Have a Dispute about Snuffy? Condo Owners Get Broader Recourse from the Condo
If you are an owner of a condominium units in Ontario and have a dispute about pets, parking or vehicles, there is some good news for you.
As you may already know, the Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT) is the branch of the Condominium Authority of Ontario responsible for hearing disputes between condominium unit owners and the condominium corporation. Until recently, the jurisdiction of the CAT has been limited to a small range of issues, most notably addressing owners’ requests for condominium corporation records.
That has changed as of October 1, 2020, when certain regulatory changes under the Condominium Act, 1998 have come into force. They operate to significantly expand the CAT’s jurisdiction to allow it to hear a broader range of disputes of the type that will more directly affect you and other condominium unit owners across the province.
Now, the CAT can address certain conflicts between owners and the corporation over the
interpretation of provisions found in the corporation’s governing documents – meaning its
declaration, bylaws, and rules. Specifically, the CAT can now resolve disputes over:
- Pets and other animals;
- Owners’ vehicles; and
- Parking and storage space.
The CAT can also entertain disputes about the consistency or reasonableness of the provisions that address these issues in the corporation’s governing documents. For example, as an owner you can now easily file an application against your condominium corporation to complain that you believe the specific provisions in the rules, declaration, or by-laws pertaining to pet ownership are unreasonable or are inconsistent with the Condominium Act, 1998. Or, you may want to accuse the condominium corporation of failing to follow the correct processes for implementing, amending, or repealing its governing documents, to the point where they are arguably unenforceable and you and other owners.
Finally, the CAT can resolve issues around indemnification or compensation arising from these
same kinds of issues.
Note that CAT’s newly-broadened authority can address disputes that originate “both ways”:
As a unit owner, you can file an application directly against the corporation or against one or
more of your fellow owners or occupants, asserting a failure to comply with the corporation’s
governing documents; conversely, a condominium corporation can file an application against
you and other owners, alleging a failure to comply with the requirements found in the governing documents.
Even more good news: Disputes can be launched and resolved through a new, cost-effective
Online Dispute Resolution System (CAT-ODR). The user-friendly interface
https://www.condoauthorityontario.ca/tribunal/ allows you to submit your disputes on these
topics electronically, and includes interactive checklists that can guide you through the process.
Prior to these changes coming into force, disputes with the corporation had to be settled using mediation/arbitration, as set out in the provisions of the Condominium Act, 1998. It may have resulted in one of the parties having to go on to obtain a compliance order from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice – all very costly and time-consuming processes. All that has changed effective October 1, 2020, since the CAT now has exclusive jurisdiction over these specified topics.
This is a significant expansion of CAT’s jurisdiction, and one which covers some of the more
everyday topics and concerns for you as a unit owner. By extension, these changes will allow the Condominium Authority of Ontario to serve all of its stakeholders in a more efficient and cost- effective manner.