Although the CAT’s jurisdiction has been expanded since its inception, the CAT’s decision in Brady v. PCC 947 is a reminder that disputes outside section 117(2) of the Condo Act will likely be dismissed even though owner-applicants have succeeded in other forums.  

A unit owner brought a CAT application against the condo corporation for banging

A recent CAT decision considered whether a condo’s claim for indemnification for legal costs in issuing a compliance letter was reasonable and whether the owner was required pay it.

The condo issued a compliance letter to the owner citing multiple incidents of noise, nuisance and harassment and demanded the owner reimburse the condo for the cost of the letter. The owner requested the security incident reports that allegedly supported the compliance letter but paid the condo’s requested costs after receiving a second notice of intent to lien. The owner challenged the chargeback and argued that the action taken by the condo in sending the letter without any warning was unreasonable and so were the costs.

Continue Reading Compliance costs must be reasonable – prove it or lose it

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)

A recent court decision confirmed that disputes between neighbours should not be adjudicated by the courts as the first step (unless there is injury or danger to others or property). Parties should instead pursue mediation and arbitration. We have written on the proper forum for condo disputes before (see here and here) but this case demonstrates that adjudicated proceedings won’t always resolve squabbles between neighbours.

Neighbouring owners (let’s call them, A and B) have a history of alleged name calling, banging on a common wall, harassment and racist taunts. The condo corporation took neighbour B’s side despite “she said/she said” allegations and started an application for order requiring neighbour A to sell their unit or to comply with the rules. Neighbour A moved to stay the application pending mediation and arbitration.

Continue Reading Condo neighbour disputes don’t belong in the courts

The CAO is investigating if legal costs should be awarded in CAT cases.  The effect of CAT’s Costs Rule No. 45 has generally resulted in no costs awards in records cases except in exceptional circumstances.  Condos should take advantage of this opportunity to convince CAO to award legal costs to the successful party, for the following reasons.

CAT’s jurisdiction was expanded beyond records cases to include disputes regarding pets, vehicles, parking and storage cases as of October 2020, with some mixed results applicable to recovery of legal fees in some CAT cases.  CAT will also assume jurisdiction for noise, odours, smoke, vapour, light or vibration disputes as of January 2022.

Compared to owner-initiated records cases, nuisance cases enforced by Corporations would often involve many kinds of legal concepts.  Condos and their lawyers have already developed systems to process various types of scenarios, having careful regard to previous court precedents.

After a manager’s initial efforts have failed to persuade an offending occupant to cease creating a nuisance, a condo’s  lawyer issues a demand compliance letter to the offender and often educates boards and managers how to assemble conclusive evidence.  Over 90% of rules breaches are resolved (to the relief of neighbours), usually immediately upon receipt of the lawyer’s letter, or through a negotiating process.  If lawyers will no longer be encouraged to warn owners and occupants of their obligation to bear legal fees in cases of proven nuisances, then CAT can expect an avalanche of cases.


Continue Reading CAT should award legal fees