Being a condominium director is often a thankless job: most condominium directors in Ontario serve on an unpaid volunteer basis to deal with big-ticket items such the corporation’s finances, maintenance and repair and rule enforcement all while inevitably making themselves a target for unhappy owners. Generally speaking, the Condo Act and a condominium’s by-laws requirements
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.…
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.
We were recently successful in obtaining a stay from a civil action involving our condominium client and a neighbouring condominium. The two condos were parties to a Reciprocal Agreement and Indemnity Agreement (the “Agreements”) and after a dispute arose with respect to these agreements, our client submitted the issues to mediation and arbitration. The neighbouring condo responded by bringing a civil action against our client where a corporate unit owner (which happened to own 100% of the neighbouring condominium units) was included as a co-plaintiff.
Section 132 of the Condo Act provides that any disputes “pertaining to agreements between two or more condominium corporations deemed to contain a provision submitting the disputes to mediation/arbitration”. The neighbouring condo and corporate unit owner attempted to avoid mediation/arbitration by arguing that their civil action was based on an economic tort and the corporate unit owner was not a condominium corporation that was party to the Agreements.
A Toronto condominium is making headlines after levying a $14 million special assessment. The condo’s 321 units were given 15 days to pay between $30,000 to $42,500. Many residents are seniors who see their units as their retirement home but the condo promised it wouldn’t enforce its liens before April…how generous.
The building needs major structural repairs and its finances are shocking to say the least. Last spring, the condo had a $5,000 operating fund and a whopping $1.75 in its reserve fund. The condo reportedly owes “as much as $9 million in debt” with $8 million owed to private lenders and another $1 million owed to the City of Toronto for unpaid utility charges – the condo pays $80,000 a month on interest alone.
This condo’s dysfunction predates the $14 million special assessment – it is one of the few condos that had a court-appointed administrator. Evidently this condo’s problems could not be solved even with an administrator. This is story should serve as a both a warning and a rude awakening for condos across the province: condominium operations are no joke.
The opening paragraphs to Berman v. York Condominium Corp. No. 99 could not have set up the starting point for an oppression application any better:
The oppression remedy starts by someone having an expectation….But to be actionable at law, a person’s feeling of expectation must also be objectively reasonable. In addition, even if a reasonable expectation is not met, the applicant also needs to show that he has been oppressed, unfairly prejudiced, or unfairly disregarded.
In Berman, the owner complained the condo acted oppressively since it failed to replace his windows when he wanted them replaced. With no evidence that his windows failed or required replacement, the court found he had no reasonable expectation to have his windows replaced earlier than they were. The only reasonable expectation he had was that the board of directors would manage the condominium corporation honestly, in good faith, and with due diligence required by the statutory standard of care in s. 37 (1) of the Condo Act.…
The Province of Ontario announced that effective September 22, 2021, Ontarians will need to be fully vaccinated (which they define as having two vaccination doses for at least 14 days) and provide proof of vaccination status along with photo ID to access certain public settings and facilities. The Province is implementing a “vaccine passport” initiative…
A Toronto condominium corporation finds itself in the news lately (link to article here) over a hotly-contested election.
Two unsuccessful candidates brought a legal proceeding claiming election interference after they won on an initial count by a slim margin of two votes but lost on a recount. The candidates claim their proxies were disqualified without reason and votes were illegitimately added the ballot box. In the wake of a close election we often see accusations of conspiracy, corruption and impropriety thrown around. In this condo’s case, this has resulted in a nasty legal battle: both sides reportedly incurred at least $200,000 in legal fees so far.
While the truth remains to be seen, the financial and time cost devoted to determining who’s right seems extreme; the issue is clearly important to those involved and it is up to the parties whether to continue the battle. Whatever the case may be, Tony’s Takeaway is that these problems are avoidable.
Whether meetings are held electronically or in-person, here are a few best practices we suggest to ward off accusations of “stolen elections” or demands to “stop the count”:
The Superior Court of Justice recently raised an interesting question: can a condominium corporation foreclose on a unit to enforce its lien? While the Court didn’t answer the question, raising the question seemingly casts doubt on what a corporation can or can’t do to enforce a lien. Fortunately, we don’t have to wait for another case to get our answer: earlier decisions have made it clear that a condominium lien can be enforced through foreclosure.
When condo owners get hit with a lien, things typically go one of two ways: the owner pays the lien and everyone moves on with their life or the owner disputes the lien and a contentious battle ensues. A registered lien secures “reasonable legal costs and reasonable expenses incurred by the corporation to collect the lien” per section 85 of the Condo Act. Corporations often turn to their lawyers in lien battles and recoverable legal costs and expenses begin to mount. One owner recently learned that lesson the hard way.