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Jan 28, 2010|Article

Condominium Disputes & A.D.R.: A Recipe for Confusion?

1. Introduction

To an interested buyer, a new residential condominium high‐rise may appear to be a fresh and innovative way to live. While comfortably seated in a tastefully decorated sales centre, a purchaser may be showered with marketed images of a vibrant lifestyle, elegant decorating and well‐appointed amenities. What is not discussed during the calibrated salespitch is the underlying fact that condominiums have existed since time immemorial. In fact, the concept of a condominium has accompanied many urban civilizations, with a sophisticated legal code existing in Roman law. 1 Another myth quietly portrayed in the skilled marketing is that the condominium will be devoid of friction, disagreements or conflict. Elegantly dressed neighbours are seen sharing roof‐top patios, while others cheerily smile while exercising in the condominium's workout room. Truth be told, condominiums by their very nature share their own version of friction, disagreement or conflict. Recently, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice reinforced this fact, stating that condominium disputes uniquely revolve around predictable flashpoints, of 'people, pets and parking'.2

Until recently, irreconcilable condominium disputes requiring the corporation's involvement were resolved through the courts. The traditional path of litigation awaited if an impasse arose. Throughout the 1990s, two Ontario governments toiled to overhaul Ontario's condominium legislation. Commenced with significant consultation conducted under Premier Bob Rae's NDP government, new legislation was crystallized by Premier Mike Harris' Progressive Conservative government, resulting in Bill 383, eventually becoming the Condominium Act, 1998, S.O. 1998, c.19 ("the Act").

1Herskowitz, H. &.Freedman, M. F., Condominiums in Ontario, (Ontario Bar Association: 2001) [hereinafterHerskowitz and Freedman] at pg. xiii.
2 Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corp. No. 1385 v. Skyline executive Properties Inc., [2004] O.J. No. 3360, [2004] O.T.C. 723, at para. 18.

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Robert Mullin