Ontario condo tribunal issues first of its kind decision under newly expanded jurisdiction
As for Canadian Lawyer
Tenant seeks to use outdoor parking space, claiming that disability impedes him from using his own
The Ontario Condominium Authority Tribunal recently decided that it was authorized to hear a matter under the new regulations of the Condominium Act, 1998, the first decision of its kind under its expanded jurisdiction, a real estate lawyer has noted.
Alex Young, a lawyer at Gardiner Miller Arnold LLP who wrote an article titled Parking predicament: a Condo Authority Tribunal first, said that the parking and indemnification dispute served as “a strong warning against condos seeking to unilaterally impose costs against unit owners.”
In Rahman v. Peel Standard Condominium Corporation No. 779, 2021 ONCAT 13, the applicant, who owned a condominium unit and two parking spaces in the respondent’s condominium, was using an outdoor parking space in what he said was an area reserved for accessible parking. He contended that a disability prevented him from accessing his condominium unit from his own parking spaces, for which he presented a copy of an Accessible Parking Permit parking sticker issued by Ontario and a letter from his doctor.
The respondent condominium corporation argued that the applicant breached the PSCC779 declaration because he parked in an area reserved for visitors and failed to show sufficient evidence of a disability that would justify his use of an outdoor parking space.
The respondent condominium corporation also questioned the tribunal’s jurisdiction to hear the matter, but the tribunal said that a motion decision had determined that the tribunal indeed possessed jurisdiction, so it would be inappropriate to consider this issue again.
The tribunal directed the respondent to halt enforcement actions for costs against the applicant relating to this matter. The applicant did not breach the condominium corporation’s declaration, complied with the requirements under the declaration and on parking signs and was entitled to use the accessible outdoor parking spaces under art. 4.2(b) of the declaration, the tribunal found.
The tribunal determined that the compliance enforcement costs were invalid, that the respondent could not rely on the declaration’s indemnification provisions and that the respondent improperly attempted to collect legal costs and fees through a lien and notice of sale without a court order.
The tribunal also awarded the applicant his costs of the action and an additional amount under s. 1.44(1) 3 of the Condominium Act, 1998, based on the respondent’s increasingly aggressive actions, which amounted to harassment and caused the applicant stress and anxiety. The additional amount would compensate the applicant for the time, trouble and expenses that he spent during the dispute, said the tribunal.
Original Article: Canadian Lawyer