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Inconsistent Bylaw Enforcement will Not Get You Off The Hook For Your Own Violation

I’ve had the opportunity, as a board member, to listen to owners indicate why they shouldn’t be fined for violating bylaws. The most common (amongst many) defense against being fined is “but you didn’t enforce the bylaw in these 12 different issues or instances.”

It is a very rare event where a board will use the bylaws to personally target a specific owner. In the vast majority of cases, the board is working as best they can to enforce the bylaws on all owners. Most boards constantly attempt to respond to all the violations that are presented to the board.

This is fine as there isn’t a standard of duty for boards requiring perfect enforcement of the bylaws. The board is required to be neither omniscient regarding the depth of bylaw violations, nor perfect in its application of the bylaws. They are allowed to be reasonably inconsistent. Really!

In the 2011 ruling of Peel Condominium Corporation No. 108 and Donna Young, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled that even though the owner accurately identified many other violations of the condominium bylaws that haven’t been addressed by the board. The court continued that

there has been a degree of selective enforcement by the applicant sufficient to give rise to a concern.  However, it does not approach the sort of rampant non-enforcement that has arisen in some cases

and

There is an interest, in the collective, in having the Declaration enforced, even if some transgressors have been allowed to violate it.

So, highlighting that your neighbours seem to have escaped the gaze of the board and you haven’t will likely prove a poor defence (and in essence an admittance of guilt) to your violation.

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