We are routinely asked to provide advice to our clients about the installation of security cameras on the common elements. Sometimes the cameras are installed by the condominium on the common elements to reduce vandalism and property damage. Other times an owner wants to install a camera on the common elements adjacent to his unit to protect the occupants of the unit. For both situations the primary concern is normally the privacy rights of the other residents, but secondary concerns are often possible damage to the common elements caused by the installation of the camera and compliance with the legal requirements of the Condominium Act, 1998.
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Below is a brief look back at some of the most talked about cases in 2018:
Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corp. No. 932 v. Lahrkamp,  O.J. No. 311
A unit owner had commenced many legal proceedings against the condominium corporation for approximately 10 years relating to the production of documents – many of these proceedings were dismissed. The condominium corporation successfully applied to the Court to have an order prohibiting the owner from commencing legal proceedings against the condominium corporation and its past, present, and future directors, property managers, and service providers without leave of the Court. Note that the unit owner was not prohibited from bringing legal proceedings before the Condominium Authority Tribunal (“CAT”) and did so later in 2018…the owners application before the CAT was dismissed.
Jones v. 2341464 Ontario Inc., 2018 ONSC 717
A developer/vendor attempted to unilaterally terminate an agreement of purchase and sale for a pre-construction condominium unit due to delays in construction. The Court found that the provisions in the agreement of purchase and sale that allowed the developer/vendor to unilaterally terminate the agreement of purchase and sale had been removed by a valid amendment and that the developer/vendor was required to perform its obligations set out in the agreement of purchase and sale.
Simcoe Standard Condominium Corp. No. 431 v. Atkins,  O.J. No. 2986
Two condominium corporations were ordered to call requisitioned meetings of owners because of a special assessment levied by the condominium corporations. The condominium corporations had refused to call the meetings of owners because they alleged the requisitioning owners had obtained the necessary signatures to requisition a meeting of owners by disseminating misleading information. The Court was not persuaded by the evidence presented to support such an allegation and found no reason for the condominium corporations to refuse to call meetings of owners in accordance with section 46 of the Condominium Act, 1998. Further, the condominium corporations asked the Court to prohibit the use of proxies during the requisitioned meetings of owners as a result of the dissemination of misleading information. The Court refused to do so finding that the communications were not misleading but rather expressed an opposing view. The Court also questioned if it had authority to “deny owners the statutory right to vote by proxy.”
A unit owner had requested to audit the proxies recently used to elect directors to the board of directors without redaction. The CAT refused the request of the unit owner as clause 55(4)(d) of the Condominium Act, 1998 provides that the ability of an owner to examine the records of the condominium corporation does not apply to “any portion of a ballot or proxy form that identifies specific units in a corporation or owners in a corporation unless a by-law of the corporation provides otherwise”.
After obtaining an order prohibiting a commercial unit owner from harassing the condominium corporation’s board members, employees and managers and multiple orders from the Court, the condominium corporation successfully obtained an order requiring the owner to vacate and sell the commercial unit for any reasonable offer. The Court also granted the condominium corporation the ability to apply for possession of the commercial unit if the owner did not comply with the conditions of the Court’s order.
A condominium corporation asked the Court to set aside the decision of an arbitrator with respect to the validity of improvements made to a unit authorized by a section 98 agreement. The section 98 agreement was authorized by the declarant appointed board and called for the production of detailed drawings and further approval of the board prior to renovations commencing. The owner argued the required plans were submitted to the declarant appointed board provided and the evidence of the condominium corporation was not sufficient to persuade the Court to set aside the decision of the arbitrator.
Patterson v. York Condominium Corporation No. 70, 2018 ONSC 3735
The Court dismissed an owner’s effort to force the condominium corporation to raise the common expenses, among other requests. The Court found that the decision process of the board of directors met the standard of care required under section 37 of the Act and that the Court should not substitute its own reasoning for that of the board of directors.
Noguera v. Muskoka Condominium Corporation No. 22, 2018 ONSC 7278
An owner had commenced construction to remove a demising wall between units with the board or director’s permission. A subsequent board of directors asked for the owner to enter into a section 98 agreement and wanted to review/alter the decision and decision making process of the previous board of directors. The owner brought an oppression and was permitted to complete construction but was required to enter into a section 98 agreement.
Terence Arrowsmith v Peel Condominium Corporation No. 94 2018 ONCAT 10
An owner made a request for records relating to the removal of mould from the sauna and mailroom. The condominium corporation did not provide the requested records despite conceding the owner was entitled to such records on the basis that the owner had not properly completed the mandatory request for records form. The CAT ordered the documents to be provided and award costs (which included an award for the owner’s time spent participating in the process) to the owner. The CAT also went on to impose a monetary penalty on the condominium corporation as a result of its failure to provide records without reasonable excuse.
There has been a lot of talk about electric vehicles in condominiums lately, despite the fact that electric vehicles still represent less than 1% of passenger vehicles in Ontario. The Ontario government hopes to increase the number of electric vehicles on the roads and has created new legislation to make it easier for owners and condominiums to install electric vehicle charging systems. The new regulations came into force on May 1, 2018. Continue reading
As you may know, section 97 of the Condominium Act, 1998 (the “Act”) addresses changes made to the common elements, assets, and services of the condominium. In the amendments to the Act, section 97 will be removed and replaced with a new section 97.
The awkward language “addition, alteration, or improvement” will be replaced with “modification” (although the three words will form part of the definition of modification). Section 97 will also add a requirement that the board must conduct an assessment of the cost of any proposed modification where it is required to give notice to the owners.
Apart from the language, there are some other big changes coming to section 97. Continue reading
In my last post, I wrote about section 98 of the Condominium Act, 1998, which permits owners to make changes to the common elements if: the board approves the proposed change; they enter into an agreement with the corporation; and notice is provided to all owners (if applicable). Today I’ll discuss the agreement in more detail.
Section 98 of the Act requires an owner to enter into an agreement with the corporation before making any changes to the common elements. The agreement must, at a minimum, do the following:
- Allocate the cost of the proposed change between the owner and the corporation;
- Set out the responsibilities for maintenance, repair after damage, and insurance of the proposed change; and
- Set out other matters required by the regulations, which currently adds a requirement that the agreement state who owns the change.
The agreement may be referred to as a “section 98 agreement”, “indemnity agreement”, or “alteration agreement”. The term used is not important; it is simply a preference of the lawyers and managers in the area. For instance, in Waterloo and surrounding areas the term “indemnity agreement” is often used, whereas toward London the term “alteration agreement” is more common.
In the last two weeks, I’ve had two people suggest that I write about section 98 of the Condominium Act, 1998, so that’s what I’m going to do today. (Thanks for the suggestions!).
Section 98 of the Condominium Act, 1998, addresses situations where owners want to make an “addition, alteration or improvement” to the common elements. The courts have defined “addition” as joining or connecting something to a structure; “alteration” as changing the structure; and “improvement” as the betterment of the property or enhancement of it. Continue reading
I don’t often write about municipal law decisions involving condominiums, but a recent decision of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) should remind condominiums that they need to rely on their professionals. A condominium had a private well drilled on the property to use for landscaping purposes. The condominium applied for a minor variance to the zoning by-law that prohibited private wells where municipal water was available (with a few exceptions). The application was denied so the condominium appealed to the OMB. Both the City and the Region opposed the condominium. Continue reading