TORONTO – A condominium in Toronto has put up a sign saying two cousins are not allowed to live together in another twist of the so-called “single-family” rules that have condominium boards that weigh into who may be in the condo’s bedrooms.
“Two cousins who want to live together as roommates is an example of an extended family that does NOT form a ‘single-family’ unit because they have different parents,” reads the sign clearly posted in the lobby at Horizon on Bay Street.
Owners of the building told CTV News Toronto that they thought it was strange to design the type of families that are and are not allowed.
“It struck me as very strange when I went in and saw it,” said Andy Lehrer, who said he has lived in the building for about eight years. “It seems random.”
“I thought that kind of thing died out with the human rights code and the constitution.”
The statement may seem random on the surface, but the apartment refers to a “single-family” rule, which seems to be among those designed to keep the apartments quiet.
The rules face a new investigation after one was quoted by a condominium management firm in Century Plaza condominium on Wellesley Street who told an unmarried gay couple living in the building whether to get married or go.
Meanwhile, other unmarried heterosexual couples who spoke to CTV News Toronto said the management company, TSE Management Services, was happy that they could declare themselves a family without a certificate.
TSE Management Services has not returned any messages from CTV News Toronto since Tuesday.
A CTV News Toronto study has found several examples of “single-family” rules, from very restrictive rules that even exclude childless couples and singles to those who accept two people who pool their resources as a family.
Some courts have ruled that condominiums must enforce these single-family rules. The Department of State and Consumer Affairs said in a statement that Ontario’s human rights code – which prohibits discrimination based on family status – must be followed, but has not committed itself to removing those rules.
The province’s watchdog for condominium companies told CTV News Toronto that it has not received any complaints about discrimination, but says that if the incident is proven, it could be a breach of its ethics.
“Our position is that the human rights code is paramount to other legislation and instruments, such as the Declaration, Articles of Association or Rules of Condominium Company,” said a statement from the Condominium Management Regulatory Authority of Ontario.
There may be a chance to test it soon. Condo owner Paula Boutis had complained about the “single-family” rule that denied her a chance to rent to a number of family types a year ago, but when CTV News Toronto made a story about the case on Thursday, the complaint had not been accepted.
Friday morning, she received a message that the complaint would continue and the apartment, High Park Lofts, would be served on the complaint.
“I do not understand why a condominium is allowed to adopt rules that are in violation of the human rights code,” Boutis said.
A viewer told CTV News Toronto about a simple way to let all types of families live together regardless: in writing declaring that every couple is a family. She said it has been working in her apartment in Toronto for over a year.