Another case brought to Condominium Authority Tribunal costs the community involved $16,000.
In its 42nd case of 2023, Zachepylenko v. Toronto Standard Condominium Corporation No. 2680 et al., CAT Vice-Chair, Patricia McQuaid weighed the evidence in a smoking odor complaint case with what has become predictable results.
In this case, the Applicant was a serial complainant regarding the smoking of a neighbour. The condo permits smoking in the unit but must, of course, address odor complaints when they are reported.
McQuaid acknowledged the condo and the smoking unit owner took reasonable, timely measures to address the issue, at great expense to both parties. The CAT Vice-Chair was satisfied the issue had been addressed sufficiently and noted:
"[The Applicant] may wish it to be otherwise, but it is not reasonable for them to expect a complete absence of smoke living in this condominium."
Despite the unreasonableness and acrimonious nature of the Applicant's demands, the CAT left the community to pay the legal expenses of $16,000 it incurred while fighting this frivolous case.
This case highlights the need to be acutely aware of the rule in a community where someone is purchasing a home. If someone is highly sensitive to odors and the condo does not have a no-smoking policy in units, they may want to look elsewhere to live.
That being said, the CAT appears to be communicating in this case that, even if an individual has spurious motives, complainants can spend $16,000 of their community’s money to try and get what they want.
It will be interesting to see how these frivolous cases mushroom once the CAT is given jurisdiction over a wider scope of issues moving forward. There appears to be a chasmic absence of holding individuals accountable for what they cost their communities. If this does not change, we may expect the burden borne by condo communities in terms of legal costs to grow exponentially.
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