Mental Illness in Condo Communities

November 2016

When residing in a condo dealing with mental illness becomes more personal.

While the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal requires that mental illness be accommodated to the point of undue hardship, there is no clear understanding of what this means.

Some view “undue hardship” as referring to health or safety concerns.

The impact of one individual on dozens or hundreds of residents should also warrant consideration. Behaviours such as threatening others, yelling obscenities, being overly aggressive or unnecessarily noisy are not conducive with community living. Allowing such behaviours to continue can be detrimental to residents of a building. If not curtailed, it won’t take long before resale values drop, owners sell and tenants depart.

Short of forcible eviction or sale of the condo suite, some issues can be resolved in a compassionate way that respects those suffering from mental illness or behaviour issues:

  • In-suite noise can be muffled by requiring soundproofing of a suite.
  • Habitual smoking impacting on residents can be tolerated by requiring new physical barriers, hallway deodorizers or changes to hallway air pressure to prevent odours from migrating from a condo suite.
  • Where hoarding or pest problems are recurring, in-suite cleaning can be undertaken by the condo corporation.
  • A resident who compulsively banged on walls and yelled out windows had their windows sealed. He was provided with a Nerf bat and able to continue his compulsive behaviour.
  • An owner regularly left pots on the stove for hours thus causing building-wide fire alarms. The court ordered the stove and oven locked. A care worker was hired to prepare meals and provided with a key to the lock.

The cost of these remedies need not be paid by other condo owners. The Condo Act allows condo corporations to recover costs of in-suite work from the condo owner that precipitates the remedy.

Condo Resource Guide provides access to vendors and services that can assist in dealing with many of the problems resulting from mental illness.