The courts kicked-off the year with the release of a decision discussing condominium arbitrations and the importance of explicit appeal rights in arbitration agreements.

This case involved a unit owner, who operated a legal cannabis store at the condominium building. The condo   believed this breached a rule prohibiting cannabis sale at the property. Through an

Approximately two months have passed since the CAT’s jurisdiction expanded beyond condo record requests to include disputes regarding, pets, parking, vehicles and storage and chargebacks related to such issues.  However, the CAT has yet to release a decision dealing with these new topics. It may  take some time for cases involving expanded jurisdiction issues to wind through the CAT’s online dispute resolution system.  In the meanwhile, enjoy Part 2 of our deep dive into record disputes (Part 1, here).

Continue Reading Key take-aways from the CAT’s record request decisions – Part 2

There are limited circumstances where directors of condominium corporations can be personally liable for oppressive conduct under Condominium Act, 1998.

In a recent Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision, the declarant (also a unit owner at a vacant land condominium corporation) sued the condominium corporation and the individual directors.  The allegations of oppressive conduct by the condo and directors included exaggerating construction deficiencies and not repairing them at the same time, implementing rules that impeded the declarant’s ability to rent units and adding these issues to status certificates (among other allegations). The condo corporation brought a motion to throw out the claim against the individual directors under the rules of the court.

The court threw out the claim against the individual directors because:

  • the declarant did not provide sufficient particulars as to what each individual director is alleged to have done, as differentiated from the condo corporation’s alleged conduct; and
  • the alleged conduct of the individual directors did not result in any personal benefit or increase their control in any way; and
  • there was no reasonable basis in the claim for the court to decide whether the alleged oppression could be rectified by a monetary order against the directors personally.


Continue Reading No oppression claim against directors personally unless a director instigates the conduct

When Amlani v. YCC 473 was released at the start of the year, it was the immediate frontrunner for “2020 Condo Case of the Year”. YCC 473 appealed and even in a year of fascinating cases, the Amlani decision still holds its seat at the top of that mountain.

The initial Amlani decision dealt with a common situation. In a nutshell, the board received complaints about Mr. Amlani’s smoking so they instructed their lawyers to deal with the matter. YCC 473 relied upon the indemnity provision in its declaration to charge back its legal expenses to Mr. Amlani and subsequently register a lien against Mr. Amlani’s unit to collect its legal fees.

The initial judge held that YCC 473 could not rely upon it’s the indemnity provision to charge back its legal costs for two key reasons:

1. Mr. Amlani did not commit “an act or omission to or with respect to the common elements and/or all other units” as required by the indemnity provision; and

2. YCC 473’s interpretation of its indemnity provision contravened section 134 (5) of the Condo Act as the costs it claimed related to compliance and enforcement costs without being embodied in a court order.

Section 134 (5) of the Condo Act allows a corporation to add its enforcement costs to an owner’s common expenses if a court awards the corporation its damages or costs in bringing a compliance application. Section 134(5) does not itself authorize a lien for legal fees incurred prior to the compliance application: to register a valid lien for legal fees, the court must first award these fees. However, many condominiums rely on their indemnity provisions as a “catch-all” provision to permit a corporation to add certain costs to an owner’s ledger resulting from their acts or omissions, often without requiring a court order.

The Amlani decision sparked considerable debate amongst condominium lawyers. Some of our esteemed peers argue that you cannot rely on an indemnity provision to charge back legal compliance and enforcement costs without first obtaining a court order. Others took the position that Amlani was a fact-specific decision that turned on the specific wording of YCC 473’s indemnity provision; they argued the Amlani decision does not stand for the proposition that a court order must be obtained before any pre-litigation legal compliance and enforcement costs can be charged back.

The Divisional Court recently set the record straight: condos cannot rely on their indemnity provisions to enable a lien to be registered against a unit to charge back compliance and enforcement costs without a court order. This does not mean a condo can’t recover its pre-litigation compliance and enforcement costs – condos can seek these costs in an s. 134 (5) order but registering a lien for these costs before the order is obtained is improper.


Continue Reading Amlani and indemnity provisions – All Bark, no bite? Not quite

The Condo Act and a condominium’s governing documents generally give a condo broad enforcement powers to ensure residents are abiding by the rules. Condos often turn to their lawyers to commence expensive legal proceedings as a reliable response to non-compliant residents. In assessing costs against a condo, a recent Superior Court of Justice decision should serve as a reminder to all condos that they should take reasonable steps to resolve disputes.

Continue Reading Always Act Reasonably – the Amlani Decision and a Lesson from the Court

The Condominium Authority Tribunal, Ontario’s first and only online adjudication body, celebrated its first anniversary on November 1, 2018.

Envisioned as a one-stop shop of expert mediators and adjudicators helping condo boards and unit owners resolve condo disputes across Ontario, all entirely online, the CAT began accepting cases in November 2017. CAT’s initial jurisdiction is presently limited to condo records, which isn’t sexy but is important to unit owners struggling to access important records from their condo corporation. It’s also important for managers and boards to have clarity as to when records should not be produced, to protect the corporation and its owners.

From May to August 2018, the CAT released its first 8 decisions, covering a variety of scenarios. We will summarize those first 8 cases then offer a few lessons and predictions.
Continue Reading CAT’s out of the bag: The Tribunal’s first year