Picture
Picture
Name and Title
Megan Mackey
Partner
Partner
Year of Call

2004 (Ontario)

British Columbia (2008)

Memberships
  • Law Society of Ontario
  • Law Society of British Columbia
  • The Advocates’ Society
  • Ontario Bar Association
  • Canadian Bar Association
  • Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario
  • Canadian Condominium Institute
Publications
Description

Megan Mackey Head ShotShared facility disputes are a frequent source of litigation which is why cost-sharing agreements are worthwhile to iron out ahead of time, Toronto real estate lawyer Megan Mackey tells AdvocateDaily.com.

There’s no shortage of examples when two buildings adjacent to each other share such things as a parking garage, repairs, recreational facilities, roads, maintenance and operating costs, says Mackey, partner with Shibley Righton and an experienced real estate lawyer who works on behalf of condominium corporations, boards and unit owners to efficiently resolve legal matters. 

She says signing contracts to determine who pays for what, and to what degree, can save each party time, money and legal tangles.

“There are also cases where reserve funds are required for unexpected expenses and long-term maintenance,” Mackey says.

If, for instance, the lighting system in a shared garage needs upgrades to reduce electricity costs, that kind of agreement and the price tag can be “split in accordance with the parties’ interests,” she says, adding that both should contribute fairly to the reserve fund.

Mackey also learned of one case where townhouses and two towers shared a massive water main, typically needing to be replaced every 70 years. “But when it comes up, the cost is very high. Sometimes there are those sorts of rare one-off events that really need to be added to the cost-sharing agreement,” she says.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2019-02-14
Description

Megan Mackey Head ShotCondominium corporations should enact anti-harassment rules to protect their property managers and staff, Toronto condominium and commercial litigator Megan Mackey tells AdvocateDaily.com.

Mackey, partner with Shibley Righton LLP, says it's an emerging and growing issue, and she has dealt with numerous cases involving emotional, and more rarely, physical abuse of those who work in condominiums.

“It’s a very serious problem that can affect a person’s whole life,” she says. “Managers have to deal with all kinds of things in their work, whether it be floods, snowstorms, or unexpected staffing shortages. But there’s no reason why they should have to put up with harassment in the workplace. It’s completely unnecessary.”  

According to Mackey, condo corporations can make her job easier by incorporating an anti-harassment policy into their rules that specifically prohibits unit owners and residents from harassing people on the site.

“Anti-harassment provisions give us more tools to address problematic behaviour in the event we have to go to court,” she explains.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2018-12-31
Description

Megan Mackey Head ShotCondominium boards and managers should deal with hoarding and pest issues quickly, going to court if necessary, to stay on top of potentially expensive problems, says Toronto condominium and commercial litigator Megan Mackey.

“Often, the condominium board doesn’t really appreciate how bad the problem is and what risks are associated with it,” Mackey tells AdvocateDaily.com.

She says hoarding typically comes to light as the result of a pest infestation or a plumbing issue.

“We may get reports of pests or leaks coming from a unit,” says Mackey, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP.

“If it’s reported as a plumbing issue, the plumber may refuse to go into the unit because he or she discovers there is a hoarding problem,” she says.

“For most condos, the annual fire inspection is a good way to keep an eye out for hoarding.”

Mackey recalls a hoarder that had both plumbing issues and pests in their unit.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2018-11-13
Description

Megan Mackey Head ShotIn the final instalment of a three-part series, Toronto condominium and commercial litigator Megan Mackey discusses service agreements and penalty clauses.     

Securing a contractor for a project is one of the most important jobs a condominium corporation’s board is tasked with, Toronto condominium and commercial litigator Megan Mackey tells AdvocateDaily.com.

In this three-part series, Mackey, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP, shares some of her tips to help the process run more smoothly.

After selecting the preferred bidder, the condominium must get everything in writing in the form of a service contract, she says.

To ensure the time and effort taken to draw up detailed tendering documents is not wasted, Mackey says it’s crucial that the final terms of the contract reflect the scope and timing of the project.  

In addition, she says it’s important that both parties are on the same page when it comes to expectations for the final product.

For example, Mackey says many condominium boards enter renovation projects with the aim of exploiting government rebates designed to encourage energy-saving behaviour. However, the eligibility rules are often complicated and strict, she says.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2018-09-27
Description

Megan Mackey Head ShotIn the second instalment of a three-part series, Toronto condominium and commercial litigator Megan Mackey discusses how to choose a winning bid. 

