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Condo FAQ

What if the unit owner refuses to take the Condominium Corporation to Superior Court?

Answer

A tenant who is unsuccessful in persuading the owner of their residential unit to take action against the condominium corporation has very few options.

In certain circumstances, it may be possible for a tenant to apply to the Board in order to seek an abatement of rent from the owner of the residential unit, or get the Board to fine the unit owner. The Board cannot, however, directly coerce the condominium corporation to discontinue ongoing violation of the RTA, as issuing such an order would fall outside the jurisdiction of the Board.

Apart from this, the tenant may find legal advice suggesting the possibility of exploring some form injunctive relief, through an application to the Superior Court of Justice.

Will an order from the Board force a Condominium Corporation to comply with the RTA?

Answer

So far, the Board may only issue an order against the "landlord" and the only "landlord" the Board recognizes is the individual unit owner. Because of that, tenants must proceed against the owner of their rental unit even for matters concerning common areas, over which the owner of a unit has no direct control.

The simple answer is that an order from the Board is virtually unenforceable against a condominium corporation. However, the Board's order, properly made against the owner of the tenant's residential unit, might then be able to be taken to the Superior Court of Justice - by the respective tenant's unit owner - in order to force the condominium corporation's compliance.

This complicated and very expensive remedy has a fairly good chance of failing entirely because the RTA and the Condominium Act contain conflicting provisions as to which legislation takes precedence. For example, past Court decisions with respect to no-pet clauses have caused considerable confusion in Ontario as to which legislation supersedes the other.

Can Tenants take the Condominium Corporation or the Property Management to the Landlord and Tenant Board if they don’t comply with the RTA?

Answer

Tenants of rental units in a condominium can take the owners of the unit that they rent to the Board. The law says that individual unit "landlords" must respect the provisions of the RTA.

Tenants who wish to take the condominium's board of directors, or the property manager to the Board will have a very tough time convincing the Board to hear their case of such a matter. The Board doesn't consider the condominium corporation to be the "landlord" and because of this, no tenant has yet been able to take the condominium corporation or the property manager to the Board.

Can a unit owner control the common elements of a condominium?

Answer

Since condominium corporations are controlled by democratically elected boards of directors, an owner can exercise their vote for the board of directors, which would then control the activities of the condominium corporation with respect to the common elements. We call this idea "voting-right control".

The reality is that "voting-right control", is often a fallacy. Unless a unit owner owns a substantial number of units, one vote will have virtually no effect on what the condominium corporation does. In fact, as far back as 1971, the California Supreme Court recognized that, "in ordinary course a unit owner does not directly control the activities of the management body set up to handle the common affairs of the condominium project."

Who is the Landlord in a Condominium?

Answer

The only "landlord" currently recognized by the Residential Tenancies Act is the owner of the residential unit which the tenant occupies. The term "landlord" has not been expanded to include condominium corporations even though condominium corporations hold exclusive control over the common elements of the "residential complex".

What does the Property Manager do?

Answer

A board of directors typically grants the power to make day-to-day decisions to a property management company. In most cases, the property management company acts as a legally appointed agent for the board of directors.

What does a Board of Directors do?

Answer

A condominium corporation periodically elects a board of directors from the individual unit owners in the condominium. The members of the board of directors usually serve on a volunteer basis.

The board of directors acts as the governing body for the condominium project and has great powers under the Condominium Act. They have control over what is permitted to take place within individual units and what is permitted to take place with respect to the common elements.

What are Common Elements?

Answer

Common elements in a condominium are similar to the "residential complex" for residential tenants. Common elements include the hallways, the elevators, stairwells, exercise rooms, laundry, etc. In condominiums, common elements also can include the exterior layer of each unit's door in the hallways, the exterior panel of glass on each window in a unit, and the concrete underneath the carpet or beyond the wall finish.

Who Controls a Condominium Project?

Answer

Each unit in a condominium has a clearly specified owner, however: The Condominium Act states that the "duty to control, manage and administer the common elements", is responsibility of the condominium corporation. This responsibility can also include some control over what is allowed within each individual unit.

What is a Condominium?

Answer

Condominiums are a relatively new form of housing in Canada. A condominium is made up of two fundamental parts: individual units and common elements. Together, they form a condominium project, which is governed by a condominium corporation. Control over the condominium corporation is held by the 'shareholders', who are simply the owners of the individual units.

The law that governs condominiums is called the Condominium Act.

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