Condominium dispute resolution
Condominium unit owners, condominium tenants and condominium corporations have a number of options if they feel condominium corporation rules are not being properly followed. There are also 2 separate dispute resolution processes. The process you use depends on the nature of the dispute and the parties involved.
Disputes can arise within a condominium corporation. Sometimes a third party is needed to help resolve the dispute. There are 2 separate dispute resolution processes under the Condominium Act. The process you use depends on the nature of the dispute and the parties involved.
Dispute resolution processes
The condominium dispute officer process is used to resolve relatively minor disputes between a condominium unit owner and a condominium corporation as set out in Section 33 of the Condominium Act.
The condominium arbitration process is used to resolve more significant disputes between various parties of a condominium corporation as set out in Section 33A of the Condominium Act.
Dispute resolution options
Talk it out
You can discuss your concern informally with members of the condominium corporation, write to the condominium corporation asking for formal consideration of the concern, or raise your concern at an annual general meeting.
Apply to have the dispute heard by a condominium dispute officer
Condominium corporations and condominium unit owners that are in dispute with each other can apply to have the dispute heard by a condominium dispute officer.
Appeal the decision by the condominium dispute officer
If you’re not satisfied with the outcome of your hearing with the condominium dispute officer, you can appeal the decision. To appeal, you must show that the condominium dispute officer made an error in law or jurisdiction.
Arbitration for significant disputes
Condominium disputes can be resolved through arbitration. Arbitration is a hearing process to resolve disputes or issues between 2 or more parties. An appointed arbitrator conducts the arbitration process.
The termination of the governance of the condominium corporation by the Condominium Act cannot be arbitrated. Any other issues can be arbitrated.
The parties for arbitration can be:
- 2 or more condominium unit owners
- a condominium corporation and 1 or more condominium unit owners
- a condominium corporation and the property manager
- 2 or more condominium corporations
- a condominium corporation and an occupant (tenant) of a condominium unit
- a condominium unit owner and the occupant (tenant) of another condominium unit
Any party to the dispute can initiate arbitration. Use Form 23: Notice of Intention to Submit Dispute to Arbitration.
Arbitration is mandatory once the process has started. All parties are bound by the decision of the arbitrator regardless of whether they attend or make presentations at the hearing.
The arbitrator can assign costs to either or both parties.
List of arbitrators
Individuals who have been appointed to the Registrar of Condominium's list of arbitrators conduct the arbitration. These individuals have experience and training in both condominiums and arbitration.
Parties can have representation at the hearing. Representation can include a lawyer or property manager.
You can present evidence in written format, orally, by calling witnesses or by presenting pictures or documents. You need to provide copies of any evidence (other than oral) to all parties and the arbitrator at the time of the hearing.
The arbitrator puts their decision in writing. The decision needs to contain reasons for the decision. Each party involved in the dispute needs to get a copy of the decision.
The arbitrator’s decision can be appealed, but only if there is a claim of bias on the part of the arbitrator or if the arbitrated matter was outside the arbitrator’s jurisdiction. The appeal is made to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.
Condominium corporations as landlords
Condominium corporations can take on the role of landlord in a residential tenancy hearing if an occupant (tenant) of a condominium unit owner is not complying with (following) the condominium corporation's rules.
The landlord is the owner of the condominium unit and responsible for the behaviour of the occupant (tenant). The landlord is responsible for making the occupant (tenant) aware of the rules that the occupant (tenant) needs to follow.
If a condominium corporation has tried unsuccessfully to have an occupant (tenant) follow the rules and the condominium unit owner is unwilling or unable to take action against the occupant (tenant), the condominium corporation may consider following the residential tenancies process.
Residential Tenancies process
A condominium corporation or authorized representative can apply for a residential tenancies order evicting the occupant (tenant) from the condominium unit by using Form 25: Notice of Breach of Condominium Corporation’s Declaration, By-laws, or Common-Element Rules.
Give the parties 15 days to resolve the issue. If the issue is resolved to your satisfaction within that time, you don’t need to take any more action.
If the issue is not resolved after 16 days, you can start the residential tenancies process.
Application to Director
Use Form J: Application to Director to request a hearing with a residential tenancy officer. The residential tenancy officer makes decisions about disputes between landlords and tenants. Filing an application does not always mean you'll have a hearing.