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Rules

Rules define condo living and are usually used to help owners get along with one another. Rules are required to be consistent with the Condominium Act, 1998 (the “Condo Act”) and the condo corporation’s declaration and by-laws. Rules are also required to be reasonable and meet the criteria of section 58 of the Condo Act. This means rules must serve the purpose of either:

  • Promoting the safety, security or welfare of the owners, property, and assets of the condo corporation; or
  • Preventing unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of the units, the common elements, or the assets of the condo corporation.

Rules can be used to regulate the use of both the units and common elements or guide the behaviour of owners and may affect an owner’s everyday life. For example, rules can:

  • Restrict the use visitors make of common elements (e.g., by allowing only residents of the condo corporation to use the gym or pool).
  • Prevent owners from renting out their units for short periods of time.
  • Limit the number and/or size of pets allowed in the building.
  • Regulate parking (e.g., by designating a specific area for visitor parking).

If an owner does not have a copy of their rules, they can request them from their condo corporation using the Request for Records form.

Rules

How can rules be amended?

Rules can be passed, amended, or repealed by the condo board of directors (the “condo board”) but require consent from the owners.

First, a new rule, amendment to a rule or repeal to an existing rule will be approved by the board of directors at a board meeting. The condo board must then provide a notice to the owners with the following information:

  • A copy of the new rule or amended or repealed rule;
  • The date the board proposes the rule will become effective;
  • A statement that the owners have the right to requisition a meeting about the rule, and that the rule will become effective 30 days after the notice is given unless a meeting is requisitioned; and
  • A copy of section 46 and section 58 of the Condo Act.

This means owners who do not like the rule can act to change it or stop it from becoming effective by requisitioning an owners’ meeting. If a meeting is not requisitioned within the 30 days from when the notice is given, the rule will become effective. If a meeting is requisitioned, the condo board must call and hold a meeting within 35 days. In this case the rule will become effective unless the owners of a majority of the voting units participating in the meeting vote against it.

Owners do not need board action or consent to requisition a meeting for the purpose of amending or repealing a rule. According to section 58 (5) of the Condo Act, the owners may amend or repeal a rule at a meeting called for this purpose (e.g., an owner requisitioned meeting). During the meeting, support from the owners of a majority of the voting units participating in the meeting is necessary for the change to the rule to take place.

For more information on how to requisition an owners’ meeting, please click here

As both the declaration and the rules can restrict what owners can and cannot do in the units and common elements, there can seem to be an overlap between these two documents. For example, a condo may not allow pets or prohibit smoking in the units, which could be established through either the declaration or the rules.

However, even with these similarities there are two key differences between the two documents:

  1. Restriction of reasonableness: Rules must be reasonable for the purposes set out in section 58 of the Condo Act (i.e., for reasons to promote safety, security, welfare and prevent unreasonable interference with use and enjoyment of the units and common elements). Alternatively, a condo corporation’s declaration is not required to be held to the same standard of reasonableness. This means restrictions or prohibitions that do not quite meet the requirement of being reasonable under section 58 of the Condo Act, could be included in the declaration.

 

  1. Flexibility to amend: Rules are more flexible because they are much easier to pass and change as they only require the owners of a majority of voting units participating in the meeting (in person or by proxy) to consent. A declaration is less flexible and more difficult to change because it requires the owners of 80-90% of the voting units to vote in favour of the amendment. Often restrictions and provisions that are intended to be more permanent will be written into the declaration when the condo is created.

While provisions within a declaration are more entrenched than rules, both are equally enforceable and, as section 119 of the Act states, all condo owners, directors, officers, employees, and occupants are obliged to follow them.