Condo rules banning bicycles

I wondering if anyone here has any experience dealing with Condos that have banned residents from bringing bikes into the building. A friend of mine is renting a unit in a building that has one of these rules and she is interested in starting to ride for sport. As much as it may be ok to store her $100 Supercycle outside, it's certainly not advisable to store a $2000 Specialized on the street. The Condo claims to have a bike storage facility which is nothing more than a rack in their parking garage, easily accessible by anyone in the public. Another mutual friend in the building has already had their bike stolen from the area!!

The Condo obviously refuses to take any responsibility for bikes stolen from their facility, but has threaten to fine my friend $300 if she continues to bring the bike I've lent her into the building. They refuse to change the rule saying that bicycles are dirty and cause damage to the building as well as restrict use of common areas to other residents (such as taking up to much space in the elevator)

So just wondering if anyone here has experience dealing with condo like this. I would fight this to the end and it pains me to see someone give up on the sport because of the harassment of an ignorant condo board.

Thanks in advance

[ Standard Disclaimer: Not a lawyer :) ]

My condo, and I think most, have this rule on the books. Mine is also set up the same way - a rack in the parking garage is the bicycle parking, but it's not secure to any reasonable standard. My mid-priced commuter (road) bike gets stored in my locker, while my relatively expensive race bike stays in the condo with me (it's a nice piece of furnature! :)

I have never been challenged on taking the bike up/down, and hope not to be because it'd be a hassle to fight. The bike I bring up/down never gets dirty any more than shoe soles, and I am careful not to bang it against walls (I lift it in/out of the elevator/corners).

My understanding of our legal rights (non-lawyer speaking):

  • The condo corp has no legal basis for levying fines.
  • The condo corp can try to enforce the rules through written notice and court orders. (If they get a court order, they could go after you for legal fees)
  • You can request both mediation, and if that fails, arbitration, under the Condo Act S132(4) - (or read Gerry Hyman's weekly column in the Star)

The arguments I would make:

  • Bicycles (specifically bikes ridden on roads/paths) cause no more wear and tear than any other wheeled item, including tricycles, luggage, wheelchairs, strollers, grocery carts/buggies, wheeled backpacks or childrens shoes with wheels. Failing to ban them all (ok, except wheelchairs) is indicative of the fact that these items do not cause unusual interference with the common elements. Therefore the rule is unreasonable.
  • The corporation has not provided secured (per an expert's recommendation, cf. the city's own description of how to provide secure bike storage - I don't have the link handy) bicycle storage and therefore has implemented an unreasonable rule as they are effectively banning bicycles.
  • In my case, I use my race bike on an indoor trainer. As such, I would also argue that since the common elements are the only way I can move my bike into the condo for purposes of using the trainer, that a rule preventing that interferes with my rights to enjoy the use of my unit (where moving my bike into the unit does not cause a safety or other hazard). (Although I am unclear as to what my legal rights are in terms of use and enjoyment of my unit).

The final caveat is that doing anything is going to be a hassle if the condo board are really interested in challenging you.

Many others own expensive bikes, live in condos and surely don't leave them in insecure parking, so I'm wondering what everyone else does. Has this ever been challenged? Or is this a generally untested rule? (e.g. Bans on pets is a rule that has been tested in court, so there's generally well known restrictions on what can and can not be banned)

Condo Act:

This won't help your friend, but renters and buyers should think to make it a condition before they move in: in writing perhaps. Just amazing how clueless and dismissive people are who don't ride: on and off the road.

As the first responder alluded to - condos and apartment buildings can and have tried to stick in illegal rules. (the no pets one being a common example)

This is certainly worth reading all the related condo laws. Perhaps speaking to a realtor would help - I bet they have the skinny on it.

They may be many others in your building who own bikes and don't like leaving them outside. Why not pettition for a rule change at your next AGM. Condo act makes a distinction between the declaration and the attached rules. If its a rule, then a vote by a majority of owners at your AGM may convince the board to ammend the rule. $300 is a bit stiff -- maybe a letter to Hyman at the star will do the trick.

I made a big nylon bag that I put my expensive road bike into for trips up and down in the elevator, and I haven't had any problems.
I figure my bike bag will protect the condo building from my big bad (haha) dirty bike and all its sharp corners.

That's a good idea, 'roadrider'. I have one from Japan that cost about $60.

I am too lazy even for that. I go in/out through the basement garage, but take it as is on the elevator.

I just found out today that someone in my girlfriend's condo had challenged her and told her it was "against the law" to bring her bike up to her condo unit. I searched for laws against this and came to this page. Thanks to the previous posters to give me some ideas on how to approach this. I'd love to hear any other suggestions or outcomes to your situations.

My situation sounds familiar to all of yours - my gf's condo has a unsecured bike rack room (even less secure). I'm not going to put any bike in there, regardless of cost if it's not secure. If I get any letters from condo mgmt, I'd suggest that I'll put my biek in that room if they make it secure.

