Simcoe Condominium Corporation No. 89 v Dominelli, 2015 ONSC 3661
Decision Date: June 8, 2015
Simcoe Condominium Corp. No. 89 is a complex of 3-storey residential condominiums with no elevators; a large percentage of the residents are seniors. In 2005 the Corporation adopted a Rule limiting the weight of a dog that a resident can have in a unit to 25 lbs or less. Mr. Dominelli owns a unit in one of the buildings. In July 2014 his finacée, Ms. Labranche moved into the unit with her dog Peaches. Although the dog weighed more than 25 lbs, the couple did not seek permission for Peaches to reside in the unit. In August 2014 the property manager wrote to Mr. Dominelli, advising him that the dog was in violation of the Condo’s Rules. The couple responded that Peaches was a therapy dog that Ms. Labranche used in her work with autistic children. The couple were advised that, to be accommodated as a service animal, the dog must be a therapy dog for a resident (not just a therapy dog generally). At an Owner’s Meeting in October, the majority of owners voted against removing the 25lb weight restriction for pets. The couple then directed their efforts to showing that Peaches was a therapy dog for Ms. Labranche’s conditions of stress and anxiety, providing letters from a physician in support of this claim. The Board denied her request for accommodation, on the grounds that the doctor had not provided a clear diagnosis or evidence that Ms. Labranche had a disability under the Human Rights Code. Ms. Labranche did not comply with requests for medical documentation, relying on the doctor’s advice that it was not necessary that she disclose personal information.
Justice Quinlan granted an order that Peaches be permanently removed from the unit. He also found that the Corporation had been entitled to seek further information from Ms. Labranche regarding her disability, and that she should have complied with the requests. In a later ruling, he granted costs to the corporation in the amount of $47, 000.
Comment: Just as you wouldn’t seek a medical opinion from a lawyer, don’t rely on the legal opinions of your physician.
Toronto Common Elements Condo Co. No. 2041 v Toronto Standard Condo Co. No. 2051, 2015 ONSC 4245
Decision Date: June 30, 2015
The respondent (TSCC 2051) is a condominium with 112 units; the applicant (TCECC 2041) is the common elements corporation for both the land on which TSCC 2051 sits, and the land holding 30 adjacent townhomes. TCECC is responsible for snow clearing, landscaping, visitor parking, and related services. TCECC has the duty to budget for and collect common expenses from all of the unit owners (condominium units as well as townhomes) and to deliver financial statements. From 2009 to 2013 TCECC provided some services, but failed in its obligation to assess and collect common expenses from the unit owners of TSCC 2051. When TCECC realized its error, it had financial statements prepared (yet without proper documentation for all expenses) and tried to collect common expenses back to 2010, including interest at rates set out in the Condominium Act. In this action they claim $127, 500 of which about $50 000 is accrued interest.
Justice Corbett sees this dispute as not being over legal liability, but over the fair adjustment of accounts. For that reason, he has advised the parties to submit their dispute to mediation or arbitration. (For the difference between them, see this short article.) He also suggests that interest be awarded at the rate specified in the Courts of Justice Act (which is considerably lower than the rate in the Condominium Act.)
Comment: I can only heartily endorse the judge’s reminder: “As a final note, the parties should bear in mind that they are in a long term relationship and need to deal with each other fairly and reasonably.” Mediation might strengthen their relationship going forward.
York Condominium Corporation No 41 v Schneider et al., 2015 ONSC 3919
Decision Date: June 25, 2015
Carleton Condominium Corp. No. 25 v Patrick Eagan, 2015 ONSC 4353
Decision Date: July 3, 2015
Both of these actions involve insect infestations (cockroaches in the first and bedbugs in the second). In both actions, the Condominium Corporations seek relief from unit owners who have failed to cooperate with them and with pest removal contractors. In both cases, respondents were ordered to comply, and the costs of pest removal treatments were ruled as recoverable by the Corporations from the respondents.
In the first case, Justice Brown found that the respondents had failed to comply with an Order set down in a previous legal judgment. She ruled that if they again failed to comply with the order to cooperate with the pest control company, the Corporation would be entitled to seek an order requiring them to vacate and sell their unit, and she granted costs to the Corporation. In the second case, Justice Corthorn granted the respondent 30 days to cooperate with the pest control contractor, and ruled that if he did not comply, the Corporation is granted immediate and ongoing access to the unit to carry out the pest control treatment. She also granted costs of $9700 to the Corporation.
Comment: Pest infestations require remedy throughout a building, and privacy does not trump health and safety.