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Rules

Welcome to the CAO’s guided steps to common issues. The CAO provides the information, tools, and templates on these pages to help condominium communities better understand issues and work together to resolve them collaboratively before they escalate into disputes. For situations where condo communities are unable to resolve their issues collaboratively, the CAO also provides information on the next steps they can take.

If you have any questions about any of the information on the CAO’s guided steps to common issues, please contact us directly.

Rules

Condominium corporations and owners must comply with a number of different requirements. These requirements are set out in a series of documents:

  • the Condominium Act, 1998 (“the Act”), and its Regulations;
  • the Declaration of the condominium corporation;
  • the By-laws of the condominium corporation; and
  • the Rules of the condominium corporation;

Read about the Declaration, By-laws and Rules and find out how these four documents relate to one another.

Condo corporations can establish rules to:

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

For example, a condo may have rules that:

  • establish the minimum duration of a tenancy agreement;
  • limit the number or size of pets allowed in the building; or
  • restrict residents’ ability to smoke in the building.

The condominium’s board of directors can make, amend or repeal a rule. To do so, the board must provide owners with a notice that includes the proposed rule and the date that the rule is proposed to become effective.

Owners must abide by the rules of the condo corporation. This can occasionally lead to issues, as some owners may not be familiar with their condo corporation’s rules, or may disagree with them.

Examples of common issues with rules include:

  • An owner or resident is breaking a rule and it is causing a disturbance
  • An owner would like to amend or repeal a rule
  • The board of directors is proposing a rule that owners disagree with
Under section 58 of the Condominium Act, 1998 (“the Act”), condo corporations have the ability to make, amend or repeal rules that:

  • promote the safety, security or welfare of owners or property and of the property and assets of the corporation;
  • prevent unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of the common elements, the units or the assets of the corporation

The condo corporation’s board can only make or propose a rule if it does one of these two things, and if it is reasonable and consistent with the Act, Declaration, and By-laws.

Under section 58(4) of the Act, if a rule is not consistent with the Act, it is invalid. This means that your condo corporation cannot enforce a rule that overrides something in the Act. For example, if a condo corporation had a rule that says that owners are not entitled to status certificates (which the Act says owners are entitled to), that rule would be invalid.

For a condo corporation’s board of directors to make, amend or repeal a rule, they must provide owners with a notice that tells all the owners about the proposed change and the date that the change is proposed to become effective.

The notice must also indicate that 15 per cent of the owners can requisition a meeting within 30 days to vote on the proposed change. If a meeting is requisitioned, a meeting will be held and there will be a vote on the proposed change. The change will only become valid if the majority of the owners at the meeting vote in favour of it.

If no meeting is requisitioned, the rule becomes effective 30 days after the notice is given, or on the date that it was proposed to become effective, whichever is later.

Section 58 (8) of the Act states that if the board of directors proposes a new rule or an amendment to an existing rule, and that new rule or amendment has the same purpose or effect as a rule that the owners have amended or repealed in the preceding two years, it cannot become effective unless a meeting is called by the board and the owners approve it.

Under section 17 of the Condominium Act, 1998, condominium corporations are required to enforce the provisions of the Act, and the Declaration By-laws and Rules of the condominium corporation.

We recommend that you attempt all the steps below in sequence (where appropriate) until your issue is resolved.

1. Understand your rights and obligations

Your first step should be to review the Act and your condo’s Declaration, By-laws, and Rules. Refer to the Legislation, by-laws, and rules page for more information.

If you have already read this information, proceed to step 2.

2. Notify the condominium corporation of your concern

Notifying your condo is an important step. After you contact them, the condo manager and/or the board will review and consider the matter you have brought to their attention. If your concern is that another owner or resident has violated the rules, the condo manager or the board will typically contact that person. If the issue concerns your compliance with the rules or a question/problem you have with the rules in general, the condo manager of the board will respond to you with their comments and/or decision.

If your issue is not resolved by notifying your condominium corporation, proceed to step 3.

3. Follow up in writing

If you have already expressed your concern to the condo manager or board, you may wish to follow up in writing. For future reference, keep a copy of the letter or email that you send and make a note of the day that you sent it.

You can use the letter template in our How-to guides and letter templates page to communicate with your condo manager or board.

What if the self-help tools don’t resolve my issues?

There are further steps you can take if you’ve tried the steps above and still have an issue. These steps include private mediation, arbitration, and/or other legal actions.

Need more help?

Mediation and arbitration are effective ways to resolve disputes where the parties are unable to reach a resolution themselves. Mediation and arbitration are commonly used to help resolve difficult condo disputes and are sometimes called alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

Under section 132 (4) of the Condominium Act, 1998, all condo corporations in the province are deemed to have a provision in their declaration stating that disputes regarding the declaration, by-laws or rules must be filed for mediation or arbitration. Your condo corporation may also have a by-law establishing the procedure that must be followed in the event of a dispute.

If you have been asked to participate in a mediation or arbitration, you are likely legally required to participate.

If you want to try mediation or arbitration for an unresolved issue, you will need to find a mediator or arbitrator who can assist you. You can search for a mediator or arbitrator online and through organizations that provide ADR services, such as the ADR Institute of Ontario.

Mediation

Mediation is a process where a neutral facilitator tries to bring the parties to a mutually agreeable solution. Mediation is the preferred approach because it’s often less costly and it gives the parties an opportunity to collaborate on finding a solution that everyone is comfortable with.

Arbitration

If mediation fails, binding arbitration is the next step. Arbitration is a process where an arbitrator (or panel of arbitrators) conducts a hearing and makes a ruling on the issues in the dispute. The parties involved in the dispute bring evidence to this hearing and then the arbitrator makes a binding decision. There are some cases where an arbitration decision can successfully be appealed to court.

Further legal action

If you are considering legal action against a neighbour or your condo corporation, you may wish to talk to a lawyer or paralegal. It is recommended that you try mediation and/or arbitration before taking a dispute to court.