concentrated. Do you have too much of your wealth tied up in real estate? You have to live somewhere. So do you buy or rent? Unless you plan on living in a home for at least 6 years, you might be better off renting.

Bottom line

I’ve never been a fan of trying to time the market. You have to get it right at least twice. Going in and getting out.

Consider your lifestyle, potential longevity and retirement funding options. Even if you don’t pick the peak of the market you are still holding on to the lottery ticket that doesn’t have an expiration date.

You get to cash in when you need to, or want to.

Source: CTV – Patricia Lovett-ReidChief Financial Commentator, CTV News

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Retirees find financial freedom in renting after selling their homes

William Jack and Mary Taylor sold their home two years ago, but they didn't buy a condo. Instead, like a growing number of people downsizing, they rented a place.

A growing number of homeowners are unlocking the equity in their houses, by selling and moving into a rental.

William Jack woke up in the middle of the night last month as he often does. This time, though, he rolled over and went back to sleep.

That’s when he knew that after more than two years of turmoil, he was finally home. The fact that the roof over his head belongs to someone else only added to his peace of mind.

William and his wife, Mary Taylor, are among a growing number of Toronto area downsizers, who are choosing to rent rather than buy a retirement nest. It is a choice, they say, that can be physically, mentally and financially liberating.

The couple — he’s 71, she’s 69 — are healthy, vibrant people. But a couple of years ago, their two-storey home of 32 years with its reverse ravine lot was “just consuming too much time and it was absorbing huge amounts of energy that we wanted to use in other ways,” said William.

“There were rooms we didn’t go into,” said Mary.

“We watched both our parents go through this downsizing exercise. I swore I would never do to anyone what my parents did to me. It was a nightmare,” said William.

“We wanted to leave while we still could — gracefully,” said Mary.

Royal LePage realtor Desmond Brown helped sell the couple’s east-end home and, in the end, he was the one who helped them find the two-bedroom, 1,800-sq. ft. condo they have been renting near the lake since the fall.

The emotional and financial decision to rent rather than buy is becoming more common, said Brown.

Clients like William and Mary, “have had a really good run by owning their own homes for many years,” he said.

“They’ve accumulated a lot of equity. They have a feeling that the market is going to go back down again and all the benefits of this great market are going to be lost if they don’t cash in,” said Brown.

At the same time, these home sellers can’t necessarily see spending $1 million or more, plus maintenance fees, on a condo.

“Yes, I was incensed when I saw these places for the same amount of money as our house. How could that possibly be,” said Mary.

But, she said, “It doesn’t make sense to rail against the market. That’s the market, so you accept it or not.”

Initially they were open to renting or buying.

“Buying any of the units we looked at would have consumed a huge percentage of our net worth. You don’t want 50-, 60-, 75-, 80 per cent of your net worth in one piece of real estate. It’s just too risky,” said William.

“The price of the condominiums we were looking at went up by $20,000 a month or more,” said Mary.

The couple pays about $4,200 a month in rent. It might sound like a lot but they write only three cheques a month — rent, hydro and cable. When they lived in their house, there were 15 to 20 regular expenses.

Gone, they say, are the bills for a security system, for chimney repairs, sewer connections and maintenance agreements on appliances. Even firewood cost $500 a year.

The condo is the third rental for the couple since they sold their house. The first summer they rented a place in Prince Edward County and then they moved to the west end for a year. But they missed the east end.

“We realized community was much more important than we thought. The cottage was isolated and (the west end) place was so transient you couldn’t have a community,” said Mary.

Now they live in a building where they know other members of their yacht club and they enjoy bird-watching near the lake.

Their apartment is decorated with souvenirs of their travels but there is no granny vibe.

It’s the type of high-end rental that can be difficult to find. Apartment hunting is not particularly lucrative for realtors even if they can find something suitable among the few leases on the Multiple Listings Service.

In the hot Toronto property market, renters are increasingly in the same position as home buyers. They have to compete, sometimes by offering higher rents or cash upfront.

“We were paying $3,750 (in their previous west-end apartment) and when (the owner) listed it on MLS there was a bidding war and she ended up getting $4,500 a month,” said William, an actuary and former IT executive.

Helping clients find a rental is all part of the service Brown provides when he has helped someone sell a home. He found this couple’s condo by word-of-mouth. But he acknowledges the searches can be challenging.

