Defining the Rights and Obligations of Condo Tenants

Both owners and tenants must comply with the Condominium Act as well as the Corporation’s Declaration, By-laws and Rules. 

Section 119(1) of the Condominium Act states: A corporation, the directors, officers and employees of a corporation, a declarant, the lessor of a leasehold condominium corporation, an owner, an occupier of a unit and a person having an encumbrance against a unit and its appurtenant common interest shall comply with this Act, the declaration, the by-laws and the rules.

Section 119(2) of the Act also provide that owners are responsible for ensuring that their tenants (and any visitors) comply with such obligations: An owner shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that an occupier of the owner’s unit and all invitees, agents and employees of the owner or occupier comply with this Act, the declaration, the by-laws and the rules.
Often, the corporation’s declaration will also provide that the owner of each unit must require all tenants, residents and visitors to comply with the Act and the governing documents. Also often, the Corporation’s Declaration will require a signed statement from the tenant at the time of or prior to moving in, that specifies that the tenant has received a copy of the Corporation’s governing documents and agrees to comply with all terms of those and the Condominium Act.

While the owner is required to secure compliance from the tenants and visitors, Corporations also have a duty to take all reasonable steps to secure such compliance either from the owner or, if necessary, directly from the tenant. If a tenant is in breach of his or her obligations, and the owner is unable or unwilling to obtain compliance from his or her tenant, a Corporation can file a court application for an order for compliance, or at the very least start the mediation process.

Pursuant to section 83 of the Condominium Act, the owners are also mandated to submit to the Corporation a Summary of Lease or Renewal form, or a copy of the lease in lieu of, within 10 days of entering the lease.  Many owners feel it is nobody’s business how much rent they are collecting, but it is a requirement of the Regulations under the Condominium Act and useful to the Corporation for specific purpose.

If an owner who is leasing a unit allows his or her common expenses to fall into arrears, the Corporation has the right under section 87 the Act to collect the rent directly from the tenant to cover the owner’s arrears of common expenses. This right of collection is limited to the highest of the amount of the default or the amount of rent due under the lease. Written notice must be provided to the tenant.

It is worth noting that disagreements between a Corporation and a tenant do not have to be submitted to mediation or arbitration before commencing a court application. However, in the context of a compliance hearing, the court cannot grant an order terminating the lease of a unit for residential purposes unless it is satisfied that the tenant is in contravention of a previous compliance order or that the tenant has failed to pay his or her rent to the Corporation despite having received a notice to do so under section 87 of the Act.

At the end of the day, even if it is the Corporation who is advancing the compliance proceeding, the owner of the unit can be held liable to have to pay, including the Corporation’s legal fees. This is because the owner is responsible for his or her unit and for the conduct of those occupying or visiting it.