Owners’ rights & obligations
An owner of a unit in a condominium corporation has both rights and obligations. That is a given. However, management is quick to insure that the owners know their obligations but are shy about insuring that the owners know their rights.

Obligations
An owner is required to pay their fees and special assessments in a timely manner. They must also follow all the corporation’s by-laws and rules. That's about it.

The owners are not obliged to attend the owner meetings, vote at the AGMs or submit a proxy. They do not have to participate in any of the building's social events or use any of the amenities.

Pretty straight forward.


Rights
What rights does an owner have if he or she feels the board of directors is acting improperly? The Condo Act has safeguards to protect a disgruntled condominium unit owner including:
1.
The right to inspect the condominium corporation’s records.
2.
The owners appointment of an external auditor and annual audits of financial affairs
3.
The right to requisition a meeting to consider corporation business.
4.
The right to requisition a meeting to rescind or amend the rules.
5.
The right to remove directors by a vote of owners.
6.
Unit owner votes are required to ratify some board decisions.
7.
The corporation must have an adequately funded Reserve Fund.
8.
The directors must follow a statutory standard of care.
9.
An owner can apply for the appointment of an inspector.
10.
An owner can apply for the appointment of an administrator.
11.
An owner can request a judge for court orders to force the board to comply with the Condo Act or with the corporation’s declaration, by-laws or rules.
12.
An owner can ask a judge for an oppression remedy order.
13.
In certain situations, an owner can take the condo corporation and/or the property management company to a Human Rights Tribunal.

However most of these rights can be violated with impunity by the board as these rights can only be enforced if an owner or a group of owners are willing to take the board to mediation, arbitration, a Human Rights Tribunal or to court.

That will cost an owner, or a group of owners, up to $20,000 in legal fees. The legal costs are so high that many boards feel they’re bulletproof.

In addition, say you blow a wad in legal fees and you are successful. The judge issues a set of court orders against the condo corporation, including paying most of your legal fees. You have won.

However, there is no guarantee the board will obey those court orders. You may have to take the board back to court to get contempt of court rulings. Only then, will you get compliance and that may be half-hearted.

The only guarantee that your rights will be protected is if the owners elect a majority of board members who will not abuse their elected office.


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