“When you’re spending up to $5,000 you’re going to be picky so finding the right one can take some time,” said Brown.

Mary says they knew they were home as soon as they walked through the door of their condo. But that was after they had looked at a lot of places — many were “appalling,” said William.

Is renting a condo saving them money on a monthly basis?

“Probably not. But it isn’t costing us more,” said William. He says they have taken the proceeds from their home sale and invested the money.

Releasing the equity on your house can actually generate enough cash flow to cover rent, agrees Scott Plaskett, CEO of Ironshield Financial Planning.

For people rich in equity but cash poor, renting can give them the freedom to pay for some of the extra things they want in life. It’s all very well to watch your home’s value appreciate, but you can’t eat a doorknob, he said.

If the decision to rent or buy a smaller home is a financial wash, he advises his clients to go with the better emotional fit. That frequently depends on whether they are comfortable giving up the control of owning their own place or whether they really need the cash to cover the cost of enjoying their retirement.

But Plaskett warns retirees to be aware that the economic environment in which they are investing the equity they have earned on their homes has changed.

“We’ve never really existed in an environment where we’ve had wealth with interest rates this low,” he said.

If you’re going to rent and invest your home’s equity you need to look carefully at where you’re putting that money so you’re not seeing your old age security benefits clawed back.

“Now you have all this money that’s being released from one of the legal tax shelters in Canada into a non-sheltered environment,” said Plaskett.

When their abundant garden became too much to manage, Jane and Bill Martin, 79 and 80, didn’t even consider buying another home.

“We don’t want the responsibility. (With an apartment) you can close the door and go away. We just didn’t want to own again,” said Jane.

Experienced apartment dwellers, the Martins raised their kids in an east end rental.

They only bought their house south of Scarborough General Hospital because an accountant advised it as a wise investment, said Jane.

When it came time to move, it took a couple of months viewing between 15 and 20 apartments (“From the worst on up,” said Jane.)

“The ads look good but when you go and look at the place. . . ” she said. “Most condos you’re talking 700 to 900 sq. ft. That won’t do.”

They found 1,230 sq. ft. with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and two balconies for $1,882 a month near Cummer and Bayview Aves.

The TTC is outside the door and conveniences such as a drug and grocery store, banks and the post office are right there.

They’re not used to the shopping in their new neighbourhood yet. It feels like a long way to big department stores after living five minutes from the Scarborough Town Centre for so many years.

They still go back to their old neighbourhood butcher.

“We had a lot of good friendly neighbours so you miss them,” Jane said. “Every now and again we make a little excursion day and head down there and do some shopping and get some haircuts.”

Downsizing duty

Laurie Bell has been downsizing seniors for five years. Lately, she says, she sees a trend to renting rather than buying among people who can still live independently.

One couple actually rented a condo to see if they would like the lifestyle.

In two other cases the reasons were financial, said Bell, who has a background in mental health and, at one point, even sold real estate.

“When the person’s significant major asset is their house, they’re looking at how they can move, get rid of the maintenance,” she said.

“They just want to know where they stand financially. It’s frightening to look at renting a condo because it might just be for a year.”

More seniors want to maintain their autonomy and avoid relying on their children or other family members.

“They’ve seen it not go well if people do wait too late and there’s been a precipitous incident,” said Bell, whose company is called Moving Seniors with a Smile.

Services like hers take a lot of the physical and emotional stress out of the downsizing process.

There is often 30 or 40 years’ worth of possessions to sort through, which can be emotionally taxing because her clients can’t keep it all.

She also has a coterie of reliable service providers: movers, junk removal companies, even shredders for paper work.

Bell describes it as a three-day process. The first day is spent packing, the second day the client’s belongings get moved and the third day they get the new place set up.

“They can have friends over for cocktails by 5 p.m.”

Source: Toronto Star – Tess Kalinowski

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Woodstock poised for revival as new generation moves in

The White Dove Rockotel is awash in an aesthetic that is psychedelically retro, yet ultramodern in accoutrements

Jorma Kaukonen wasn’t onstage at the Woodstock Playhouse but a half a minute when he referenced an event nearly 47 years in the past. “I can’t believe I get to play Woodstock again,” says the singer-guitarist, a member of Jefferson Airplane when those white-rabbit believers played the Woodstock Music & Art Fair back in the day. The crowd in front of him look to be of flowered-hair vintage. Once far out, they are only far along now.

