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Reany v. Waterloo Standard Condominium Corporation No. 670 - 2023 ONCAT 163 - 2023-11-03

Corporation:

RWSCC 670

Date:

Fri Nov 03 2023 04:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Under:

CAT Decisions - Decision
Compliance with Governing Documents
Noise
Vibration

Summary:

In the case of Reany v Waterloo Standard Condominium Corporation No 670, the applicant alleged that the noise and vibration caused by the use of free weights in the condominium's gym were unreasonable and interfered with his quiet enjoyment of his unit. The condominium corporation, WSCC 670, argued that the application should be dismissed as it fell outside the jurisdiction of the Condominium Authority Tribunal and that the noise was within a normal range for living near a gym.

The Member, determined that the Tribunal had the authority to hear the dispute. It was concluded that the noise and vibration experienced by the applicant amounted to a nuisance. While WSCC 670 had taken some measures to address the issue, the Member ordered additional remedies, including an acoustical test in the applicant's unit following the installation of new gym floors.

Verdict:

Verdict/Lesson:
The Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT) found in favor of the Applicant in the dispute against Waterloo Standard Condominium Corporation No. 670 (WSCC 670). The Tribunal determined that the noise and vibration from free weights being dropped in the condominium's gym constituted a nuisance, interfering with Reany's quiet enjoyment of his unit. Despite acknowledging delays in WSCC 670's response, the Tribunal ordered specific remedies, including the installation of recommended flooring, sound transmission tests, and restrictions on replacing free weights until noise levels meet specified criteria. The case underscores the importance of timely and effective action by condominium corporations to address legitimate concerns raised by unit owners, emphasizing the responsibility to ensure peaceful enjoyment of condominium units.

Takeaways:

Jurisdiction Confirmation: The Tribunal confirmed its jurisdiction over the dispute, rejecting the respondent's argument that the case was solely about maintenance and repair. The decision establishes that noise-related issues, falling under Section 117(2) of the Condominium Act, 1998, are within the Tribunal's purview.

Nuisance Established: The Tribunal found that the noise and vibration from the dropping of weights in the condominium gym constituted a nuisance, interfering with the applicant's ability to enjoy his unit. Factors considered included the frequency, duration, and timing of the noise, especially during quiet hours, and its impact on the applicant.

Remedial Measures: While noting delays in the respondent's response, the Tribunal acknowledged the steps taken to address the issue. It ordered the installation of a new gym floor, a sound transmission test post-installation, and prohibited the return of free weights until noise levels comply with acoustical engineer recommendations.

Notification Requirement: The Tribunal mandated written notification to the applicant upon completion of the gym floor installation, ensuring transparency and communication between the parties.

Objective Evaluation: The decision emphasized an objective measure of noise reduction through a follow-up sound transmission test, providing a clear benchmark for assessing the effectiveness of the remedial action and protecting the applicant's right to a noise-free environment.

Recommendations: 

Timely Resolution of Complaints:

Condominium corporations should prioritize the timely investigation and resolution of residents' complaints, especially those related to noise or other disturbances.
Establish clear protocols for addressing and investigating complaints, ensuring that they are promptly and thoroughly assessed.
Proactive Noise Management Measures:

Condominiums, especially those with shared facilities like gyms, should proactively implement noise management measures to minimize disturbances to residents.
Regularly assess and, if necessary, upgrade flooring or other elements contributing to noise transmission.
Consider the installation of signage, clear usage guidelines, and security measures to prevent unauthorized access or misuse of common elements outside designated hours.
Regular Maintenance and Testing:

Condominiums should schedule regular maintenance and testing of facilities, especially those known to cause potential disturbances, such as gyms with free weights.
Engage professional services, such as acoustical engineers, to assess and address potential noise issues promptly.
Develop a preventive maintenance plan to identify and address potential issues before they escalate into significant disputes.

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