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.
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Though the weather suggests otherwise, spring has finally sprung in Ontario. As many condo corporations begin their seasonal cleaning and maintenance routines, our courts are likewise gearing up for significant housekeeping.

Recent changes to the Rules of Civil Procedure will automatically sweep away pending lawsuits brought in the Ontario Superior Court that are not moved forward in a timely way. Condominium corporations, their directors and managers should take note.
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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):

Mortgage Claims
(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.
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