Concerns re Proposed Condo Act Amendments – Concern #2

As mentioned in previous posts, Bill 106: Protecting Condominium Owners Act was introduced in the Ontario Legislature on May 27, and the full text of the bill is now available here.

Many of the proposed amendments to the Condominium Act, 1998 (“the Act”) look very good to me. However, I do have some concerns. This is Concern #2.

Concern #2 – Access to the Units

Currently, Section 19 of the Act says that a condominium corporation can gain access to a unit or exclusive-use common element – at a reasonable time and on reasonable notice – in order to perform the objects and duties of the corporation, or to exercise the powers of the corporation.

This has consistently been interpreted to allow a condominium corporation to gain access to a unit without prior notice “in the event of an emergency” (because in an emergency, it’s reasonable for the condominium corporation to gain immediate access and then to provide notice to the owner after-the-fact). This is also confirmed in many (but not all) condominium declarations or by-laws.

The proposed amendments to the Act include a provision to add the following Section 19 (2) to the Act:

“Subject to any conditions or restrictions in the regulations, the declaration or a by-law may permit the corporation or a person authorized by the corporation to enter the unit or part of the common elements of which the owner has exclusive use without prior notice to the owner in the event of an emergency or other event or circumstance as is prescribed.”

So, this means that in the case of an emergency – like a fire or water escape incident, or an occupant in serious distress – the corporation can’t enter the unit without prior notice, unless there is a provision allowing for such in the declaration or in a by-law of the corporation.

I don’t understand why this is being proposed. In my view, all condominium corporations should have the right to gain access, without prior notice, in the case of an emergency – whether or not there is any provision for such in the corporation’s declaration or by-laws. Otherwise, a condominium corporation could lose the ability to prevent serious harm to persons, to the property, or to all owners – just because there isn’t such a provision in the declaration or by-laws. I think the Act should simply confirm that corporations have this access right (without prior notice) in the case of an emergency.