There isn’t a day that goes by where elevators don’t come up in a conversation in our office. Elevator problems seem to be the focus of many owner complaints. Management and boards are finding this challenging since the condominium corporation is reliant on the elevator technicians, who have been reported to be in short supply and don’t often provide immediate service.
The government is addressing some of these issues with the introduction of Bill 109, Reliability Elevators Act, 2017 which has now passed second reading in the Ontario legislature. One of our previous blog posts focused on the TSSA Elevator Availability Study Final Report and the introduction of Bill 109.
Elevator issues in condominium buildings continue to be a problem. We first started writing about elevator issues in 2013 with the case of the owner, who had been trapped in an elevator and brought a claim against the condominium corporation and the elevator company. This owner was not successful and both the condominium corporation and the elevator company were found to be not liable.
More recently, however, we are dealing with many cases involving residents or their guests who become responsible for the costs of the elevator technician, when it has been shown that they or their guest’s actions in the elevator caused the elevator to stop working. In many instances, these people have been stuck in elevators for hours. It is only when camera footage is reviewed, that it becomes evident that there was some sudden or disruptive movement by the person in the elevator, that caused it to stop.
Many owners are not aware that if any costs are incurred by the condominium corporation as a result of themselves, tenants or their guests, that those costs can be charged back to the owner, who is responsible to pay those costs. Non-payment of those costs may result in a lien being registered against the unit. Condo Corporations are entitled to be reimbursed for their costs as a result of the “indemnification” clause that is usually found in the Declaration or the Rules. The wording in those indemnification clauses will make the owner responsible for any acts of anyone for which that owner is responsible for (tenants, guests, visitors etc.)
It may be merely just a hop or a sudden movement, like a dance move, that causes the elevator to stop. Even unintentional acts still make the owner of the unit responsible. The costs for bringing an elevator technician and completing the repair needed can often exceed $1000 which can be a shock to many residents who may not be aware that elevators are sensitive to movement.
As CBC recently reported, a father and his daughter were on an elevator and to keep his daughter occupied, the father hopped in the elevator. Obviously he was not aware that hopping would cause the elevator to stop for over an hour and result in a $875 charge.
We will continue to see more disruptions until residents start to understand what elevator etiquette is. It may be something that condominium corporations should start communicating to their residents to avoid more disruptions and less frustration by residents.