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Online tribunal may help with some condominium law disputes

With over 10,000 condo corporations across the province, conflict between residents, condo boards and ownership corporations happen with relative frequency. To address some of these issues, Ontario has launched an online tribunal to help resolve condominium law disputes. The Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT) will give parties immediate access to mediators and adjudicators. This is the first online-only tribunal in Ontario, but its success may inform future projects.

The CAT process starts with a $25 fee, giving users access to a system to try to resolve the issue amongst themselves. Subsequent steps offer access to a mediator for $50 and, finally, an adjudicator for a $125 fee. Currently, it is only being used for issues related to the access of condominium records but may be expanded to apply to other types of disputes. In the system's first week, two complaints were filed.

The CAT is restricted in what it can adjudicate under condominium law. For example, anything related to a breach of the Condo Act would need to go through the traditional legal system. All condo board directors elected after November 1 will be required to take online training on the system, as well as the Condo Act, within six months of their election.

Condo disputes can vary in severity, ranging from miscommunications about noise bylaws to fraudulent contracts. In both large cases and smaller conflicts, everyone involved should understand their rights, responsibilities and recourse under Ontario condominium law. It is advisable for anyone facing such conflicts to speak with a lawyer about his or her options, especially in cases related to the Condo Act.

Source: thestar.com, "Condo disputes can now be resolved online", Tess Kalinowski, Nov. 8, 2017

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