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The Dirt: Changes to common elements among trends as condos age (ON)

Condominium legislation has been available in Ontario for decades, went through at least one massive overhaul in 1998, and is about to go through another revamp any day now after an exhaustive public consultation and review process.     Read the

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Failing to Repair and Maintain Common Elements Can Amount to Oppression

In a case released this week, an Ontario court concluded that it is sometimes insufficient for condominiums to simply investigate and passively attempt to resolve problems with common elements. In Wu v. Peel Condominium Corporation No. 245 the court concluded

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Condo oppressed owner when it failed to address noise

You have probably all read about the oppression remedy in section 135 of the Act. As a recap, section 135 allows an owner, corporation, declarant or mortgagee of a unit to make an application to the courts where the conduct

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Can Condos Prohibit Smoking on Balconies?

As part of the province’s Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy, Ontario has taken a further step towards a smoke-free Ontario. As of January 1st, 2015, it is illegal to smoke on or around children’s playgrounds, publicly owned sports fields/surfaces and all bar

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Condo Law Digest – May 2015

Ballingall v Carleton Condominium Corporation No. 111, 2015 ONSC 2484 Decision Date: April 21, 2015  This case involves a condominium corporation located near Carleton University in Ottawa. Although the Declaration specified that units were to be used only as single family

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Strata Property: Right to Privacy v. Necessary Repairs (Canada)

What happens when a strata unit owner’s right to privacy conflicts with the need for common property repairs? Generally, the unit owner will lose out to the strata council, provided the strata council acts reasonably and for a legitimate purpose.

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A Director Should Not Act Against the Rest of the Board

Last week, the court rendered a lengthy decision in the Ballingall matter. In this court case, we represented a group of unit owners who successfully enforced the “single family” provision found in the corporation’s declaration. Our previous post on this

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Director breached duties in disagreement with the board (ON)

A case recently released provides a great summary of enforcement principles in condominiums. Briefly, it was an application by a group of owners against the condominium and one of the directors. The owners claimed that the condominium was not enforcing

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A Condominium Declaration Can Prohibit Short-term Rentals to Unrelated Students

In a recent Ottawa case, the court confirmed that a condominium corporation can (and should) prohibit the leasing of condo units to unrelated tenants when the condo declaration limits the use of the units to “private single families“.  Read the

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Creating a Non-Smoking Bylaw – Steps For an EXISTING Strata Building

If the vast majority of members on a strata council are supportive of creating a non-smoking bylaw, getting the resolution on the agenda at an Annual General Meeting should be easy to do. Due diligence is important, and building support

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Condominiums Have a Duty to Accommodate Individuals with Disabilities

Owners and occupants of condominiums have a duty to comply with the Condominium Act, the declaration and the corporation’s other governing documents. In fact, the board of directors has an obligation to take reasonable steps to ensure that all owners

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Can Condominiums Prevent Short-term Leasing of Units?

Recently, owners living in an exclusive condominium complex downtown asked me whether there was anything that could be done to prevent short-term leasing of condo units in their complex.  Short-term rentals can indeed be quite problematic for a condominium corporation

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Election Act 101 for Apartment and Condominium Owners and Managers (AB)

Alberta’s provincial election is fast approaching and that can only mean two things: bright-eyed candidates door-knocking across the province, and an increasing number of calls to our office from landlords and property managers asking us if they actually have to

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Pet Eviction: A Tenant Does Not Have More Rights Than an Owner

The Residential and Tenancies Act, 2006 is the legislation presently applying to landlords and tenants. It provides that “[a] provision in a tenancy agreement prohibiting the presence of animals in or about the residential complex is void.” Consequently, a landlord

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Common expense collections policy redux

We published a piece last May recommending that condominium corporations enact policies to collect common expenses in an orderly, systematic way. Unfortunately, we continue to see condo boards deliberately delaying the commencement of power of sale proceedings on liened units.

