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!