The Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT) uses an online dispute resolution system to help resolve disputes without the need for private mediation and arbitration. The CAT is meant to facilitate peaceful, affordable resolutions for condo communities.
The asynchronous approach is also more convenient for all parties involved. Since the process is entirely online, parties can participate from anywhere whenever it is convenient for them, so long as they follow the deadlines.
The Condominium Act defines which type of disputes the CAT can resolve. As of October 1, 2020, the act expanded jurisdiction to additional categories. This will allow residents and the board of directors access to mediation and tribunal decisions for more disputes. Starting January 1, the Condo Act will expand to include even more issues.
But what does the new jurisdiction include, and what type of disputes can they resolve? Let’s take a closer look.
The CAT’s Current and Expanded Jurisdiction
The Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO) can now accept applications from condo owners, mortgagees, and condo corporations regarding the following new issues:
- Pets and animals
- Parking and storage
- Indemnification or compensation charges related to the above disputes.
Additionally, they continue to accept applications for disputes related to condominium records and settlement agreements from previous settlement agreements.
As of January 1st, 2022, the CAT can accept applications for disputes related to:
Changes to the act also define the types of disputes owners and residents parties may apply to resolve.
Types of Disputes
The CAT’s authority is limited to four distinct types of disputes. They include:
- Disputes about compliance. A condo corporation can file an application against a resident for failure to comply with provisions in the bylaws. Owners also have the right to file a dispute with other owners, so long as the rules are clear and fall within the jurisdiction of the CAT.
- Disputes about the consistency or reasonableness of provisions. An owner may file an application if they believe provisions in the condo bylaws or decorations violate the condo act, or are unreasonable to comply with.
- Disputes About the Applicability of Provisions. The CAT can resolve disputes when an owner believes that the condo corporation didn’t follow the proper procedure for amendment. Any changes to bylaws, rules, or declarations must comply with the
- Disputes About Indemnification. If an owner has an issue with compensation owed related to any issue within the CAT’s authority, they can file an application.
Starting January 1, 2022, the CAT can also hear disputes regarding:
- Disputes about unreasonable nuisances, annoyances or disruptions. These can include noise, odour, light, vibrations, smoke and vapour.
- Disputes about provisions in a condo corporation’s governing documents that cover nuisances. These can include any of the above activities, in addition to any disruptions prohibited or restricted by the condo corporation.
The CAT process is only for disputes related to bylaws and provisions. If your condo corporation doesn’t outline rules for pets or parking, then these disputes may require private arbitration.
Updating the Bylaws
If the condo community’s governing documents are out of date, then many disputes will require private mediation and arbitration. In some cases, you may need to hire lawyers to resolve the situation. That’s why it’s critical to outline community expectations in the bylaws, rules and declarations.
While the board can introduce new rules, bylaws, and declarations, each type of amendment requires different levels of support from owners. They also must adhere to regulations in the Condo Act.
The CAT makes all decisions publicly available. Condo corporations should be able to use this information any time they want to make updates to governing documents. Owners and condo corporations can also use CAT decisions to help them mediate issues before they file an application.
Enforcing Rules Outside of CAT’s Jurisdiction
There are numerous disputes that fall outside the current and future expansions of the CAT. For example, some owners may list their property on AirBnB or other short-term rental sites, even though the governing documents prohibit them. There may also be issues related to pests.
As outlined in section 17 (3) of the Condo Act, condo corporations must take reasonable steps to enforce governing documents. Condo Managers should reach out to the owners and notify them of violations and let them know how to resolve it. If they are unable to resolve the dispute, they need to bring it to mediation and arbitration, as well as further legal action when necessary.
How Condo Management Services Can Help
Condo managers need to facilitate communication and ensure that board members and residents alike are following the condo provisions. ICC Property Management can help condo corporations stay compliant and keep residents happy with our custom-tailored services.
ICC is one of the leading property management firms in the Greater Toronto Area. Our firm draws on nearly 30 years of experience to help condo corporations manage day-to-day issues in maintenance, finances, and accounting. We offer 24/7 support for residents and board members to swiftly address emergencies.
Partner with us today and learn more about how we can help prevent and resolve disputes in our communities.