One of the caveats of condo management is consistent enforcement of rules. Those that don’t consistently enforce rules may find they are unable to enforce them at all.
Condo management and boards have an obligation to enforce restrictions contained in the condo declaration or by-laws as written. Doing otherwise may deny management or the board the right to enforce these same restrictions at a later date.
Condo boards have authority to implement and enforce rules affecting common areas. Rules can be implemented to govern conduct or behaviour impacting other residents. Rules affecting pets, noise, smoking and odours are common.
Some are unwilling to accept rules. Residents may see no purpose in obeying rules when others ignore them without consequence. Condo management inconsistent in rules enforcement without reasonable explanation can expose themselves to charges of favouritism or discrimination.
Condo rules exist to help make a community safe and comfortable. They should be enforced fairly and consistently with flexibility to accommodate reasonable special circumstances.
Condo rules do not supersede condo by-laws, declaration or the Condo Act. They cannot disallow short-term rentals, pets, smoking or visitor parking when these rights are permissible in other governing documents. Condo boards can implement rules establishing procedures for what is allowable.
When establishing condo rules, consider the following:
- Minor rule infractions likely require a warning prior to enforcement. Unintentional infractions can easily be rectified in this way.
- Major rule infractions, those relating to dangerous behaviour or safety considerations, should not be tolerated and can be enforced without warning.
- Rules should be sufficiently flexible to be reasonable and allow for necessary exceptions.
- Rules should be clearly stated.
- Don’t adopt rules that will not be enforced.
- Not everything requires a rule.
- Review rules every few years to ensure they remain relevant. Eliminate rules that are not being enforced or which are no longer applicable. Rules that are repeatedly violated may require modification or repeal.