How decisions about condo gyms are made: Reasonable Doubt

Who determines the condo gym hours and how is new equipment purchased?

When I attend condominium owner meetings in buildings that have a gym, the gym tends to be a significant topic of conversation. Some residents question the gym hours and ask for them to be changed or extended. Some ask for new equipment and others complain about the noise.

In most cases, addressing these questions, comments and issues rests with the condominium corporation’s board of directors, who must balance the interests of individual owners with those of the corporation as a whole.

Let’s say the board decides to review gym hours to consider whether to change them. A variety of factors including demand (when people want to use the gym), servicing (when the corporation’s cleaning personnel are available to clean the gym) and noise (how close the gym is to residential units) must be weighed. If the board decides to change gym hours, notice is given to unit owners, and if gym hours are set out in a formal rule (as opposed to simply being adopted by policy and posted on the gym door), unit owners can request a meeting to vote on the proposed amendment to the rule.

If the board considers purchasing new equipment for the gym, they must decide whether new equipment would replace existing equipment, or if the new equipment is in addition to existing equipment. If new equipment replaces existing equipment, advance notice to owners is not typically required. Whereas, if new equipment is in addition to existing equipment, or is a significant upgrade to existing equipment, advance notice to owners may be required if the estimated cost of the new equipment exceeds a certain percentage of the corporation’s annual budget.

The decision-making process may be somewhat different if the condominium corporation is part of a multi-building development, and if the various buildings share a single gym. In circumstances where multiple corporations share facilities like a gym, the governance of the shared facilities will often be the responsibility of a shared facilities committee that typically represents different corporations. In that case, the committee would be responsible for making decisions about things like gym hours or purchasing new equipment. This can lead to friction where different condominium corporations have different priorities, or different views on how the shared facilities should be operated. For example, if the gym is in building A, representatives from buildings B and C might push for longer open hours for the gym, but this could be resisted by the representatives from building A on the basis that its residents are disproportionately affected by the noise and traffic associated with people using the gym. Similarly, if the residents of building A make greater use of the gym, the representatives from building A could advocate for more money to be spent on gym equipment in this case, the representatives from buildings B and C could oppose this on the basis that their residents would not get the same bang for their buck (so to speak).

you do not like the rules that your condominium corporation’s board of directors has made for the gym, you have options. You can run for election to the board in order to advocate for change from the inside. If you are not successful in being elected (or do not have the time or interest to serve on the board), you can put forward your thoughts at an owners meeting, or as the property manager to pass your comments on to the board to be considered at a board meeting.

Timothy Duggan is a condominium lawyer and civil litigator with Horlick Levitt Di Lella LLP. Reasonable Doubt appears on Mondays. You can contact him on Twitter at @timmyd_ and tell him what you would like to read about in future columns.

A word of caution: You should not act or rely on the information provided in this column. It is not legal advice. To ensure your interests are protected, retain or formally seek advice from a lawyer. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Horlick Levitt Di Lella LLP or the lawyers of Horlick Levitt Di Lella LLP.

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