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Superior housekeeping at Superior Court (ON)

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

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When Hoarding In Condominiums Becomes A Hazard For The Other Residents

This case involving a housing co-operative provides a good (but sad) example of the difficulties faced by a corporation (be it condominium or co-operative) when faced with a hoarder. In this case, the co-operative appears to have taken all required

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When Hoarding Becomes A Hazard For The Other Residents

This case involving a housing co-operative provides a good (but sad) example of the difficulties faced by a corporation (be it condominium or co-operative) when faced with a hoarder. In this case, the co-operative appears to have taken all required

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Condo lien enforcement hits the highway

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

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How Long Will Condos Last?

Every time I am approached by condo buyers and owners alike, the most asked question is on the future of condominiums.  Practically speaking, condos will exist as a real-estate ownership option for as long as there are buyers willing to

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Security precautions for condo dwellers

Living in a condominium means sharing space, including a building’s entrances, elevators, hallways and parking lots.  While those common spaces can be important for interactions between neighbours, they can also create security issues, as residents don’t always know who else

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Condo Owners Must Pay for the Unlawful Conduct of Their Directors

Who should pay the bill when condominium directors act unlawfully and take justice in their own hand? According to the Court of Appeal it may be the owners having elected them!  We blogged already on the Ottawa case where condominium

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Errors in the Declaration or Description?

Despite being reviewed by a number of people during the development phase, sometimes a declaration or description is registered with an error or inconsistency in it. For instance, where two condominiums are mirror images of each other and the documents

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Conflict of Interest: Better Safe Than Sorry

With ethics and governance being such a hot topics in the corporate and political world, you won’t be surprised to hear that condominium corporations are no stranger to these concepts. Directors must be conscious of the standard of care expected

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When the Keyboard is Mightier than the Sword: Mandatory Online Resolution of Strata Disputes

As readers of this blog will know, as a result of changes implemented by the Land Title and Survey Authority on November 1, 2012, almost all documents and plans submitted to the land title office for registration must now be

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A Settlement to Accommodate a Disability Must Be In Writing

Mr. Taite’s initial Application before the Tribunal was dismissed last February. At the time, he was alleging that the responding condominium corporation violated the Human Rights Code by failing to accommodate his disability, which required him to drive a modified

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Update on the Condominium Act Review

In September 2013, the Ontario government, in conjunction with Canada’s Public Policy Forum, published a working paper on changes to the Condominium Act of Ontario. The current Condominium Act in use in Ontario was prepared in the late 1990s and

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How do green condo occupants actually use the ventilation sytems?

Many residents of new condominiums don’t fully understand the technology available to them and aren’t taking advantage of the mechanical ventilation systems in their suites.     Read more……..

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The common expenses conundrum

Many people who work with condominiums raised an eyebrow after reading a recent Toronto Star story entitled “Maintenance fees take a toll on Toronto condo owners.”  The piece highlights the divergent philosophies about the interplay between common expenses and market

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Move towards online dispute resolution gathers steam

A report prepared by legal futurist Richard Susskind for Britain’s Civil Justice Council suggests online dispute resolution is emerging as the latest threat to lawyer participation in the provision of legal services.     Read more………

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Ontario judge applies correctness standard to Condominium Act arbitrations

On an appeal from an arbitration under the Condominium Act, in 90 George Street Ltd. v. Ottawa Carleton Standard Condominium Corporation No. 815, 2015 ONSC 336, Justice Patrick Smith applied a correctness standard of review.       Read more………

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Special Assessments – What is the Limitation Period?

How much time does an owner have to commence a claim against a condominium and/or the directors if he disagrees with an action taken by the board of directors? In Ontario, the answer is normally two years from the date

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Noisy Neighbour or Overwhelmed Owner?

The Court has had another opportunity to rule in the never-ending saga of Dyke v. Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corporation No. 972. The owner brought a motion for contempt and other relief.   Read more……..

