Gerry Hyman has another article for the Toronto Star. Let’s discuss two of the questions raised:
QUESTION: Owners of 12 of the 32 units in our condominium requested — in writing — that there be a meeting to discuss the obligations of the unit owners. The corporation’s president advised: “It’s not going to happen,” and she said that if we insisted, she would disband the board. Can she refuse the requested meeting? And could she disband the board?
ANSWER: The Condominium Act permits owners of at least 15 per cent of the units to requisition an owners’ meeting. They may do this provided they are listed in the record of owners maintained by the corporation, and are not in default in payment of their common expense contributions for 30 days or more. Also, the requisition must be in the prescribed form.
The board is required to call and hold the meeting as required by section 46 of the Condominium Act. The president is not entitled or able to disband the board.
The President is not a dictator position. The President is only one person, and while the Condominium Act requires the President to be a director, the President only gets one vote at a Board meeting. The President cannot refuse a legitimate requisition, nor can the President disband the Board. If this is the President’s stance, then it’s time for the owners to vote the President out when her term is up for re-election. This also demonstrates why it’s time for the Condominium Act to be amended to bring in term limits. It’s time to stop allowing little dictators take over condominiums – I have heard stories like this before in condominiums where directors think they are better than the owners when they are not.
The other question I want to discuss is as follows:
QUESTION: At our annual meeting, there was to be a vote on a no-smoking rule. The meeting was chaired by the corporation’s lawyer. He allowed an owner to ask only one question and owners were not otherwise to speak — including commenting on the no-smoking rule. Can the chair refuse to allow owners to speak?
ANSWER: The Condominium Act provides that, at an annual meeting, an owner may raise for discussion any matter relevant to the affairs and business of the corporation.
If an owner raises a matter for discussion, the chair must permit the discussion within reasonable limits.
When it comes time to discuss the proposed rule, it makes sense for each owner who wants to ask a question or make a comment to do so. It sounds to me that the lawyer, as Chairman, wanted to allow everyone a chance to speak on the matter. But once everyone has had a chance to speak, then it is fair to come back to others who wish to speak.
However, if this was not the case, this is why the Condominium Authority of Ontario’s (CAO) tribunal should be allowed more scope to deal with condominium issues. It is not fair to now allow for more input prior to a rule being passed like this.