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Hovagimian v. Toronto Standard Condominium Corporation No. 1754 - 2022 ONCAT 57 - 2022-05-25

Corporation:

HTSCC 1754

Date:

2022-05-25

Under:

CAT Decisions - Motion Order
Noise

Summary:

In the case of Hovagimian v. Toronto Standard Condominium Corporation No. 1754, the applicant filed a complaint against Toronto Standard Condominium Corporation No. 1754 (TSCC1754) regarding noise disturbances originating from the unit above. The applicant sought a monetary penalty for TSCC1754's alleged inaction in addressing the noise issue, which he had been experiencing for four years. TSCC1754 contended that the noise was sporadic and did not constitute a nuisance, and they had taken reasonable steps to address it. As the case entered the hearing stage, TSCC1754 requested Mr. Convery to be added as an Intervenor, while the applicant opposed this, stating it was too late to add him. The decision added the upstairs neighbor as an Intervenor, emphasizing that the proceedings would focus on noise-related matters and not unrelated disputes between the parties.

Verdict:

In this case, a condo unit owner raised a noise complaint against Toronto Standard Condominium Corporation No. 1754 (TSCC1754) regarding disturbances from an upstairs neighbor. TSCC1754 sought to add an "Intervenor" to the proceedings. The key lesson is that when determining whether to include additional parties in a condominium dispute, the tribunal considers whether the added party is "directly affected" by the case. In this instance, since the upstairs neighbor's potential liability for damages or remedial actions related to the noise complaint makes him directly affected, the tribunal decided to add him as an Intervenor, focusing on noise-related matters and not unrelated issues between the parties.

Takeaways:

Noise Complaint: The case revolves around a noise complaint filed by a unit owner, against Toronto Standard Condominium Corporation No. 1754 (TSCC1754) regarding noise disturbances originating from the unit above his, which is owned by David Convery.

Lengthy Dispute: The applicant has been complaining about the noise, occurring about four times a year, for approximately four years.

Adding an Intervenor: TSCC1754 requested that the owner of the noisy unit, be added as an "Intervenor" or party to the proceedings. They argued that the upstairs neighbor has a vested interest in the outcome and should be allowed to present his perspective.

Directly Affected Parties: The decision revolves around whether the upstairs neighbor is "directly affected" by the hearing. The applicant seeks a penalty, including potential damages, from TSCC1754, and the addition of the upstairs neighbor is deemed necessary for addressing liability and remedial actions related to the alleged noise.

Focus on Noise-Related Matters: The decision emphasizes that the proceedings will primarily address the allegations of noise from the upstairs neighbor's unit, clarifying that unrelated issues between the parties will not be addressed.

Recommendations: 

Early Conflict Resolution: Condominium corporations should proactively address noise complaints and other disputes between unit owners to prevent escalation. Effective communication and conflict resolution mechanisms should be in place to resolve issues before they lead to formal legal proceedings.

Clear Dispute Resolution Guidelines: Condominium authorities should provide clear guidelines for the resolution of disputes, including noise complaints. This should include steps for mediation, arbitration, and the addition of parties when necessary. Ensuring that all parties are aware of the process and their rights can lead to more efficient and fair resolution.

Consideration of All Affected Parties: When deciding whether to add an Intervenor in a dispute, as per the Condominium Act, the tribunal should carefully consider whether the proposed party is "directly affected" by the proceeding. This ensures that all relevant parties have the opportunity to present their side of the case and be heard, especially when potential liabilities or remedies are at stake.

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