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Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corporation No. 694 v. Velasco-Navalta - 2023 ONCAT 156 - 2023-10-25

Corporation:

MTCC 694

Date:

Wed Oct 25 2023 00:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Under:

CAT Decisions - Decision
Compliance with Governing Documents
Noise

Summary:

In Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corporation No. 694 v. Velasco-Navalta (2023 ONCAT 156), the Condominium Authority Tribunal issued a decision under section 1.44 of the Condominium Act, 1998. The case involved a dispute over noise complaints made by the unit below against the respondent and her two young children. The applicant, Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corporation No. 694, alleged unreasonable noise, while the respondent argued it was ordinary living. The Tribunal found insufficient evidence to prove the respondent created unreasonable noise, emphasizing the lack of acoustical insulation in the condominium's units. The case was dismissed, and no order for insulation installation at the respondent's cost was issued.

Verdict:

Verdict/Lesson:
In the case of Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corporation No. 694 v. Velasco-Navalta, the Tribunal dismissed the case brought by the condominium against a unit owner, finding insufficient evidence to prove that the respondent was responsible for creating unreasonable noise. The decision emphasized the need for a focused assessment of the nature of noise, rejecting claims that everyday living activities, particularly those involving children, constituted unreasonable disturbance within a residential condominium.

Takeaways:

In Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corporation No. 694 v. Velasco-Navalta, the Condominium Authority Tribunal addressed a noise dispute between a condominium corporation and a unit owner. The applicant alleged that the respondent's children were creating unreasonable noise, causing disturbances to the unit below. The tribunal examined the governing documents, including the declaration and rules related to noise and nuisance. Witnesses testified about the alleged noise, with complaints originating from the unit directly below the respondent's. The tribunal emphasized the need for objective evidence to establish unreasonable noise, and in this case, found insufficient proof. The tribunal dismissed the case, highlighting that the lack of acoustical insulation within the units contributed to general noise complaints in the condominium. The order did not mandate insulation at the respondent's cost.

Recommendations: 

Mediation Services and Conflict Resolution:

Encourage the use of mediation services within condominium communities to address disputes related to noise and other issues before escalating matters to the Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT). Mediation can provide an opportunity for open communication and collaborative problem-solving between parties.
Promote conflict resolution training for both condominium boards and residents to foster better understanding and communication, reducing the likelihood of disputes reaching the tribunal level.
Clear Definition of "Unreasonable Noise" in Governing Documents:

Advocate for condominium corporations to clearly define what constitutes "unreasonable noise" in their governing documents. Providing specific criteria or examples can help residents understand expectations and reduce ambiguity in noise-related disputes.
Include provisions in governing documents that encourage communication between neighbors when noise concerns arise, emphasizing a collaborative approach to finding solutions.
Building Modifications and Acoustical Insulation:

Explore the possibility of conducting assessments on the acoustical insulation within condominium units to identify and address potential issues contributing to noise disturbances.
Encourage condominium corporations to consider building modifications, such as the installation of acoustical insulation, to improve soundproofing and minimize the impact of everyday living activities on neighboring units. However, any modifications should be fair and reasonable, with costs and responsibilities clearly defined.

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