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
As I mentioned in my previous post, the most common question that I’m asked about shared facilities agreements is how to terminate them. The reason? Many (if not all) condominiums have disputes related to their shared facilities agreements. Sometimes the problem is the agreement itself. It is difficult to read, has confusing language, or contains inconsistent provisions. Sometimes one or more of the parties refuses to participate in decisions or pay their fair share. Sometimes the agreement is ignored by the parties completely; sometimes they don’t even know it exists!
It is no wonder disputes arise: the Condominium Act, 1998, does not require shared facilities agreements to be fair. As long as the agreement and terms are properly disclosed to the parties it will be enforceable.
Shared facilities agreements (also called cost sharing, joint use and mutual use agreements) are agreements covering lands or facilities which are shared by a condominium and another entity. The shared facilities or amenities may be exterior components like roadways, landscaping features, and underground services, or interior components like swimming pools, fitness facilities, and meeting rooms.
Interestingly, the Act does not currently require condominiums to have a shared facilities agreement. That will change once the amendments to the Act are in force so condominiums without them should discuss the issue with a condominium lawyer. Continue reading
A decision was released today from the Court of Appeal regarding another shared facilities dispute. At trial, the appealing party was found liable for a portion of the expenses incurred to maintain a shared sanitary sewer pumping station.
The facts can be briefly summarized as follows. MCC229 is a condominium in London. It was built on the same parcel as three other condominiums (MCC282, 392, and 500) that are now owned by WMJO. The City requires that the sewage from all four condominiums be pumped uphill to connect to the City service. Since the time that MCC229 was created in 1991, it has managed and operated the pumping station for all of the condominiums. In keeping with a Joint Use Agreement, WMJO contributed its proportionate share of the costs for the pumping station for more than ten years. It stopped making payments in 2006 when it took the position that it had no obligation to contribute toward the costs.