Enforcement of Rule and By-law Infractions – Letter to the Editor

October 2021

How can a condo board discipline owners who continually violate bylaws instead of seeking a legal resolution?  Can they increase their monthly contributions or can you recommend appropriate action?  We generally deal with minor infractions but get no response to written requests and warnings.

C. B.

Response from Toronto Condo News

I think that “discipline” is the wrong word to describe enforcement.  Rather, think of enforcement as dealing with condo owners and residents who repeatedly ignore condo rules and continue actions damaging to condo property or are disruptive to residents.

The condo board has considerable authority to deal with infractions of all types without seeking legal resolution which should only be used for the most extreme situations.

A condo board has no authority to impose a fine, charge an arbitrary fee or increase condo fees for a specific unit.  They can recover costs associated with enforcement of governing documents.  Any owner or resident can be made financially responsible for their decision to ignore rules.  Their access to areas where they have been a problem can be restricted.  Solutions would be dependent on how any particular community operates.  Consider the following examples.

  • Improper use of visitor or resident parking. One approach is to have the car towed or items removed by an external service.  The corporation is invoiced for this work and the owner can be charged back this invoiced amount.
  • Failing to adhere to rules governing use of an exercise room, swimming pool or other area. If spaces are accessed using a fob, that fob’s access to specific spaces can be removed.
  • Short-term rentals in contravention of governing documents. Deactivate all fobs until each can be verified to be in the possession of a registered resident.
  • Pets urinate or defecate on indoor or outdoor common areas. Require pet registration and fee.  Utilize a pet dna service to identify pets who defecate on the property and charge identified owners the cost of this service.
  • Owners fail to properly discard waste. When the offending resident is identified, possibly through use of security cameras, have clean-up costs separately invoiced so this can be charged back to the offending resident.

Enforcement actions should be applied equally to all residents after proper disclosure and implementation.  The ability to identify offenders is crucial to enforcement and is best done through an extensive system of security cameras.

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