Courts can mediate dog disputes with condo board
When we purchased our condo unit, there was no declaration provision, or rule, setting a weight limit for a dog. Subsequently, the board sent a letter to the unit owners advising of a weight limit. I now have a dog that exceeds the limit but there must be at least 50 over-limit dogs in the building. Can the board force removal of our dog?
The courts have held that a rule banning dogs is clearly unreasonable and, therefore, unenforceable. A rule setting a weight limit or restricting the number of dogs in a unit is, however, enforceable.
Courts have, on occasion, refused to enforce a rule that a board has attempted to apply against a particular owner while failing to take steps to enforce the rule against other owners who are in breach. You could seek mediation against the corporation demanding that the corporation end its demand for the removal of your dog as the result of its failure to enforce the rule against others.
If the corporation refuses to back down, the matter will proceed to an arbitrator who will make a final decision about whether the dog must be removed. The arbitrator could also require the losing party to pay some or all of the successful party’s legal costs.
This past summer, our condo board voted by email on a proposed expenditure for garage repairs. The vote would be ratified at a future meeting. Was that proper?
Subsection 32(1) of the Condominium Act specifies that a board shall only transact business at a meeting of directors at which there is a quorum. Subsection 35(5) of the Act provides that a directors’ meeting may be held by teleconference or another communication system that allows the directors to participate concurrently and provided there is a bylaw allowing such a meeting and all of the directors’ consent to holding the meeting.
But even if there is such a bylaw, and even if the directors consent, email would not appear to be a communication system that allows the directors to participate concurrently. There would be no meeting at which the board was entitled to transact business as required by subsection 32(1) of the Act. A subsequent affirmative vote at a properly called meeting would not ratify the improper email vote. But it could constitute a fresh approval of the expenditure.
I’ve been provided with copies of board meeting minutes that have been seriously redacted — names of unit owners or the addresses of their units have been eliminated. Am I correct in believing an owners’ name and unit should not be redacted in a record about exterior alterations to the unit which are carried out at the expense of the corporation.
The Condominium Act says that the right to examine the corporation’s records does not apply to “records relating to specific units or owners.” It isn’t a question about whether the record relates to a matter that is private to a particular unit owner but rather whether the record relates to a specific unit or unit owner.
A record that deals with a named owners’ request that the corporation carry out repairs to the exclusive use common elements connected to the owners’ identified unit would appear to relate to that owner and his unit. The record cannot to be made available to any other unit owner, according to the Act.
Lawyer Gerry Hyman is a former president of the Canadian Condominium Institute and author of Condominium Handbook. Send questions to or fax to his attention at 416-449-7071.