This year’s theme is already emerging…another forced sale.

In the past an order forcing a unit owner to sell his or her unit was seen as a draconian measure to be used only in the most outrageous situations, such as those involving multiple physical assaults on the other owners or property manager. In the past year or two, however, several condominiums have been successful in obtaining such orders without the same level of nuisance behaviour, criminal activity or property damage that was present in the previous cases.

The most recent case is Carleton Condominium Corporation No. 348 v. Chevalier (2014) SCJ. The accusations against Mr. Chevalier included that he removed salt and grit that was placed to prevent slips and falls in the winter; he failed to remove a derelict vehicle from the premises (it apparently did not have a steering wheel or seats!); he used profanity and verbally abused contractors, property managers and directors; and he modified the common elements without approval and attempted to prevent the condominium from restoring the common elements. At a previous hearing the Public Guardian and Trustee was appointed as litigation guardian for the owner as there were concerns about his ability to represent himself due to a possible mental illness.  Continue reading

Another forced sale of a unit…

It looks like the Superior Court of Justice has ordered another unit owner to sell her unit. In Peel Condominium Corporation No. 304 v. Hirsi [2014] O.J. No. 220 Justice Skarica ordered the unit owner to sell her unit after “stabbing and shooting” incidents. The condominium was awarded full indemnity costs as well. Read the brief case here.

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The Court of Appeal for B.C. has ordered an owner to sell her unit after years of bad behaviour by her son (click for the decision). The owner and her son ignored the condominium’s warnings and fines (which are permitted under the Strata Property Act, but not under the Condominium Act, 1998). The court acknowledged that these types of cases often involve competing interests: the individual owner’s right to property and the other owners’ rights to quiet enjoyment. The court said:

[25]         A large and liberal interpretation of s. 173(c) should empower the court to provide an effective remedy.  The competing private property interest which supports strict interpretation must, in my opinion, yield to the rights and duties of the collective as embodied in the bylaws and enforceable by court order.  The old adage “a man’s home is his castle” is subordinated by the exigencies of modern living in a condominium setting.  In Principles of Property Law, 5th ed. (Toronto: Carswell, 2010) at 366, the learned author, Bruce Ziff, writes:

            Participation in condominium projects necessarily involves a surrender of some degree of proprietary independence.  An owner is at the mercy of the rules enacted through the internal decision-making process.  That is only logical. … Likewise, uses that directly and adversely affect the physical enjoyment of neighbouring properties need to be regulated.  These are problems that occur in all communities, and one of the attractions of the condominium lifestyle is that there can be a measure of control over the petty annoyances that often occur in urban habitats.