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.
A recent small claims court decision signals the end of condo management firms preparing, registering and discharging condominium liens in-house.
Page v. Maple Ridge Community Management Ltd., 2017 CanLII 21772 began when a unit owner at YCC 34 failed to pay a special assessment in time. YCC 34’s management firm, Maple Ridge, used its in-house paralegal employee to issue Ms. Page a Notice of Lien (Form 14) and, when no payment was made within the 10-day notice period, to register a certificate of lien against the unit.
Ms. Page discovered that the paralegal employee was administratively suspended by the Law Society at the time the lien was registered, presumably for failing to pay annual dues or file obligatory paperwork. Ms. Page paid “under protest” the special assessment arrears of $767 and the management firm’s demanded fees of $141 to issue the Form 14 notice and $678 to prepare, register and discharge the certificate of lien. The management firm’s total charges for the lien work were $819.
Continue Reading Lien registration is lawyers’ work
Until now, mortgagees could commence their enforcement lawsuits anywhere in Ontario they pleased, regardless of where the mortgaged property is located. That option is now gone.
On March 31, 2015, rule 13.1.01 of the Rules of Civil Procedure is amended by adding the following new subrule (3):
(3) In the case of an originating process, whether it is brought under Rule 64 (Mortgage Actions) or otherwise, that contains a claim relating to a mortgage, including a claim for payment of a mortgage debt or for possession of a mortgaged property, the proceeding shall be commenced in the county that the regional senior judge of a region in which the property is located, in whole or in part, designates within that region for such claims.
Stated more simply, mortgage enforcement actions must now be brought at one of the court locations in the judicial region where the property is located that is designated by the local regional senior judge.
Continue Reading Condo lien enforcement hits the highway
Some of the most uncomfortable conversations that condo directors, managers and lawyers have with unit owners take place when owners cannot afford the monthly common expenses for their unit. While it is natural to show compassion to someone in trouble, significant problems and potential liabilities arise by delaying prompt collection action.
Ontario condominium corporations have one the strongest statutory debt collection mechanisms in the world. They can collect every single penny of common expenses in priority to most other creditors so long as the required notices are properly completed, given on time and a certificate of lien is registered on title within 90 days of default. The rules are fairly simple but the slightest slip in the paperwork or missing a deadline by a single day jeopardizes the condo’s priority and ability to collect the entire debt quickly.…
The spring edition of GMA’s quarterly Condo Alert! newsletter is ready.
Continue Reading GMA Condo Alert! (Spring 2010 edition)
Unit owners who have a problem about a condominium lien should get legal advice and then follow that advice. Here’s what happens when they don’t.
Continue Reading Condo lien is not slander of title when the owner is in arrears