Q: When an owner, who is also a condo board member,
fails to comply with the bylaws or the Condominium Property Act,
fines are imposed. Who is required to pay those fines if
it is found that the board member did not act in good faith —
the condominium corporation or the board member?
A: If an owner, who is also a condo board
member, did something contrary to the bylaws of the condominium
corporation and fines were imposed, then that owner is responsible
for the fines. The condominium corporation cannot pay fines on
behalf of a board member. Whether the board member is acting in
good faith or not is immaterial to the fact that the owner is
responsible for their own fines.
Helpful hint:Board members are
not exempt from complying with the law.
Q: Last winter, a pipe in my townhouse condominium
froze, but there was no damage to my unit. The former
maintenance person told me that he repaired two other units, as the
cold air is entering from outside and freezing the pipe. These
incidents were not reported, and the condominium corporation says I
must hire a plumber to insulate the pipe as the issue originates in
my unit only. I can insulate the pipe underneath the sink, but is
it my responsibility to find where the pipe runs, rip up the
floors, and insulate the entire pipe? What happens if it still
A: I am assuming that you live in a traditional
condominium building. (My answer may be different if this were a
bare land condominium.) In the traditional type of condominium
building, an owner is generally responsible for everything within
their walls, ceiling, and floor. Therefore, if the pipe is in your
unit and you can insulate it, then you should do so. With respect
to piping underneath your floor, I would suspect that would be the
responsibility of the condominium corporation. One would have to
review your condominium plan to determine who is responsible for
Helpful hint:The condominium
plan, together with your bylaws, will set out the roles,
obligations and duties of owners and the corporation.
Q: Our condo building has carpeting throughout, except
for tile in the lobby. Our reserve fund study mentions
flooring as a category, but there is no money allotted for it. I
assume we can use reserve fund money to replace the severely
damaged tile. Is this correct?
A: Without reviewing your reserve fund study, I
would say your assumption seems logical. If the category is broad
enough to include the carpeting and tiled areas, then your use of
that money would be appropriate. Someone should review the reserve
fund to confirm this.
Helpful hint:Reserve funds can be
used only in accordance with the Condominium Property Act and the
regulations under the Condominium Property Act.
Q: The parking, storage, balconies, etc. in our condo
building are not titled, but are common property controlled by the
board and assigned for use to owners. Some owners have
been renting assigned property to other owners, and I feel that
this is unethical. Some owners have access to tandem parking
spaces, and rent out one. I have two cars and have asked the board
to assign a tandem spot to me, but the board has refused my
request. What can I do?
A: Your question is difficult to answer because
it would require a thorough review of how the parking stalls are
dealt with in your building. Do people have exclusive use
agreements? I would also have to review your bylaws. Therefore,
your question is too specific to provide an answer.
Helpful hint:Boards need to seek
appropriate legal advice to ensure that what they are doing is
Q: I am the president of a self-managed condo, made up
of 18 units. We have joined the Canadian Condominium
Institute to network. I would like to know if there is anywhere
that we can go to get some guidance on condo management issues. So
far, we are doing quite well with no current disputes or
A: You may want to consider hiring a management
company to assist you with issues as they arise. You have indicated
that you do not need help with your day-to-day issues, but perhaps
you could put a management company on retainer and call them when
Helpful hint:You may also want to
consider putting a lawyer on retainer so that you have someone on
hand to deal with legal issues when they come up. Remember that
there is a difference between management and legal issues.
Originally published in The Edmonton Journal
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The Ontario Court of Appeal confirmed that courts will generally support and uphold decisions of condominium directors because they are better positioned than judges to make decisions pertaining to their buildings.
According to the city bylaws in Calgary, the grading of lots for new buildings must be done properly so that the water never flows toward the new building or any other nearby properties, but away from those buildings.
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