As you likely know, in April of 2017, the federal government introduced legislation to legalize and regulate marijuana in Canada. In September of 2017, Ontario introduced its own legislation to address the regulation of marijuana. In Ontario, the exclusive right to the sale of marijuana has been granted (at least for now) to the LCBO.
The legalization of marijuana is sure to be a popular topic for 2018. It is already discussed in mainstream media, on social media, and around the water cooler. It has been discussed at condo industry conferences and seminars. The discussion most recently focuses on what condominiums can do about the legalization of marijuana. I was asked for my thoughts on the matter recently by GlobalNews. You can read the full article here: https://globalnews.ca/news/3985115/condos-marijuana-rules-smoking-ban/.
Today I was on Newstalk1010 with Jim Richards to discuss an annoying enforcement issue faced by many property managers – dog waste left on the common elements. The question posed to me was this: can the condominium demand that an owner provide his dog’s DNA for enforcement purposes?
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could identify the dog (and its owner) by examining the waste left on the common elements? That would make enforcement pretty easy, right? Well a new service promises to do just that. PooPrints will create a DNA database for all of the dogs in the condominium using a simple cheek swab. When dog waste is left on the property a sample is sent to the company and they let the manager know which dog left it. If a match is found the costs of testing and clean-up are charged to the owner of the dog. Continue reading
Trespassing is an issue many condominiums have to address at some point in time. Maybe the condominium is located beside a local hangout, like a school, a mall, or a park. Maybe the common elements include features that attract people to the property, like railings for skateboarding or a large green space for tossing a football around. Whatever the reason it is likely that your condominium will have uninvited people on the property at some point.
A trespasser is a person who, without legal right, enters another’s property when entry is prohibited, engages in a prohibited activity on the property, or does not leave immediately when asked. Section 2 of the Trespass to Property Act makes trespassing an offence punishable by a fine of not more than $2,000.00. Continue reading
I am sure that we have all been to meetings where the issue of unruly tenants is raised by a director or owner. The complaints are often about noise, overcrowding, damage to the property, or parking. Sometimes the complaints are about risky behaviour, or even criminal activity. The other residents may try to address the problems with the tenants, but many file complaints with the property manager or board instead. The owner is often unaware of the problems with their tenants until he receives a letter from the manager or board.
Once the owner receives the demand letter he is in the difficult position of trying to get his tenants to comply. Most owners know that if their tenants don’t comply with the condominium’s demands a lawyer will be hired by the condominium to write a letter and the cost may be charged back to the owner. If the owner cannot get his tenants to comply with the rules he is left with the nearly impossible task of trying to get an order for eviction from the Landlord and Tenant Board.
While the board of directors is in the difficult position of trying to elicit compliance from the tenants by enforcing against the owner, there are many provisions in the Act that it can rely upon. Section 119(2) requires the owner to take “all reasonable steps” to ensure that his tenants comply with the Act, the declaration, by-laws and rules. This section is similar to section 17(3) of the Act, which requires the condominium to take “all reasonable steps” to ensure that the owners comply.
What is “all reasonable steps”?
A recent case discussed the term. In Toronto Standard Condominium Corporation No. 2032 v. Boudair et al (2016) the condominium commenced an application against the tenants and owner of a unit after it received complaints about smoke escaping from the unit and entering the adjacent units.
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. Continue reading
I am regularly asked by clients to assist them with enforcement of dog restrictions (i.e. weight limits) or complete prohibitions in a condominium’s documents. Sometimes an owner will claim that he or she needs the dog because of a disability. The mere mention of the word (disability) immediately increases the anxiety felt by the board and manager. It seems many owners are aware of this anxiety-inducing affect and use the word without regard for its actual legal meaning. There was a recent case where an owner did just that, but the condominium refused to back down without adequate evidence of her disability.
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 its single family residence restriction. There appears to have been a battle in the condominium over the single family residence restriction, which came to a head shortly after the Court of Appeal confirmed that single family residence restrictions were enforceable in Kilfoyl. A few months after the Kilfoyl decision was released, the board moved to amend the condominium’s rules to create a broader definition of single family. The proposal included “grandfathering”. There were various letters exchanged by the opposed groups, some of which included the opinion of the condominium’s lawyer. The proposed rule was eventually voted down by the owners at an owners’ meeting. The condominium notified the owners that it had to enforce the definition from Kilfoyl and more conflict ensued.