A common challenge facing condominium corporations is the presence of "condo commandos", unit owners who engage in a course of conduct that interferes with the management of the condominium corporation.
A recent court case dealt with a unit owner who had performed some repairs to a water supply pipe, and was seeking reimbursement from the condominium corporation. When his request for reimbursement was denied, the unit owner bombarded the management office with countless requests for records and other related information. While the vast majority of his requests for records were satisfied, the unit owner refused to accept that he was not entitled to some of the records, or that others simply did not exist.
The unit owner then commenced two Small Claims Court actions, seeking reimbursement for his cost of repairing the pipe, and production of various records, such as detailed plumbing plans, and legal invoices. The Court dismissed both actions, and also ordered that the unit owner pay the condominium corporation’s legal costs on a punitive scale. In so doing, the Court stated that the Condominium Act did not "condone acts which amount to interference with the board's legal duty to [its] owners", as the innocent unit owners would ultimately be responsible for the cost of defending nuisance lawsuits.
Click here for a copy of the complete decision, Mishukov v. York Condominium Corporation No. 201, Endorsement of Feldman, J. (March 17, 2011) (Ontario Small Claims Court).
What can a condominium corporation do when a resident is creating a dangerous situation?
As shown in the recent decision of MTCC 747 v. Korolekh, a condominium corporation can apply to the court for relief, and under extreme circumstances, the court will grant extreme relief.
Ms. Korolekh, who terrorized her neighbours in a variety of ways, including violence and intimidation by her lunging Rottweiler, was ordered to remove the dog, sell her unit, and move out. After Ms. Korolekh failed to abide by the court’s order, the condominium corporation returned to court this morning, September 17, 2010, resulting in an agreement between the parties that Ms. Korolekh would in fact comply.
The case, which is available online, and which was the subject of the front-page headlining article in the Saturday Toronto Star for September 11, 2010, is an important reminder of the unique relationship that exists between condominium residents, and the far-reaching powers of the courts to protect innocent unit owners from those who run afoul of the law.
For those condominium boards that hope to rely on this case, remember that the remedy will always depend on the facts. Ms. Korolekh was ordered to move out and sell her unit because the court determined that she was completely unmanageable – but in other less extreme cases, a court might not be inclined to grant such a remedy. In this regard, our firm has been successful in obtaining a variety of beneficial results in dealing with unmanageable unit owners and tenants alike.