In a recent case, Friedich v. MTCC No. 1018, a condominium resident unsuccessfully sued the condo corporation after his vehicle had been vandalized.
The corporation had made changes to its security for the garage. The previous telephone entry system was replaced by closed circuit televisions and security guard patrols every two hours.
The resident alleged that the changes to garage security resulted in easy access to vandals. He argued that the corporation had breached its obligation contained in section 17 of the Condominium Act, 1998, to control, manage and administer the common elements and was also negligent under the Occupiers’ Liability Act in failing to keep the parking garage secure.
The resident’s case was dismissed after the Court concluded that the resident did not provide any evidence that the change in the garage security made it more likely that his car would be vandalized or that the corporation’s security protocol fell below industry standards. The resident did not even provide any evidence to substantiate that his car had been vandalized while in the parking garage.
The Court stated that the corporation was not an insurer and determined that if there was any vandalism that occurred to the resident’s vehicle while in the garage, the damage was caused by criminals, not the condominium corporation. The Court found that the corporation had acted reasonably in hiring the security firm and that there was no evidence that the security firm did not discharge its duties in a professional and reputable manner.
The Court decision was upheld on appeal to the Superior Court of Justice. The dismissal of the appeal was based on the fact that the resident failed to establish that the corporation had breached the standard of care required under the Occupiers’ Liability Act.
The Superior Court also acknowledged that the Board’s business judgment concerning the security system was entitled to deference. The Ontario Court of Appeal has recognized that the “business judgment rule” applies to condominium board decisions. As long as the board of directors has acted honestly and in good faith and exercised the care, diligence and skill that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in comparable circumstances, the courts will give deference to board decisions. Directors who have met the requisite standard of care won’t have to worry about the court “second-guessing” board decisions.