It was recently reported in the media that a Mississauga condominium corporation enacted a rule that requires all residents who wish to smoke cannabis in their units to register with the corporation within 30 days of the effective date of the rule. The rule also states that only those who have registered will be allowed to smoke cannabis in their units. However, the rule has an exemption for those who use cannabis for medical or therapeutic reasons.
This rule has caused some controversy among residents. One resident has concerns that the registry infringes on the privacy of residents. However, section 55 of the Condominium Act, 1998 protects information relating to specific units or owners. As the registry will contain information relating to specific units, the registry will not form part of the records of the corporation that owners, purchasers and mortgagees can request to examine.
That same resident also expressed concern that the registry will vilify cannabis users, while tobacco smokers and alcohol drinkers are free to continue these activities without having to register. It appears that the condominium corporation has decided going forward to prohibit residents from smoking in their units and has created the registry in order to grandfather those who were smoking cannabis prior to the enactment of the rule. While the requirement for cannabis users to register with the corporation may be novel, some condominiums have required pet owners to register their pets in order to grandfather existing pets not in compliance with the pet provisions in the condo documents and to assist the corporation in enforcing the pet restrictions in the condo documents.
Prior to the legalization of cannabis, condominium corporations could rely on provisions in the declaration or rules prohibiting illegal activities to prevent or halt the recreational use or cultivation of cannabis on the condominium property. Once the federal government took steps to pass legislation to legalize the recreational use of cannabis, many condominium corporations rushed to enact rules prohibiting cannabis smoking in the units prior to the legislation being enacted. By having the prohibition in place prior to the legalization of cannabis, those corporations would not have to grandfather existing cannabis smokers, as anyone smoking cannabis in the units prior to its legalization was engaging in an illegal activity.
Even though federal legislation has legalized the recreational use of cannabis and the cultivation of cannabis for personal use, condominium corporations can enact reasonable rules or amend the condominium declaration to create provisions that will regulate or restrict these activities on the condominium property.
Amending the declaration is difficult as it requires the written approval of the owners of at least eighty per cent of the units in the corporation.
However, the board can make reasonable rules that promote the safety, security or welfare of the owners and the property and assets of the corporation or prevent unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of the common elements, the units or the assets of the corporation. Upon enacting a rule, the board must send a copy of the rule to the owners, along with a statement that the owners are entitled to requisition a meeting. If no meeting is requisitioned within 30 days of the notice being sent, the rule becomes effective on the 31st day. If a meeting of owners is requisitioned the rule will become effective only if the majority of owners at the meeting do not vote against the rule. While all the tenants and residents in the condominium are bound by the rules only the owners have the opportunity to requisition a meeting to challenge a rule.
Denise Lash is Founder of Lash Condo Law.