The landlord of a Toronto condo is being forced to pay at least $8,500 to cover the costs of his “nuisance-causing” tenant, a recent tribunal hearing found.
On Feb. 10, the Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT) found both the owner, Frank Micoli, and the tenant, Ilan Philosophe, of the Yonge Street and St. Clair Avenue condo equally responsible for the tenant’s “annoying” behavior.
In the documents, CAT Vice-Chair Michael Clifton decided Micoli needs to pay $8,551.50 to cover legal costs, and both Micoli and Philosophe to jointly and severally pay $18,239.60 to the corporation that manages the condo building.
The CAT confirmed to CTV News Toronto this is the “highest costs order awarded by the Tribunal to date.”
According to the decision, Philosophe moved into the building in July 2021, and began to cause “nuisances, annoyances, or disruptions for other residents and the condominium’s staff.”
The “annoying and disruptive conduct” included him leaving food containers in the hallway for long periods of time, causing “foul smells and tripping hazards,” and “excessive noise,” the decision said.
Clifton also said there was a “consistent pattern of abuse and aggression” toward building staff, and a lack of compliance with the condo’s COVID-19 regulations.
In November 2021, the condo’s legal counsel wrote to both Philosophe and Micoli to outline these concerns, the documents said. Despite that, the decision notes the building’s security staff recorded about 30 more incidents and received several complaints from residents.
Meanwhile, Philosophe and his lawyer argued the condo board was using the tribunal to “force” him out of the building, suggesting the case is motivated by a staff member’s “personal vendetta” following an “initial altercation.”
Details of the alleged altercation were not brought forward in the case, and the condo corporation denied it. Clifton said in the decision it’s reasonable to accept it could have happened, but ultimately decided the allegation that this “entire case is motivated solely by such alleged animus is not persuasive.”
The vice-chair said Micoli “barely participated” throughout the case proceedings, falling in line with the condo corporation’s argument that he has had a “laissez-faire” attitude regarding all of the complaints made about his unit’s residents.
Consequently, Clifton said his “lack of reasonable efforts” to address Philosophe’s conduct placed the burden onto the condo corporation to take matters into their own hands – including the costs of this case – which is why the vice-chair thought it would be appropriate to award Micoli a “substantial portion of those costs.”
According to the documents, Micoli had reportedly started to file an application to resolve an issue with Philosophe with the CAT, but the condo corporation said in the proceedings he did not end up pursuing it.
The Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB), which oversees landlord and tenant disputes, told CTV News Toronto it could not find any applications by Micoli to evict Philosophe.
“The unrefuted testimony of the parties is that [the condo owner] failed to take any reasonable steps to address the issue of his tenant’s long-standing non-compliance,” Clifton wrote.
Philosophe had previously expressed intentions of moving out of the unit “at some point in the near future,” and Clifton wrote in his decision that “it will likely be better for all parties that he does.”
Until he moves out, Clifton ordered Philosophe to cease all disruptive conduct while in his unit and anywhere else on the property, and Micoli to follow through on his statutory obligation to ensure his tenant respects the condo’s rules.
‘DYSFUNCTIONAL LOVE TRIANGLE’
Rod Escayola, partner with Gowling WLG whose practice focuses in condominium law, said this case demonstrates costly lessons for both the owner and tenant of a unit.
Speaking to CTV News Toronto about the case, Escayola said Micoli “appears to be taking the benefits of being a landlord … but they don’t want to be the one dealing with the downside.”
Marc Goldgrub, a lawyer at Green Economy Law Professional Corporation, said the condo owner’s responsibility was to, first and foremost, tell Philosophe to stop the disruptive conduct or be evicted from the unit.
“He could have done that in emails, letters, written communications, should have CC’d the condominium corporation. It would have been good if he had a lot of evidence to show that he was on top of this, which he didn’t,” Goldgrub said.
Escayola said what this particular case has done has exposed the “dysfunctional love triangle” between the condo corporation, the condo owner, and the tenant.
“And that’s because they each have a relationship with each other that’s independent from one another. The corporation can regulate the owner, easily. The owner can regulate the tenant, and vice versa. But, there’s no real relationship between the corporation and the tenant,” he said.