There have been several cases in the last year or two that have been stayed (halted) because one of the parties ignored an obligation to arbitrate a dispute. Another decision was released this week. Given the number of cases as of late, it seems that a review of the basic principles might be useful. The most recent case includes a great review so we will summarize it here. Continue reading
Who doesn’t enjoy a little case law reading by the pool or beach? Oh, that’s just me? Oh well. I hope you enjoy reading these brief summaries anyway.
This is an action by a condo to enforce a lien. The condo brought a motion for summary judgment. There were three issues: interest on the arrears of monthly fees; additional expenses claimed by the condo; and legal costs.
The condo claimed interest at a whopping 30% above the prime rate charged by TD to its best risk commercial accounts per annum, compounded monthly. The defendant argued that the condo was not entitled to such a high rate of interest because it could not provide precise, consistent statements to show it was entitled to the full amount. The judge disagreed. The by-law was a contractual arrangement between the owner and the condo and there was no reason not to enforce it. Continue reading
A condominium administrator is a person appointed by the court to manage the affairs of a condominium when the board is unable to properly manage the condominium in accordance with the requirements of the Condominium Act, 1998.
According to section 131 of the Act, a condominium, owner, or mortgagee of a unit can apply to the Superior Court for an order appointing an administrator. The Act states that 120 days must have passed since the turnover meeting, but there is a case where an administrator was appointed before the turnover meeting where the developer refused to call the turnover meeting.
I recently read an interesting case about parking rights in a commercial condominium. The applicant was the owner of three units, which were leased for use as a restaurant. The owner commenced an application against her condominium after it passed a by-law restricting parking in common element spaces.
Historically parking was allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. This led to problems with insufficient parking for customers and employees of many of the units. In 2009 the Board passed a by-law to change the allocation of parking spaces. The by-law allocated two parking spots to each unit. In 2014 the Board discovered that the by-law was never registered so it was not valid. The Board passed another by-law in 2015 to fix the problem. The 2015 by-law increased the number of parking spaces per unit to four. The result was that the restaurant had significantly less available parking for its customers.
You have probably all read about the oppression remedy in section 135 of the Act. As a recap, section 135 allows an owner, corporation, declarant or mortgagee of a unit to make an application to the courts where the conduct of another owner, corporation, declarant or mortgagee of a unit “is or threatens to be oppressive or unfairly prejudicial to the applicant or unfairly disregards the interests of the applicant.” The purpose of the oppression remedy is to protect legitimate expectations from conduct that is unlawful or, even if lawful, is considered unfair or oppressive. The legitimate expectations must be balanced against competing interests, such as the board’s duty to make decisions on repair or maintenance. The section has been described as “awesome” because it gives the judge the power to make any order he or she deems proper.
Although oppression has been claimed many times since section 135’s inclusion in the Act, very few of the applicants have been successful. Successful cases involve a declarant that refuses to relinquish control of the condominium or where a decision is made that is unfair to a minority group of owners. However, this week a decision was released where an owner was successful against the condominium not because of a decision made or an action taken, but because of the condominium’s inadequate response to the owner’s complaints.
The Court recently had to determine whether a dispute with respect to a shared facilities agreement must proceed to mediation and arbitration or whether it could be heard in court (see Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corporation No. 965 v. Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corporation Nos. 1031 and 1056 (2014) SCJ).
The plaintiff, a condominium, brought an application against two other condominiums claiming they had breached the shared facilities agreement (SFA) they were all parties to. The plaintiff condominium also alleged that the other two condominiums were acting oppressively. The defendants brought a motion asking the court to stay (put a stop to) the action and order arbitration. The defendant condominiums argued that the shared facilities agreement required arbitration of disputes. They also argued that section 132 of the Condominium Act, 1998 required mediation and arbitration of disputes with respect to shared facilities disputes. The plaintiff condominium argued that mediation and arbitration was not required because it was seeking relief under section 135 of the Condominium Act, 1998 (oppression). Continue reading
In Grigoriu v. Ottawa-Carleton Standard Condominium Corporation No. 706  O.J. No. 2218 two owners of a unit applied to the court for an order amending the condominium’ declaration under section 135 of the Condominium Act, 1998. The owners claimed a recent amendment made to the declaration was oppressive or unfairly disregarded their interests.