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Van Zyll de Jong v. Durham Standard Condominium Corporation No. 284 - 2021 ONCAT 85 - 2021-09-20

Corporation:

VZJDSCC 284

Date:

2021-09-20

Under:

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

Summary:

In the case of Van Zyll de Jong v. Durham Standard Condominium Corporation No. 284, the applicant sought records related to deficiencies in his condominium unit. The respondent, Durham Standard Condominium Corporation No. 284, did not respond to the request in a timely manner. The applicant requested the records to be provided at no cost and also sought a penalty for the delay. The respondent's representative, Karen Wallace, acknowledged the delay in providing records but indicated that efforts were underway to locate and compile the requested records.

The tribunal ordered the respondent to provide the requested records to the applicant at no cost and extend the date range to the current date. A penalty of $1,500 was assessed against the respondent for the delay in providing records, and the respondent was also ordered to pay $150 in costs to the applicant.

Verdict:

In the case of Van Zyll de Jong v. Durham Standard Condominium Corporation No. 284, the applicant sought access to certain condominium records and claimed that the respondent had failed to respond to the request in a timely manner. The tribunal ordered the respondent to provide the requested records at no cost and assessed a penalty of $1,500 due to the delay in providing the records. Additionally, the respondent was ordered to pay the applicant $150 in costs.

Takeaways:

Access to Condominium Records: The case highlights an owner's legal entitlement, under section 55(3) of the Condominium Act, 1998, to examine or obtain copies of a condominium corporation's records, subject to specific exceptions.

Delays in Providing Records: The tribunal found that the respondent, Durham Standard Condominium Corporation No. 284, effectively refused to provide records by delaying their provision beyond the statutory timeframe without a reasonable excuse. This resulted in a penalty assessment of $1,500.

No Fees for Non-Core Records: In this case, the tribunal ruled that the respondent was not entitled to charge fees for producing non-core records, and the requested records should be provided at no cost.

Cost Award: The tribunal awarded costs of $150 to the applicant, representing his Tribunal fees. However, the request for additional legal fees was denied, as it did not meet the exceptional circumstances criteria.

Redaction of Records: The records were ordered to be provided redacted as required by section 55(4)(b) of the Act, meaning that certain information, such as details related to employees or litigation, may be excluded from the documents provided.

Recommendations: 

Condominium Record Keeping Compliance: Condominium corporations should ensure they comply with the legal obligations under the Condominium Act, 1998, particularly in providing records to unit owners in a timely manner. In this case, the respondent's failure to provide requested records within the legislated timeframe resulted in a penalty and additional costs. Condominium corporations should maintain organized and accessible records to fulfill their obligations efficiently.

Proactive Communication and Engagement: Condominium corporations should maintain open lines of communication with unit owners, promptly responding to requests for records or other concerns. In this case, the lack of a timely response to the owner's request led to delays and a penalty. Respondents should be proactive in addressing requests and informing unit owners of any delays or difficulties in obtaining the records.

Legal Consultation in Complex Matters: Unit owners with complex issues, such as ongoing disputes and legal proceedings, should consider consulting with legal counsel before initiating legal action or Tribunal applications. While legal fees may not be recoverable in all circumstances, professional legal advice can help owners navigate complex condominium disputes and make informed decisions about their rights and remedies.

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