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Are college students allowed to occupy an Ottawa condominium unit?

There are 2 sides to every story, and this debate is no different.

There are individuals and families who have purchased condominium units or townhomes for investment purposes.  In many cases, the owners have placed an ad in the newpaper or online and found a suitable couple or family to sign a lease and occupy their rental property.

Occassionally, a unit is rented to one or more college or university students, who each pay a percentage of the monthly rent.  At least one student has signed the lease, but all of the students living at the property may or may not be listed on the lease.

There are a growing number of law suits in the Ottawa area related to this very topic.  Adjacent property owners or owners in the same condominium complex are worried that some of the student tenants' activities and lack of maintenance may result in an unfavorable reaction from potential property owners who want to live in a community  of "single family residences".

The question of whether or not a student living arrangement is permitted appears to depend on the wording of the registered condominium Declaration.  The usual wording of a Declaration states that units can only be used as "single family residences".  Is this is the wording contained in your Declaration, the question then becomes whether or not the occupants are considered a "family". 

The problem is that many Declarations do not specify the definition of the word "family".  If there is a definition of the word "family", the case may seem more clear in that the occupants may have to be related.  Ultimately, the question of whether or not occupants of this nature are permitted to reside in a complex's unit depend on 2 things:

1. The wording of the Declaration; and
2. If the wording of the Declaration is favorable and specifies "single family residences", then is there a definition of the word "family".

There has been a decision in a recent case, Nipissing Condominium Corporation No. 4 v. Kilfoyl which ordered that the occupants of the units in that particular condo complex must be related.  The Court further specified that, since there was a clear definition of family in the condo's Declaration, the decision did not contravene Ontario's Human Rights Code.

This decision is currently in the appeals process.  Once the Ontario Court of Appeal has made its decision, we may or may not see a revision of the Declaration of many of Ontario's condominium corporation.

For more up to date information on Ottawa condominiums, contact the Renaud Otten Team at 613-288-2455.

Posted Sunday, March 07, 2010 by Martin Bouma
Tags: ottawa condos,ottawa condos for sale