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Smith Valeriote Lawyers Blog | Smith Valeriote LLP Law Firm Guelph

Condo Case Law Update: taking a reasonable approach to disruptive condominium tenants

May 2017

Niagara North Condominium Corporation No. 6 v Temedio, 2017 ONSC 897

 Overview

Condominium living requires cooperation between unit owners, tenants, neighbours, property management, and the board of directors. The Condominium Act attempts to balance these stakeholder’s interests in order to uphold the integrity of the condominium as a financial investment and home. Niagara North v Temedio discusses how the corporation should handle tenants and unit owners that fail to abide by the corporation’s governing rules and by-laws. This decision supports the proposition that a forced eviction should be a last resort in response to repeat non-compliance.    

Facts

In this case, the unit owner leased the unit to Kim Watson and her adult son, Robert James. Mr. James suffered from health issues that prevented him from living independently- he was also the grandson of the unit owner. Ms. Watson and Mr. James were the subject of several complaints from other unit owners; these complaints included loud noises and banging, profanity, and marijuana smoke emanating from the unit. In response to the complaints, the Corporation brought an application requiring Ms. Watson and Mr. James to permanently vacate the unit or, alternatively, comply with the Corporation’s rules. In this case, the condominium‘s declaration, by-laws, and rules prohibited the tenant’s disruptive behaviour. 

Prior to commencing the court action, the corporation warned Ms. Watson and the unit owner that complaints were received. At trial, the Judge determined that the complaints were valid and that Ms. Watson violated the Condominium’s rules by allowing the disruptions to occur. The Judge did not order Ms. Watson and her son to vacate the unit- instead the Judge ordered that they comply with the Condominium’s rules prohibiting loud noises that disrupt other units. The Judge stated that forcing the eviction of condominium tenants is “draconian” and “extreme” and should only be used as a last resort. The Judge also stated that eviction orders should only be used in circumstances where there is ongoing refusal to comply with the rules of the Condominium. 

The Judge stated that the Corporation should have sought assurances from the unit owner and tenant that the rules and by-laws would be upheld. The Judge criticized the Corporation for escalating enforcement when a “less heavy-handed” approach could have avoided the need to bring a court application. Despite being successful, the plaintiff was only awarded nominal costs. 

Bottom Line:

Condominium corporations need to follow the correct procedure when resolving unit owner complaints against a unit owner or tenant. The procedure for resolving complaints must balance the interests of affected parties, and should not be too extreme or heavy-handed. Seeking to evict tenants, or forcing the sale of a unit, is an extreme position that should only be adopted when other means of resolving the conflict have been exhausted. Condominium corporations should attempt to resolve disputes amicably before seeking a resident’s eviction. In the case of a leased unit, the corporation should work with the unit owner to bring a tenant within compliance. 

Written by Ben Baena, edited by Robert Mullin and Erica Gerstheimer.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and is not legal advice. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your specific circumstance.

Date:
2017.05.09

Services:
Condominium Law

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