The CAT Orders Removal of Dog and Awards Partial Costs
In the case of Wellington Condominium Corporation No. 244 v. Pauli, the condominium corporation’s Declaration contained a provision that prohibited certain breeds of dogs. Based upon the available evidence, the CAT ordered the removal of a dog (owned by a tenant) based upon non-compliance with this provision “unless a satisfactory letter from a licensed veterinarian is provided to WSCC 244 which states that (the dog) is not a Doberman or mixed breed Doberman”.
The condominium corporation also claimed legal costs (for the CAT process) of almost $11,000. The CAT ordered the owner to pay the condominium corporation $1,500 (in addition to $200 in “CAT fees”). The CAT’s reasoning included the following:
- “…the Applicant’s documents reveal that little effort was made to engage directly with Mr. Price-Matthews (the tenant) about Mikita even though, as was noted by WSCC 244, he was equally bound by the provisions of the declaration.” [For this reason, the CAT declined to order the tenant to pay any costs.]
- “This was not a dispute that could be described as exceptional such as to warrant a substantial award of costs. But there was noncompliance and there was an obligation on the Respondent as owner to familiarize herself with the provisions in the declaration and, when faced with potential noncompliance, to explore measures with her tenant that may have resolved the issue.”
- “While there was is no evidence of additional costs to WSCC 244 due to delays caused by the Respondent during the course of this hearing, I do find that the declaration provisions (including indemnification provisions) have some relevance and it is appropriate in this context to minimize the burden borne by other owners to secure compliance with the declaration and therefore it is not unreasonable that the Respondent bear some of the burden of the legal costs to secure compliance through this hearing. I award costs of $1,500.”
Here are my takeaways from this decision:
- A breed-specific prohibition in a Declaration will be enforced.
- A proper indemnification provision is still an important factor when it comes to claims for costs. However, the CAT is reluctant to award full costs against an owner and/or tenant, except in cases where their actions have been unreasonable (such as blatant refusal to comply following numerous requests).
- When dealing with a violation by a tenant, it’s important to dialogue with both the owner and the tenant.
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