The Government of Ontario has introduced new changes to the Condominium Act, 1998 related to an expansion of the jurisdiction of the Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT) – the Province’s virtual tribunal that helps resolve condo-related disputes.

For the full list of some of the most common issues (and recommended solutions) with condominium living, check out the Condominium Authority of Ontario website here.  It might make you feel like condo living is problematic, so read with caution!

What is actually changing as of January 1, 2022?

As of January 1st, 2022, the CAT will be granted the authority to handle disputes involving nuisances, annoyances, and disruptions. Specifically, prescribed nuisances under the Condominium Act 1998 will now include “unreasonable” instances of:

  • Odour
  • Smoke
  • Vapour
  • Light
  • Vibration

What changes for me if I’m the owner of a condo and live in it?

The simple answer is that you now have a much more straight-forward way of having your issues heard and addressed.  Previously, these issues were dealt with through mediation, arbitration, or the courts, leading to costly and time-consuming proceedings. Under the current rules, condo owners often have to foot the bill for these types of disputes.

As of January 1, 2022, any unreasonable instances of odour, smoke, vapour, light or vibration can be quickly and cheaply brought forward for a three-stage dispute resolution process.

What changes for me if I’m the landlord of a condo and rent it out?

While there are not different rules for landlords versus owner-occupants, these new changes are a welcome addition for landlords for two reasons.

  1. If you end up with a problem tenant who is causing issues in the building, the new rules will provide a faster and more cost-effective dispute resolution mechanism. Put simply, rather than being taken to small claims court due to the actions of your tenant, you will now have the issue resolved for a flat fee of $200.
  2. If your tenant is complaining about issues affecting them, you no longer have to be the go-between with neighbours, property management or the condo board. The CAT can take on that role and through a virtual process (which is handy if your investment property isn’t in the area you live in yourself) have it resolved.

It is important to note that the expanded jurisdiction of the CAT will not have a direct impact on eviction proceedings, as those issues are still governed by the Landlord and Tenant Board.

What changes for me if I’m a tenant in a condo?

These changes are not impacting your rights as a tenant and have essentially nothing to do with the landlord and tenant relationship.

It does, however, provide a much clearer way for you as a tenant to understand what rights and what resolutions you can expect if you encounter issues.  Tenants are often treated in ways that imply they are a second-class resident of the condo building, with fewer rights than owners.  While there may be specific circumstances where tenants do not have the authority to do certain things that owners may, the CAT does not distinguish between tenants and owners in regards to resolving issues.

Whether it is an issue you are encountering that you would like resolved, or a complaint brought against you by another resident or the building management, the CAT now provides you a direct way to review and discuss the issue and for a resolution to take place.

The expanded jurisdiction of the Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT) – the Province’s virtual tribunal that helps resolve condo-related disputes – is a welcome change that will help alleviate some of the challenges and costs with issues that arise as part of shared living.

Given that condominiums remain a very popular and common housing type across the GTA, anything that improves the experience of living within them is a good step forward.  If you are looking at buying or selling a condo and want to work with agents who understand how they work, get in touch.