We have help quite a few condominium corporations pass rules dealing with tobacco and cannabis. Systematically, the single most important question faced by boards is: What rule would be acceptable to our owners? Fear not, we have developed a tool which will allows you to get a timely and accurate reading on your community’s views. Getting that information prior to drafting any rule will undoubtedly help you strike the right balance and draft the best rule for your community.
Adopting the right rule
Boards can adopt rules aimed at promoting the safety, security or welfare of owners or aimed at preventing unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of units and common elements. Rules cannot be inconsistent with the declaration and, more importantly, they need to be reasonable. This is where the challenge lies. What is reasonable for one set of owners may not be to the others. Each corporation is different. In many cases, condo boards are left guessing on what will strike the best balance between the collective needs and individual desires:
- Do we address both cannabis and tobacco at the same time?
- Do we prohibit smoking in units, on balconies or everywhere on the property?
- How do we deal with electronic cigarettes and vaping?
- Are we going to grandfather anyone? If so, for how long?
- Will our rule deal with the consumption of cannabis or also with the growing of cannabis?
Since rules are ultimately approved by owners (if 15% of them requisition a meeting to vote on it), how do you ensure that you craft a rule which will garner ownership acceptance? In many cases, the best way to tackle this is to survey your owners. In fact, the absence of consultation is often a source of discontent, which may be sufficient to derail a rule. In one of our corporations, owners supported the rule but were upset at how it came about. They wanted to be consulted!
We have developed a confidential, arms-length online survey allowing corporations to canvass their owners on these delicate questions prior to circulating a rule. The survey is easy to use and does not require any complicated login. The survey is left open for as long as each corporation wishes to ensure maximum participation. The information received from owners is kept confidential and only aggregate results are shared with corporations, which provides for more accurate results. Once the results are in, we generate an easy-to-follow report for the board. This reports guides the board in the drafting of the best possible rule and is also a very useful tool when presenting the rule to owners.