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Heeding Professional Advice in Good Faith

they also receive the personal benefit of protection from liability if it turns out that such advice was not as accurate, appropriate or reliable
as it ought to be.

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Scheduling owners’ meetings: Did you check the date?

An interesting case is before the Human Rights Tribunal right now. Three owners have filed a claim against their condominium and property manager alleging discrimination because of creed, which is contrary to the Human Rights Code. The owners are Muslim

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The final frontier: smoking bans in apartments, condos

Remember when restaurants had smoking sections? Or when going out to a bar inevitably meant coming home smelling like an ashtray, even if you never took a puff on a cigarette?   Read more………

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“We want to remove the board because we want to fire the manager”

So, this won’t be like my usual posts where I share a recent case or discuss a section of the Condominium Act, 1998. Today I’m going on a rant about the relationships between owners, directors, and managers.     Read more……….

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Chargeback or Fine?

I’m often asked by directors if they can fine owners for unruly or disruptive behaviour, like excessive noise or improper parking. The simple answer in Ontario is no. While a condominium cannot fine an owner, it may be able to

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Top 10 condo law cases of 2014 (Canada)

Happy New Year.  Our picks for the top 10 condo law cases of 2014 is an all-Ontario batch, with half being important Court of Appeal rulings. Some of them highlight the dire need for significant revision to our condo law.

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Single Family Use

Most declarations for residential condominiums restrict the occupation and use of the units to residential use. Some go further and restrict the occupation and use of the units to “single family” or “one family” residences. The typical language used is

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Status Certificate Error Costs Condo, Lawyer, and Others

The Court of Appeal has released its decision in Orr v. Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corporation No. 1056. I encourage a full reading of the case, but here is a summary of the important facts and findings.    Read more………

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Do you know your condo ABCs?

If you are a first-time condominium buyer, there may be certain terms that aren’t familiar to you. Here are some of the terms you may encounter when shopping for a condo.     Read more………

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Registration of Condominium Liens

As discussed in my blog, Introduction to Condominiums, the term “condominium” refers to a system of ownership where a unit is owned separately by the individual who purchases it, while the common elements (hallways, elevators, lobby, walkways, swimming pool, front

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Top Condo Cases of 2014

The courts have been busy this year! While that is good news for law bloggers, it means far too many condominiums are spending money on lawyers when they could be spending it on solutions. Here are the highlights from cases

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New CRA view on whether condominium corporations are exempt from tax (Canada)

n August 18, 2014, CRA issued a new document that deals with the tax implications of a leasing arrangement between a condo corporation (the “Corporation”) and a company proposing to install solar panels on several rooftops of the condominium complex.

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Dispute over landscaping repairs results in personal penalties against condo directors and a fascinating governance war story

Court decisions holding corporate directors personally liable for acting in bad faith tend to be few and far between in Canadian jurisprudence. The recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision in Boily et al v Carleton Condominium Corporation 145 et al,

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Dispute Over Landscaping Repairs Results in Personal Penalties against Condo Directors and a Fascinating Governance War Story

Court decisions holding corporate directors personally liable for acting in bad faith tend to be few and far between in Canadian jurisprudence. The recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision in Boily et al v Carleton Condominium Corporation 145 et al,

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Board Member Defamation

The appeal decision in a recent defamation case involving two board members of a residential co-op (Van Sickle v. Conlon, 2014ONSC 4337) provides a wake-up call to condominium board directors. Ms. Van Sickle and Mr. Conlon were both board members

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Carbon Monoxide Detectors in Ontario

I am sure many of you have heard about the law requiring carbon monoxide detectors in most homes in Ontario. Here are a few key points about the law as it relates to condominiums:    Read more………

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Quick Primer on Reading Reserve Funds Studies – Deficits! Deficits! Deficits!

It shocks me how regularly I find underfunded reserve funds in condominiums.  I don’t mean that from a perspective that based on the depreciated value of the asset, in accordance with the assessment of experts, that condominiums do not have

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