Because They Can!
bullyS.jpgSome Boards of Directors, with help from some property management companies and condominium lawyers, intentionally and with malice, refuse to follow the governing documents of their condominium Corporations (Declaration, By-laws & Rules) as well as provincial legislation and regulations. These Boards make up their own rules as they go along and usually in order to shirk their responsibilities and/or to intimidate and oppress unit Owners, particularly unit Owners who oppose them. They will choose to apply certain Rules to certain unit Owners and not to others. Why do they do this? Because they can! 
There is no enforcement by the provincial government, police and prosecutors do not want to become involved in condominium problems, some condominium organizations who claim to support unit Owners merely serve the interests of the “for-profit” sector and to most unit Owners the cost of private legal action is prohibitive.

The Province of Ontario allows these “private governments” to intentionally abuse their residents and refuses to make them accountable. What unit Owners, potential unit Owners and the general public need to know is that a Corporation’s governing documents and provincial laws governing condominiums are by and large unenforceable in Ontario. We have absolutely no recourse except to shell out the $5,000+ retainer to an all too willing lawyer. The Ontario Government will argue that unit Owners have mandatory mediation and arbitration as a method to resolve many condominium issues. True! But what the Government fails to mention is that the costs of most mediations and arbitrations run unit Owners into the $1,000’s of dollars. Resorting to the judicial system is not only expensive but also very risky. The risk is so high that no one in their right mind would pursue this course of action on their own. First of all and because they have access to our collective wallet, a Board’s resources are much larger than those of individual unit Owners and an unlimited  array of legal talent can be purchased and used against us. To add insult to injury, a unit Owner who loses, may be on the hook for the Board’s legal fees as well. It appears that there is a cottage industry of lawyers in Ontario who have taken on the function of protecting Boards of Directors from having to follow the law in return for access to their Corporations’ deep pockets. These lawyers claim to represent the Corporation and not the Board yet allow the Board to ignore the law  to the detriment of the Corporation and unit Owners.

Any unit Owner who does decide to challenge their Board in court to follow a simple and clear law established by government or to secure a simple right promised by the Province of Ontario is doing so at the risk of personal economic devastation. Even if the unit Owner wins, the Corporation will then be on the hook for thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, a portion of which will be his/her responsibility to pay in the form of common expenses in accordance with the Corporation’s Declaration. What does the successful unit Owner receive for all of his/her troubles, time and expenses? Nothing that was not already guaranteed a unit Owner by the provincial government in the Condominium Act, 1998. Chances are that he/she will not even recover all of the expenses associated with such court action. What happens to the perpetrators, the Directors? Nothing! Absolutely nothing! It is all unit Owners in the Corporation who must bear the costs of any judgment against the Corporation resulting from the actions of these Directors.
When potential purchasers of condominium units speak with their real estate agents and lawyers, how many of them are made aware of these facts? Were you? I surely wasn’t! Why do they all get away with this? Because they can!   Surely, it is time for legislative and regulatory reform!