Woodstock, the upstate New York town that’s a lovely place of white churches, quaint shops and a fortuitous association with an iconic pop-culture moment, doggedly flies its freak flag.

Kaukonen himself is an acoustic folk-blues specialist and handsome, roguish septuagenarian. He starts his show with Ain’t in No Hurry, about the setting season and an inclination not to rush, even though a train is coming his way. He’s entitled to his complacency, but there’s a feeling among some of the townspeople that maybe it’s time for the old Aquarians to step aside.

IF YOU GO

Woodstock, N.Y., famous for its bohemian tradition and association with the festival that bears its name, is gentrifying. Here are a few places for food, lodging and music that celebrate the past while embracing the future.

Where to stay

The White Dove Rockotel, 148 Tinker St., Woodstock, N.Y.,thewhitedoverockotel.com. Rooms from $145 (U.S.).

Where to hear music

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts (a performing arts centre and museum located at the site of the original Woodstock festival), 200 Hurd Rd., Bethel, N.Y., bethelwoodscenter.org.

Where to eat

Phoenicia Diner (a Wonder Years-era eatery with modern twists, serving tourists, long-time residents and hipsters alike), 5681 Route 28, Phoenicia, N.Y., phoeniciadiner.com.

“The new generation is intent on this town not dying,” says Erin Cadigan, part of what she calls Woodstock’s “new blood.” She and her husband are escaped Brooklynites who own and operate the White Dove Rockotel, a funky Victorian inn awash in an aesthetic that is psychedelically retro, yet ultramodern in accoutrements that include high-speed WiFi, streaming TV and a Nexus 7 tablet with cyber-concierge services.

Students of history and hippiedom know that the actual music festival in 1969 took place a 90-minute drive across the Catskills in Bethel, N.Y., where three days of peace, love and music happened on the verdant fields of Max Yasgur’s dairy farm. And while the town of Woodstock has been milking the iconic event ever since, the rock-and-roll landscape of one of the most famous music towns in the world – once home to Bob Dylan, the Band, Van Morrison, Maria Muldaur and the folk-music impresario Albert Grossman – has dried up over the years.

Now, a reversal is afoot. It’s 2016, and Woodstock is ready for its reboot.

“The local music scene is really beginning to flourish again,” says Jimmy Buff, program director of Radio Woodstock, 100.1 on your FM dial if dials were still a thing. “People are looking for a place where they can do what they love and live affordably and still have access to New York City,” Buff explains. “That spot is increasingly becoming the Hudson Valley, and the northern migration of musicians is pretty amazing.”

One of the incoming musicians is Canadian expat Carl (A.C.) Newman, who, like Cadigan and others, left Brooklyn for idyllic wilds. The new breed rubs shoulders with the tie-dyed set. The Lovin’ Spoonful’s John Sebastian is still around – “I saw him last week at lunch,” Buff says – as is Woodstock organizer Michael Lang and the Band’s Garth Hudson.

The White Dove’s Experience suite is a deeply purple space with oblique Jimi Hendrix allusions.

Buff touts nearby towns such as Kingston and New Paltz as music hot spots, with sleepier Woodstock still in the early stages of its own revival. The White Dove’s Cadigan, a fashion designer and concert poster artist, is part of an incoming crowd of live-music boosters hoping to revitalize the scene. The inn offers free tickets to performances at the Paul Green Rock Academy – a school dedicated to the training of young rock musicians – and exclusive VIP packages with local music venues.

“Woodstock the town didn’t become the town because of the festival,” Cadigan says, speaking about an artist-colony heritage and free-spirit lineage that go back a century at least. “That festival became that festival because of the town.”

For my visit to the area, I stayed in the White Dove’s Experience suite, correctly billed as “750 square feet of psychedelic awesomeness.”

In line with Cadigan and her husband’s mission to celebrate Woodstock’s legacy while dragging the town out of the past, the deeply purple space shares silicon-age amenities and excellently oblique Jimi Hendrix allusions.

Over the fireplace in the living room hangs a print of the sound-wave visuals of the notes of the wild version of The Star-Spangled Bannerthe guitarist played at the festival. You can’t see it when the giant screen for the projection TV is unfurled. The kitchen wallpaper utilizes the sames symbols that once emblazoned Hendrix’s guitar strap.

