Renovating your condo – what does your by-laws say?

Relying on the condo board not enforcing a by-law because they did not challenge another unit’s renovations is a risk that should not be taken by an owner.

In a recent case relating to a Toronto downtown live/work unit, the unit owner subdivided her unit without obtaining prior approval from the Board. When the condo board objected, she tried to get retroactive approval, which was denied. The board requested that the unit be restored to its original condition, which was to be done before the owner objected. She claimed that other owners, who had done similar work, were not sanctioned.

In deciding against the owner, the court stated “the board has a statutory duty to make sure that the provisions of its Declarations are adhered to.” (para 42) Unless the decision is unreasonable the court would not interfere with the board’s decision. The court ordered that the owner return her unit to the original condition/layout in the builder’s plans.

Toronto Standard Condominium Corporation NO. 1549 and Cathy Chan (2011) ONSC 5547

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