Single-family residental units

Townhouse must return to single family unit
A condo must enforce single family residence clause in the declaration
Single-family provisions in Declaration prevents short-term rentals
Rooming houses need to revert to single-family units

YCC No. 17 vs An Ge
Ontario Superior Court
Court File No: CV-10413165
Before:   Justice Greer
Released: 11 June 2013

YCC 17 is a townhouse condo corporation in northern Etobicoke.

Mr. Ge bought his townhouse, from a previous owner in 2008. It is a single family unit with three bedrooms on the second floor, an illegal bedroom on the main floor (formed by blocking a hallway with two doors), and three bedrooms in the basement, two of which are illegal.

 Mr. Ge failed to take any steps he was ordered to do by the Board of YCC 17, to return his unit to a single-family dwelling pursuant to Article 17 of the
YCC 17 Declaration.

Instead, Mr. Ge turned the premises into a boarding or rooming house, with two or more tenants occupying the illegal bedrooms at any one time. All bedrooms were fitted with locks on the doors.

The YCC 17 Board wrote to Mr. Ge on July 3, 2009 stating that it had observed “tenants” or “roomers” coming and going from his unit. It points to the provision of the Condominium Act, 1998, (“the Act”) which states that the owner is obliged to inform the Corporation if the unit is rented out. Mr. Ge was provided with a copy of the House Rules and By-Laws that all unit owners and their families are expected to abide by. The Board gave him seven days to clarify the status of the unit. Mr. Ge did not reply.

Mr. Ge refused to go to mediation and he lost in arbitration (he did not attend) and had to pay costs. Those costs were added to his mortgage when the condo put a lien on his unit.

Then he went to superior court where he lost again.

The judge ruled that: “the price for such willful failure to comply is that the Board is entitled to its legal Costs.

Mr. Ge’s continuing stubborn refusal to comply with the provisions set out in the letters of the Board and its counsel, has for a second time, placed the legal costs squarely on his shoulders. I fix those Costs at $9,671.53 plus HST, being the partial indemnity costs as set out in the Bill of Costs presented by counsel for the Board.

YCC 17 will have to pay the actual legal costs, thus putting some of the cost burden on its account, given the lengthy delay in moving the matter forward.”

“Mr. Ge sees himself as a victim. He is not a victim. He is the author of his own misfortune for his stubborn refusal to comply. He now says he will inform the Board of his two tenants and give them notice to vacate. He has undertaken to remove the two illegal doors on the main floor where he has turned a hallway into a bedroom. He now knows he must change the basement configuration so that two of the three bedrooms are demolished. He must then consider whether he will continue to live in the unit or sell it.”


Ballingall v. Carleton Condominium Corporation No. 111
Ontario Superior Court of Justice
Court File No: 14-60620
Justice Aitken
Heard: February 5, 9, 2015 (at Ottawa)

CCC 111 is a 27-storey condominium tower, comprised of 242 units, located in Ottawa. It is almost 40 years old.

The Applicants are owner residents of units at CCC 111, and one was President of the Board until her resignation in January 2014.

John  MacMillan owns and occupies one unit and owns four other units, which he has been renting to university students for several years. He has been on the Board of the Corporation since June 2012, and has been the Board’s President since approximately March 2014.

The corporation’s Declaration states that:
“each unit shall be occupied and used only as a private single family residence and for no other purpose ... .”

The corporation's Rule 44(C) states:
Article X(1) of the Corporation’s Declaration deals with the occupation and use of units and states that each dwelling unit “shall be occupied and used only as a single family residence and for no other purpose”.  Landlords are reminded that there can only be ONE lease that encompasses all tenants per rental unit.  Rooming/boarding houses are prohibited.

CCC 111 is located within walking distance of a university. Historically, there has been a tension between unit owners who live in the building and want to promote it as a community of resident owners, and those owners who are investors seeking to maximize the income-earning potential of their units. Almost half of the owners are investor-landlord
s who rent to students and many of the resident-owners do not want any units occupied by multiple, unrelated, transient tenants.

