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Legal Expense Insurance and Legal Resources for Condominium Owners

Occasionally, in the course of condominium living, owners may face disputes with other owners, the condominium manager, or with their condominium board. Commonly these issues can be resolved using the dispute resolution mechanisms available to owners and condominium corporations, including:

  1. Reviewing the CAO’s Guided Steps to Common Issues (see the CAO’s Issues and Solutions pages) which include helpful steps to resolve an issue before it may develop into a dispute. The Guided Steps to Common Issues pages also contain helpful letter templates which can be used to communicate with individuals (including other owners, the condominium manager or condominium boards) regarding these common issues. You can access the Guided Steps to Common Issues pages here.
  2. Requisitioning an owners’ meeting in order to discuss and identify potential solutions. For more information on requisitioning an owners’ meeting, please click here.
  3. Raising the issue at the condominium corporation’s annual general meeting.
  4. Filing an application with the Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT). The CAT is an online dispute resolution system that helps condominium owners resolve certain types of condominium-related disputes. The CAT leads users through a three-stage dispute resolution process, designed to promote early and collaborative resolutions between the parties for certain dispute types falling under its jurisdiction. For more information on the CAT, please click here.
  5. Filing an application with the courts to address disputes outside the jurisdiction of the CAT.

Legal Expense Insurance and Legal Resources for Condominium Owners

Legal Resources

One potential option for some owners is access to legal assistance and advice through their personal insurance. This is called Legal Expense Insurance (LEI). LEI may provide protection against the costs associated with legal action (e.g., lawyer’s fees, other experts, police/medical reports, court fees, adverse legal costs, etc.) and advice regarding certain dispute types set out in your insurance policy.   Access to legal advice can be helpful, as it may help to resolve a potential legal conflict in its early stages.
Owners may have access to LEI without being aware of it, as some homeowner condominium insurance policies contain a form of LEI.  It is important to be aware that even if you have LEI in your condominium insurance policy, it may only provide coverage of certain costs related to a legal dispute. Owners should check with their condominium insurance provider to see if their policy includes LEI coverage.  It is important to note that before you take any action (i.e., filing a claim), you should ensure you are making an informed decision by first checking your insurance policy and talking to your insurance broker. If you are not covered by LEI and you wish to be, you may wish to reach out to your insurance broker for more information.
If you do not have access to LEI coverage and are still in need of legal advice, you may wish to directly contact a lawyer or paralegal familiar with condominium law. There are also organizations that provide free consultation or reduced-cost legal advice, including:

  • The Law Society of Ontario (LSO) Referral Service can assist you with getting in touch with a lawyer or paralegal in your area who will provide a free legal consultation of up to 30 minutes. For more information on the LSO Referral Service, please click here.
  • Pro Bono Ontario is a non-profit which can provide up to 30 minutes free legal advice to individuals who are dealing with civil legal issues. For more information regarding Pro Bono Ontario, please click here.
  • JusticeNet is a not-for-profit service that helps people in need of legal expertise, whose income is too high to access legal aid and too low to afford standard legal fees. Eligibility is restricted to those with a net annual family income of less than $59,000 with fees calculated according to a sliding scale.  For more information regarding JusticeNet, please click here.
If you do not have access to legal advice or choose not to consult a lawyer directly, you may  want  information to help you navigate a legal situation on your own.  The following are websites that do not offer direct legal advice for specific questions, but can help educate and prepare you:

  • Legal Line is a not-for-profit organization that provides free and easy-to-understand legal answers written in plain language. For more information regarding Legal Line, please click here.
  • Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) provides practical legal rights education and information to people who face barriers accessing the justice system. CLEO’s work includes the Steps to Justice website, which provides questions and answers on everyday legal problems, the Guided Pathways tools, which are interactive interviews that help people complete legal forms and create legal documents, and a directory of community legal clinics in Ontario. For more information regarding CLEO, please click here.

Legal Expense Insurance and Legal Resources for Condominium Owners

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