Most declarations for residential condominiums contain a
provision that states that "Each unit shall be used and
occupied as a private single family residences and for no other
So what does "private single family residences"
Recent case law has confirmed that this terminology, in a
declaration, means that units only meet the definition of single
family occupancy if the residents are "a social unit
consisting of parent(s) and their children, whether natural or
adopted and other relatives if living with the primary
In the recent case of Ballingall v CCC No. 111, 2015 ONSC
2484 the court was asked to address the question again.
For many years the boards of directors of CCC 111 did not
enforce the private single family residence provision in its
declaration. Many owners who lived in the complex complained about
the failure to enforce the provision and the impact of student
residents on the property and the owner occupant residents.
The board was advised by its lawyer that it had an obligation to
enforce the single family occupancy provision in its declaration.
Therefore the board informed the owners that the provision would be
enforced going forward.
One of the board members, who rented his unit out to students,
campaigned vigorously against the board's decision. The board
was asked to define single family and it did so by enacting a
rule that broadly defined "single family". The rule
defined "private family single residence" to include
"two or more unrelated persons living together in order to
pool their resources and reduce their cost of living, provided that
it is clear that their collective intention is to live together
permanently" and to include "two unrelated persons who
are joint owners of the unit". The board also went on to allow
any current owner in the building the right to not comply with the
single family provision for a period of 10 years. The rule
originally proposed by the corporation's legal counsel did not
include the 10 year grandfathering.
A group of owners who were occupying their units and wanted the
single family provision enforced brought an application to the
court for a declaration that the corporation's documents
prohibited the use or occupancy of units by unrelated occupants not
forming part of a social unit consisting of a single family and
that the rule enacting the new definition of "single
family" was invalid.
The court confirmed that unless the term "private single
family residence" is defined otherwise in a condominium
corporation's governing documents, it has the definition set
The court struck down the corporation's rule, not on the
grounds that it expanded the definition of single family occupancy,
but because the grandfathering provision wiped out the effect of
the single family provision in the declaration.
The trial judge concluded that the corporation had an obligation
to enforce the provision of the declaration despite the fact it had
not enforced it in the past. The judge explained that the
prohibition against renting to unrelated tenants had always been in
the declaration for everyone to see. Landlords could not now
complain that they had not been advised of this by their lawyer or
realtor at the time of purchase. There was no evidence that the
corporation had led the landlords to believe that renting to
unrelated tenants would be in compliance with the provision of the
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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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