Changes are coming to the Ontario Condominium Act for how condos will deal with problem residents

The Ontario Condominium Act (CAT) will undergo significant modifications, laying out a new framework for how condos will deal with problem tenants.

The most apparent change is an increase of the Condominium Authority Tribunal’s (CAT) jurisdiction, which takes effect on January 1, 2022.

The CAT, Ontario’s online tribunal for resolving condo-related disputes, will soon be able to handle complaints about nuisances, annoyances, and disturbances. Mediation, arbitration, or the courts were used to resolve these disputes, which might lead to protracted (and expensive) proceedings. Owners who rent out their condo(s) to problematic tenants may be forced to pay the court fees associated with these disputes under present guidelines.

The proposed revisions also define specific nuisance categories, such as odour, smoke, mist, light, and vibration. If a resident’s level of these is deemed to be “unreasonably,” they can be brought before CAT. Polis adds that determining if something is irrational would be done on a case-by-case basis.

“For instance, in noise disputes, we would look for how frequently the resident causes excessive noise, the volume of the noise, the type of noise disturbance — is it a regular household noise or is it loud music? — and the time the noise occurred — 1 pm on the weekend or 1 am on a weekday? — etc.,” Polis said. “There is no typical standard, but in a condominium corporation, there is no right to absolute silence, so owners and residents should be cognizant that living in such close proximity with one another, regular household noise is permissible and would likely not constitute a nuisance.”

“The amendments may in an indirect way impact proceedings before the Landlord and Tenant Board,” Polis said. “For instance, if a condominium corporation brings a nuisance dispute forward to CAT, the landlord may use evidence and/or any order obtained against a tenant before their Landlord and Tenant Board proceeding.”

It’s crucial to note that these changes have no bearing on whether a landlord can more easily evict a tenant from their condo because those matters are handled independently by the Landlord and Tenant Board. A CAT disagreement, on the other hand, could assist them enhance their eviction case before the Landlord and Tenant Board.

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