In a recent case, Peel Condominium Corporation No. 98 v. Pereira, a condominium corporation made a court application pursuant to section 117 of the Condominium Act (the “Act”) seeking an order that a unit owner be required to sell and vacate his unit, due to the manner in which the unit owner had conducted himself over a number of years. There were numerous complaints about this owner going back to 2003. During the period between 2003 and 2006, management wrote a number of letters to the owner on various issues, all of which appeared to have been rectified.
Starting in 2010, there were a number of new issues concerning this owner’s behaviour on the condominium property, including the following:
- tossing cat litter and feces from his balcony onto the ground below on multiple occasions and, on one occasion, actually striking a contractor on the head with cat feces;
- installing a mesh screen on the balcony;
- assaulting a previous superintendent;
- removing a bench from the corporation’s lobby, without consulting or receiving any consent from the board of directors or management;
- throwing a stepladder at the building superintendent;
- verbally assaulting and swearing at the superintendent and numerous residents of the condominium on many occasions.
The court determined that the owner did, in fact, throw cat litter and feces and that the unit owner had behaved in an inappropriate and abusive manner, including the use of threatening and offensive language. The court further concluded that the owner had breached sections 117 and 119(i) of the Act.
However, after reviewing the case law and, in particular, the landmark case of Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corporation No. 747 v. Korolekh, the judge determined that the unit owner’s behaviour fell short of what was required in order to grant the corporation an order requiring that the unit owner sell his unit. (The court also declined to order that the owner’s cat be removed from the property – it certainly was not the cat that was throwing the litter and feces over the balcony!)
Instead, the court imposed the following orders on the unit owner:
- to pay an outstanding charge of $169.50 within 30 days;
- to prohibit the unit owner from throwing any objects from his balcony;
- to comply with the Act and the condominium documents;
- to refrain from verbally or physically assaulting or intimidating, threatening to assault or intimidate any person on the condominium property; and
- to refrain from engaging in any disruptive behaviour which would interfere with the quiet enjoyment and use of the units and condominium premises by the other residents and occupants.
No doubt the condominium corporation was disappointed in not being able to get an order requiring that the owner be required to sell his unit. Cases of this nature are very fact specific. As a court order requiring that a unit be sold is considered to be an extraordinary remedy to be used only rare cases, it appears that in some cases the courts are willing to give owners a chance to “clean up their act” and behave appropriately and comply before being ordered to sell their unit.