Can Owners Install Clotheslines Under the Green Energy Act?

In a previous blog, we mentioned that regulations under the Green Energy Act (the “Green Act”) will require some condominiums to report on their building’s energy and water consumption starting in 2019. In addition to this, some condominium corporations may also need to review their rules because of section 4 of the same Act.

Under section 4 of the Green Act, designated goods, services, and technologies meant to promote energy conservation will be allowed at condominiums even if a condominium by-law restricts it.

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Getting Ready for Spring: Part 1 – Barbeques

Does your condominium corporation permit barbeques on the common elements and/or balconies? If not, does your condominium have an adequate provision in its declaration or rules restricting this activity?

Many condominium corporations pass a rule to prohibit all barbeques on balconies. In our view, such a rule is valid and enforceable in most cases. Sometimes, a condominium corporation will only limit the types of barbeques permitted. Whenever barbeques are permitted, a condominium should have a rule in place regulating the use of any barbeques (and in particular, on balconies).

A well drafted rule will address issues such as: types of barbeques permitted (electric, propane, charcoal), and steps that an owner must follow for addressing fire prevention, safety, inspection of equipment, nuisance issues, and various other matters.

While all barbeques are a potential fire hazard (which is one of the reasons that rules governing use are recommended), it is important to be aware that there are specific restrictions on the use of propane barbeques. The TSSA (Technical Standards and Safety Authority) regulates the use of propane barbeques. The specific regulations, as well as other important safety tips regarding the use of fuel burning barbeques, can be found on websites for the TSSA and the City of Ottawa. Below are some of the key points to remember:

  • Electric barbeques are often preferred for condominium balconies;
  • Be aware of the risks of carbon monoxide for fuel burning barbeques. These barbeques are not permitted in an enclosed space (such as an enclosed balcony, or, for townhouse condominiums, in an attached garage);
  • Propane cylinders must be stored outdoors. The release valve must be at least one metre horizontally from any building opening below it (doors and windows) and three metres from a building air intake;
  • Propane cylinders must be transported in service elevators. If there are no service elevators, only the person transporting the cylinder is allowed in the passenger elevator;
  • Barbeques must be kept clear of all combustible materials;
  • Never leave a barbeque unattended when in use.

The consequences of improper barbeque use can be profound due to carbon monoxide and fire risks. On a condominium balcony, improper use of a barbeque, leading to a fire, can result in damage to the common elements and units, and is a threat to the life safety of residents. Ensure that your Condominium Corporation has rules in place regarding barbeques and that residents follow them!

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A Special Provision about Passing Rules

The Condominium Act, 1998 (the “Act”) says that a proposed rule can be passed either by vote of the owners, or by resolution of the Board followed by a notice to the owners (unless a requisition for a meeting is made by owners within 30 days following the Board’s notice).

From time to time the same or successor condominium boards may propose a rule or an amendment to a rule which had been previously rejected or amended by the owners. Section 58(8) of the Act deals with that situation.

According to Section 58(8), if essentially the same rule has already been rejected or amended by the owners (within the previous two years), then the proposed ‘revisited’ rule or amendment must be approved at a meeting of owners. In other words, the ‘Board notice’ procedure described above is not available for these sorts of rules or amendments.

This situation arises from time to time, and is often misunderstood or overlooked by a condominium board that may be intent on passing a particular rule.

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