Saskatoon Milroy Apartments tenants seek judicial review of council’s condo conversion decision

Saskatoon Milroy Apartments tenants seek judicial review of council’s condo conversion decisionTenants at Saskatoon’s Milroy Apartments served notice to civic administrators Friday of their intentions to seek a judicial review of council’s recent decision to approve an application for a condominium conversion at the downtown apartment building.

Represented by fellow tenants Martin Been and Barbara Henderson, Milroy residents will ask a Court of Queen’s Bench judge to overturn the decision and to grant an order prohibiting the city from issuing an approval certificate “unless and until the City of Saskatoon determines, upon evidence” that the conversion meets the requirements of Saskatchewan’s Condominium Property Act.

One section of the Act states the following with respect to condominium conversions:

On an application for a certificate pursuant to clause (1)(b), the local authority shall direct the issue of a certificate if it is satisfied that:

(e) Where the application relates to the conversion of existing premises used for apartments, flats, or tenements into units:

i) the conversion will not significantly reduce the availability of rental accommodation in the area;

ii) the conversion will not create significant hardship for any or all of the tenants of the existing premises.

The most recent Rental Market Report released by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation placed Saskatoon’s vacancy rate at a record low of just 0.6% following a busy year of condo conversion applications in the city of Saskatoon. Through 2007, over 1,500 rental units were approved for conversion, more than we’ve seen in the last ten years combined.

Councillors Bob Pringle, Pat Lorje, Darren Hill and Charlie Clark all voted against the application for conversion because of concerns over the tight rental market and the impact that a conversion would have on the buildings tenants.

I suspect that the city will argue that the Milroy tenants are interpreting the Condominium Property Act incorrectly. They’ll argue that this section of the Act provides municipalities with power to reject applications should they choose to do so, but does not limit their authority in granting applications under any circumstances which they deem appropriate.

Related articles include;

City of Saskatoon to consider proposed changes to condo conversion policy

Milroy Apartments in Saskatoon will become condos

Saskatoon City Council approves condo conversion policy change

NDP calls for “freeze” on Saskatoon condo conversions

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Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate