How Clear Must Records Be?
In the case of Sava v. York Condominium Corporation No. 386, the owner made a request for the condominium corporation’s records relating to a refund of the special assessment.
The CAT determined that the owner had been given all of the available records, and therefore dismissed the owner’s request for records. The CAT said that a condominium corporation cannot be compelled to produce records that don’t exist (unless of course the corporation is obligated by the Condominium Act and/or Regulations to keep the particular records).
However, the CAT nevertheless ordered the condominium corporation to pay costs to the owner (namely $200 for filing fees as well as $871.50 for legal advice obtained by the owner). This was because the records that had been provided were inconsistent and confusing.
As I read the decision, the CAT ordered the condominium corporation to pay costs because the corporation’s records (about the refund) were confusing and unclear. The CAT said:
I find that despite the fact that Mr. Sava did not obtain any new records as a result of this application, he did obtain a significant clarification and explanation of the records he had previously received. He only received that clarification and explanation during the closing stages of this hearing. The clarification that Mr. Sava received and when he received it, taken together, are sufficient to entitle Mr. Sava to an award of his filing fees of $200 payable by YCC386.
The CAT explained that “a condominium corporation, while required to provide access to certain corporate records, is not obliged under the Act to explain them”.
In other words, the CAT’s reasoning seems to be that the condominium corporation had no legal obligation (under the terms of the Condominium Act) to explain the records. Therefore, the owner’s only option was to apply to CAT in order to force the condominium corporation to provide the necessary clarification.
The further takeaway, I think, is as follows: Although condominium corporations are not obligated to explain their records to owners, condominium corporations do have an obligation to offer clarifications or corrections if the records are confusing are unclear.
Stay tuned to Condo Law News to keep up to date on the latest developments on record keeping!