Can Someone Enter My Condo Unit Without Permission?
There are many unique aspects of condominium living that do not necessarily align with the expectations of condominium owners. As discussed in a previous post, Condominium Culture Shock, condominium owners are often surprised by the powers that condominium corporations have which can impact their day-to-day lives. In fact, condo owners in Ontario should know that it is possible, under certain circumstances, for a condo corporation to access their unit without permission.
Condo corporations can enter your condo unit in Ontario
In a recent decision (MTCC 1328 v 2145401 Ontario Inc.), the Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Appeal confirmed that a condominium corporation has the right to enter into a condominium unit to carry out an inspection without the consent of the owner, so long as there are sufficient grounds for doing so.
The facts were summarized by the Court of Appeal as follows: “After a complaint about noise emanating from the staircase in the appellant’s condominium unit, the respondent, Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corporation, requested entry into the unit to investigate. The appellant denied entry and issued a trespass notice. Consequently, the respondent brought an application for an order to enter and inspect the staircase. The application was granted. The appellant appeals that decision.”
The Condominium Act in Ontario
In coming to their respective decisions, both Courts noted that the Condominium Act specifically provides condominium corporations with both rights of access and a duty to take all reasonable steps to ensure that condominium owners are in compliance with the legislation as well as the Declaration, By-Laws and Rules.
As a result, the Court held that it was inappropriate for the owner to deny access to their unit. The Court issued an order permitting the condominium corporation to enter the unit to carry out the intended inspection and this was upheld by the Court of Appeal. The resisting owner was ordered to pay $10,000 in costs for the original motion and $4,045.92 for the unsuccessful appeal.
Condominium rights are not the same as freehold homes
This case serves as another reminder that condominium owners do not have the same rights of exclusion that the owners of traditional freehold properties have in Ontario. It is therefore advisable for condominium owners to educate themselves with respect to the intersections between their rights and the rights and obligations of the condominium corporation. Sometimes, as demonstrated by the above-noted case, the condominium corporation’s obligations may override the rights or preferences of an individual owner. An understanding of the scenarios where this may occur will assist owners in avoiding costly litigation.
Residents of Ontario that are moving from a freehold property to a condominium should always be aware that there are a different set of rules and regulations involved and the rights of a condo unit owner are impacted by the condominium corporation that governs the building.
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