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 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

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 court recently  disallowed compliance costs claimed by a condo corporation because it did not first mediate compliance issues under section 132(4) of the Condominium Act, 1998 (the “Act”).

Mr. Friend is a unit owner who had a long-standing dispute with the board of directors and management dating back to 2011. The condo brought successful compliance applications against Mr. Friend in 2013 and 2019 because he didn’t follow the condo’s governing documents, interfered with contractors and management, and engaged in a campaign of harassment against the board and the condo’s employees. In 2020, the court granted a final injunction prohibiting Mr. Friend from communicating with the condo’s board and employees, except under limited exceptions. Full indemnity costs were awarded against Mr. Friend and he unsuccessfully appealed the 2020 decision, resulting in a further costs award. The condo registered liens to secure the cost awards and other common expense arrears.

The matter was before the court again in 2021 to determine the amounts due under the liens.


Continue Reading Mandatory condo mediation continued – Compliance legal costs not recoverable without exhausting mediation

The Divisional Court of Ontario recently considered a condo corporation’s application for judicial review of a CAT decision.   However, the court dismissed the application because the corporation did not exhaust its right of appeal under the Condo Act

Judicial review is a process where courts make sure that the decisions of administrative bodies (such as

A Toronto condominium community recently endured a tenant from hell. In MTCC 1025 v. Hui, residents, security staff and contractors were subject to a tenant’s threatening and disturbing behaviour, including:

  • Threatening a security guard with a knife;
  • Exposing himself and performing lewd acts in the common elements of the condominium building;
  • Attempting to force his way into a resident’s car and a contractor’s van;
  • Defacing unit doors and nearby walls;
  • Setting up a chair and blocking the entrance of the building, not allowing residents to enter (so they had to enter via the loading dock), and the list goes on.

The owner of the unit cooperated with the corporation from the outset. She delivered an eviction notice to the tenant and applied to the Landlord and Tenant Board for an urgent hearing, but the request for an expedited hearing was denied. The corporation brought an application for a compliance order against the tenant and owner.  At some point in the interim, the tenant was arrested and therefore no longer on site.

The court had no trouble granting a compliance order against the tenant for breaching section 117 of the Condo Act (which prohibits any dangerous activity that is likely to damage property or cause injury), the corporation’s declaration, rules and the Occupational Health and Safety Act when misconduct was levelled at staff.

But who was responsible for the corporation’s costs of the application?


Continue Reading Cooperative unit owner pays the price for tenant’s outrageous conduct

We recently blogged about the current framework governing electronic signatures in Ontario (here). In a May 2021 case, the Divisional Court recognized text messages as a valid digital signature in a dispute between parties over a debt for leasehold improvements and the application of the Limitation Act, 2002.

Civil claims in Ontario must generally be started within two years of an “act or omission” giving right to the claim. The “limitations clock” starts to run on the date of the act or omission but can be extended in certain circumstances such as where a debtor acknowledges the debt to the creditor. The acknowledgment must be in writing and signed. The clock starts to run on the date of the acknowledgment.

In this case, there was a dispute over money owing to a contractor. Some invoices were paid but the last was partially outstanding. The parties exchanged text messages on June 2, 2016, where the debtor recognized the debt but refused to make payment until the project was completed to his satisfaction. The contractor brought a claim in the Small Claims Court for the balance owing and successfully argued that the text exchange was an acknowledgment of debt under s.13 the Limitation Act, 2002 and the claim was brought in time of the two-year limitation period (with the clock starting from the date of that text exchange).  The text exchange was within 2 years of the start of the claim.  The last payment made to the contractor was outside of 2 years of the start of the claim.

Continue Reading E-signatures continued – Are text messages valid digital signatures?

Electronic signatures are the new normal in most corporate transactions. With physical distancing, gathering restrictions and many working remotely, electronic signatures make it easy for business to continue as usual, including at condominiums.

Meeting minutes, status certificates, proxies and requisitions, etc. may all be signed electronically.

But what is an electronic signature and when is it valid?


Continue Reading Condo business as usual with electronic signatures