How is a condo board supposed to deal with complaints about bylaw contraventions?
It is important for the board to receive a complaint in writing and signed by the complainant. This will minimize the odd complaint that may be made by one owner to spite another or to test the resolve of the board to act. If people are reluctant to place it in writing let alone sign it, explain to them that their identity will be kept confidential. The board needs a record that a complaint was filed and that it wasn’t something board members made up.
The board must investigate the complaint to determine for itself that it is legitimate. This may involve taking photos and interviewing witnesses. The extent of the investigation will be determined by the complaint. If the complaint is found to be legitimate and warrants action, the board has several avenues it can follow. (Note that the board may delegate the investigation task to the property manager or another third party).
The offender should be warned that they have been found in breach of the bylaws, let them know what actions will be taken if not corrected, and give them time to correct the matter. Timelines should be reasonable but as short as possible. The board must follow up to ensure compliance.
If the remedy involves repairing damage, the board should inform the complainant in writing of the action to be taken and when. If the repair may not be readily visible, the board should advise the complainant when the work is done.
If the complaint involves the poor behaviour of an owner (e.g. one owner harassing another, noise, barking dog,) or failure to pay monthly common element fees, the board may deny access to certain facilities (e.g. the pool, exercise room, party room) until the breach is corrected. Where the governing documents allow, it could impose a fine in keeping with the provisions of the Condominium Act, or when it involves monies owed, register a lien against the property.
Laissez-faire is not an option. All the best!