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May 5, 2020
Services: Condominium Law

COVID-19 & CONDOS: UPDATE #5 – Condos and Urgent Court Applications

Introduction

The Courts have postponed hearings for all but urgent matters. What is “urgent” is not clear, creating ambiguity as to how condominium matters will be dealt with. York Condominium Corp. No. 419, v. Black, 2020 ONSC 2098 offers guidance on those circumstances where the Courts may hear such disputes.

Current Restrictions

On April 6th, the Legislature enacted regulations (O.Reg. 82/20) under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, outlining which businesses may remain open during the pandemic. Section 30 is particularly relevant to condominiums, providing that all residential construction projects, commencing after April 4th, have been deemed non-essential. What then are condominiums to do if owners continue or start renovations, despite these prohibitions? Preventing contractors, trades and related personnel from traversing the common elements during the pandemic may be urgent, given the risk of the spread of COVID-19.

York C.C. No. 419 v. Black

In this case, the unit owner was undertaking renovations to their unit, despite the restrictions and Board directions. The Condominium became aware of the situation as painters were seen coming in and out of the unit. Concerned about the potential spread of COVID-19, the Condominium commenced an Application on an urgent basis, seeking an injunction prohibiting any further renovations from taking place and prohibiting trades from attending the unit until the lifting of the emergency order.

The Court, via teleconference, agreed that the matter was urgent. This speaks to the seriousness with which courts are treating the potential spread of the virus, especially in high-density condominiums. Although the matter was adjourned on consent, the court endorsed that no further renovations would take place and that no trades attend the unit until further order. 

Bottom Line

The Court agreed with the Condominium’s position that renovations within the units constituted a matter which should be heard on an urgent basis. This provides some guidance as to how the Courts may handle such issues, at a time when additional obstacles have been erected in bringing matters before the Courts. 

Where condominiums are concerned that certain activities are putting the health of the larger community at risk, an urgent Application may be appropriate. Guidance on what is urgent and how to commence proceedings varies. Seeking legal advice for individual enforcement matters is highly recommended.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and is not legal advice. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your specific circumstance.