Seemingly Stupid Rules in Condos

I have been to many annual general meetings where owners bring up rules they think the condominium should repeal because they serve no purpose other than to control their lives.  Sometimes the rules are designed to maintain a uniform appearance (which the courts have recognized as a proper purpose for a rule), but sometimes the rules are designed to address more serious issues, like preventing damage to the property or injuries to persons. In this post we will discuss a few of these seemingly stupid rules that could have serious consequences if ignored.



Many condominiums have rules that prohibit owners from placing decorative items, such as wreaths, in the common element hallways in their high-rises. Many people assume that these rules are designed to maintain a uniform appearance in the hallways. The truth is that many of these decorative items are safety hazards. How could that be? In the event of fire, these items can create toxic smoke (as most are made of plastic), making safe egress from the building harder for all residents on the entire floor. For this reason, the Fire Code prohibits these items from being left in the common hallways. Even if a condominium does not have rules prohibiting items from being left in the hallway, the board should investigate their obligations with respect to the Fire Code to determine if the items are permitted or not. 


Temperature and Humidity

Many condominiums, especially newer ones, have provisions in their declaration that require the owners to maintain the temperature in their units (i.e. minimum of 10 degrees Celsius). Some condominiums also require owners to keep the humidity in their units to a certain level. These are not designed to tell you how to live in your unit. These provisions are designed to prevent significant damage to the property. The most common issue when the temperature is not maintained is pipes that freeze, burst, and flood the unit, adjacent units, and the common elements. Similarly, if the humidity in a unit is too high, it can lead to mould growth, which poses a risk of damage to the property but also of harm to the occupants. The mould can spread to adjacent units and the common elements, exposing the occupants of neighbouring units as well. Mould can be costly to remediate, especially if it starts growing behind drywall, under floors, etc.


Contact Information / Vehicle Information

Some owners refuse to provide updated information about the occupants of their unit or the vehicle information. Section 83 of the Condominium Act, 1998, requires owners to provide information on the occupants of their unit when they lease it, but some owners refuse to provide this information when their unit is not leased. As a result, many condominiums are passing rules to require owners to provide certain information about the occupants of their unit and any vehicles used by the occupants. This information is required for several reasons, but primarily it is used for safety purposes. In the event of substantial damage to the property, such as a catastrophic fire, the fire department and other officials needs to know how many people may be inside each of the units to assist them with their searches. The condominium also needs to know who to contact if there is an issue that requires access to a unit, such as a maintenance issue, or to correct non-compliance with a rule, such as an owner parking in visitor parking. Without accurate information about the occupants and their vehicles, there could be misunderstandings leading to the vehicles of occupants being towed from the property.

Do you have any other examples of seemingly stupid rules? We’d love to hear from you.