Condo Law Digest – April 2018

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Sennek v. Carleton Condominium Corporation No. 116, 2018
Decision Date: March 22, 2018
http://canlii.ca/t/hr686

This is an involved costs decision regarding legal proceedings between Manorama Sennek and Carleton Condominium Corporation No. 116. Laurentian Bank Company, Ms Sennek’s mortgage holder, was granted intervenor status. The purpose of this hearing was to determine 1) the amount of costs owing by Ms Sennek; and 2) whether and to what extent the costs could be added to the common expenses of her unit and recoverable by lien. (This is important, because it would mean that the condominium corporation would have priority over the bank in recovering monies. The mortgage principal is about $141,000.)

Last year Ms Sennek was declared a Vexatious Litigant. The legal wrangling between her and CCC No. 16 started with small claims court actions over tree pruning, the size of the parking spot accompanying her unit, and a flowerbox she installed that did not comply with the condominium’s bylaws. The original lien, registered in 2015, was for the costs of removing the flowerbox – around $760. It was open to the Laurentian Bank to pay that amount (plus legal fees) to have the lien discharged. They chose not to do this. The litigation “spun wildly out of control” and CCC No. 116 had to spend a great deal of money to respond to the “voluminous” materials Ms Sennek submitted. In this decision, Justice Sheard discusses Bills of Costs for five different motions and hearings, in addition to the costs for the Vexatious Litigant application and the original small claims court hearing. Based on her analyses, she awarded costs of nearly $110,00 to CCC No. 116, with about $85,000 recoverable by lien under the Condominium Act.

Comment: The Laurentian Bank submits, “that it had no expectation or reason to fear that the costs related to the removal of a flower box could escalate to over $100,000.00.” Quite.

Lahrkamp v. Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corporation No. 932
Decision Date: March 16, 2018
http://canlii.ca/t/hr1pm

This is another decision relating to costs. Mr. Lahrkamp sought leave to appeal the costs decision against him of just over $21,000. These costs arose in a small claims court matter that both parties agree was worth $1500. Mr. Lahrkamp argued that the Deputy Judge Prattas failed to consider the principle of proportionality in awarding costs. However Justice Sachs denied the appeal, saying that the Deputy Judge made very clear that Mr. Lahrkamp had behaved unreasonably during the proceedings, which entitled him to make an award exceeding the limits for costs in the Small Claims Court.

Comment: Earlier this year Mr. Lahrkamp was declared a Vexatious Litigant.

Brief Notice

Since beginning this blog, I have come across many decisions regarding Dewan v. Burdet – a complex case with many parties, stretching back over 20 years. I have always quailed at summarizing any of them. In what may (finally) be close to the end of the line, the Ontario Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal against the order of Justice Kane, granted the “minority” owners leave to appeal the costs order, and allowed their cross-appeal on costs.

About the image: By MichaelFLOWERBOX REGENT’S CANAL, CC BY 2.0, Link

Posted in Condo Disputes.

2 Comments

  1. Good comment about some prolonged disputes. Not sure if the topmost photo is Ms Sennek’s fateful frontside flower box. But the long-running Burdet saga – also in Ottawa – started with basementers v mainfloor group : https://ontario.cafcor.org/index.php?option=com_fireboard&Itemid=46&func=view&id=18656&catid=9#18656

    One under-appreciated judicial solution I have come to respect is 2017’s Cedarwoods Park v Tolentino et al where ultra vires shenanigans left a ( non-condo )Board in place & able to resume lawful adherence. There ( and In my own Building Scheme universe ) courts lack resources & clear authority for non-condo Administratorships. The Cedarwoods volunteer Board was not unseated but shown the way to resume compliance. 17 http://canlii.ca/t/h6950

    • Thanks, Bob! Always great to have your input. (And no – the flowerbox in the photo is not the one that started the dispute.)

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