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Slee et al. v. Peel Condominium Corporation No. 110 - 2023 ONCAT 61 - 2023-04-21

Corporation:

SPCC 110

Date:

2023-04-21

Under:

CAT Decisions - Decision
Access to Records
Entitlement to Records
Fees, Costs, Penalties

Summary:

In the case of Slee et al v Peel Condominium Corporation No 110, the applicants requested accounting records from PCC 110. PCC 110 initially refused access to the records, but later provided some documents during mediation and the hearing. The applicants objected to the proposed fee for accessing the records. The decision concluded that PCC 110 did not unreasonably refuse the records, as the requests became more specific during the dispute resolution process. However, the fee for records already provided was deemed unjustifiable, while a reasonable cost estimate for locating remaining records was deemed acceptable. No other costs were awarded.

Verdict:

In the case of Slee et al. v. Peel Condominium Corporation No. 110, the tribunal found that the condominium corporation did not unreasonably refuse the applicants' request for specific accounting records. It also determined that a fee of $180 for records already provided was unreasonable, but a fee of $90 for retrieving and producing additional records was acceptable. No order for additional costs was issued, except for the reimbursement of Tribunal fees in the amount of $200 to the applicants.




Takeaways:

Takeaways from Slee et al. v. Peel Condominium Corporation No. 110 (2023 ONCAT 61):

Records Access Rights: Condominium unit owners have rights to access various records of their condominium corporation under Section 55 of the Condominium Act, 1998. Refusing access to records without a reasonable excuse can lead to penalties.

Specific Records Requests: When making records requests, it is crucial to be as specific as possible to avoid misunderstandings or disputes. Evolving or expanding requests during the process may lead to unnecessary hearings.

Reasonable Fees: Condominium corporations may charge fees for producing records, but these fees must be reasonable. The fee should be a reasonable estimate of actual labor and delivery costs.

Penalty Considerations: Penalties under subparagraph 1.44(1)6 of the Act are only warranted when records are refused without a reasonable excuse. In this case, the refusal of records without a reasonable excuse was not established.

Costs Awards: The Condominium Authority Tribunal generally does not award legal costs but may consider it in exceptional cases involving unreasonable behavior, improper purpose, delays, or additional expenses. In this case, no costs were awarded other than Tribunal filing fees.

Overall, the case highlights the importance of clear and specific records requests and the need for reasonable and fair fees for records production.

Recommendations: 

Clarity in Records Requests: When requesting access to specific records, it is important for the requesting party to be as clear and specific as possible about the records they need. The case highlights how evolving or unclear requests can lead to disputes and inefficiencies. Parties should make their records requests as precise as possible from the outset to facilitate the process.

Understanding Fee Regulations: Parties involved in requesting records should have a good understanding of the regulations related to fees for accessing records. In this case, it was determined that PCC 110 could charge a reasonable fee for producing records. It's important for parties to be aware of the fee structure and the circumstances under which fees can be charged.

Cooperation and Mediation: The case emphasizes the value of cooperation and mediation in resolving disputes related to records access. Mediation can help clarify records requests and streamline the process. Parties should consider mediation as a means of resolving such disputes and work together to reach mutually agreeable solutions, which can save time and resources for both parties.

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