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Unruly Tenants: CAT is Coming for You (but only a litttle)


In its 35th case of the year, the CAT awarded $3,870.38 (50%) to the Condo, which was the Applicant in this case.


On March 3rd, Michael Clifton, Vice-Chair of the Tribunal rendered a decision on Frontenac Condominium Corporation No. 56 v. Patterson et al.


Interestingly, in this case, the Tribunal Vice-Chair opined that the legal expenses borne by the condo community were reasonable. We have seen numerous other cases where the CAT decides unilaterally that the legal expenses sought were excessive. Frequently this ambiguous opinion has resulted in forcing the condo community to pay the legal costs of rule enforcement, even when the respondent has been proven to be at fault, non-cooperative, and/or demonstrated a long history of harassing behaviour.


In this case, while the Tribunal found the legal expenses to be 'reasonable' it still failed to award the full amount to the community, apparently resting on its other frequently imagined limitation in awarding such costs: that costs of enforcing the rules is just another "cost of doing business".


Another interesting part of this case is that the tenant of the unit breaking the rules was the one the Tribunal found to be owing the 50% of legal costs awarded. One could argue that, if there is a "cost of doing business" related to enforcing rules for a tenant, that perhaps it should be the unit owner's cost of doing business, but yet again, we saw the CAT effectively force all of the owner's of the condo to pay much of the bill for controlling an unruly resident.


With growing political pressure on the Tribunal to resolve a growing list of condo disputes, it is more important than ever that the CAT develops policies that protect all condo owners against the actions of a (thankfully) small minority who brazenly disregard the condo's rules.


As we continue to witness recurring decisions that penalize desperate condo communities seeking peace and quiet, time will tell if the Tribunal will begin being the source of consumer protection it was envisioned to be.







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