For years, the board wrestled with the enforcement of the single-family status but the opposition by the large number of investors who rented out their units to unrelated students made this impossible.

Finally, in early 2014, four owners took the corporation and John  MacMillan, the corporation president, to court to have the declaration enforced.

The judge agreed that the declaration had to be followed and he suggested that a grandfather clause, for a three to five year period, be granted to the units that had been purchased prior to January 2012.

This is an important win for owner-residents. It is best that you read the actual judgment to get a good understanding of all the details involved with this application.


OCSCC No. 961 v. Menzies
Ontario Superior Court of Justice
Court File No: 16-69311, 16-68337
Justice Robert Beaudoin
08 December 2016

The respondents used their company, DGM management, to rent their residental unit on several short-term websites for periods as low as one night.

The condos Declaration states that its residential units are to be occupied “only for the purpose of a single family dwelling which includes a home office […] and for no other purpose”.

The condo corporation also adopted a Rule fixing leases to a minimum of four months.

The respondents, who have leased their unit, on a repeated short-term basis in a hotel-like operation, are in breach of the Declaration and the Rule.

“Single family use” cannot be interpreted to include one’s operation of a hotel-like business, with units being offered to complete strangers on the internet, on a repeated basis, for durations as short as a single night. Single family use is incompatible with the concepts of “check in” and “check out” times, “cancellation policies”, “security deposits”, “cleaning fees”, instructions on what to do with dirty towels/sheets and it does not operate on credit card payments.

Moreover “Single family use” could not have contemplated including the use of a unit to house out-of-town witnesses and experts for trial preparation or the unit being offered on silent auctions for not-for-profit organizations or to hold a law firm’s office functions and Christmas parties. What has happened in this case is a commercial use of the unit.


Louiseize v. Peel Condominium Corporation No. 103
Court File No: CV-17-572054
Ontario Superior Court of Justice
R.D. Gordon, R.S.J.
Date: 29 June 2017
Jonathan H. Fine, for the Appellant
Greg Marley, for the Respondent

Decision on Appeal
Mr. Louiseize bought three townhouse units in a condo corporation in 2001 to 2004 and was renting them to unrelated tenants. Basically he was using them as rooming houses. The condo's Declaration states that the units are for single-family use only.

The condo corporation ignored his violation of the declaration for about ten years,  until October 2013. Then they decided to enforce the Declaration.

The dispute went to arbitration. The arbitrator sided with the condo corporation and ruled that:

The units must be converted back into single-family use within nine months.

Mr. Louiseize must pay PCC #103's costs of $30,000 plus taxes and disbursements.

He must pay the condo's share of the arbitrator’s fees and expenses.

Mr. Louiseize appealed and was looking for:

Time to wind own his commercial businesses. (During the arbitration, he wanted the right to continue to operate his two units as boarding houses for 4.6 years for one and six years for the other.)

If he had to close the board houses, he wanted $600 per unit for an equal period of time, the amount of money he would be losing.

Mr. Louiseize argued that the arbitrator erred in his costs award because he assessed fees on a partial indemnity basis but required payment of the arbitrator’s expenses in full.

The judge replied that the expenses attributable to the arbitrator are akin to disbursements. Typically, a costs order requires payment of disbursements in full notwithstanding an award of partial indemnity fees.

The appeal was dismissed.  Mr. Louiseize was order to pay PCC #103 costs which he fixed at $8,200 all inclusive.

Mr. Louiseize had to pay the condo corporation almost $40,000 in total costs plus he has to pay Fine and Deo their fees and disbursements. I suppose his extra income of $1,200 a month ended up becoming a big loss.

Yet, his personal losses paid for a big win for any condo corporation that wishes to shutdown long-term rooming houses in their condo corporations.

For that, we thank him.

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