What Are Rules For and Who Makes Them?

Rules are initially enacted by the builder or developer and later on by the board of the condo. Rules have to be reasonable and in accordance with the Act as well as the Human Rights Code of each province. Generally, a set of rules is drawn by a builder’s law firm and given to each new owner along with the declaration. In Ontario, rules have a common core but vary by type of condo, the facilities that exist, and may even differ between similar condos. It would be more functional if rules were universal from condo to condo.

Rules basically exist, as stated in section 58(1) of the Act, to promote the safety, security or welfare of owners and their property as well as the corporation’s assets. Rules also exist for the purpose of preventing unreasonable interference with residents’ use and enjoyment of their units and common elements.

Rules and regulations are helpful as they guide the behaviour of residents. People then know what to expect.

Rules generally cover issues of responsibility for the maintenance of common elements, behaviours in common elements, noise, garbage disposal, bicycles, pets, parking, exclusive-use common elements such as terraces, balconies, and patios, moving, fire safety, and health, recreational facilities, guest suites, grounds, roof gardens and shared facilities.

One very good rule that a condo can pass is to prohibit owners from leasing their unit for less than 6 months. This prevents a condo from becoming a “condo hotel” if it is the will of the community. 

We have seen that it is difficult to change the declaration. Rules can be added or eliminated somewhat more easily. How is this done?

The board has to draft a rule, or propose to eliminate a rule. The board then approves it and the new rule is posted or sent in a notice to all owners. This notice states the new rule, gives its purposes, and also explains that, if owners object, they can requisition a meeting. If no meeting is requisitioned, the rule is considered accepted by owners 30 days after the notice has been posted. (Click here for Requisitioned Meetings)

In turn, rules have to be enforced by boards of directors consistently. The problem here is that some boards do not do so and there is really no one in charge of enforcing board compliance. However, Courts generally uphold a condo’s rules unless they are unreasonable or in violation of another legislation.

What if the board does not enforce the rules?

First, write the board and request that rules be consistently enforced. This failing, requisition a meeting to discuss the issue. And if all fails and there are other serious problems in the condo, and if owners can do this, they should requisition a meeting to replace the board. But if this is not possible, Section 134 of the Condo Act in Ontario allows for a court application in order to force the board to comply with the Act: not enforcing rules goes against the Act. However, recourse to a lawyer is necessary here.