Securing a contractor for a project is one of the most important jobs of a condo corporation’s board, Toronto condominium and commercial litigator Megan Mackey tells AdvocateDaily.com.

In this series, Mackey, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP, shares some of her tips to help the process run smoothly.

Once the bids are in, it’s time to pick a winner, she says, but boards should resist the temptation to automatically go with the lowest price.

“Not all bids are equal and you can get a wide discrepancy in prices, depending on the quality of the work and differences in scope and timing, among other things,” Mackey says. “Simply focusing on the cheapest option is not always going to be the best choice for the corporation.”

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2018-08-28
Description

Megan Mackey Head ShotIn the first instalment of a three-part series, Toronto condominium and commercial litigator Megan Mackey discusses what condominium corporations should know about procuring contractor services.     

Securing a contractor for a project is one of the most important jobs a condominium corporation’s board has, says Toronto condominium and commercial litigator Megan Mackey.

There are ways to help the process run smoothly, says Mackey, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP.

When it comes to tendering, condo corporations can save themselves trouble by skipping the process altogether for smaller jobs, she says

“Tendering can be a significant amount of work, so if it’s a relatively small contract — and you have a good, trusted contractor that you turn to for those types of jobs — it may be better to hire them. It’s very helpful if you can develop a relationship with someone who’s reliable for small jobs,” Mackey tells AdvocateDaily.com.

“It’s also work for contractors to respond to tenders, so there are a good number who will not want to bother bidding on smaller jobs anyway," she says.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2018-07-13
Description

Megan Mackey Head ShotApproaching mediation with an open mind can improve the chances of settlement, says Toronto condominium and commercial litigator Megan Mackey.

Under the province’s Condominium Act, mediation is mandatory for any dispute about shared facilities between a unit owner and the condominium corporation, except for those occasions when the safety and security of a business or residence are at risk, explains Mackey, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP.

As a result, she admits she's entered the mediation process expecting little in terms of resolution.

“Because it's something the parties are being forced to do, you can sometimes go in thinking there's no chance of settling,” Mackey says. “But I’ve been involved in cases where the parties have surprised me by making a great settlement.

“Now I think mediation can work for any type of dispute, as long as the parties come to it with an open mind and are willing to listen to the other side,” she tells AdvocateDaily.com.

Mackey says the nature of condominiums means that disputes are inclined to involve high emotions.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2018-05-31
Description

Megan Mackey Head ShotThe City of Toronto’s move to regulate short-term rentals is good news for condo boards that want to crack down on such use by unit owners, says Toronto condominium and commercial litigator Megan Mackey.

Mackey, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP, says short-term rentals have proved troublesome in a number of condo corporations in the city.

“In downtown buildings, there are situations where there is heavy partying, which causes issues for residents and building managers. There are other problems associated with short-term rentals, too. So I think it’s great the City of Toronto is making changes to limit when dwellings can be rented out on a short-term basis,” she tells AdvocateDaily.com.

“It’s hard to know exactly what will happen if and when the zoning changes take effect, but we think it will certainly have a big impact on condominium boards' efforts to eliminate many of the problems associated with short-term rentals.”  

According to a CBC report, municipal zoning changes will limit rentals in the city to the principal residence of homeowners and tenants.

Anyone who wants to list any other units will need to register with the municipality, pay a permit fee and submit to licensing under regulations that define short-term rentals as those lasting less than 28 days.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2018-04-23
Description

Megan Mackey Head ShotConsulting a lawyer before a condo purchase can help buyers avoid nasty shocks after closing, Toronto condominium and commercial litigator Megan Mackey tells AdvocateDaily.com.

While buyers are required to have legal representation on any real estate transaction, Mackey, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP, says it won’t always be enough to successfully navigate a condo purchase.

“The reason you should have all your documents reviewed by a condominium lawyer, rather than just a real estate lawyer, is that condominiums come with all sorts of limitations on what you can and can’t do,” she says. “That’s the nature of living in a condominium community; there have to be rules otherwise you will encounter problems.

“Each purchaser has their own list of requirements they're looking for in a condo, and a lawyer can help make sure that what you are buying meets your specific needs,” Mackey adds.

Some of the most commonly problematic restrictions involve smoking, pets and parking, she says, adding that first-time dwellers may not be aware that corporations can dictate rules on each of those issues to unit owners.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.


Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2018-03-16
Description

A new registry of condominiums across the province will finally paint an accurate picture of condominiums in Ontario, including the identity of all directors and property managers and the number of units, says Toronto condominium and commercial litigator Megan Mackey.

