Condo liv­ing about give and take

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - New Condos - ROBERT NOCE

Dear Robert: My con­do­minium unit’s bal­cony is flanked on ei­ther side by my neigh­bours’ bal­conies, which af­fords me a di­rect view onto both neigh­bour­ing bal­conies.

I try to keep my own ve­randa neat and tidy, both for my own ben­e­fit and in con­sid­er­a­tion of my neigh­bours.

One of my neigh­bours has both a small dog and a cat who each use a lit­ter box.

Now that spring has come, my neigh­bour has placed both lit­ter boxes on her bal­cony, so now I have to watch her pets use their lit­ter boxes, and when I am on my bal­cony, all I see are these lit­ter boxes. It is gross.

Can I do any­thing about it with­out her know­ing that I was the per­son who com­plained?

An­swer: If your con­do­minium by­laws al­low pets, then your neigh­bour is prob­a­bly within her rights, un­less there is a spe­cific re­stric­tion with re­spect to bal­conies.

How­ever, gen­er­ally speak­ing, each bal­cony is part of the unit or the owner has an ex­clu­sive use agree­ment, and the unit owner can con­trol what hap­pens on their bal­cony.

You could try nicely ask­ing her to keep the lit­ter boxes far­ther away from your bal­cony, or to shel­ter your view.

Help­ful hint: Con­do­minium liv­ing is all about com­pro­mise, and if your con­do­minium al­lows pets, then this may be an is­sue that you face, es­pe­cially dur­ing the sum­mer months.

If you don’t like see­ing your neigh­bours’ messy bal­conies, then you need to talk to your neigh­bour and find a res­o­lu­tion to the prob­lem or sell your unit and move or buy the pent­house.

Dear Robert: Our con­do­minium in Cal­gary suf­fered a hail loss in Au­gust 2010. Our board met with the in­surance com­pany and it was deemed to be a $130,000 claim.

At least half of the own­ers in the con­do­minium were not aware of the claim. In Septem­ber, the board ac­cepted a cash pay­out with­out con­sult­ing the own­ers. Is the board re­quired to ad­vise the own­ers that there was a claim?

Are they al­lowed to make a de­ci­sion like this to ac­cept a cash pay­out with­out con­sult­ing the own­ers?

An­swer: The board is well within its rights to make a de­ci­sion on be­half of the con­do­minium cor­po­ra­tion.

The board is the di­rect­ing mind of the con­do­minium cor­po­ra­tion and courts gen­er­ally give the board def­er­ence in terms of the de­ci­sions it makes.

Whether or not the board should or should not have ad­vised the own­ers is re­ally a ques­tion of com­mu­ni­ca­tion. It would have been pru­dent on the board’s part to keep the own­ers up­dated with re­spect to any in­surance claim, be­cause it does have an im­pli­ca­tion for all of the own­ers with re­spect to the pre­mi­ums paid by the con­do­minium cor­po­ra­tion.

Help­ful hint: Al­though they are not re­quired to do so, it is nonethe­less help­ful and con­sid­er­ate for a board to keep own­ers in­formed of these types of is­sues.

Dear Robert: My con­do­minium cor­po­ra­tion by­laws con­tain a sec­tion which states that the cor­po­ra­tion, through its board, may pay an hon­o­rar­ium, stipend or salary to mem­bers of the board in a man­ner and in the amount as may be from time to time de­ter­mined by or­di­nary res­o­lu­tion at a gen­eral meet­ing.

This is the only pro­vi­sion in the by­laws that re­lates specif­i­cally to pay­ments by our board to its mem­bers.

The terms hon­o­rar­ium, stipend and salary are not de­fined. It has been sug­gested that in the ab­sence of a res­o­lu­tion at a gen­eral meet­ing, there is no au­tho­riza­tion of the cor­po­ra­tion through its board to pay an hon­o­rar­ium, stipend or salary to mem­bers of the board. Is this cor­rect?

An­swer: It is dif­fi­cult to give an opin­ion on the word­ing of a by­law with­out hav­ing the ben­e­fit of read­ing all of the by­laws. How­ever, based on your sum­mary, it would ap­pear that some form of or­di­nary res­o­lu­tion at a gen­eral meet­ing is re­quired to set out the amount of the hon­o­rar­ium, stipend or salary.

With­out that res­o­lu­tion, the board does not ap­pear au­tho­rized to pay an hon­o­rar­ium, stipend or salary. If there is any doubt in terms of whether or not the pro­vi­sion is ap­pli­ca­ble, the condo board should seek legal ad­vice.

Help­ful hint: To ob­tain a full ap­pre­ci­a­tion of any con­do­minium is­sue, it is im­por­tant to read the by­laws in their en­tirety.

Dear Robert: The prop­erty man­ager of my con­do­minium will not pro­vide me with con­tact in­for­ma­tion for mem­bers of the board. Am I en­ti­tled to know who is cur­rently serv­ing and in what ca­pac­ity? How am I sup­posed to con­tact board mem­bers (out­side the an­nual gen­eral meet­ing)? What are the gen­eral rules re­gard­ing the with­hold­ing of such in­for­ma­tion?

An­swer: You are en­ti­tled to know the names of all of the board mem­bers of your con­do­minium cor­po­ra­tion. In fact, the names of board mem­bers are reg­is­tered at the Land Ti­tles Of­fice and that in­for­ma­tion is pub­lic.

As well, you have the right to know who is the pres­i­dent, vice-pres­i­dent, sec­re­tary and trea­surer, and any other board po­si­tion. I would like to think that the con­do­minium cor­po­ra­tion would, as a mat­ter of course, pro­vide all own­ers with a con­tact name for any build­ing-spe­cific is­sue that they wish to raise with the board.

Help­ful hint: When you live in a con­do­minium, take the time to meet your neigh­bours. As well, at­tend the an­nual gen­eral meet­ing so that you can put names to faces of board mem­bers.

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