In our last blog post, we wrote about a pet owner who was ordered to permanently remove her dog from a condominium unit after she failed to establish that she had a disability under the Human Rights Code which the condominium corporation was required to accommodate.
The condominium corporation incurred costs of $48,430, inclusive of HST and disbursements and sought costs on a full indemnity basis. The unit owner and the pet owner argued that costs of $20,000 would be fair and reasonable, especially keeping in mind their limited financial resources.
As the condominium corporation was completely successful in the court application, the Court awarded damages in the amount of $47,000, including disbursements and HST to be paid within 20 days of the order, plus interest in accordance with the corporation’s by-laws with respect to unpaid common expenses. If unpaid by the requisite date, the Court further order that the unpaid costs would be added to the unit’s common expenses.
In arriving at this cost decision, the Judge commented: “Courts have addressed the scale of costs on a condominium application and accepted that full indemnity cost in cases such as this are appropriate. The respondents’ neighbours are blameless in this matter; it is not fair or equitable for other unit owners to have to subsidize the costs of the condominium corporation pursuing legal proceeding against a unit owner for their breach of the condominium rules.”
This case illustrates, once again, how important it is for pet owners to check the condominium documents before moving into a condominium to see if their pets will be permitted, and to comply with any provisions regarding pets. Pet owners who try to ignore or circumvent these provisions do so at their peril. In this case the result for the pet owner and her fiancé was the worst case scenario. In addition to not being able to keep their beloved dog, they incurred a huge financial hit, paying for both their own and the condominium corporation’s legal expenses.