Recreational cannabis users living in condominiums in Ontario can be forgiven for feeling like they’ve been left high and dry (pun intended).
The legalization of weed for recreational use has not been warmly received by condo corporations, with many introducing their own rules to ban the drug, not only in common areas, but also in individual units.
New rules/bylaws introduced by condo corporations prior to October 17, 2018 (when pot became legal), effectively prevent owners/renters from smoking, vaping or growing the plant within their own homes. Since cannabis laws only allow the drug to be consumed at home, some condo occupants still have no legal means of indulging their recreational appetites. The question now is whether these anti-cannabis rules will stand up in the courts.
It’s unclear exactly how many condos in Ontario have introduced anti-cannabis rules, but Keegan Ferreira, deputy registrar of the Condo Authority of Ontario (CAO), says that those that didn’t do so prior to legalization will face a much more challenging situation in effectively enforcing any subsequent prohibitions. Most condo rules include “grandfathering” provisions which allow existing condo owners/tenants to continue with whatever legal activity they enjoyed prior to a new rule being introduced. Even if residents only enjoyed legal cannabis for a week, they may be entitled to keep the party going as long as they stay in their current unit.
As time passes in the world of legal cannabis, it will be interesting to see how condominiums address the competing rights and freedoms of smokers and non-smokers, and more broadly how they balance individual rights with the common interests of their residents. Ultimately, it will be for the courts to validate these decisions when the inevitable conflicts arise.
Mold is a form of fungus and reproduces through spores released into the air. Should spores find a warm and humid area, they will continue to grow using the surfaces they spread to as food – this could be wood, drywall, carpet and paper. Mold also tends to flourish in places where it is not visible, such as behind walls, under floors and air ducts.
Due to the high loss and incidence of mold-related lawsuits incurred during the 1990s, insurance companies have limited their exposure by introducing a “fungus exclusion” to standard commercial property policies. Typically, a standard commercial policy (which condo corporation insurance is built around) would provide limited coverage for mold based on several technical exclusions. Essentially insurers would provide coverage for the removal of damaged property and the replacement thereof. The insurance cover would normally be $15,000 for a single loss event as well as being an annual aggregate.
Alex Gemmiti, a senior broker at Mitchell & Whale Insurance, points out that most homeowners’ and tenants’ insurance policies contain exclusions for mold. The result being that, should a condo owner/tenant be found responsible for the spread of mold, the condo corporation would seek financial restitution from that person for the cleanup and repair of damages caused to the condo building – even though the person would be unlikely to have mold insurance.
Condo corporations and owners should consult with their brokers to determine whether they have the appropriate and adequate insurance to fully cover mold-related damages.
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