Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Court confirms right to sue for unpaid condo fees

Published in: www.lawtimesnews.com
Monday, 06 June 2016 09:00 | Written By Alex Robinson

A recent Court of Appeal decision has confirmed condominium corporations can recover unpaid fees in court even if they fail to register a lien against an owner, lawyers say.

The court dismissed the submission of Ottawa lawyer Claude-Alain Burdet, who argued that Carleton Condominium Corporation did not have the right to sue him for nearly $300,000 in unpaid condominium fees from a unit he owned in an Ottawa building.

Burdet claimed Carleton Condominium Corporation’s only recourse should be to register a lien, but the court ruled against him, saying condominium corporations also have the power to sue to recover unsecured arrears under a section of the Condominium Act, 1998.

“It cannot have been the intention behind the Condominium Act, 1998 that if a condominium owner fails to pay common expenses and for some reason the corporation does not register a lien, the corporation is powerless to recover arrears and the other owners must bear the consequences of the defaulting owner’s non-payment,” the decision said.

“While the lien provisions offer an efficient enforcement mechanism, the Act does not specifically provide that a corporation cannot also sue to recover judgment.”

The Condominium Act requires owners to pay common expense fees to the condominium corporation, and if they fail to do so, corporations can register a lien within three months that the arrears start to amass.

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