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Durham Condominium Corporation No. 80 v. Occleston - 2022 ONCAT 103 - 2022-09-30

Corporation:

DCC 80

Date:

2022-09-30

Under:

CAT Decisions - Decision
Smoke and/or vapour

Summary:

In the case of Durham Condominium Corporation No. 80 v. Occleston, the Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT) addressed a dispute related to the enforcement of a "no smoking" rule within a condominium complex. The case revolved around whether the respondent, Marilyn Occleston, should be required to pay the applicant, Durham Condominium Corporation No. 80 (DCC80), for legal costs incurred during the process.

The case proceeded through various stages, including a Consent Order reached during Stage 2 Mediation. In that order, Occleston agreed not to allow smoking in her unit, on her exclusive-use balcony, or in DCC80's common areas. While the substantive issues were resolved in the Consent Order, the parties disagreed on the matter of legal costs. DCC80 sought full indemnification of its legal costs.

The CAT examined the relevant by-laws and the rule in question, which included indemnification provisions. DCC80 sought reimbursement for legal costs incurred both before and during the CAT proceedings.

Verdict:

Pre-CAT Costs: The CAT awarded the Applicant, Durham Condominium Corporation No. 80 (DCC80), compensation of $2,500 for its legal fees and expenses incurred before the case was filed, termed as "pre-CAT costs." These costs were associated with legal activities that occurred between November 29, 2021, and April 4, 2022.

In-CAT Costs: The CAT ordered the Respondent to pay $2,275 to DCC80 to cover the costs related to the Tribunal's proceedings, often referred to as "in-CAT costs." However, this award represented only about 25% of DCC80's total legal costs in the case.

Tribunal Fees: The Respondent was directed to reimburse DCC80 for the $75 paid as Tribunal fees.

Takeaways:

The case involved a dispute within a condominium complex regarding the enforcement of a "no smoking" rule.
The key issue was whether the respondent should be required to pay the applicant's legal costs, both those incurred before filing the case and those incurred during the CAT proceedings.
The CAT awarded the applicant compensation for legal fees and expenses, but the amount was adjusted to be proportionate to the dispute, taking into account the reasonableness and proportionality of the legal costs. The CAT also considered the impact of the cost award on the parties. Ultimately, the respondent was ordered to pay $2500 in legal fees and $2275 in costs to the applicant.

Recommendations: 

Understanding Condominium Rules: Ensure that as a condominium owner or resident, you are fully aware of the rules, by-laws, and regulations governing your property. Comply with these rules to avoid unnecessary legal costs and disputes.

Resolve Disputes Amicably: If you find yourself in a dispute with your condominium association or another party, consider attempting to resolve the issue through negotiation, mediation, or alternative dispute resolution methods before escalating it to a formal legal proceeding. This can save both time and money.

Consider the Proportionality of Legal Costs: When seeking legal actions in disputes, weigh the potential legal costs against the nature and complexity of the issue. Ensure that the legal costs are proportionate to the matter at hand to avoid excessive expenses for both parties.

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