Since November 2017 when the Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT) was established, it has proven to be the online tribunal the condominium industry needs to resolve certain condominium-related disputes. While the CAT started cautiously hearing only condominium records disputes, it has gradually expanded its reach to include resolution of cases involving pets and animals, vehicles, parking and storage. It is generally affordable and convenient for many condominium owners.
And it is because of CAT’s general accessibility that some condominium owners choose the CAT dispute resolution system to pursue their claims.
CAT decision against corporation’s vexatious claim
In Calderon v York Condominium Corporation No. 274, the owner filed several CAT cases against the corporation. The corporation felt that the owner acted in a vexatious manner because they filed eight cases with the CAT and that the issues in dispute are all related to one another – parking rules, pet rules, and requests for records. The corporation sought to have the remaining six active case applications dismissed as vexatious and repetitive.
Upon review, the CAT determined that the corporation’s submissions did not address any of the criteria to assess vexatious conduct. The CAT reasoned the corporation failed to demonstrate that the owner used the Tribunal processes for an improper purpose and, therefore, the CAT held there is no basis to dismiss the six active cases.
Further, the CAT held that the list of active cases demonstrates that each application is related to a different aspect within the CAT’s jurisdiction and the corporation has not demonstrated that the owner is using the CAT for anything other than a legitimate way to resolve multiple disputes.
Finally, since the owner has not behaved in a vexatious manner, costs will not be awarded to the corporation.
In concluding this case, the CAT pointed out that the Tribunal should only be used for specific reasons in the CAT’s jurisdiction, specifically, disputes regarding access to a corporation’s records and provisions in a corporation’s governing documents related to pets and animals, vehicles, parking, and storage, as well as indemnification or compensation related to these matters. Owners should not abuse the CAT’s system to dispute how a condominium is governed.
Although it is very inexpensive and accessible for unrepresented owners to bring these CAT proceedings forward, it can become very expensive for a corporation to defend and, ultimately, the costs are borne by unit owners through common expenses.
It will be very interesting to see the outcome of all the proceedings. Stay tuned for our blog post on this once the decisions are released!