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 in Ontario:

10. Declarants may use s.152(6) of the Condominium Act, 1998 to regain control of phased condominiums years after they became entitled to request a meeting of owners to elect a new board. Such conduct may not be oppressive, even when the reason for the request was to end litigation started by the condominium against the declarant: Middlesex 643 v. Prosperity Homes Limited

9. Cursive writing is not required on a requisition; printing is sufficient. Multiple requisition forms is acceptable: Hogan v. Toronto 595.

8. More forced sales this year. An order requiring an owner to sell his or her unit may be available where there are incidents of stabbings and shootings (Peel 304 v. Hirsi); violence, harassment, and fire setting (York 301 v. James); or where an owner disobeys court orders requiring compliance (Carleton 348 v. Chevalier).

7. Confidentiality clauses must be carefully drafted to ensure directors are not in breach of them for disclosing a matter to the owners in the minutes of a meeting or financial statements: Morley v. London 2.

6. A condominium may be in breach of its obligations to maintain and repair if it fails to address smoking complaints with “sufficient dispatch”: MacKay v. Toronto 985.

5. A director may be removed by other directors, without a vote by the owners, if such a process is set out in the condominium’s by-laws: Gordon v. York 818.

4. A condominium cannot re-activate an expired lien right using section 134. A lien must be registered within the three month period defined in the Act: Toronto 1908 v. Stefco.

3. The court may order a declaration be amended where the passage of an amendment is oppressive to an owner: Grigoriu v. Ottawa-Carleton 706.

2. A declarant appointed board may sign-off on the condominium’s warranty coverage by passing a by-law while the declarant owns a majority of the units as long as it was properly disclosed to purchasers: Toronto 2095 v. West Harbour.

1. Costs may be awarded against condominium directors found to have breached their duties under the Condominium Act, 1998 (Middlesex 232 v. Bodkinor previous court orders (Boily v. Carleton 145). Luckily, the threshold for awarding costs against directors is still quite high.