CCI Huronia Newsletter, Winter 2019 Issue
Requisition Received: A Guide to Responding to a Cannabis Rule Requisition
Colin Ogg, RCM, Senior Property Manager, Maple Ridge Community Management
Ashley Winberg, B.A. (High Honours), J.D., Associate, Elia Associates
With the legalization of recreational cannabis many condominium corporation boards have considered prohibiting cannabis cultivation and/or smoking. The advantage of implementing a rule prohibiting cannabis cultivation and/or smoking, as opposed to a new by-law or amending a condominium corporation’s declaration is that a rule does not require the approval of the owners, unless the owners requisition a meeting for the purpose of voting on the new rule.
Thus, many boards have proposed rules that prohibit cannabis cultivation and/or smoking. Unfortunately, many of these boards do not know what to do if they receive a requisition requesting that a meeting of owners be held for the purposes of voting on the proposed rule. This guide details the top 5 rules that boards must be aware of upon receiving a requisition.
1. Ensure the Requisition Is Valid
Condominium corporations are only required to call and hold an owners meeting if they receive a valid requisition. Important questions to ask upon receiving a requisition are:
- Has the requisition been signed by the owners who own at least 15% of the units?
- Are any of the owners who signed the requisition in arrears of 30 days or more?
- Was the requisition delivered personally or by registered mail to the board’s president or secretary, or to the address for service for the condominium corporation?
- Does the requisition clearly state the nature of business to be presented at the meeting?
If a board is ever in doubt with respect to any of the above questions it is important that the board seek legal advice from the condominium corporation’s solicitor, and that they do so right away as the 35 day clock starts ticking the day that the requisition is received, which is discussed in greater detail below.
2. Know Your Timelines
Boards must take prompt action upon receiving a requisition as condominium corporations have 35 days from the date that a valid requisition is received to call and hold the required owners’ meeting.
The regulations to the Condominium Act, 1998, S.O. 1998, c. 19 (the “Act”) currently provide that a preliminary notice for a requisition meeting can be sent 15 days before the notice of meeting is sent, as opposed to the standard rule of 20 days before the notice of meeting is sent. Therefore, upon receiving a valid requisition, a condominium corporation has 5 days from the date that the requisition is received to send out the preliminary notice of meeting, and must then send out the notice of meeting no less than 15 days before the date of the meeting.
3. Secure a Date and Venue
Once it is confirmed that the requisition is valid, it is imperative to set a meeting date and secure a venue.
For a mid-rise building with a party room the venue is a no-brainer, but for townhouse communities without party rooms meetings are often held at schools, libraries and/or at recreation centers, which can be difficult to reserve on such short notice. Thus, if the meeting cannot be held on site, the board should start calling several local venues in order to secure a venue for the selected date prior to the preliminary notice of meeting being sent to owners within 5 days of the requisition been received.
4. Properly Chair the Meeting
As to ensure that order is maintained during the requisition meeting and that the meeting is held in accordance with the requirements of the Act, it is advised that boards request that their condominium corporation’s solicitor and/or a senior member of the condominium corporation’s property management company attend the requisition meeting and chair same.
5. Don’t Panic and Stay Positive
The most important rule for boards to keep in mind upon receiving a requisition is not to panic and to stay positive. All too often boards get spooked by the words “requisition meeting”. There is no reason for a requisition meeting that is held correctly be to a negative experience, as such a meeting is an excellent forum for those who oppose the rule to express their opinions in a controlled environment in front of all of the owners instead of in the lobby or in the underground garage without all of the facts and without all of the players present.
By following the 5 rules detailed in this guide, your board will be able to have a productive requisition meeting that will benefit your condominium community as a whole.