Mental Health Issues in Condominiums
When a resident appears to be suffering from a mental illness, this can raise concerns for other residents, as well as for the resident in question. Depending upon the specific circumstances, many possibilities may merit consideration, including:
- Does the resident have family that might assist?
- Is the resident receiving any assistance from social or health services?
- Does it make sense to involve public authorities (such as the Police, Fire Department, Health Department, Municipal By-law Enforcement)?
- Should steps be taken to have a Guardian appointed for the resident?
A resident with a mental health illness has a disability, which a condominium corporation must take reasonable steps to accommodate (“to the point of undue hardship”). But at the end of the day, the other residents are also entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of their homes. These interests can be difficult to balance.
If issues cannot be resolved by other means, a Court Application may provide a remedy. In such cases, it may also be necessary to arrange for appointment of a litigation guardian – usually the Public Guardian and Trustee – to navigate the Court process on behalf of the disabled resident. The recent case of York Condominium Corporation No. 301 v. James is one such example. In that case, the Public Guardian and Trustee was appointed as litigation guardian, and the Court subsequently ordered that the unit (owned by a resident with a mental illness) be vacated and sold.