In the seven weeks since our last microblog posting, there has been a whole bunch of condo-related court decisions and interesting news stories for us to tweet about. Given the large number of items, we’ll break them into two segments.
In this first installment, we will highlight the Court and Tribunal Decisions and also the Commentary and Cool Stuff.
COURT AND TRIBUNAL DECISIONS
An interesting trend emerges from several of the cases mentioned below. Judges appear to be closely scrutinizing the steps taken by condo corporations in enforcement cases and rapping the boards’ knuckles where the enforcement is not conducted reasonably. This is welcome news and is likely in response to the rash of nightmare scenarios in recent months where condo boards or their lawyers over-litigate enforcement cases and use David and Goliath techniques against owners.
Condo boards that choose not to approach rule enforcement cases in a conciliatory manner are doing their owners a disservice and are needlessly risking a reduced costs recovery or, worse, an adverse costs award. One condo board was smacked with a personal costs award against its directors for wilfully breaching a settlement made with unit owners.
A couple practical lessons that immediately come to mind include:
First: Managers should write more letters to owners before rule enforcement cases go to the lawyers and managers should document the efforts they made to attempt to resolve the matter in-house before escalating the enforcement.
Second: Informal meetings, negotiation and mediation should be offered or attempted prior to commencing litigation in almost any enforcement case, and counsel for all parties should be constantly exploring the possibility of settlement throughout the piece.
Here are the cases. Watch for the trends and, above all, enjoy!
ABPC: Vendors responsible for condo special assessment after failing to advise purchaser. http://bit.ly/wtSw7L
ONSC: Condo Act s.134(5) is not an invitation to counsel to aggressively work a file or unreasonably build up costs. http://bit.ly/wtGil9
ONSC: Condo's enforcement of parking rules not oppressive. No vendetta. Unit owner ignored van restrictions. http://bit.ly/A5NWDK
NSSC: Condo loses bid to “negotiate by litigation” over neighbour's refusal to share snow-clearing costs. http://bit.ly/zimwu3
ONSC awards full indemnity costs after condo obtains compliance order. Cash-strapped owners given 4 yrs to pay. http://bit.ly/zfzjfr
BCSC: Realtor negligent in leaky condo purchase, but plaintiffs fail to prove damages (they actually profited). http://bit.ly/yVOaHd
HRTO: No substance to unit owner’s claim that condo bd discriminated by refusing to accept further noise complaints. http://bit.ly/xU1nMt
HRTO: Owners refusing to re-elect a director making human rights complaint vs condo corp is not reprisal by the condo. http://bit.ly/xKvgS0
ONCA quashes unit owners’ appeal from ONSC’s refusal to grant leave to appeal a condo arbitrator’s decision. http://bit.ly/wT1B32
ABCA: Construction lender potentially liable to purchasers, condo corp for faulty design/build. Most claims to proceed. http://bit.ly/zWFClJ
ABQB upholds default judgment vs. condo. Bd completely asleep at the switch in responding to lawsuit served in 2009. http://bit.ly/ybmNWF
ONSC: 6 lawsuits to proceed vs Channel Prop Mgmt, Khan re $17M condo loan fraud. Lender is pursuing victimized condos. http://bit.ly/yIaOlu
ABQB denies condo's costs in pet removal case where pet already removed; condo should have checked before suing. http://bit.ly/yfZdCa
ONSC: Condo directors to pay legal costs personally for acting in bad faith by breaching settlement with unit owners. http://bit.ly/z45g7h
ONSC: Unit owners wrong to alter the common elements, but condo wrong to litigate before talking. http://bit.ly/yL76gO
COMMENTARY AND COOL STUFF
Pretty cool time-lapse photography movie of a Toronto condo being built. http://bit.ly/wXgrJD
Google+ Hangout - The Future of HOA Board Meetings? http://bit.ly/zCHCPY
Being a condo director a big responsibility - Lots to know, but you’ll be in on all the decisions - http://bit.ly/A3hI6f
When it comes to dog rules, grandfather clause offers bite - London Free Press http://bit.ly/xor6pR
Condos should get ahead of the wave. Electric vehicles are coming « wbcondo. http://bit.ly/ytyeqL
Dealing with condo and HOA member apathy – HOA Brief: http://bit.ly/zaaMBp
Beware of the "Service Dog Scam": Florida ROC blog - http://bit.ly/ww04Vg < Not easy to verify true service animals.
Should homeowners' association managers be licensed? http://bit.ly/yDleyV
High-rise condo living that's been brought back down to earth. http://bit.ly/wnUSFU < Update on Tokyo condo trends, post-quake.
Secret ballots are pretty much dead in Texas HOA elections - http://bit.ly/wxVM8E < An answer to a question no one asked?
RT @canetwork: Home Ownership and Second Hand Smoke: the American Dream or a Health Nightmare?
RT @cohoalaw: Don't Elect the Convicted Felon to Your HOA Board. http://bit.ly/A6ImkM < No redemption for ex-cons when it comes to condo bd.
Love condos and urban fantasy novels? "The Last Condo Board of the Apocalypse" releases today. http://bit.ly/zTApa2