Most matters that arise between condo residents are minor and easily resolved. The few that are not easily resolved can quickly escalate into contentious and costly situations if not properly handled.
Condo rules, according to the Condo Act, are to “promote the safety, security or welfare of the owners and of the property and assets of the corporation”. Another reason for rules is to “prevent unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of the common elements, the units or the assets of the corporation”.
The Condo Board, often through management, has an obligation to respond to resident concerns when these rules are not being respected.
If you receive a letter from your Condo Board it could mean that one or more residents are concerned about your actions. This may have to do with loud music from your suite, your pet or a dispute with a neighbour. Regardless of the reason, ignoring such a letter is not a good idea.
Condominium managers and boards have an obligation to enforce condominium rules. They are expected to respond to complaints and to ensure problems are resolved.
That letter you receive is the beginning of a process. You are being notified of a problem which management or the Condo Board feels you can and should rectify. In most instances the matter is minor and easily resolved. In the few instances where a matter escalates, written documentation is important. Failure to respond means there is no way to understand the situation from your perspective.
Respond in writing. If there has been a misunderstanding, explain the situation as you see it. If the allegation is false or incorrect, state this and describe what occurred. If the complaint is valid, explain what you intend to do about it.
The importance of a paper trail cannot be understated. Retain copies of relevant e-mails or letters. Document any conversations that have taken place. If the situation escalates, these documents could become important. If you have acted reasonably and promptly to a situation that may have been unfair or unreasonable to you, this documentation ensures that time and memory do not distort what did occur.