Date published: 09/08/2022

Intimidation and harassment: the Court sanctions co-owners

Differences of opinion between the different co-owners and directors of a co-ownership are not uncommon. They can be beneficial if they are done with respect. However, they must not turn into areas of harassment and intimidation. When some abuse their power, by making vexatious remarks, by undermining the credibility and reputation of others, any interested party is entitled to request the intervention of the Tribunal. In a recent Judgment of the Superior Court, the court issued a "protection order" against harassing, threatening or intimidating co-owners in a condominium. It is essentially a civil order to keep the peace, but with the difference that it is addressed only on behalf of specific persons.

In this case, it was shown that one of the co-owners made threats both during in-person communications and over the telephone. As examples, the latter had said the following words to these co-owners: "It's going to be your turn", " Your days are numbered ", " I'm gonna get you back", " I'm watching you ", "Your turn is coming", etc.  Such words were deemed inadmissible by the court since they clearly constitute threats to the health, safety and even life of others. It was also proven that the interactions of this co-owner with the other co-owners were often marked by aggression and verbal violence. Relations with these dysfunctional co-owners have thus affected the well-being of the co-ownership. This is how the Court related the following: "Moreover, and it is not surprising, co-owners avoid leaving their homes so as not to meet Clément. Some co-owners even called the police during some exchanges with him. Finally, the evidence also shows that Lefebvre spies on these co-owners and films or photographs them and thus contributes to the threat to the psychological health of the victims. »

The Tribunal found that the defendant co-owners had demonstrated aggressive and intimidating behaviour towards the co-owners and their family members. All the criteria for issuing a protection order were thus met: the health and safety of natural persons were threatened by other natural persons. Indeed, a situation or repeated behaviour of harassment constitutes a threat to psychological health.

Although the plaintiff is the syndicate of co-owners in the case, whereas such an order normally concerns natural persons, the judge granted the request, in particular because of the testimony of the victims of the reprehensible conduct. In short, here is a new weapon for syndicates of co-owners that should prove useful in certain circumstances.