Section 57 of the Condominium Act, 1998 (the “Act”) allows a condominium corporation to enact a by-law establishing occupancy limits for residential units.
The limits that can be imposed by the condominium board cannot be more restrictive than those already imposed by the local municipal by-laws or by the building and engineering standards in the Ontario Building Code (the “Code”). Most condominiums do not consider imposing the occupancy standards defined in the municipal by-laws. This is because most municipal by-laws allow for a considerably higher density of occupants than the Code. The limit in the Code is generally two persons per sleeping room. Unless the building is designed and approved for a higher density of occupants, this is the standard that applies under the Code. Therefore, this is the standard that is usually adopted in an Occupancy Standards By-law passed by a condominium corporation.
Before passing an Occupancy Standards By-law that adopts the limit of two persons per sleeping room, it is advisable to have an architect or engineer confirm whether or not the building was in fact designed for a higher density of occupants.
The benefit of establishing an Occupancy Standards By-law is that this gives the condominium corporation the authority to take direct enforcement steps against contravening residents, without having to rely upon the municipality or other enforcement authority.
In addition, Section 57 (4) of the Act permits the condominium corporation to levy certain additional assessments upon the unit where the standards (in the by-law) have been contravened. These additional charges form part of the common expenses of the unit and can, therefore, be enforced by condominium lien.