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Step 2: Legal Considerations

The Condo Act prohibits anyone from causing an unreasonable odour related nuisance, annoyance or disruption in a condo. Corporations often also have prohibitions against creating unwanted odour in their governing documents.

There may be municipal bylaws regarding odour, depending on where you live.

What counts as “unreasonable” odour?

Odours can be unreasonable if they interfere with someone’s right to use and enjoy their unit. The Condo Act prohibits unreasonable odours in units or common elements regardless of what the condo’s governing documents say.

Whether odour is unreasonable depends on:

The source

The intensity

How long it lasts

How often it occurs

If it affects someone’s right to use and enjoy their unit

What does the Condo Act say?

Section 117 (2) prohibits anyone from carrying on or allowing an activity that causes an unreasonable nuisance.

Section 119 (1) requires all to comply with the Act and the condo’s governing documents.

Section 17 (3) requires corporations to enforce the condo’s governing documents.

Condo governing documents

The Condo Act prohibits everyone from causing an unreasonable nuisance, annoyance, or disruption in a condominium, regardless of what a condominium corporation’s governing documents say.

If you have an odour-related issue, you should notify your condominium corporation as soon as possible so they can deal with it.

A condominium corporation is legally required to take action to address an odour-related issue that:

  • Is causing an unreasonable nuisance, annoyance or disruption
  • Violates the Condo Act or the corporation’s governing documents

Municipal by-Laws

Condo boards may not be able to control odours from outside the corporation’s property. This includes odours coming from other buildings, traffic or nearby construction. This is an area that is governed by your local municipality through their garbage pick-up bylaws.

You may need to address this by reviewing those bylaws and contacting local enforcement bodies.

Necessary repairs

Poor maintenance of the condo can also lead to odours, such as a broken garbage chute. You need to determine who is responsible for repairs before you can address the odour issue. Your condo’s declaration will outline responsibilities for repairs and maintenance. Generally, condos are responsible for repairing common elements.

Addressing odour issues

Condo boards or owners may take legal action against residents that cause unreasonable odours, including by filing an application with the Condominium Authority Tribunal.

Owners can also take action against a corporation that is either causing unreasonable odours or is not taking adequate steps to address odours created by other residents.

Only owners and condo corporations can file cases with the Tribunal. Tenants or other non-owner occupants should contact the unit owner if they have an odours issue.

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