Imposing Fines in Condo Buildings

October 2018

It is not uncommon for condo corporations to impose monetary fines against condo owners and residents who repeatedly ignore condo rules and continue actions damaging to condo property or are disruptive to residents.

Fines are a recognized way to make people responsible for prohibited actions.  Toronto imposes fines for traffic violations and other conduct deemed improper.  Courts have long had the authority to impose “fines” against parties for their conduct.

In condo buildings fines may be imposed against owners of dogs not kept under control or which urinate or defecate on condo property.  Other situations may include improper disposal of waste or repeated violations of noise rules that necessitate written notices.  The general intent is to cover costs of failing to abide by rules.  In this respect “fine” can be a charge based on recovery of costs.

The Condo Act is silent about a condo corporation’s authority to impose fines.

Some condo declarations limit this authority to the charging back of actual costs.  Perhaps this is because costs can be independently quantified while fines can be random and imposed in a biased manner.

Fines are a recognized and accepted way of helping to enforce acceptable behaviour in our society.

(This article has been revised from original publication to help clarify that Toronto Condo News does not advocate for charging fees, or fines, not in accordance with the Condo Act.  We do feel that “fines” and “cost recovery” are not mutually exclusive.  Condo owners should not be responsible for costs incurred when a resident or owner fails to abide by condo rules.  A best practice should be for condo directors to improve rules enforcement by recovering appropriate costs, which some may call “fines”.)