A shop in Woodstock, NY that plays off the legendary music festival. (Ulster County Tourism)

With a white-fur rug here and a brass bed over there, the suite’s style is a mix of thrift-shop Americana and baroque mod – chic, brash and eye-poppingly evocative.

“What would this space look like,” Cadigan says, explaining her ambitious design motivations, “if the musician inhabited it?”

Other suites are homages to Joni Mitchell and Janis Joplin, while a Grateful Dead-edicated cottage – the only space in which pets are allowed – comes with a 40-inch flat screen with surround sound, along with a record player and original vinyl.

Back at the Woodstock Playhouse, Kaukonen finishes with his signature song, Genesis, an elegant rebirth reference. “Time has come for us to pause and think of living as it was,” he sings. “Into the future we must cross – must cross.”

It’s a gentle and wistful suggestion to live again as one did “when breathing felt like something new,” and it is a warning against keeping to a “vaulted well.”

Woodstock, it appears, is getting the message.

Source: BRAD WHEELER WOODSTOCK, N.Y. — The Globe and Mail Published Thursday, Jun. 23, 2016 2:32PM EDT

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Hitched then ditched by marriage ‘predator’

Galina Baron married an elderly man named Charlie Juzumas with a promise he'd never have to go to a nursing home. A judge later said she had "unclean hands" after her son's name was added to the title of Juzumas' house.

Galina Baron, 65, married Charlie Juzumas, 89, with the promise that he’d never have to go to a nursing home. He didn’t know it yet, but he had just become entangled in a predatory marriage.

She promised to be a caring bride who’d keep him out of a nursing home.

When the wedding was done, Galina Baron left her 89-year-old husband at a Toronto subway stop.

Charlie Juzumas took the TTC home, alone. He didn’t know it yet, but he had just become entangled in a predatory marriage.

Juzumas was Baron’s sixth or maybe eighth husband. She had trouble remembering them all, according to a 2012 Ontario Superior Court judgment filed after Juzumas tried to reclaim the house she took from him.

This story is based on Justice Susan Lang’s court judgment, an affidavit and interviews. Baron and her son, Yevgeni, refused to comment.

Juzumas was the husband who got away, but it was a precarious escape.

When Baron married him on Sept. 27, 2007, the 65-year-old bride had been offering caretaking to vulnerable widowers with the expectation of a mention in their will, according to the judgment.

Age was not Juzumas’ weakness. He did yard work, planted flowers and seemed entirely self-sufficient, although he once accepted a tenant’s offer to climb a ladder and remove storm windows. His vulnerability came from a fear of dying in a nursing home.

It’s unclear if Baron knew this when she knocked on his door in 2006. Both were born in Lithuania, 24 years apart. Baron spoke the language of his home country and offered housework.

He was reluctant but she kept coming back. As her visits increased to three times a week, he started to see her as a saviour who’d keep him at home.

Juzumas’ wife, Malvina, died a decade earlier and they had no children, but his memories lived in this house. It was a three-storey Victorian, with stained-glass windows near the west Toronto neighbourhood of Beaconsfield.

Baron pushed for marriage, saying she merely wanted a widow’s pension. She clinched the deal by promising he’d never go to a nursing home.

The day before they married, Baron and Juzumas went to see a lawyer named Stan Mamak in the Roncesvalles neighbourhood. The court judgment detailed Mamak’s actions.

In a recent interview, Mamak said he did his best to independently represent Juzumas’ interests and believed the elderly man was a willing participant. “Just because someone is old doesn’t mean they are infirm,” he said.

Without meeting Juzumas separately to ask his wishes, Mamak wrote a will making Baron the sole executor and beneficiary of his estate, the judgment found.

Baron never did move in, but she spent her daytime visits berating him, according to witness testimony, the judgment said. She got joint access to his bank account. He paid her $800 a month for housekeeping and she took all but $100 of his tenants’ $1,300 monthly rent, said the judgment, which found Baron had “unclean hands.”

According to her affidavit, his new tenant, Pamela Detlor, studied Juzumas’ reaction to Baron. The moment Baron marched through his front door, Juzumas’ shoulders slumped, Detlor said. He was so afraid to speak that she initially thought he was mute. Later, he’d confide his troubles in Detlor saying, “I am a stupid old man,” according to the judgment.

Two years after the wedding, Juzumas realized he’d made a mistake, both in marriage and in the will that gave Baron his estate. He went to a different lawyer who wrote a new will. (The judgment doesn’t say why he didn’t choose Mamak, the original lawyer who wrote the first will of their marriage.) Baron would now inherit $10,000. The rest was bequeathed to his niece in Lithuania. The bulk of his estate came from his home, worth roughly $600,000 in 2009.

