In the 2022 Condo Conference Issue of our newsletter, we hash out our office debate on whether Stan, the Akita, should stay or go and recap some best practices in leasing common elements.  Thanks to the CAT for this issue’s content!

We are proud to sponsor and present at this year’s Condo Conference, taking place Friday, September 30 and Saturday, October 1, 2022.  If you haven’t registered, there’s still time!  It’s always an excellent event!

Common expenses are the life blood of condo corporations and section 85 of the Condo Act allows condos to register a lien to collect unit owners’ share. This section is vital to the functioning of condominiums in Ontario, but it also gives condo corporations enormous leverage to protect innocent unit owners from having to pay a disproportionate share of costs resulting from the unreasonable conduct of any single unit owner.

The court in CCC 56 v. Chreim recently considered the significant powers authorized by section 85 of the Condo Act and the responsibilities that come with those powers.

Continue Reading Condominium liens – With great power comes great…accountability

In November 2017, the Condominium Authority Tribunal (“CAT”) was born as Ontario’s first fully online tribunal.  “How would we manage this weird new thing?” we thought.

What started as a records dispute venue has now evolved into a place for pets, vehicles and storage and, most recently, unreasonable nuisances, annoyances or disruptions.

With the growth of the subject matter, we also see a slow but promising trend in cost recovery.  For a few years no costs were ordered for defending or bringing applications except in very, VERY rare circumstances.

The CAT can award costs up to $25,000.

Continue Reading CAT – a study of growth in a consent order (and costs against an owner)

The current records request procedure under section 55 of the Condo Act has been around for almost four years now. Still, there remains confusion as to how records requests should be processed. One question we often get is whether the board can charge owners a photocopying/labour fee for records and, if so, how much can they charge?

“It depends” is the classic non-answer to this question.

Continue Reading Condo records: To fee or not to fee? That is the question.

Please see CCI Toronto’s Legislative Newsflash re Airbnb Class Action Settlement.

If your condo has suffered misuse of your common elements because of Airbnb operations conducted at your property contrary to the rules and without consent of the board of directors, you might qualify to participate in this Airbnb settlement.  Keep in mind that only $500,000 is available for all eligible and participating condos across Canada.

Follow the links provided by CCI Toronto for more information on submitting a claims form.  The deadline is  August 8, 2022.

In a recent decision, the court examined what happens when a condo corporation fails to address a unit owners’ complaints of noise and vibration coming from the common elements.

The owner purchased her unit in 2010. It is the only residential unit on the ground floor next to a garbage room which housed a compactor. The building’s garbage chutes terminated into the garbage room. This created loud and intermittent crashing and tremors in the owner’s unit caused by heavy objects being thrown down the chute and loud noise and vibrations when the compactor motor was operating. The owner reported the issues to the condo in 2011 and by 2012, management conducted an inspection and found the noise to be “unbearable”. Few steps were taken by the condo to address the issues thereafter.

In 2018, new management took over and renewed interest in the owner’s complaints. The condo’s piecemeal efforts culminated in an inspection by the condo’s contractor in 2020 and a proposal for absorption and noise blocking material to be installed around the unit. Although the condo accepted its contractor’s proposal, the work wasn’t carried out and the owner brought an application for an oppression remedy under section 135 of the Condo Act. The condo then refused to carry out its contractor’s proposal when the owner started the court application.

Continue Reading Don’t drag your feet: Maintenance, repair and oppression

Two recent decisions from the CAT deal with parties asking to adjourn their matters for medical reasons.

In Carleton Condominium Corporation No. 132 v. Evans, 2022 ONCAT 38, the condo brought an application to the CAT regarding a parking dispute with an owner  on how their parking impacts snow removal in the condo parking lot. The respondent owner requested that the case be adjourned for two months due to medical reasons. In asking if the two-month adjournment would be an appropriate length of time, the Tribunal asked the owner to provide supporting documents that would demonstrate their medical need. With the owner failing to respond to this request, the Tribunal listed that the following must be established to ensure a fair process:

  • The existence and nature of a disability or medical issue
  • The medical and/or disability related need for accommodation
  • The connection between disability and the requested accommodation
  • The absence of alternative forms of accommodation

Since the respondent only responded to messages about the substance of the dispute but did not produce the requested information to support their medical reasons for seeking adjournment, the motion to adjourn the case was denied.

