A recent case in Toronto has highlighted the importance of strong condo governing documents for dealing with disruptive tenants. It also provides a warning to landlords about the liability for tenant behaviour in condo corporations. In Toronto Standard Condominium Corporation No. 2804 v. Micoli et al., a condo corporation applied to the Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT) to enforce its condo regulations against a tenant who was causing chaos in the building. The tenant’s behaviour included unreasonable noise, leaving objects in the hallway, disrupting and annoying staff, and breaching COVID-19 regulations.
The condo corporation provided evidence of several complaints from other residents of the condo, and numerous incident reports filed by security staff. The CAT ordered that the tenant cease all disruptive, noisy, annoying, and nuisance-causing conduct both while in his unit and while anywhere else on the condo property. The CAT also ordered the that the unit owner (landlord) comply with his statutory obligation to take all reasonable steps to ensure that his tenant conduct himself in accordance with the condo’s declaration and rules and these orders, as required by the Condominium Act.
Condo Boards and managers should keep in mind three things when considering a CAT application (1) the importance of strong condo governing documents, (2) compelling evidence to establish a breach of the Act or the governing documents and (3) a record of all costs and damages incurred. A well-drafted Condo declaration and rules are critical in ensuring Condo Boards and managers have the necessary tools to deal with tenants disrupting others and establishing the unit owner (landlord)’s liability for their tenant’s behaviour. It is not enough to have strong governing documents, the condo needs to be able to establish that the tenants have breached the obligations and the unit owner (landlord) have not taken all reasonable steps to ensure their tenant is complying with their obligations.
In our view, a unit owner (landlord) should take immediate steps whenever they are contacted by the condo corporation about issues caused by their tenant. Landlords should also document all of the efforts that they take to address tenant conduct, this includes letters, notices and potentially applications to the Landlord and Tenant Board. Unit owners (landlords) should also reach out to ask for the condo corporation’s co-operation in gathering the evidence necessary to be successful at the Landlord and Tenant Board. Ultimately, clear and regular communication with the condo corporation about steps taken by the unit owner (landlord) will be necessary to mitigate the owner’s potential liability at the CAT.
If you have any questions about the Condominium Authority Tribunal, please contact Laura Gurr at 519.914.3364 or
Thank you to Andrea Strathdee for her assistance in drafting this bulletin.
Laura Gurr is a partner with Cohen Highley LLP in London, Ont. Cohen Highley has offices in London, Kitchener, Chatham, Sarnia, Stratford and Strathroy. Laura provides risk management and regulatory compliance advice to condominium corporations, property management companies and non-profit housing providers.