Dealing with an owner whose unit is filthy, smelly and bug-infested is a challenging situation for any condominium corporation.
In a recent case, YCC No. 41 v. Schneider, the corporation found itself in court for a second time after the owners failed to comply with a previous court order that required the owners:
- to permit the corporation to enter their unit to clean and carry out pest extermination treatments,
- to refrain from allowing offensive odours to emanate from their unit to the common elements and other units, and
- to keep and maintain their unit in a state of cleanliness to prevent pests and odours.
In addition to not complying with the previous court order, the court found that the unit owners were in breach of the condominium declaration and rules and numerous provisions of the Condominium Act:
- Section 19 – Right of entry by the corporation
- Section 90 – Owner’s obligation to maintain the unit
- Section 92 – Allowing the corporation to carry out work where the owner has failed to maintain the unit and such failure presents a potential risk of damage to the property or assets of the corporation or risk of personal injury
- Section 117 – Prohibition on permitting a dangerous condition to exist in a unit.
The court also found that the owners’ behaviour was “oppressive and unfairly prejudicial” toward the corporation and other unit owners, as the condition of the unit posed health risks.
Although the corporation had applied for an order requiring that the owners vacate and sell their unit, the court gave the unit owners one more chance to allow the corporation to enter the unit within seven days of the court order to carry out the necessary cleaning and bug extermination. If the non-compliance continued, the corporation would then be entitled to return to court for a third time to obtain an order requiring the owners to vacate and sell.
As well as requiring the owners to pay for all of the clean-up/extermination costs, the court ordered that the owners pay the corporation’s costs on a full indemnity basis, as it would be unfair for the other unit owners to bear these costs “due to the intransigence” of the owners. While the result was successful for the condominium corporation, it did entail two court applications, with the possibility of a further court application in the event of continued non-compliance by the owners.