Area of Law: Real Estate Law
Answer # 415
Condominium laws, regulatory authority, and tribunalRegion: Ontario Answer # 415
What main laws govern condominiums?
In Ontario, there are 3 main Acts that govern the establishment and regulation of condominiums:
- Condominium Act,
- Condominium Management Services Act (CMSA), and
- Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act.
Recent changes and new condominium legislation have established new administrative authorities and a tribunal:
- Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO)
- Condominium Management Regulatory Authority of Ontario (CMRAO)
- Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT)
- Home Construction Regulatory Authority (HCRA)
The Condominium Act regulates the creation, purchasing, living in, and governing of condominiums in Ontario. Recent changes to the Condominium Act increase protection for condo owners and residents. The main features and changes are:
- a requirement that at least twice a year, condo boards must provide new owners with condo corporation “information certificates”;
- new voting rules including new mandatory proxy forms and new quorum rules for certain meetings;
- preliminary notice requirement for AGMs;
- licensing requirements for condo property managers and property management companies;
- new mandatory disclosures for condo directors and candidates for director positions; and
- new mandatory training for condo directors.
As of January 1, 2022 changes to section 117 of the Condominium Act prohibit a person from
- causing, through an act or omission, conditions or activities in the condominium units, common elements or assets that are likely to damage the property or the assets or cause an injury or an illness to an individual;
- carrying on or permitting activities in the units, common elements or to the assets, if the activity results in (a) the creation or the continuation of any unreasonable noise that is a nuisance, annoyance, or disruption to an individual in a unit, the common elements or the assets or (b) any other prescribed nuisance, annoyance or disruption to an individual in a unit, the common elements or the assets.
Previously, in most cases, these issues would have been dealt with in court to be resolved. The amendments to the Act extend the Condominium Authority Tribunal’s ability to deal with these types of issues.
View topic 421 Resolving condominium disputes for more info.
Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO)
The CAO was established to provide services and resources for condo owners, including:
- online information about condominium living to help owners and residents understand their rights and responsibilities
- mandatory education and training and certificate for condo directors
- an online database of information about condo corporations that can be accessed by the public, including information about condo boards of directors and contact information
- an condo guide containing the essential information about the roles and responsibilities of living in a condo. Developers are required to give a copy of the guide to all buyers at the time of sale
- creation of the Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT)
Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT)
CAT is an online Tribunal that helps to resolve condominium disputes in Ontario. CAT began operating as of November 1, 2017. CAT charges an assessment fee to condo corporations to cover the cost of its dispute prevention services (condo buying guide, online self-help tools). The fee is $1 per unit, per month. Condo corporations collect the fee from unit owners as part of their monthly common expenses.
CAT will accept applications regarding the following issues:
- Records issues
- Provisions in a condo corporation’s governing documents that deal with:
- Pets and animals
- Parking and storage
- Indemnification (e.g., chargebacks) related to the above topics.
- Issues with compliance with a Settlement Agreement reached in an earlier CAT case
- As of January 1, 2022 issues that involve other condominium residents creating a nuisance, annoyance, or disruption, or making unreasonable noise, such as:
- Smoke and vapour (including cannabis or smoke that seep into units from doorways or balconies);
- Odours (cooking, perfume, candles, incense, or odours caused by the operation of shared elements such as garbage chutes);
- Light (such as light entering a unit, and insufficient lighting in parking or storage areas);
- Noise and vibrations (heavy footsteps, loud pets, loud music, shouting or operating tools, and vibrations caused by the operation of common elements, such as elevators, garbage chutes, HVAC or plumbing systems)
Condominium Management Regulatory Authority of Ontario (CMRAO)
- mandatory licensing and regulation of condo managers and management providers;
- an online Condo Management Database containing information about condo licensees that can be accessed by the public (e.g. licence type and any restrictions); and
- beginning February 1, 2018 a process for the public to initiate complaints against a condo manager or management provider, as well as actions that may be taken by the Registrar, such as suspending or revoking a licence, or requiring more education.
Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act
Like all newly constructed homes in Ontario, condominiums must be enrolled in the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan. Purchasers’ of newly built condos are covered under specific warranties. The Ontario government, through the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, has empowered the agency Tarion to administer and enforce the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act.
Purchasing a condominium involves many legal and financial documents. It is a good idea to have your lawyer assist you to ensure that you understand all the documents and obligations that apply to the condo and your unit. For more information, view Ontario’s Condominium Act, or refer to the Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO) Residential Condominium Buyers’ Guide.
Home Construction Regulatory Authority (HCRA)
HCRA is a not-for-profit corporation formed in 2019 designated by the provincial government to administer and enforce the New Home Construction Licensing Act, 2017. HCRA oversees the licensing and regulating of new home builders and vendors (sellers) in Ontario, including builders of condominiums. It also handles home buyer concerns and complaints about their builder or vendor.
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