Construction Lien Changes

new development

As you may have heard, the first round of amendments to the Construction Lien Act are scheduled to come into force on July 1, 2018. The purpose of this post is to provide a brief overview of some of the key changes as they may relate to condominium projects.

For starters, the Construction Lien Act will be known as the Construction Act. The amendments will not apply to all situations, including contracts entered into before July 1, 2018 (even if subcontracts were entered into after July 1, 2018) or the procurement process was commenced before July 1, 2018. There are other exceptions.  Continue reading

Unreasonable Owners + Reasonable Board = Costs for Condo

A recent decision of the Superior Court of Justice illustrates how the conduct of the parties can sway a judge when it comes to the issue of costs. The case is York Condominium Corporation No. 922 v. Frank Lu et al (2016). The facts are straightforward. The owner refused to permit the condominium’s contractors to enter the unit to investigate it after a flood in the unit, which was caused by the owner’s tenants. The condominium made repeated attempts to gain access to the unit and offered to meet with the owner to discuss the issue, but the owner refused. The condominium engaged a lawyer, who wrote several letters, but the owner still refused to grant the condominium access to the unit.

The condominium started a court application under sections 92, 117, and 134 of the Condominium Act, 1998. The condominium asked the court for an order requiring the owner to allow it to access the unit to investigate the damage, and if necessary, repair the damage to the common elements.

The condominium was successful in its application and sought $15,416.00 in costs from the owner. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

The Condominium’s Duty Regarding Hoarding (Part 2)

I know what you are thinking: “Now that I know what hoarding is and why I should care about it, how do I fix it?” Well, like I said in my last post, there is no one size fits all solution. In some cases, it will be relatively easy to deal with the hoarding. In other cases, it will require court intervention. It really is a case-by-case determination.

The first step whenever an owner breaches the Act or any of the condominium’s documents is usually a letter from the board or property manager. The reason? You want to give the owner an opportunity to comply before taking further steps and incurring any costs. For hoarding, the letter should describe the specific concerns (i.e. during a recent inspection we noticed a large amount of combustible material stored on your stove), provide a date for entry to the unit (for a further inspection), and outline the consequences if the owner does not take steps to alleviate the problem (i.e. involvement of the condominium’s lawyer and a chargeback of the costs, if possible).  Continue reading

The Condominium’s Duty Regarding Hoarding (Part 1)

We have probably all seen an episode of, or at least a commercial for, one of the various hoarding shows on television these days. The shows depict a person or family living in unimaginable conditions with piles of goods, garbage, and who knows what else. I have even heard of an episode where several of the hoarder’s cats were missing in the home. The cats were found dead among the debris.

In Ontario, hoarding became a hot topic after a fire in a Toronto apartment caused the evacuation of over 1000 people, injured several, and caused millions of dollars in damage. The unit was occupied by a hoarder and all it took was a single cigarette being tossed on the balcony, which was full of combustible material, to start the fire. During the clean-up they found several other units in the same building with hoarders. Continue reading

Condo fails to address smoke complaints

Smoking in condominiums has become a popular topic in recent years. A number of condominiums have amended their declarations to prohibit smoking on the common elements. Some condominiums have even amended their declarations to prohibit smoking anywhere on the property. Notwithstanding all of the amendments, there have been very few reported cases on smoking in condominiums.

In one recent case (MacKay v. Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corporation No. 985) the owners claimed the condominium was in breach of its duty to maintain and repair the common elements and their unit. The owners complained of cigar smoke entering their unit from an adjacent unit. The owners’ insurance adjuster determined that the unit was uninhabitable. The insurer paid for the owners to stay in a hotel for 10 months. The owners reported their complaints to the condominium. The condominium did very little to address their complaints so the owners commenced an application.

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