Condominium bylaws govern how the condominium corporation runs. They cover matters such as board of directors (condo board) elections, contributions (condo fees) collection and the passing of rules. Rules supplement the bylaws. The rules focus on the daily concerns of condo living to help make it a pleasant place to live.
Condominium bylaws also govern the condominium complex. Every condominium must have a set of bylaws and to enforce them. Bylaws apply to all owners in a condominium, as well as anyone renting or visiting the condominium.
Bylaws can cover a wide variety of issues, including but not limited to:
- Pets: whether they are allowed, how many and types allowed, whether board approval is required, etc.
- Age Restrictions: whether there is a minimum age to live in the building, whether children are allowed, etc.
- Aesthetic restrictions: colour of window coverings, whether planters are allowed on balconies, etc.
- Renovation guidelines: installation of hardwood flooring may require extra soundproofing, etc.
- Parking restrictions: types of vehicles that can be parked, visitor parking rules, etc.
- Use of amenities: hours of operation, maintenance standards, visitor policies, etc.
- Condo governance: electing board members, meeting schedule, voting procedures, bylaw amendments, etc.
- Bylaw enforcement: penalties for not following the condo bylaws.
Potential purchasers: Why it is important to review the bylaws before you buy
You should carefully review the condo bylaws and rules to make sure they suit your lifestyle and needs. For example, if you want to get a pet in the future, you should check the bylaws to see what the condo corporation’s policies are. If you do not follow the condominium’s bylaws, you can face a financial penalty and/or a potential lawsuit. There may also be supplementary rules that you have to follow. For example, there may be rules that specify the type of allowable pets and how big they can be.
When a condominium plan is registered, the bylaws in the Condominium Property Regulation apply to the corporation. These bylaws will remain in force until they are repealed or replaced by special resolution. If there is a conflict between a bylaw and the Condominium Property Act and the Condominium Property Regulation, the Act or Regulation will prevail.
How can bylaws be changed?
Condominium corporations may amend any conflicting bylaws to conform to the Condominium Property Act and Regulation by ordinary resolution within one year after January 1, 2020.
In all other circumstances (for example, when adding new bylaws or changing non-conflicting bylaws), condominium corporations can only amend, repeal or replace a bylaw by special resolution.
For example: On January 1, 2020, a condominium corporation has some bylaws in conflict with the Condominium Property Act and Regulation. It can bring its bylaws into conformity with the Act and Regulation through an ordinary resolution before January 1, 2021. If the corporation changes existing bylaws not in conflict with the Act or Regulation, or adds new bylaws, then it can only do so by special resolution.
If a bylaw is successfully changed, withdrawn, or replaced, the amendment must be filed with the Land Titles Office. Legally, bylaw changes do not take effect and cannot be enforced in court until they are filed and noted on the condominium additional plan sheet.
Tip for condo boards: Consider reviewing bylaws on a regular basis and engage owners on proposed changes.
What happens if an owner, tenant or occupant doesn’t follow the bylaws?
The Condominium Property Act requires the condominium corporation to enforce the bylaws and allows for the condominium corporation to establish monetary or other sanctions when bylaws are breached. The condominium corporation has the authority to impose monetary or other sanctions on owners, tenants and occupants who are breaching the bylaws.
Condominium corporations can only impose a sanction if the bylaw allows for it and indicates what the sanction is. If there is a monetary sanction, the bylaw must state the amount of money or range of money that could be charged for breaching the bylaw. Sanctions imposed under a bylaw must be reasonable in the circumstances.
A sanction cannot be imposed if:
- it prohibits or restricts the devolution of units or any transfer, lease, mortgage or other dealing with the units or
- destroys or modifies any easement implied/created by the Condominium Property Act
Tip: unlike bylaw breaches, condominium corporations cannot impose sanctions for rule breaches.
For more information, go to our page on Sanctions.
Last updated: May 2022