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Sarros v. York Region Standard Condominium Corporation No. 1445 - 2021 ONCAT 86 - 2021-09-27

Corporation:

SYRSCC 1445

Date:

2021-09-27

Under:

CAT Decisions - Decision
Compliance with Governing Documents
Indemnification or Compensation
Parking and Storage
Reasonableness and/or Consistency of Governing Documents

Summary:

In the case of Sarros v York Region Standard Condominium Corporation No 1445, the dispute revolves around the interpretation of a rule allowing only seasonal furniture on unit balconies. The applicant had a structure on his balcony, initially used as a weight-lifting area but later modified to be used as a table. The applicant argued that the structure, used for different purposes in different seasons, qualified as seasonal furniture, while the respondent disagreed. The condominium manager had previously requested the applicant to remove the structure, leading to legal involvement. The applicant sought permission to continue using the structure and a refund of legal costs, while the respondent requested its removal. The decision-maker found that while the structure was no longer identifiable as gym equipment, it also did not meet the definition of seasonal furniture. As such, the decision ordered the applicant to remove the structure.

Verdict:

The case of Sarros v York Region Standard Condominium Corporation No 1445 determined that a structure on a unit balcony that was initially used for weight-lifting training but later modified to be used as a table did not meet the definition of seasonal furniture. The decision ordered the applicant to remove the structure, reinforcing the importance of complying with condominium rules and the need to carefully interpret and understand these rules. The case also highlights the significance of providing clear and uncontroverted evidence to support one's position in a condominium dispute.


Takeaways:

Interpretation of rules: The case highlights the importance of interpreting and understanding the rules outlined in the governing documents of a condominium corporation. In this case, the dispute arose from the interpretation of a rule that allowed only seasonal furniture on unit balconies. The decision-maker analyzed the rule and determined whether the structure in question qualified as seasonal furniture.

Compliance with rules: The case emphasizes the need for condominium owners to comply with the rules set by their condominium corporation. The applicant in this case had a structure on his balcony that was found to be in contravention of a specific rule. The respondent requested the removal of the structure and involved legal counsel when the applicant did not comply.

Evidence and documentation: The decision-maker considered the evidence presented by both parties and the relevant documentation, such as witness statements and photographs. It highlights the importance of providing clear and uncontroverted evidence to support one's position in a dispute.

Recommendations: 

Clear definition of terms: In order to avoid disputes and confusion, it is recommended for condominium corporations to provide clear definitions for terms used in their rules and governing documents. In this case, the lack of a specific definition for "seasonal furniture" led to a disagreement between the parties. By including precise definitions, both owners and the corporation can have a clear understanding of what is allowed or prohibited.

Effective communication and documentation: It is crucial for both the condominium manager and unit owners to maintain a clear channel of communication to address any non-compliance issues promptly. In this case, the condominium manager notified the unit owner multiple times about the violation of the rule. Keeping a record of such interactions and providing written notices can serve as evidence and help in the resolution of disputes.

Consistency in decision-making: Condominium corporations should strive for consistency in their decision-making processes regarding compliance with governing documents. It is important to treat similar cases in a consistent manner to uphold fairness and ensure that all owners are held accountable to the same standards. By following consistent practices, condominium corporations can minimize the potential for disputes and enhance transparency for all parties involved.

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