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The Benefit of Early Intervention
The benefit of early intervention in respect of condominium conflict is apparent when one considers how long the trial process takes and how easily conflict can escalate between parties who continue to exist in community with one another. Recent case law also serves to highlight the expense of going to court while prompting questions as to when a court house is the right forum for the fuss.
“That a matter such as this ended up in Court is unfortunate, the cost consequences here are 5 to 10 times the value of the claim.” – Maranger J., Ottawa-Carleton Standard Condominium Corporation No. 671 v. Friend (“Friend”)
The Friend case surrounded a dispute between a condominium corporation and unit owner in respect of the payment of approximately $3000 pertaining to the installation of a water meter.   Each party was ultimately required to incur much more than the $3000 in dispute to resolve the situation. 
In fact, the total legal costs ultimately awarded to the condominium corporation in the course of “winning” were fixed at $15,000 all inclusive, seemingly only half of the total that it spent. While compliance issues were also at hand in the course of this conflict and the unit owners were found to have acted as though the rules did not apply to them, the court felt that such issues could have easily been rectified, implying that litigation was not necessary to address this aspect of the conflict.
Mediation, particularly in the early stages, need not be expensive and can provide value even if the conflict persists by narrowing issues, clarifying intentions, defining respectful communication between parties and evidencing that a conciliatory approach was attempted before proceeding to trial.

By Marc Bhalla - October 2013
Hons. B.A., Q. Med. - Mediator and Senior Clerk

Ext:  811
Email:  mbhalla@elia.org 
Toll-Free:  1-866-446-0811  

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All of the information contained in this article is of a general nature for informational purposes only, and is not intended to represent the definitive opinion of the firm of Elia Associates on any particular matter. Although every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this newsletter is accurate and up-to-date, the reader should not act upon it without obtaining appropriate professional advice and assistance.

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