This will provide greater transparency for those seeking information about condominiums, she tells AdvocateDaily.com.

As part of the sweeping changes to the Condominium Act, the Condominium Authority of Ontario is requiring condo corporations to register their buildings. The original December 31, 2017 deadline has been pushed to Feb. 28, reports Condobusiness.

A new government regulation under the Act also requires all condo corporations to file returns on an annual basis and keep this information up to date. The returns are to contain specific key information about the corporation, according to the Condominium Authority of Ontario's (CAO) website.

Smaller, self-managed buildings may have only recently learned about these obligations so the extension will allow for a more complete picture of how many condominiums exist in Ontario, Mackey says.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.


Date_Published
2018-01-25
Description

Megan Mackey Head ShotThe diverse mix of people she meets and helping condo corporations resolve complex issues are the most satisfying parts of the job for Toronto condominium and commercial litigator Megan Mackey.

“It’s a real people business,” says Mackey, a partner with the Toronto office of Shibley Righton LLP, "and the issues are fascinating."

She has advised condominium corporations, unit owners, and developers, as well as acted for insurers, corporate clients, and individuals in both condominium and commercial lawsuits.

While some lawyers only represent one type of litigant, Mackey sees it as an advantage to represent them all.

“We find it gives us a better appreciation for all the different positions by acting for the various players involved,” she tells AdvocateDaily.com.

Mackey regularly appears before the Superior Court of Justice as well as mediators and arbitrators. She has both trial and appellate experience and has appeared before all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada.

She particularly enjoys the problem-solving aspect of her practice.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2017-12-19
Description

In buildings containing multiple dwelling units, it is inevitable that residents will hear their neighbours. Condominium lawyers are frequently contacted about noise issues. People often ask: Just how much noise is too much? What kinds of noises are condominium residents expected to put up with, and when is the condominium corporation required to step in? Should the neighbours be blamed, or poor construction? Can the developer be held accountable for noise transmission in new condominium buildings?

Condominium corporations can implement and enforce rules to eliminate noise caused by behaviour issues such as raucous parties. This article discusses noise that cannot be addressed through behavioural changes.

Noise transmission can also be attributed to construction or design deficiencies. Fortunately, noise problems caused by the building itself can be resolved through remedial work. There is an improving understanding of sound attenuation. More importantly, the provincial authorities, responsible for building standards, are finally taking notice of this problem and are preparing to introduce requirements relating to sound transmission that could cut down on noise complaints.

Tis is an excerpt of an article that appeared on reminetwork.com.  To read the complete article please click here.

Date_Published
2017-08-24
Description

In this recent decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal, the court confirmed that the cost of installing or upgrading a security system can be recovered as a chargeback against the owner whose actions caused the condominium corporation to install the cameras.

In this dispute, the condominium's stairwells were being damaged and vandalised by graffiti. The condominium corporation needed to find out who was causing the damage so that the condominium could put an end to the behaviour and recover the cost of repairing the damage. Unfortunately, the condominium was unable to catch the offender and did not know who was responsible for the damage. The condominium installed security cameras so that it could monitor the stairwells.

The security footage revealed that tenants of a residential unit were vandalising the stairwells. The condominium started an action to evict the tenants and recover its costs. The tenants moved out shortly thereafter, and the condominium then sought to recover all of the costs it incurred from the owners of the unit in which the tenants resided.

The unit owners admitted they were responsible to pay for damage caused by their tenants but objected to many of the charges. In particular, the owners objected to reimbursing the condominium for the $15,000 spent installing security cameras and upgrading surveillance equipment.

There has previously been some debate as to whether the cost of installing or upgrading security systems can be charged back against unit owners. While many condominium corporations try to recover these types of costs from owners, unit owners typically object to the charges. Owners often claim that changes to security systems are upgrades to the common elements which should be paid by all unit owners.

It is true that individual unit owners are typically not liable to pay for upgrades to common elements; unit owners can only be required to reimburse the condominium for costs reasonably incurred to enforce the rules.

The Court of Appeal ordered the unit owners to pay all costs associated with the upgrades to the security system, including the cost of installing cameras in the stairwells. The court confirmed that improvements to a security system are not "upgrades" to the common elements if the improvements were required in order to enforce the rules. The court held that in this case, the cost of installing security cameras was necessary to permit the condominium to enforce the rules.

This decision is good news for condominium corporations. It reinforces the principle that all owners should not be required to pay costs attributable to conduct for which one unit owner is responsible. Also, by making owners accountable for the conduct of their tenants, it will force owners to be more careful when screening prospective tenants.

