A recent court decision, York Condominium Corporation No. 78 v Stein, nicely summarizes the principles that apply when an owner makes changes to the common elements.
In this case, the owner had made substantial renovations to her apartment, which also included some changes to the common elements. For instance, the owner had made changes to electrical and plumbing features, as well as to heating equipment in the apartment, and these were changes to the common elements (in the case of York Condominium Corporation No. 78).
The court noted that the owner had made the changes without complying with Section 98 of the Condominium Act, 1998, which includes the requirements for consent of the Board and for a registered agreement between the condominium corporation and the owner. The court also noted that the changes were a possible threat to safety.
The court granted the condominium corporation full access to the unit (upon 48 hours’ notice to the owner) for the purpose of:
- carrying out a full inspection to determine any further unauthorized additions and/or alterations to the common elements;
- restoring any such unauthorized additions and/or alterations to the common elements to their original condition;
- carrying out a full inspection to determine whether the current state of the Unit poses any risk(s) as provided for in section 92 of the Act.
In my view, some of the key points to take away from this case are as follows:
- When an owner renovates a unit, the renovations may include changes to the common elements.
- An owner’s changes to the common elements must comply with Section 98 of the Condominium Act. Briefly, the requirements of Section 98 are:
- Consent of the board;
- An agreement between the corporation and the owner, registered on title to the owner’s unit;
- In some cases, involvement of all owners in the approval.
- One of the obligations of the condominium corporation is to take reasonable steps to ensure compliance with Section 98.
- In each case, the corporation should also consider whether or not the changes could represent any risk to safety.
Read more about changes to common elements in our previous blog post.