The Condominium Act 1998
The Condominium Act is the legislation that governs condominiums in
Ontario. It states when a condo corporation comes into being, how it
can be terminated and everything in between the corporation's birth and its death.
Nothing in the declaration, by-laws or rules can over-rule the Act.
Yet, there is a lot that is unsaid in the Act.
Condominium corporations, like business corporations follow contract
laws rather than constitutional laws. Your local city councillor and
MPP cannot help you. Most do not want to hear about messy condo
Disputes ultimately end up at the Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT)
or in civil courts where disputes, even if "won" are very expensive for
the owners who get into these battles.
An owner can never recover time wasted, nor can the owner ever be
compensated for months, if not years, of stress and frustration. Plus
there is no guarantee that the board will stop looking for ways to
harrass an owner.
The Act states that a condo has to have annual AGMs but the meeting
rules and procedures to be followed are largely left to the individual
condo corporations to decide. To make changes to the developer's
meeting by-laws, the majority on the board has to agree to any changes
and bring those changes to an owners meeting for a vote.
Also, there is no real penalty if a board does not hold Annual
General Meetings. Some condos go years without having one. The worse
that can happen is that the courts order the board to hold a meeting.
The Act does nothing to insure that the persons running the election process have "clean hands".
The property management company sends out
the meeting packages, prints the ballots, provides the ballot boxes,
collects the proxies and mans the registration desk. Yet they are not
uninterested third parties.
We now have a standard three-page proxy form. Great except that too few owners know how to read it.
Board meeting minutes
There is no standard or official way in which meeting minutes should be
taken. The Condo Act just requires that minutes be kept. Some boards
record so little information that the minutes are practically
Once a rule is in place, it is extremely difficult for the owners to
have the rule changed or rescinded. The owners need to replace the
majority on the board to do so.
The biggest problem with the Act is that condo boards can ignore most
of its provisions without worry as there is almost no penalties for
violating the Act.
An owner has to take the condo corporation to Condominium Authority
Tribunal (CAT), mediation, arbitration or civil court to seek
compliance with most issues.
Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT) promises to be cheap and quick but
so far, aside from requests to examine records, it doesn't do much.
If CAT fines a condo corporation, and it refuses to pay the owner, the
owner has to go to Small Claims court to get a court order upholding
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