Condo Law Digest – September 2014

Trees in a Field by Martin Cathrae

Boily v. Carleton Condominium Corporation 145, 2014 ONCA 574
Decision Date: August 6, 2014

I first wrote about this case in the post “Bad Faith and What it Means for Condo Board Members.” In a ruling in March 2013, Justice Beaudoin found that the Board had acted in bad faith in managing some post-repair landscaping. He ordered that Board members be held personally responsible both for the cost of enforcing the order they had violated, and for the cost of restoring the property to its previous state. In this action, the Board members appeal the finding of contempt of court and the penalties ordered by Justice Beaudoin (particularly the order that they pay the cost of restoration.) Here the judges of the appeal court uphold the finding of contempt, but set aside the sanction that the Board members pay the cost of restoration. Instead Board members were each ordered to pay a fine of $7500 to the Corporation. While any contempt of court is serious, the judges took into consideration that the Board members were not motivated by personal gain or vengeance, but by the conviction that “they knew best.” However their failure to seek legal advice was seen as an aggravating factor. The appeal court reasoned that Justice Beaudoin had made an error in principle by basing the penalty on the cost of restoration, rather than on the desirability of deterring violations of court orders. One justice dissented and would have set aside the finding of contempt.

Comment: Justice Epstein, writing for the majority, said that this case was “particularly unfortunate” because if the Board members had sought legal advice, the parties would have saved time, money and avoided needless acrimony.

York Region Standard Condominium Corp. No. 1113 v. Antonelli, 2014 ONSC 4844
Decision Date: August 14, 2014

In May 2014 the Corporation obtained a judgment against Mr. Antonelli to immediately and permanently remove two dogs from his unit. Mr. Antonelli was not present when the motion was heard. In this action, the Corporation seeks an order of contempt against him, and an order permitting them to engage a contractor to remove the animals.  Mr. Antonelli brings a motion to set aside the original decision and to return to the court in February 2015.  Justice Emery declined to grant Mr. Antonelli’s request and found for the Corporation.  The dogs must be removed, and he must pay the costs of the motion (fixed at $10 000).

Comment:  I don’t know the sequence of events that brought the parties to this point.  Often the preliminary step in such a dispute is a letter to an owner from the condo board.  As I have written before, owners should never ignore such letters and are advised to consult a condominium lawyer.  Better pay for good advice now, than pay much more later in the absence of such advice.

Posted in Condo Disputes.

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