May 5th - 2010

LEGAL BEAT: Can you live with the rules?

The condo unit owners installed two satellite dishes on the patio of their unit which the condominium corporation said were contrary to the Declaration, Bylaws and Rules.

The condo unit owners installed two satellite dishes on the patio of their unit which the condominium corporation said were contrary to the Declaration, Bylaws and Rules. The unit owners went to court to fight the rules and lost. They appealed to the Ontario Court of Appeal, and lost. They next applied for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, and lost.

The Declaration said: "No television antennae, aerial, tower similar structure and appurtenances thereto shall be erected on or fastened to any units, except for or in connection with a common television cable system."

The Bylaw said: “No television antenna, aerial, tower or picture and appurtenances thereto shall be erected on any part of the common elements except as provided in the Declaration.”

The Rules said: "The following are the standards adopted by the Board of Directors for satellite dish or cable installation within the Corporation. These standards are intended to give the complex a uniform standard of appearance and quality that will enable all owners to benefit from well maintained units... and ... The Corporation has an agreement with Star Choice for exclusive delivery of satellite services. This service has one dish on each set of units. No other satellite services are allowed."

The courts decided that the interpretation of the Declaration adopted by the Condominium Corporation is not unreasonable.

LCCC No 13 v Awaraji 2007 ONCA 154

MERV'S COMMENTS
Condo buyers and their REALTORS® should read the condominium documents before making an offer on a unit, or make the offer conditional on being satisfied with them before proceeding with their transaction.

When confronted with such a situation, unit owners should decide whether to comply with reasonable rules, pursue expensive litigation or perhaps move.

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