Condo association blamed for construction damage caused by city, threatened with fines

After city subcontractors did some sidewalk construction near the condo building, one of the residents found cracks in the foundation of the building.
After city subcontractors did some sidewalk construction near the condo building, one of the residents found cracks in the foundation of the building. (Photo: Supplied/Sabrina Rapone)

A condominium association in Montreal, Que. found itself in a tough spot after the association says city repair work caused damage to their building.

After city subcontractors did some sidewalk construction near the condo building, one of the residents found cracks in the foundation of the building. The resident approached the workers and claims they admitted fault for the damage and would fix it. Nothing was done.

The condo’s building administrator called the Montreal Southwest borough, which is a local district within the city, to tell them about the damage to the building. The borough then sent out an inspector to assess the damage and a few days later Condo association president Sabrina Rapone received a letter.

Rapone couldn’t believe her eyes when she read the letter telling the condo association that they are responsible for repairing the damage. However, not only did the borough tell the association that the damage is their own problem but they were told they had to fix the damage within 30 days or else would be subject to a $2,000 fine.

The demands for the board to shoulder the cost for repairs left Rapone perplexed:

"I honestly thought it was a joke — I didn't think that this could be happening,” she told CBC News. She adds, "I knew it was going to be a struggle to go and claim against the city … but I didn't think that they would add insult to injury and tell me that I was at fault.”

Since the condo board is being held accountable for damage caused by city workers, condo owners are essentially being asked to shell out for repairs and fines out of their own pockets.

If repairs are considered “major repairs,” then that would be taken from the reserve/contingency fund to which owners contribute as part of their common element fees. If the damage is considered damage to common elements, then the funds to repair the damage would be taken directly from the common element fees.

In either case, sudden unexpected repair costs can result in owners having to pay more for common element fees in the future.

After CBC News contacted the city to ask them about this situation, the city acknowledged that they’re responsible for the sidewalk repair job that caused the damage, and that they will send a representative to “assess the situation.”
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