The Condominium Authority Tribunal (“CAT”) released a new decision regarding visitor parking and the enforcement of a condo corporation policies.
The first issue that CAT reviewed was whether an owner’s guest was permitted to park in visitor parking based on the frequency of visits. The Declaration provided that visitor parking was restricted to only guests or invitees. CAT found that neither party’s evidence was conclusive. The owner argued that the corporation’s governing documents did not spell out the criteria or definition of either a resident or guest. The corporation argued, in part, that it did not require a clearly defined term as the Business Judgment Rule applied.
CAT found in favour of the owner noting the corporation’s finding that the owner’s guest was a “resident” was not within a range of what was fair or reasonable. CAT agreed with the owner that the most fair and appropriate way to make a determination and ultimately carry out enforcement, would be to define the terms “resident” and “guest” in the corporation’s governing documents.
The second issue pertained to the visitor parking policy (the “policy”). The corporation established a policy with respect to its visitor parking which required owners to obtain permits for visitors who used visitor parking. It further limited the number of visitor parking permits to eight per month. Neither of these or any other visitor parking policies were included in the corporation’s declaration or rules. The corporation tried to enforce the policy against the owner.
The owner took the position that the policy was neither valid nor enforceable as the Condominium Act, 1998 (the “Act”) did not contemplate the enforcement of policies. The corporation argued, in part, that condominium policies are treated and enforced like rules.
CAT did not agree with the condominium’s position and found that the corporation’s visitor parking policies were improperly enacted rules and, as such, were invalid and unenforceable.
CAT did not dispute that there is a place for policies in condominium governance however they should not be of the same character as rules contemplated by section 58 of the Act or an attempt to side-step the procedure for enacting rules.
The decision reiterates the need for corporations to have clearly defined and appropriate governing documents. Before proposing a new rule or policy, it’s important to speak to your legal counsel to determine whether the proposed items are appropriate and whether they should be incorporated as rules or policies.