Baron soon discovered this act of rebellion. She went to see Mamak. The judgment states that Mamak believed it was Baron who was the victim, a “wronged, vulnerable spouse/caregiver.”

Mamak told the Star that Baron described Juzumas as a violent man, saying she claimed he threatened to cut her in half with a sword.

“In retrospect, I feel she was probably trying to manipulate my image of her — that she was an innocent victim,” Mamak said.

Together, Baron and Mamak came up with the idea to transfer the title of the house to her son, Yevgeni, the judgment found. Mamak said he improved the agreement, letting Juzumas live in the house with his name on title until his death.

A meeting was arranged to add Baron’s son Yevgeni to the house title. That morning, 91-year-old Juzumas ate a bowl of Baron’s soup, becoming “dizzy, as if I’d taken a strong drink,” he later told court.

Tired and disoriented, Juzumas signed the papers, giving away his financial security to a young man he disliked. The judgment later found there was no evidence Mamak spoke to Juzumas without Baron in the room, nor did he tell him the new agreement was “virtually eviscerating” his recent will. (Mamak said he believes he spoke to Juzumas independently but has no notes to prove it.)

When Juzumas learned of Baron’s ruse through a legal followup letter two weeks later, Juzumas’ long-time neighbour, Ferne Sinkins, drove him to the lawyer’s office. Baron arrived a few minutes later, but was told to wait. Juzumas emerged from his meeting with Mamak saying he was told the transfer was “in the computer; it can’t be changed,” the judgment said.

He returned the following week with the same request. Again, Baron appeared — an “unexplained coincidence,” the judge found. (Mamak denied tipping off Baron, saying she was probably following Juzumas.) This time, she demanded a new will and power of attorney over his medical care.

At home, his tenant thought he was “doped up.” His neighbour questioned the large gash on his forehead. Juzumas said he passed out, adding that Baron told him he fell down the stairs. He didn’t want to go to the hospital, fearing he’d be taken to a nursing home. During a rare evening visit, Baron called an ambulance claiming Juzumas was sick. His tenant, Detlor, told the attendants of Baron’s abuse.

Questioned by hospital staff, Baron called Juzumas a violent, pathological liar who should be sent to a nursing home. Instead, staff sent him home where helpful tenant Detlor insisted he change the locks. The day Baron came to get a few possessions left on the porch, Juzumas lay flat on the couch so she couldn’t see him.

Juzumas took his case to court. Baron fought back. The judge gave him a divorce and reversed the transfer of his house, blaming it on Baron and Yevgeni’s “undue influence of a vulnerable elder.”

Two years later, Juzumas sold his home for $910,000 and, neighbours said, returned to Lithuania with his niece.

Source: Toronto Star  Investigative News reporter, Published on Sun Apr 17 2016

Galina Baron married an elderly man named Charlie Juzumas with a promise he'd never have to go to a nursing home. A judge later said she had "unclean hands" after her son's name was added to the title of Juzumas' house.

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Seniors look to their home for financing the future

Canadian seniors consistently report that they prefer to live at home and age in place, instead of moving to assisted living. Yet, they also report that financial challenges are the biggest hurdle to doing so.

A recent report from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) shows that 93% of seniors live at home and prefer to age in place. And, HomEquity Bank statistics support this, reporting that 60% of retired Canadians describe staying in their home as critical to their quality of life.

“Every day, our team hears from older Canadians who want to remain in their homes and communities, but find the financial challenges very stressful,” says Yvonne Ziomecki, SVP, HomEquity Bank. “We work with seniors to help them explore utilizing the equity in their homes so they can continue to live in a familiar environment – which in most cases is the family home.”

According to the FCM report:

  • 700,000 senior-led households face a housing affordability challenge;
  • a combination of modest incomes and high living costs mean that one in four senior-led households are spending more than 30% of their income on shelter; and
  • seniors who live alone experience poverty at twice the rate of other seniors.

One reason finances have been adversely affected, notes the FCM study, is because only one-third of the Canadian workforce is covered by a registered pension plan, down from 37% in 1992.

HomEquity Bank stats show 30% of Canadians nearing retirement have $50,000 or less in savings. And, almost 70% of those nearing retirement are still carrying debt, with 35% of Canadians nearing retirement planning on using the value of their home to generate retirement income.

