Summer Reading: Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT) 2020

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The courts might have slowed down because of the pandemic, but the Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT) appears to be unaffected by the pandemic. The CAT is predominantly online with less rigid rules than traditional courts, so this makes a lot of sense. It is relatively easy for online processes to continue in most cases. Here are some of the highlights from the CAT this summer.

Sinclair v. Peel Condo Corp. No. 3 ONCAT 25

  • The owner requested various records, including the PIC, budget, financial statements, plan for future funding of reserve fund, minutes, bank statements, and other financial records. The condominium refused and/or failed to provide them.
  • The condominium participated in the process at the beginning, but after a brief adjournment (at the request of condominium) it no longer participated and the hearing continued without representation from the condominium.
  • The documents requested were records of the condominium, the condominium provided no reasonable excuse for failing to provide them, and the owner was entitled to them. The tribunal ordered the condominium to provide them.
  • The tribunal awarded the owner a penalty of $1,500 because of the condominium’s refusal to provide the records. The condominium was also ordered to pay the owner’s filing fees of $200.

Emerald PG Holdings Ltd. v. Toronto Standard Condo Corp. No. 2519 ONCAT24

  • The owner submitted three record requests: 1) settlement decision regarding first-year budget deficit and a consent/agreement related to a cost-sharing agreement; 2) 11 ledger entries for fire alarm chargebacks; and 3) record of owners and mortgagees and general ledger for 3 year period.
  • The condominium suggested the settlement contained a confidentiality clause that prohibited disclosure. The fire alarm chargebacks related to specific units and were exempt from the right to examine records. The condominium provided the record of owners and mortgagees and indicated that it would provide the general ledger (redacted) upon receipt of payment for labour and copying charges.
  • The tribunal found the right of the owner to examine records found in the Act prevailed over the confidentiality clause in the settlement agreement and ordered the condominium to provide it to the owner at no cost to the owner.
  • The tribunal found the consent/agreement related to the cost-sharing agreement did not exist, so it could not be produced.
  • The tribunal ordered the condominium to produce the general ledgers, subject to redaction. The condominium’s proposed fee of $30/hour for labour was reasonable. The ledger contained 1600 pages. The condominium could charge $1920.00 to produce the general ledgers.
  • The tribunal awarded a $1000 penalty against the condominium and ordered the condominium to pay the owner’s filing fees of $200.

Tahseen v. Metropolitan Toronto Condo Corp. No. 818 ONCAT 22

  • The owner requested the record of owners and mortgagees, copies of proxies from the AGM, and the attendance list for the AGM. The owner claimed the condominium refused to provide the records and sought penalties of $15,000, punitive damages of $25,000, and costs.
  • The condominium was willing to provide redacted owners list and proxies, but the owner never paid the proposed fee. The condominium claimed the owner was vexatious and asked for costs and $5,000 from the owner in punitive damages.
  • The tribunal confirmed (again!) that the owner was entitled to the owners’ list without a fee.
  • The tribunal also found the owner was entitled to the proxies and attendance list, but the condominium was entitled to redact information related to the owners to protect the privacy of the other owners. The owner was ordered to pay the $120 fee for the proxies and attendance list before the condominium would be required to produce the record.
  • The condominium was ordered to pay the owner $200 in filing fees and a penalty of $750.

Landau v. Metropolitan Toronto Condo Corp No. 757 ONCAT19

  • The owner requested copies of any legal opinion provided to the condominium with respect to its ability to charge certain costs back to owners for violations of the rules (“chargebacks”).
  • The condominium refused to produce the opinion because it was protected by solicitor-client privilege and the exemption in the Act itself.
  • The tribunal found the owner was not entitled to the legal opinion as the condominium had not waived privilege in it, despite the condominium’s partial disclosure of the opinion to owners. Interestingly, the tribunal found that the exemption in s.55(4)(b) of the Act (records related to actual or pending litigation) could not be claimed by the condominium in this case because they did not make the claim until after the 30-day period for it to respond to the owner’s request had expired and it was faced with a possible application to the tribunal.
  • Neither party was entitled to costs. The owner was not entitled to the filing fees because she was unsuccessful.