Condo successful against owner with bed bugs and hoarding issues

An Ottawa condominium brought an application against an owner because of the owner’s failure to maintain and repair his unit, which was infested with bed bugs and full of an excessive amount of debris. There were various inspections and communications between 2013 and 2015. The condominium attempted to work with the owner, but the owner refused to take steps to clean the unit and prepare it for treatment for bed bugs.

The judge found that the owner breached various provisions of the declaration and Act that required him to maintain and repair his unit. The judge also found that the owner breached section 117 of the Act because he allowed a dangerous condition to exist within his unit. The judge held that the condominium was entitled pursuant to the declaration and Act to commence the application because it had an obligation to ensure the owner complied with the Act and declaration. The condominium also had an obligation to ensure that any dangerous condition in the unit was dealt with by the owner, or failing the owner, by the condominium.

The condominium was prepared to allow the owner 30 days to prepare the unit for treatment given other cases in the area (Nipissing C.C. No. 24 v. Smrke). The judge agreed that 30 days was reasonable. The condominium sought its costs for bed bug treatment if the owner does not commence the work within the 30 day period. The judge agreed that this request was in accordance with the declaration and section 92(4) of the Act. The condominium also sought a general order that the owner maintain his unit in a condition that does not pose health, safety and/or fire risk. The judge was not inclined to make a general and open ended order when the condominium could simply bring another application in the future for compliance if the owner does not maintain the unit.

The judge made the following order:

  1. the owner must immediately prepare his unit for treatment of bed bugs;
  2. if, after 30 days, the unit has not been prepared for treatment, the condominium may carry out the bed bug treatment;
  3. if the condominium is forced to take steps to complete the bed bug treatment for the owner, it may remove, discard or store any items necessary to complete the work;
  4. the owner must pay all costs for the bed bug treatment and such amounts are deemed to be common expenses for the unit;
  5. the owner must pay the condominium $9,703.80 for its legal costs and such amounts are deemed to be common expenses for the unit.

The order expressly states that the condominium may add the amounts ordered to the common expenses payable for the unit and recover them with a lien against the unit, if necessary. Every condominium should ask for similar language in any order it requests for damages or costs from an owner.

The full case is available here.

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