Condominium Authority Tribunal Awards Costs for Archived Records

In Missal v. York Condominium Corporation No. 504, the Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT) provided a reminder on the need to maintain complete archived records and to be responsive to owners’ records requests.

The owner in this case had submitted a request to consult the condominium’s Record of Owners and Mortgagees, and the General Ledger for Repairs and Maintenance for the period between January 1, 2014 and February 8, 2021 (the date of the request). The condominium corporation failed to provide a response to the Request for Records within thirty days and only responded once the owner had commenced proceedings before the CAT.

Moreover, the corporation mentioned in its response that the owner “may not examine or obtain a copy of the ledger, a non-core record”, but nevertheless provided the owner with the general ledger for repairs and maintenance from July 1, 2016 to February 8, 2021. In other words, the ledger for the period between January 1, 2014 and June 30, 2016 was not provided to the owner.

The CAT held that the corporation was entitled to charge a fee to retrieve the archived records (which were stored in a storage facility) and that the delay by the corporation in providing the records was not unreasonable.

However, the CAT held that the corporation’s response to the request for the General Ledger for Repairs and Maintenance was “deficient” as the corporation had initially informed the owner that they could not examine or obtain a copy of the ledger, and ultimately failed to provide a copy of the ledger for the period between January 1, 2014 to June 30, 2016. The corporation’s response, therefore, amounted to an effective refusal to provide the records.

The corporation based the failure to provide the records on oversight and inadvertence, which the CAT rejected as a reasonable justification. The CAT awarded a penalty of $500 against the corporation and awarded costs in the amount of $75 (corresponding to the reimbursement of the owner’s filing fees and the costs for the negotiation stage of the CAT proceedings).

This decision is a reminder of the importance of maintaining complete records (including records that are archived). Section 55 of the Condominium Act, 1998 mentions the specific retention periods applicable to different types of records and must be consulted in conjunction with Section 13.1(2) of Regulation 48/1.

Furthermore, in addition to reviewing the above provisions, condominium corporations must ensure to be proactive when responding to records requests from owners (and consult legal counsel for any assistance!)

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