Most condominium boards assume that their condominium would be constructed properly and meet the minimum standards set out in Ontario’s Building Code. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
In the recent case of The Corporation of the City of Mississauga v Peel Standard Condominium Corporation #833, the condominium corporation discovered, after turnover, that the builder-developer had not constructed certain elements of the complex in accordance with the original construction drawings and architectural plans that have been approved by the City of Mississauga.
The condominium corporation spent substantial time and money on three legal battles:
- A lawsuit against the builder-developer of the condominium development.
- Defending charges laid by the City of Mississauga against the condominium corporation for four violations of Ontario’s Building Code.
- A legal battle with Tarion, who had denied the condominium corporation’s claim to have Tarion fix the unapproved and unpermitted alterations made by the builder-developer.
Because the defendant condominium corporation had “become the legal owner of the common areas of the townhouse complex” prior to the issuance of the City of Mississauga’s orders to comply, the defendant condominium corporation assumed the legal responsibility for the actions of the builder-developer.
The condominium corporation was able to prove that it had taken all reasonable steps in the circumstances to comply with the City of Mississauga’s orders. The condominium corporation had notified the City of Mississauga about the unauthorized alterations, had proceeded immediately with a pursuit of its warranty claim with Tarion, and had not been involved in building the townhouse complex or constructing the unauthorized alterations. For these reasons, the court acquitted the defendant condominium corporation of the charges.
This case illustrates the importance for condominium boards to confirm that builder-developers have abided by the approved construction drawings and architectural plans. As this case illustrates, simply assuming that condominium developments have been properly constructed can lead to painful and expensive legal battles.