Date_Published
2017-08-08
Description

A recent court decision and report by the Law Society of Upper Canada confirms that condominium liens can only be registered by lawyers. Property management companies are not permitted to use paralegals or their own staff members to register or discharge liens.

The Law Society of Upper Canada regulates the practise of law in Ontario. The Law Society began investigating the registration of liens by a property management company after receiving a complaint from a unit owner.

The unit owner in question failed to pay a special assessment for $767.70 because the Notice of Assessment did not initially come to her attention. The management company acting for her condominium corporation registered a lien against her unit in the amount of the special assessment. The matter came to the owner’s attention shortly thereafter, and the owner paid the amount owing under the lien.

The unit owner discovered that the property management company used a paralegal to register the lien against her unit. The unit owner, who is a paralegal herself, was aware that paralegals are not permitted to register liens. The owner reported the matter to the Law Society, which ruled that only lawyers can input and discharge liens.

The Law Society issued a letter of caution to the paralegal but did not start disciplinary proceedings or impose a punishment. This decision could be a result of the fact that the management company had stopped registering its own liens by the time the Law Society issued its report.

The unit owner brought a small claims court action against the property management company for the return of $819.25 in lien fees she paid to the management company. The owner also claimed $25,000 in damages for high handed and unethical behaviour and the unauthorised practise of law.

The trial judge dismissed the lawsuit in its entirety. The judge found that the property managers involved most likely did not know that it was against the law to use a paralegal to register liens. The judge also ruled that only the Law Society can pursue remedies for the unauthorised practise of law.

The trial judge did have kind words for the unit owner. The judge found that the owner should be recognised for bringing a matter of public interest to the court’s attention. The judge noted that the owner had put time and effort into the matter, all at her own expense. Even though the unit owner was not successful at trial, the judge ordered the property management company to pay her $500 in costs.

All property management companies are now on notice that it is illegal for non-lawyers to register and discharge liens. Should this type of dispute come before the courts again, it is unlikely that the next judge will be so lenient to a property management company which continues to unlawfully register its own liens. All board members and property management companies should ensure that their liens are registered by lawyers.

A link to the decision can be found here.

Date_Published
2017-06-15
Experience
  • Education Committee Member, Canadian Condominium Institute
More About

Megan has been involved in a number of leading cases in the condominium area. In Wu v. Peel Condominium Corporation No. 245, Megan obtained judgment for relief from oppression in favour of a unit owner who endured years of elevator noise and vibration. In Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corporation No. 897 et al. v. Bhanji et al., Megan successfully argued that a resident cannot justify a breach of a corporation’s rules by claiming that rule enforcement amounts to oppression.


Speaking Engagements

Publications



BIO

Megan Mackey is an experienced litigation lawyer in condominium and commercial matters. She has been involved in a number of precedent-setting condominium cases and is a leader in condominium litigation matters. Megan focuses on achieving results for her clients and excels at customer service.

Megan provides strategic advice and assistance to clients involved with condominium and commercial disputes. She has advised condominium corporations, unit owners, and developers regarding condominium matters. Megan also acts for insurers, corporate clients, and individuals in both condominium and commercial lawsuits.

Megan provides pragmatic advice and counsel in a number of areas:

Enforcement: helping condominium corporations and unit owners to enforce compliance with requirements of the Condominium Act, declarations, bylaws, and rules as well as obligations under shared facilities and reciprocal agreements

Construction deficiency claims: prosecuting and defending construction deficiency claims, advising clients with respect to conciliation and settlement of claims under Tarion’s New Home Warranty Program, and resolving contract disputes

Insurance issues: defending insured claims and providing coverage advice relating to condominium insurance and other matters

Collection matters: enforcing collection of common expenses and other debts through lien enforcement and claims in the Superior Court of Justice

In her practice, Megan regularly appears in the Superior Court of Justice and before mediators and arbitrators. She has both trial and appellate experience and has appeared at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada.

Megan writes and speaks on legal developments in the condominium area. She has authored a number of articles for leading condominium publications and has been invited to speak to industry groups such as the Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario, the Canadian Condominium Institute, and the real estate section of the Ontario Bar Association.

Megan is a member of the Canadian Condominium Institute, the Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario, The Advocates’ Society, and the Girl Guides of Canada.

Contact Information

T: 416.214.5214
F: 416.214.5414
E: mmackey@shibleyrighton.com

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Education
  • J.D., University of Toronto, 2003
  • B. Sc. (biochemistry, 1st class honours), Simon Fraser University, 1998
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