Source: MortgageBrokerNews.ca Donald Horne | 07 Jan 2016

Are you a senior who would like to stay in your own home and worried about being able to afford it? Book your know obligation consultation with the Ray McMillan Mortgage Team or visit www.RayMcMillan.com and let us explore your options together.

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New Openings: CABIN Goods & Grooming

CABIN is a new shop for men which offer old school, full service, barber services and unique manly grooming products and accessories. And let’s be clear here, it’s not just a barbershop – it’s an experience.

For newbie’s to CABIN it will feel like discovering a shop in Leslieville (Toronto) filled with unique treasures where you could easily find yourself perusing for hours, like an art aficionado at the opening of an art exhibit. You can also relax with a complimentary Balzac’s espresso while waiting to get a hot towel shave, beard trimming or hair cut or catch up on emails using their free Wi-Fi.

CABIN is the equivalent of a woman’s hair salon, spa and gift shop molded into one, but way cooler. It’s a space for men to retreat but women are also welcome to check the space out. They host men only special events such as a cigar night with a strict no women allowed rule for the men only events. If there’s ever a time to have penis envy, it’s now. CABIN has also hosted a ladies night but devoid of the lesson in cigars (not the same).

The eye-catching appeal of CABIN on the exterior includes an old Friendly Corner Barber Shop – We Still Shave Around The Ears sign, cottage chairs, an outdoor fire pit and a sign that welcomes Gentlemen Tastemakers And Those Who Love Them. It’s a gentlemen’s club so to speak, exclusive in the pampering for men, men only events and future plans for a members only cigar club, but aside from this, women can also peruse, shop and hang.

CABIN may be a concept ahead of the game in Mississauga yet so fitting in the most eastern part of Port Credit (which is locally referred to as East Village).

My first interaction with someone at CABIN even before entering the shop was with Nico whom I met walking into the shop for the first time axing fire wood just outside the front door – it’s wood for the fireplace I was told.

The close attention to details inside the rustic small space is climactic starting with the symphony of woodsy meets musky aura which envelopes you as you walk in and brings you to another level of relaxation and intrigue.

You’ll find a collection vintage decor pieces including the barber chairs, an old bicycle and a lot of wood. There is a stone fireplace, taxidermy art such as mounted fish, a deer head, moose antlers, ancient snow shoes, a dart board, cigar humidor and a vast selection of men’s high quality grooming essentials and forever products such as hand crafted leather accessories.

Louie Manzo, founder and sole proprietor of CABIN, is a Saugaboy – born and raised in Port Credit. Twenty years and still counting in the world of brand strategy for major Canadian labels as a co-owner of an advertising agency, he says CABIN was “an idea which kept growing and kept coming to life”.

While men were going to women’s salons, Manzo wanted to create “a social aspect around grooming and accessories that guys would like…private clubs exist but nothing at a pedestrian level”, explains Manzo.

CABIN is a flashback for a lot of people, it’s the stuff they saw as a kid and it’s nostalgic and comfy for the older guys and the younger guys find it charming”, says Manzo. 

Why Mississauga? Manzo wanted to bring something cool to the east side of Port Credit (East Village) “it’s a unique environment”.

Unique for: Manzo refers to the product lines he carries as ‘small batch curated’ “the product has to have a great story such as LSTN brand of headphones where the company donates [a portion of the sale] for hearing aids for under privileged children”, states Manzo. Most products in the store are Canadian brands with the exception of a few only because there wasn’t an equivalent in a Canadian brand of the same quality. Royal North Company (RNC) is one of a few a staple brands at CABIN which features Canadian made products and accessories such as hand blown whiskey tumblers (made in Ontario) or a luxurious Merino Wool throw hand woven by a group of granny’s in New Brunswick. You will also find various Canadian brands of men’s grooming products on CABIN‘s ‘wall of grooming essentials’ and even men’s jewelry from a Toronto designer and brand called Vitaly. You will also find bowties, socks, underwear, hats, winter accessories and more.

What’s Up and Coming? Evolving product mix. Members cigar club. More social themed mixer events for men and women. Possible expansion into the unit next door for a ‘mantique’ store which will be an extension of products and apparel for men.

Click here for map and contact info>

Source: Insauga.com Michelle Raqueno on December 16, 2015

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