In a recent decision, York Condominium Corp. 137 v. Hayes the
Superior Court of Justice was once again asked to determine whether
a condominium owner should be forced to move out and sell her unit
as a result of her violent and inappropriate conduct towards other
The evidence presented in the case showed that Ms. Hayes had
committed no less than five physical assaults on other owners or
residents (at least one of which was caught by the security
cameras). She also engaged in verbal abuse, threats and
intimidation directed at board members, other owners and service
providers to the condominium. Not surprisingly, this course of
behaviour intimidated and instilled fear in a number of fellow
members in this community. Ms. Hayes presented no evidence to deny
or contradict this.
The Court concluded that as this conduct was likely to damage
property and cause injury to a person, it therefore violated
section 117 of the Condominium Act (the "Act").
The Court also concluded that there was no doubt that this conduct
constituted noise or nuisance which would disturb the comfort and
quiet enjoyment of the property by other owners, in violation of
Rule 8 of the Condominium Rules.
Despite all this, the judge did not force this owner to sell,
but rather opted to give her one last chance to redeem herself. The
judge said that, "...the remedy of forced sale is, in many
ways, the ultimate and harshest remedy available. As such it should
be reserved for the most egregious case." The Court did impose
serious restrictions on her by ordering her to be of "good
behaviour and keep the peace while on the property" and by
prohibiting her from any, "uncivil, improper or illegal
conduct that violates the Act or declaration, by-laws or rules of
the Condominium." She was also ordered to, "refrain from
assaulting, verbally abusing, swearing at, harassing, threatening
or intimidating any member of the board, unit owners or occupiers
or staff members."
The problem with such orders is that they are difficult to
enforce. If someone does not find it within themselves to refrain
from such conduct, how can one expect a court order to accomplish
this? Only time will tell if Ms. Hayes changes her ways.
What is most interesting about this case is that Ms. Hayes was a
member of the board. Understandably, the condominium corporation
also sought to have her removed from the board as a result of her
unruly conduct. However, the Court refused to do so, on the basis
that this was not a proper subject matter for a compliance order
under section 134. The court concluded that the Act contained all
of the required provisions for owners to call a meeting for the
purpose of removing a director prior to the expiry of the
The result in this case must have been extremely disappointing
for the Corporation, as this owner was permitted to remain in the
condominium community and remain on the board, even though there
was no dispute about the owner's abusive and intimidating
behaviour. This case illustrates, once again, that there is no
certainty in litigation.
However, condominium communities can find solace in the fact
that the court reiterated the Condominium Corporations' duty to
ensure that all owners complied with the Act, with the by-laws and
with the rules. The court also confirmed that it was "duty
bound" to give the condominium the assistance required to
ensure compliance. The judge concluded that: people had two choices
when moving into a condo either comply and live by the rules of the
community they were joining or finding another place where the
rules and regulations may be more in keeping with their needs,
wishes and preference. Unit owners are not only bound to live by
the rules, but they are also entitled to insist that other do as
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guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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Russell v. Township of Georgian Bay provides a useful reminder of the fact that while municipal officials sometimes appear to hold all of the cards in disputes with home owners, that is not always the case.
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