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Carleton Condominium Corporation No. 169 v. Buckland - 2023 ONCAT 53 - 2023-03-30

Corporation:

CCC 169

Date:

2023-03-30

Under:

CAT Decisions - Decision
Compliance with Governing Documents
Odour
Smoke and/or vapour

Summary:

In the case of Carleton Condominium Corporation No. 169 v. Buckland, the applicant sought an order from the Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT) to cease smoking in the unit and common areas, or alternatively, to ensure that no smoke or odors from smoking migrate into the common elements or other units. The respondent did not actively participate in the case. After considering the evidence, the CAT found that the respondent had breached the condominium corporation's rule regarding smoking and failed to take reasonable steps to prevent smoke migration. The CAT ordered the respondent to immediately cease smoking in the unit and common areas, and reimburse the corporation with compensation and costs. The case became potentially moot due to amendments in the smoking rules that would prohibit smoking in units in the future.

Verdict:

the quick verdict for the case of Carleton Condominium Corporation No 169 v Buckland is that the respondent has breached Rule 311 by allowing smoking in the unit and failing to take reasonable steps to prevent smoke migration. The Tribunal has ordered him to immediately cease smoking in the unit and on exclusive use common areas, and reimburse the condominium corporation for damages and costs.

The lesson from this case is that condominium rules and regulations regarding smoking should be followed, and reasonable steps should be taken to prevent smoke migration to common elements or other units. The case also highlights the importance of responding and participating in the Tribunal process when faced with a complaint. Additionally, it is noted that the smoking provisions under Rule 311 were amended effective December 25, 2022, which means that smoking in units and on common elements will be prohibited from June 30, 2023 onward, potentially rendering this case moot in the future.

Takeaways:

here are 3-5 takeaways from the case of Carleton Condominium Corporation No 169 v Buckland:

Rule 311 and grandfathering provision: Rule 311 prohibits smoking in common elements and units, but it contains a grandfathering provision. Residents who were smokers before June 8, 2018, could apply for an exemption. However, they must take reasonable steps to prevent smoke migration to common elements or other units.

Smoke and odour migration complaints: Several residents on the same floor as the respondent complained about smoke and odour migration, prompting an investigation. Evidence, including affidavits and logs, indicated persistent issues of smoke and odour infiltration into neighbouring units.

Breach of Rule 311: The Tribunal determined that Mr Buckland breached Rule 311 by allowing smoking in the unit and failing to take reasonable steps to prevent smoke migration. The order required immediate cessation of smoking and reimbursement of damages and costs to the condominium corporation.

Impending changes: The case noted that Rule 311 was amended, and the grandfathering provision would be rescinded. As of June 30, 2023, smoking in units and on common elements would be prohibited, making this case potentially moot in the future.

Recommendations: 

Compliance with Condominium Rules: It is essential for all residents of the condominium, including Mr. Buckland, to adhere to the condominium's governing documents and rules. In cases where residents are granted exemptions or grandfathering under specific rules, it is imperative that they continue to take reasonable measures to prevent any disturbances, such as smoke migration, to other residents. In this case, the legacy provision allowing Mr. Buckland to smoke should have been followed diligently to minimize any nuisances to other residents.

Timely Communication and Dispute Resolution: Effective communication and early dispute resolution are crucial in condominium living. In this case, it would have been beneficial for Mr. Buckland to respond to the complaints and communications from the condominium corporation promptly. Timely discussions and actions to address the concerns could have potentially prevented the matter from escalating to a legal dispute.

Consideration of Potential Legal Costs: Both condominium corporations and residents should be aware of the potential legal costs associated with disputes. Legal proceedings can be costly, and parties should take this into account when deciding how to address rule violations or breaches. In this case, while Mr. Buckland was found responsible for certain costs, the legal fees incurred could have been reduced if the matter had been addressed more efficiently.

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