In the wake of a court decision regarding Airbnb a few months back, when Sanda Jovasevic agreed to lease her downtown Toronto condo to a tenant, only to find out later that someone had been renting out the unit through Airbnb without her consent, tongues have been wagging about what condo boards can and cannot do!
Luxury Condos in Toronto are a proliferate occurrence in our modern society, but its startling to learn that the laws and rules governing these living spaces are still shrouded in mystery. Even if you have never lived in a condominium, words such as “condo fees” or “condo board” must ring a bell. However, it goes well beyond that. Discerning what can or cannot happen in a condo community is still a mystery that has been the topic of heated debate for quite a long time now. While condo boards differ across buildings, we have done our due diligence and dug up 5 shocking things that all condo boards can do for sure.
1) Sell Your Unit
Before your jaws drop open in a silent protest, hear me out. It does appear to be a serious interference of an owner’s rights, considering that you invest in property to enjoy all the privileges and freedom that come with owning a property. Wouldn’t it then be too cruel to be stripped of the home that you have purchased lawfully and nurtured lovingly? However, certain circumstances make it legal for a condominium corporation to force you into selling your unit, whether you wish to or not. For instance, the corporation can register a certificate of lien against your unit in case of an unpaid condo fees. If enforced in court, the lien would mean parting with your unit if necessary.
What about in the event of an unreasonable condo fees? Is it negotiable? Unfortunately, the answer is no. When you are living in a condo, you have to make do with intermittent increases in condo fees without a frown. The owner’s fees go towards paying for the healthy reserve fund, the right to use the amenities, and the building’s maintenance. A reserve fund of the condominium corporation is akin to an emergency savings account to protect against a rainy day! Also, don’t think that you can opt out of the use of certain amenities to get your fee waivered.
2) Ban Pets
Here’s a tricky one. A lot of Luxury Condos in Toronto impose rules on pets, but some are more stringent than others. While we have seen a lot of cases decided by judges with different results, the rule of thumb is that your condo board is in a position to pass by-laws and declarations pertinent to pets, and even ban them if it so wishes, and you are legally bound to oblige; well at least most of the time. Given the fact that even landlords are not given the power to deal with their tenants in such a manner, llit may seem shocking to people that condominium corporations have been granted the power to make such rules. The Residential Tenancies Act renders the no-pet policies in rental agreements as unenforceable and void, but since the condo boards and condo owners don’t exactly follow the “landlord and tenant” relationship, such laws hold no importance here.
3) Dictate Your Renovations and Décor
This one is hard to digest by most people. Afterall, one would think that after sacrificing a lion’s share of your income on condo fees and mortgage, and splurging your life’s earning on a down-payment, you are at a liberty to personalize the place you call home. The last thing you would want is for the condo board to come knocking on your door, dictating your choice of blinds or shades. Even though it is a little hard to swallow, the condo board is permitted by the law to draft the condo’s rules, by-laws, and declaration to control or altogether ban these aesthetic features of your living space.
4) Limit Access to Amenities and occupancy
If you were still in doubt about the broad legal authority that condo boards have over what conspires on the premises, you are in for yet another shock. According to Section 56(1)(k) of the Act, the board may restrict the enjoyment and use of the common amenities to only the occupants of the building. Sorry to break your bubble if you were planning a giant pool party with your friends in the condo swimming pool. Such regulations even apply to your own unit’s interiors. Your condominium corporation can restrict unit occupancy to single families only. As for what constitutes a single family, well that is up to your condo board to decide
5) Enter Your Suite
Don’t worry; it’s pretty rare but certain circumstances demand it. The management can break into your unit in the event of a fire outbreak, or any other emergency. Peruse your condominium’s rules, bylaws and declaration to look for rules that pertain to entering an occupant’s unit.
My name is Taha Ahmed, a passionate blogger and digital marketer for almost 3 years. I have been featured on various magazines and blogs.
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5 Shocking Things You didn’t know your Condominium Corporation Could Do
While condo boards differ across buildings, we have done our due diligence and dug up 5 shocking things that all luxury condo toronto boards can do for sure.