Top Five Condo Lawsuits and How to Avoid Them

Top 5 condo lawsuits

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Condo owner disputes happen. And it can happen in any condo. Though when not properly handled, they can lead to costly, time-consuming condo lawsuits. However, if you are familiar with the top five lawsuits condo boards and Toronto and the GTA property management companies face, you can take steps to avoid them.

1. Failure to Upkeep the Condo Property

Failure to maintain common elements interferes with condo values. However, it can also cause damage to units. For example, a roof leak could damage an owner’s belongings. Because the board has a responsibility to maintain the property, serious negligence can lead to lawsuits.

Solution to avoid condo lawsuits:

First, condo boards must contribute enough money towards the reserve fund to ensure proper upkeep of common elements. Second, careful financial records will show where money was allotted for property upkeep.

2. Claims of Discrimination

In accordance with the Human Rights Code, condo corporations have a legal duty to provide an environment free of discrimination and harassment. This includes prompt action to investigate claims of discrimination. To avoid “undue hardships” for residents the necessary accommodations must be made. Discrimination can be based on:

  • Age
  • Ancestry, colour, race
  • Citizenship
  • Ethnic origin
  • Place of origin
  • Creed
  • Disability
  • Family status
  • Marital status (including single status)
  • Gender identity, gender expression
  • Receipt of public assistance (in housing only)
  • Record of offences (in employment only)
  • Sex (including pregnancy and breastfeeding)
  • Sexual orientation

Solution to avoid condo lawsuits:

All condo corporations should have a human rights policy. First, the policy provides procedures to address accommodation requests. Second, it outlines how condo board members should respond should they receive discrimination or harassment complaints. Third, it proves a policy exists should you be involved in a discrimination lawsuit.

3. Boards Denying Owner Plans

Proposals are required for owner renovation requests. Should the board deny an application it can lead to owner disputes, followed by condo lawsuits.

Solution to avoid condo lawsuits:

Boards have some level of discretion when it comes to upgrade requests. Therefore it is important to seek legal advice to avoid making arbitrary decisions. When exceptions are made, it could set precedence. Hence, consistency, a clear understanding of the policies, and seeking legal advice ensures every owner request is treated fairly.

4. Alleged Violations

Aggressively pursuing residents who breach the rules, regulations, and bylaws can make owners feel they are being treated unfairly.

Solution to avoid condo lawsuits:

Understanding how the rules of the Condo Act supersede your condo rules and declaration helps ensure you don’t overstep your authority.

5. Pets

While condos have a duty to accommodate pets for residents with psychosocial or physical disabilities, they also have a right to introduce regulations surrounding pets. This can easily lead to challenges regarding pet rules, and can lead to condo lawsuits.

Solution to avoid condo lawsuits:

First, the onus is on the condominium to follow laws regarding accommodation. Second, they must inform residents of rules regarding pets. As well, consistency ensures boards are less likely to have their regulations challenged in court.

An experienced property management company helps resolve conflicts in a professional manner. But it also helps keep the best interests of the property, each member of the board and residents in mind. CPO Management Inc. has been working with condominium corporations in Toronto and the GTA for over 10 years, frequently acting as a mediator to resolve conflicts of various natures. If you would like more information on condo management to assist with conflict resolution, click here.

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