My Condo Neighbours Are Making Too Much Noise: Can The Condo Board Kick Them Out?
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Here's something that many condo owners or tenants in Ontario have faced: what to do about the noisy neighbour?
When it comes to a noisy neighbour in a condo complex, noise can often come from a variety of factors. Noise may derive from loud music, constant bickering between multiple people, TVs or sound speakers at abnormally high volumes and more. Although many condo residents can tolerate a certain degree of noise, there often comes a boiling point. Oftentimes, when this boiling point does happen, my experience as a condo lawyer often sees the condo board facing the brunt of resident complaints.
This then begs the following question: can the condo board/corporation lawfully evict a "noisy" resident? Oftentimes, the answer isn't so simple. However, there are ways it could be done.
It goes without saying that when it comes to evicting tenants, particularly in the residential context of condo law, such matters will fall under the jurisdiction of the Landlord Tenant Act (the "Act"). Even where a landlord is on the same page as the condo board, in that, they both wish to evict a tenant, there is usually a duty for landlords to accommodate tenants up to a certain point. This point is often a high one, and many times, excessive noise does not cut it. At the same time, the landlord also has rights too. If it seems that tenants are taking advantage of their landlords and noisy behaviour is deemed unreasonable, the Act could then favour the landlords instead. However, in situations where both the tenant and landlord feel that tenant noise is not excessive, you might ask if the condo board can still take steps to evict the tenant(s)?
Important Condo Board Documents
In the end, it often comes down to the condo By-Laws, Declaration, and other important documents. Where it specifies that "excessive noise" or other forms of disruptive noise runs counter to the most important condo documents, a condo board can be in its rights to take legal action to evict a tenant - regardless of what the landlord thinks. Of course, where the landlord supports the condo board, a tenant might face stiff opposition if there is a violation of important condo documents. This being said, in a recent Ontario case from the Niagara region, the judge ruled that a tenant could not be evicted due to excessive noise, because such measures were "draconian" or "excessive". However, this ruling should in no way, be considered the law of the land.
The Condo Lien
All this being said, there could be more leeway for a condo board to evict a tenant where the landlord's unit is subject to a condo lien. In such cases, the condo board becomes the mortgagee and supplants any other previous mortgagee (i.e. the bank, or another private mortgage lender). As Section 85 of the Condominium Act specifies, where a condo board becomes a mortgagee after registering a condo lien, it may enforce its lien in the same way a typical mortgagee would in the face of a defaulting mortgagor (borrower). For a condo board's case, this could mean filing for a writ of possession, or other legal mechanisms to officially dictate which tenants are allowed to rent the liened unit. Legally, this could then allow the condo board, as the new "landlord", to evict the unruly tenants.
This tactic is one of several ways that a condo board can deal with noisy tenants. If you are a condo board that is in need of a lawyer for noisy tenants or owners, please feel free to reach out to me. I'd love to hear from you!
Aaron Miller, M.S., J.D., is an Ontario licensed lawyer, who is the proud owner of Aaron Miller, Barrister & Solicitor, a firm enthusiastically engaged in condo law issues. Aaron can be reached at 416-659-6665 and at firstname.lastname@example.org.