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‘I feel bullied,’ says condo owners taken to justice over backyard garden equipment not authorised in bylaws

  • February 20, 2017

An Ontario lady says a brawl with her condo house and skill government association over teenager garden infractions has left her emotionally ravaged and considering relocating out.

Jayne Pilot of Brampton was sitting by a pool during her condo formidable with friends final Jul when she was handed an pouch containing a probity summons.

“I was shocked,” says Pilot. “I didn’t know what they were holding me to probity for.”

The summons was from her possess condo corporation, and summarized several bylaw infractions Pilot had committed, such as carrying 7 square chairs when usually 6 are allowed, carrying dual flower pots that exceeded measure summarized in a 1988 condo rules, and carrying solar lights in her garden.


Pilot has sent a display shaped on her knowledge to Ontario’s Ministry of Consumer Services. (CBC)

“I thought, ‘This is totally ridiculous. This is not reasonable,'” says Pilot. “I feel bullied.”

“Why would we take somebody to probity over flower pots, solar lights, and one chair too many?”

She thinks a answer to that doubt is because, dual years ago, Pilot lead a successful quarrel opposite a due condo price boost of 22 per cent, arguing that a mass re-roofing plan was not necessary.

‘Why would we take somebody to probity over flower pots, solar lights and one chair too many?
Jayne Pilot, condo owner

“I was means to get everybody together and they [condo board] saw that we could do that,” says Pilot. “And we don’t consider they favourite it.”

Instead of following Ontario’s Condo Act, that requires intervention as a initial step, Pilot was taken to polite court. The decider pronounced a condo manners contingency be “reasonable” and forked out that a box should have been dealt with in mediation.

The condo house afterwards took Pilot to mediation, where both sides reached a settlement, a terms of that can't be disclosed.

Condo board won’t comment

Members of Pilot’s condo house did not lapse emails or calls requesting a comment.

Maple Ridge Community Management, that manages a condo complex, also declined to be interviewed, citing “ongoing litigation.” It would not explain a inlet of that litigation.

National condo dysfunction

Disputes like a one between Pilot and her condo house are flourishing roughly as fast as a series of condo units, according to William Stratas, doing executive during Eagle Audit Advantage, a Toronto-based association that investigates grievances from both condo owners and house directors.

“Our files are bulging,” says Stratas, whose bureau gets calls daily from condo residents who feel mistreated by their condo play and skill government companies.

“In some condos, a summary that comes from a house is, ‘Pay your fees and close up,'” he says.


Michael Stratas, of Eagle Audit Advantage, says condo boards, managers and owners need to promulgate better. (CBC)

“The residents in those buildings unequivocally feel like they’re in a jail camp,” says Stratas, who has lived in a condo himself for 27 years, and shaped his association after fasten a condo house to assistance straighten out a financial mess.

“There should be a simple enterprise for everybody to find a approach to make it work,” he says. “It’s their common community. And we consider what we see [in Pilot’s case] is a relapse of that common spirit.”

‘There should be a simple enterprise for everybody to find a approach to make it work.’
– William Stratas, condo brawl investigator

The online Condo Information Centre, run by Ontario condo disciple Anne-Marie Ambert, has perceived over 5,000 letters given a origination five years ago.

Ambert marks a inlet of complaints, and says one-third of condo owners write that they have been intimidated, bullied, discriminated opposite or threatened by boards/managers when they make pardonable complaints.

More Canadians in condos


Over a past 3 decades, condo construction has been a fastest flourishing form of housing in Canada, according to a Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

In 2000, condos accounted for 18 per cent of all housing starts, though that series has now roughly doubled to 33 per cent.

According to a many new numbers from Statistics Canada, there were 1.6 million condos in Canada in 2011, accounting for 34 per cent of all housing.

Patchwork of regulation

Across a country, provinces are grappling with battles between condo residents and their boards.

Ontario is about to deliver changes to a Condominium Act, that hasn’t been updated given 2001, prolonged before a province’s condo boom.

The centrepiece of a new legislation is a origination of a brawl fortitude judiciary — a reduce cost choice to probity — to understanding with a rising series of disagreements between play and owners.

Stratas says a changes will strengthen condo owners from a unsafe position Jayne Pilot was put in, when her house took her to court. If it wasn’t for a “sensible judge” insisting on a manners being followed, he says, she competence have faced high authorised costs.

B.C. during a forefront

Many condo advocates contend B.C. is during a forefront of doing condo issues, after formulating Canada’s initial online tribunal, a Civil Resolution Tribunal, 6 months ago.

Complainants can find giveaway online template letters to send to condo play or neighbours to try to solve a dispute, though filing a claim.  

If they do record a claim, a go-between is reserved to work with both parties to strech a settlement, during a limit cost of about $300.

If no agreement can be reached, a go-between can make a ruling, that is enforceable as a probity order.


Tony Gioventu, of a Condominium Home Owners Association of BC, says condo owners who pronounce out opposite their their government play are mostly targeted. (CBC)

Tony Gioventu, executive executive of a Condominium Home Owners Association of BC, says his bureau receives hundreds of calls a day about struggles between condo play and owners.

“Targeting people … who conflict what a [condo board] is doing, is substantially a many common tactic that people in residential communities use,” says Gioventu.

“If they have any kind of antithesis whatsoever … you’ll find that a condo house will besiege that individual, demonize that individual, make adult all kinds of stories around purported bylaw violations.” 

He refers all calls to B.C.’s Civil Resolution Tribunal.

“It creates a turn personification field,” says Gioventu. “And to have a condo brawl fortitude event that is partial of a probity complement is singular in a world.”

Tribunal costs for B.C.’s Ministry of Justice are estimated to be between $4 million an d $5 million a year, though gripping cases out of tiny claims and provincial probity is estimated to save 10 times that amount.

Taken a toll

Changes to Ontario’s Condo Act come too late for Jayne Pilot, who looks out over her snow-dusted backyard, remembering how a condo house member personally photographed equipment to contention as probity justification that she was violating bylaws.  

Pilot can no longer design enjoying a summer continue on her patio, and is considering relocating out of a complex.

“I am devastated,” she says. “Your home is your sanctuary. And that was taken divided from me.”

With files from James Roberts

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