In Toronto Standard Condominium Corporation No. 2048 v. Mortazavi, 2022 ONCAT 47, the condo applied to the CAT regarding noise disturbances on multiple occasions caused by the owner respondent. The owner requested an adjournment of the case due to medical reasons and provided a doctor’s letter detailing that the accommodation should be granted to avoid exposure to stress and any task which would compromise his treatment.

In response, the condo requested an interim order to prohibit the respondent owner from creating loud noises for the period of the adjournment: Although the interim order was not granted – as it would infer that the Respondent was in fact “actively causing disturbances” without a full determination – the Tribunal emphasized that residents must still comply with the condo’s declaration under section 119(1) of the Condo Act.

With the Tribunal accepting the doctor’s letter, the Tribunal questioned if a three-month adjournment would be appropriate, as the respondent had made similar allegations in two previous cases filed with the CAT. Due to this, the Tribunal ordered that the respondent provide an updated doctor’s letter to address the concern of the adjournment to the fairness and timeliness of the Tribunal process.

These two cases highlight the CAT’s intentions of being fair when resolving disputes while time remains a primary concern. With the CAT’s attempt to balance the interests of the respondent and their medical needs with the efficiency of the Tribunal process, an adjournment may only be granted if the proper documentation is provided. That is, documentation that meets the criteria provided given the circumstances. Unless the CAT is satisfied that the adjournment would benefit the respondent regarding their medical reasons, the motion will not be granted as it would unduly delay the  original application to the Tribunal.

This raises the overarching question… Does the CAT process move too quickly?

(Editor’s note:  This is the first blog post by our paralegal student, Jessica Conforti, who is joining us to complete her work placement.  We look forward to reading more from her! ~ AL)

Two recent CAT decisions highlight scenarios affecting recovery of costs in rule enforcement scenarios:

In TSCC 1767 v. Ahmed et al., the condo repeatedly assured the unit owner it would not seek costs against the owner for his tenants permitting their dog to urinate and defecate on a balcony and failing to clean it up. The owner relied on those statements. The CAT determined that the condo should be bound by its commitments made to the unit owner. Costs were ordered against only the tenants for the costs to clean up the balcony, the condo’s enforcement costs, and the fees paid to the Tribunal.

Takeaway – Your word is your bond. While a condo board may express sympathy for an owner because of a misbehaving tenant, unit owners should be held responsible for their tenant’s conduct from the outset and communications with owners should reflect this. Any statements absolving the owner of his/her responsibility may come back to haunt the condo and limit cost recovery. While the condo obtained a cost award against the tenants in the above case, it would’ve been ideal if costs were awarded against the owner as well and secured by a registered condo lien.

In TSCC 2745 v. Isla et al., a condo sought a compliance order because a tenant’s truck protruded outside the boundaries of the parking unit. By the time of the hearing, the tenant had resolved the issue and the truck was parked almost within the boundary line. Although compliance wasn’t perfect, the CAT determined the vehicle did not interfere with the drive aisle or pose a danger and no compliance order was granted. The CAT cautioned that this matter could’ve been resolved with “both a bit of patience and cooperation” by the condo. The unit owner was ordered to reimburse the condo for its nominal filing fee.

Takeaway – Be reasonable. Condos are entitled and obliged to seek compliance with its governing document but must be reasonable in its enforcement actions. Steps must be appropriate and proportionate to the type of rule violation. Condos should provide fair warning to owners with a reasonable time to comply, especially when there is no urgency or danger to persons or property. Practice patience and cooperation. Reasonable steps will likely help assure a successful result and a more complete cost recovery.

We wrote about condo meetings and election pitfalls in the past (see HERE and HERE) but those articles focused on “what happens at the meeting/election”. A recent Superior Court decision highlights the dangers of poor meeting notices – these meetings were essentially dead before they hit the ground.

Continue Reading Hell hath no fury like condo scorn: avoiding meeting and election woes