Municipal by-laws set out rules to help form the basis for orderly living in a community. Municipal by-laws address a number of things including: what use can be made of a property (for example, whether you can run a business there or whether it can be used only for residential purposes); the number and kinds of pets a person can have, and; property standards (for example, maintenance and repair issues, storage of things on the property, and guarding against unsafe conditions).
The Condominium Act, 1998, and a condominium corporation’s declaration, by-laws and rules, also set out things that help form the basis for orderly living in a community. Like municipal by-laws they also address, among other things, what use can be made of the property, the number and kinds of pets a person can have, and property standards. In addition, however, a condominium corporation’s declaration, by-laws and rules act as an individual code which governs, regulates, and helps create and define the character of individual condominium communities.
Even though something might be permitted under a municipal by-law, a condominium declaration, by-law or rule can still prohibit the same thing. For example, City of Toronto By-Law 349 (which is the City of Toronto by-law that deals with animals) permits people to keep up to a maximum of three dogs, however, if a condominium declaration in Toronto states that no pets are permitted, then a person living in the condominium is not allowed to keep any dogs on the property. Another example is that a municipal by-law might permit signs or advertisements, but if the condominium declaration or rule prohibits signs and advertisements, then a person in the condominium is not allowed to display any.
Municipal by-laws and condominium documents may address the same problem and provide alternate means of enforcement. For example, municipal by-laws may address what noise a person can make and when. Depending on the type of noise or disturbance it could be the police or someone else who can be called to enforce the by-law. Similarly, condominium declarations and rules almost always stipulate that a person cannot make noise that disturbs the enjoyment by other people of the units and common elements. In such a case the Condominium Act, 1998, provides that mediation/arbitration or court proceedings can be commenced to address a contravention.
Condominium declarations, by-laws and rules almost always stipulate that a person cannot do something on the condominium property that contravenes a municipal by-law. If there is a contravention of a municipal by-law on condominium property, the issue can be dealt with as a breach of the Condominium Act, 1998, declaration, by-law or rule.
Condominium disputes are rarely confined to a single contravention of a municipal by-law, and are rarely settled simply by enforcing the municipal by-law. Condominium disputes most often need to be addressed under the enforcement procedures in the Condominium Act, 1998. These procedures are specifically designed to deal with condominium disputes, and take into account the myriad of interests in a condominium corporation such as costs, personal relations, and consistency of enforcement. It is important to remember in this context that the party who commences enforcement proceedings under the Condominium Act, 1998 is able to help craft a solution to the problem that is appropriate to the condominium. When in doubt consult your condominium lawyer!
A condominium declaration is created exclusively to each condo at the time of registration. Declarations can become outdated and not fit the present modern condo trends. In most cases the only option available to the board of directors is to amend the declaration. When amending a declaration, the board may decide to include aspects of condo culture that were not the norm during the time of the declarations execution or some amendments will concern excluding things that no longer fit the present condo standards. Whatever the goal may be, amending a condominium declaration is governed by section 107 of the Condominium Act (the “Act”). Below is a list of steps simplifying the procedure:
Step 3: Prior to the owners meeting to consider the proposed amendments, (no vote is taken at the meeting) a notice of the meeting must be sent out in accordance with the usual owners meeting procedures and this package must contain:
- Details of the meeting (meeting agenda)
- A copy of the proposed amendment
- Consent forms (for owners to approve the amendments in writing)
- Clear instructions to the owners to bring the executed form during the meeting if they approve the proposed amendments must be detailed in this package.
Step 4: The proposed amendments must be approved in writing by the owners of at least 80% or 90% (depending on the changes made) of all units including residential, parking, locker, communication, recreational, superintendent and guest suites in the corporation. Owners are those who are registered owners of the unit on record with the Land Registry Office at the time the board approves the proposed amendments.
Step 6: Once the corporation obtains the required consent from the owners (through collection of the consent forms) and the requirements detailed in Step 5 have been completed, the corporation may proceed with registering the proposed amendments.
Step 7: A “Confirmation Form” must be executed prior to registration to verify that the steps noted above have been complied with. Upon registration, a prescribed certificate (Form 1, 0. Reg. 49) is to be signed by the appropriate members of the board and must accompany the proposed amendments.