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Feb 18, 2021
Services: Real Estate Law

Decisions from the CAT: The Tribunal Process and Vexatious Applications

Introduction

Since the creation of the Condominium Authority Tribunal (the “CAT”), some unit owners have brought applications to control condominiums. In a recent and lively decision, the CAT denounced this practice, stating that this is inappropriate.

Facts:

In Yeung v. Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corporation No. 1136, Kai Sin Yeung (the “Unit Owner”) submitted two (2) applications to the CAT. The applications were the latest in a series of eight (8) applications brought by the Unit Owner against Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corporation No. 1136 (the “Condominium”) since 2018. In reply, the Condominium sought to: (i) dismiss the applications, and (ii) restrict the Unit Owner from submitting future applications to the CAT.

After swiftly dismissing the first application, the CAT turned to the second application, which involved alleged inaccurate financial projections in the Condominium’s Periodic Information Certificates (“the PIC Application”). Particularly, the Unit Owner identified discrepancies within the PICs between financial projections and the actual year-end financial statements. The Unit Owner sought an order correcting the records and an award of $3,000.

The Impropriety of Applications Brought to Control Condominium Management

The CAT dismissed the PIC Application pursuant to Rule 17.1(c) as it was brought for an ‘improper purpose.’ After commenting that the Unit Owner expected a level of accuracy not anticipated in financial projections, the CAT found that the Unit Owner was, “identifying minor issues with the intent of exacting further penalties from the [Condominium].” This divulged the underlying purpose of the Unit Owner as; "using the Tribunal to attempt to exert control over how the corporation is being managed.” As this constitutes an improper purpose, the CAT dismissed the PIC Application.

The Restriction of Vexatious Unit Owner’s Access to the CAT

After finding that the Unit Owner’s repeated applications constituted “vexatious” conduct, the CAT restricted the Unit Owner’s future access to the CAT pursuant to Rule 4.5. This was ordered as the CAT found that the Unit Owner’s applications constituted a “pattern of conduct… that creates a burden on the Tribunal, and unfairly requires the [Condominium] to participate in cases with little merit.” While the Condominium must fulfil its legislative record obligations, the Unit Owner’s repeated applications “move away from legitimately exercising rights as an owner to access records, toward improperly using the Tribunal to affect how the corporation is managed.” Vexatious applicants’ access to the CAT can and will be restricted.

Bottom Line

The CAT is not a forum for a unit owner to control a condominium or direct its management. Unit owners who are dissatisfied with the decisions of a condominium’s board must use the democratic tools provided in the Condominium Act, 1998. In addition to having their applications dismissed, unit owners who do not heed this advice may be labelled “vexatious”, ending their access to the CAT absent specific permission.

Related Team

Jamie Cockburn

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.