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Simcoe Standard Condominium Corporation No. 356 v. Caleta et al - 2023 ONCAT 62 - 2023-04-28

Corporation:

SSCC 356

Date:

2023-04-28

Under:

CAT Decisions - Decision
Compliance with Governing Documents
Indemnification or Compensation
Odour
Smoke and/or vapour

Summary:

In the case of Simcoe Standard Condominium Corporation No. 356 v. Caleta et al, 2023 ONCAT 62, the applicant, Simcoe Standard Condominium Corporation No. 356, filed a case against the unit owner and an unidentified occupant, for violating the condominium's non-smoking rule and creating an odour nuisance. The case proceeded as a default proceeding due to the respondents' lack of participation. Based on the evidence provided, it was determined that the unit owner and the occupant had indeed breached the non-smoking rule. The tribunal ordered the unit owner to cease smoking in her unit and on the common elements, ensure compliance with the rule by any occupants, reimburse the applicant for tribunal fees, indemnify the applicant for costs, and pay $3,500 in legal costs. The decision emphasized the importance of compliance with the condominium's governing documents.

Verdict:

In the case of Simcoe Standard Condominium Corporation No. 356 v. Caleta et al, the Condominium Authority Tribunal found that a unit owner, and an unidentified occupant were in violation of the Non-Smoking Rule and the Quiet Enjoyment Rule of the condominium corporation. The Tribunal ordered the unit owner to cease smoking tobacco or marijuana products in her unit and on the common elements, and to ensure that any person occupying the unit complies with the Non-Smoking Rule. She was also required to pay Tribunal fees of $150, indemnification fees of $864.13, and legal costs of $3,500 to the condominium corporation.

The case serves as a reminder of the importance of adhering to condominium rules and the potential financial consequences for non-compliance.

Takeaways:

Key Takeaways from Simcoe Standard Condominium Corporation No. 356 v. Caleta et al (2023 ONCAT 62):

Non-Smoking Rule Violation: The case revolved around violations of a condominium's Non-Smoking Rule, which prohibited smoking within units and on common elements. The respondentent had been repeatedly notified to comply with this rule but failed to do so.

Smoking and Odor Complaints: Multiple witnesses and evidence established that the unit owner and an unidentified occupant were indeed smoking within their unit, causing odor issues. This breach resulted in a nuisance and annoyance to other residents in the building.

Condominium Owner Responsibilities: The decision emphasized that condominium owners are responsible for ensuring that anyone residing in their unit, or guests, complies with the condominium's governing documents and rules.

Cost Awards: The tribunal awarded costs to the condominium corporation, including indemnification fees, Tribunal fees, and legal costs. The costs were deemed reasonable, considering Ms. Caleta's persistent breach of the rules and non-participation in the case.

Clear Understanding of Rules: The case underscores the importance of owners having a clear understanding of their responsibilities under condominium rules and the potential consequences of non-compliance.

Recommendations: 

Clear Communication and Documentation: Condominium corporations should ensure clear communication with unit owners regarding rules, regulations, and changes to governing documents, such as non-smoking rules. It's essential to maintain a documented record of all communication, including notices and letters. This documentation can be valuable when taking legal action to enforce rules.

Enforce Compliance Proactively: When unit owners fail to comply with condominium rules, it's crucial to take prompt and appropriate action. In this case, the corporation made reasonable efforts to seek compliance from the respondent, including providing multiple notices and warnings. This proactive approach is essential in maintaining a harmonious living environment in condominiums.

Consider Fair and Reasonable Costs: When seeking legal costs, it's important for the tribunal to consider the reasonableness of the costs requested. In cases where a default proceeding occurs due to a lack of respondent participation, the tribunal should carefully evaluate the legal fees requested to ensure they are proportionate to the nature and complexity of the case. Fair and reasonable costs help maintain a fair balance between parties involved in the dispute.

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