Picture
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Name and Title
Luis A. Hernandez
Partner
Associate
Year of Call

2017 (Ontario)

Memberships
  • Toronto Lawyers’ Association
  • Canadian Condominium Institute (Toronto)
  • Canadian Condominium Institute (Windsor-Essex)
  • Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario (ACMO)
  • Canadian Hispanic Bar Association (CHBA)
Publications
Description

Luis Hernandez Head SHot

A legal battle between a celebrity and his Manhattan neighbour may be a rather extreme example of a fairly common condominium dispute, says Toronto condominium lawyer Luis Hernandez.

The actor recently won an injunction requiring his neighbour to stay off of his property as part of a lawsuit launched in 2017 that accused the man of carrying out a “campaign of harassment” that began when the actor and his former spouse started $1 million renovations, reports PageSix.com.

The judge ruled there was ample evidence to support a claim of harassment and intimidation against other residents in the building, including the co-op board president, who had submitted sworn statements to support the actor’s position.

While fact-patterns like this are less common in a typical condo dispute, issues between neighbours are nothing new, Hernandez tells AdvocateDaily.com.

“Condos are a sort of microcosm of society, especially in large areas like Toronto,” he says. “They’re these enormous towers with hundreds of units, with residents from all sorts of socio-economic, ethnic and religious backgrounds.”

As a result of people living in such close proximity, the likelihood of conflict increases significantly, and condo boards often have no choice but to get involved, says Hernandez, an associate with Shibley Righton LLP’s Toronto office.

“Disputes between neighbours often end up becoming a problem for the condo board by virtue of the fact that it’s happening on their property,” he says.

While such disputes are often unavoidable, the key is for condo boards to be prepared with processes and rules that mitigate them, if possible, but also allow for any disagreements to be handled appropriately.

For example, in Ontario, if a condo owner wants to make renovations to their unit, rules can set out such things as how the work will be done and when it needs to be completed, times the contractors are allowed to enter, what to do with debris and what elevators to use, Hernandez says.

“The solution is to create processes — and follow them — and hope there won’t be any issues between neighbours,” he says. “But the inevitable reality is you’ve got people in close quarters interacting with others, and there is only so much that can be done to mitigate these kinds of disputes.”

Once the disputes arise, Hernandez says a condo board should be diligent in using the resources at its disposal to try and best address the situation, including contacting their lawyer, property manager and any other third party outside the board who can assist without escalating tensions.

In the end, it’s best to be proactive rather than reactive, he adds.

“In many circumstances, it’s unavoidable for the board to get involved,” Hernandez says. “Sometimes it’s better to get involved earlier and address it head-on instead of letting it fester and getting dragged in once the situation is much worse.”

Date_Published
2019-09-25
Description

Luis Hernandez

Toronto condominium lawyer Luis Hernandez isn’t afraid to give his clients the unvarnished truth.

Hernandez, an associate with Shibley Righton LLP’s Toronto office, says his “direct” style can take some getting used to for clients — often condo corporation boards of directors seeking help with corporate governance, compliance matters, contracts, bylaws and rules.

“Some people want you to tell them what they want to hear, but I’d be doing my clients a disservice if I practised that way,” he tells AdvocateDaily.com. “I try to give no-nonsense and practical advice that helps advance their goals and puts them in the best possible position.

“Whether we agree or disagree, I’ll be frank in providing them with my professional view of the best course of action,” Hernandez adds.

Still, he says most clients appreciate his honesty in the long run, as they come to realize his appreciation for the unique nature of condominium living.

“Condominium corporations are not just any not-for-profits, but ones that govern people, their homes, and often their single largest investment,” Hernandez says. “You have to try and set egos aside and put the well-being of the community first and foremost.

“I regard my approach as very principled, and I care very much about doing the right thing,” he adds.

But any edge to Hernandez’s style is softened by his friendly and open demeanour.

“Approachability is very important to me because I want board members to know that we have the resources available to support them with any number of legal issues, and from someone who won’t judge them,” he says. “I’m there to assist them in any way I can to help them run their community better.”

Although he received his call to the bar in 2017, Hernandez’s roots in the condominium community run much deeper, having interned with a condo law boutique in 2012, before he had even taken up his place at the University of Windsor’s Faculty of Law. He continued to summer there throughout his studies and later articled at the same firm.

Hernandez is a member of the Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario and sits on the board of directors of the Windsor-Essex Chapter of the Canadian Condominium Institute (CCI), in addition to his involvement in a number of committees with CCI’s Toronto chapter.

Hernandez moved his practice to Shibley Righton in 2018, attracted by the firm’s bench strength in condominium law.

“It’s a great place to practice, and has worked out very well,” he says.

The main focus of Hernandez’s practice is solicitor work for condo corporations and providing advice or legal opinions to board members on a variety of issues, including contract review, rule compliance by owners and residents, and corporate governance.

However, he also carries a number of litigation files touching on condo-related disputes.

“One of the reasons I fell for condo law is the diversity of the practice,” Hernandez says. “On any given day, you could be dealing with a human rights complaint, compliance issues, employment matters, or drafting bylaws and rules.

“It keeps me on my toes,” he adds.

Date_Published
2019-07-26
Experience
More About
BIO

Luis A. Hernandez is an associate at Shibley Righton LLP and works primarily with the Condominium Law group. His practice is focused on solicitor-side condominium work, nevertheless he is often involved in litigation-related matters.

Luis’s practice involves him in all aspects of condominium law. He consistently advises boards of directors on corporate governance, compliance matters, negotiation of contracts, and preparation of by-laws and rules. He also attends clients' board meetings and chairs owners' meetings, such as annual general meetings and requisitioned meetings.

With respect to litigation, Luis has appeared as counsel before the Ontario Superior Court, Divisional Court, Small Claims Court, Condominium Authority Tribunal, and the Landlord and Tenant Board.

When not working directly with clients, Luis is an active volunteer in the condominium industry. He sits on the Board of Directors of the Windsor-Essex Chapter of the Canadian Condominium Institute (CCI) and is involved on a number of CCI's national committees. Luis has written numerous articles for industry publications and enjoys giving presentations to directors and property managers on current topics.

Having lived in Canada, the United States, and Nicaragua, Luis is an avid traveler who enjoys exploring the world and, in particular, meeting new people. He also enjoys cooking, reading a good book, and everything "tech".

Luis is fluent in Spanish and is proactive in the Latin and Hispanic community. In particular, he values his involvement with the Canadian Hispanic Bar Association.

Contact Information

T: 416.214.5259
F: 416.214.5459
E: lhernandez@shibleyrighton.com

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Education
  • University of Windsor, J.D., 2016
  • University of Western Ontario, B.A., 2013
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