Hi all,

I live in a condo, and my bikes live in my apartment. My bikes have always lived with me, everwhere I've lived, from Toronto to Tremblant; from Hong Kong to the Holiday Inn.

Bikes are vehicles, not toys, but they are also personal property, and can be carried anywhere, just like a wheelchair or other item of personal property, like a briefcase, duffle bag, gun case, garbage bag.

Anyone who challenges a cyclist on private property is obviously misinformed about bicycles. Every neighbourhood has a few angry, malevolent, misguided individuals who don't understand, respect, or appreciate bicycles and cycling culture. These ppl can rarely be changed. Empathy is a must when dealing with these ppl.

Avoiding confrontation / conflict would be the most advisable course of action;
if the challenger is threatening or violent, the cyclist should remain calm, attempt to take a photograph or remember the identitiy of the perpetrator, and call the police. Condo boards and management respond well to law enforcement responding to harrassment and threat calls on their premises.
Documenting incident (s) is paramount to proving a case in front of authorities, be they management, condo boards, police, justices, Supreme Court judges, etc.

I politely ignore ppl who challenge me when I'm walking with my bike. I will not argue with someone - I'll just proceed to the nearest exit, the destination I'm heading for, or my place of residence. Walking with a bike is not threatening, dangerous, or harmful to persons or property. But just like anything else, perception and opinion is subjective, and differs from person to person.


build. trail. culture.

Since you are a tenant, not a unit owner, you really don't have any "rights" with regards to the Corporation... so it's up to your landlord to take up the fight for you.

But that said:
A) Write a letter to Gerry Hyman, or consult another condo law specialist.
B) Ask the property management company for a written copy of the Condo Corporation By-Laws, and all other rules and related "fines". (FYI: Condo corps cannot lay fines, but they can assess a levy against the unit owner.)
C) They can't go after you for legal fees... worst case scenario it could go to small claims court, but it's not worth it for the Corporation as any legal action gets detailed in the status certificate - making it more difficult for owners to sell their units.

New ideas don't scare me; it's the old ones that do.

i got hassled once by my building's security. but they did point me to a side entrance where bikes can go. they try to keep the lobby pristine, i suppose. the side entrance is very no-frills. that's what i use all the time. and the bike goes up to my apartment. i have a folder, too, and when it's folded up, i can take it pretty much anywhere. i also rented a bike rack, just in case. but i find that i've never used it. (too much hassle, THAT is grimy and dirty). When the season is over, my bike will be stored in the locker.

I am a Realtor.

I do my business with my Bicycle and use AutoShare when absolutely necessary.
I think it would be a worthwhile initiative to get condo dwelling cyclists to collectively take action on this issue. with recent Star reporting on bike theft in condos, the time could be ripe. Good time to do an organized letter writing campaign...count me in.

Really inteligent dialogue here.

Thanks for the read.

It's been said that in order to sell a home that the realtor must first sell the neighbourhood.

I'd love to know if cycling helps you "sell" the neighbourhood, and if so, how does it help?

Do people want to live in cycling friendly neighbourhoods?

What makes a neighbourhood and/or condo bike friendly?

When I advocate for house hunting by bike I tell my clients that “they will have opportunity to explore the streetscape in a human scale way”. Smell the air, see the people, interact, and be more aware of the points of differentiation that define a neighbourhood Block by Block.

If you are a Cycleist then bikeability matters - as much as proximity to TTC for transit users, GreenSpace for Huckers, and access to arterial roads for Car Commuters.

I find more Cyclist-clients looking south of St Clair because they want to live without the hill.

Easier to sell a neighbourhood? I think it is the neighbourhood that sells itself. The people, streetscape, greenspace, and trees are more available for observation when you aren't held to the cadence of traffic and trapped in a polluting metal box with windows (and I mean that in the most car-complimentary way:)).

Hi anthony,

"What makes a condo bike friendly?"

Plenty of secure easily accessible bike parking is what makes a condo bike friendly. When I was looking for a place my first question was always, "Is there a bike room?", followed by "Where is the bike room?" and "Is there any problem with me bringing a snow laden bike into the bike room?".

Good examples of bike friendly condos are at 263 and 250 Wellington St W, where your key fob opens one of two street level doors and lets you into the bike rooms where you get at most two reserved parking spaces. Total time to park is less than 30 seconds. :) And two spots means one bike for wet weather and one for dry.

The developers did all of the above excellently, but there are not enough bike parking spaces. All the spots are spoken for, and bikes are pilled outdoors in the unsecured parking, and even more bikes are locked in the underground parking lot. The developers underestimated the number of bike parking spots required, while at the same time overestimated the number of car parking spots in the 5(?) level underground parking lot (the only time I went there I saw it 60% empty).

The most unfriendly condo for bikes I saw is at 763 Bay. It had no bike room, just a few racks outside. Wow, theft and weathering were apparently given zero weight in the developers' calculus.

Other developers made an effort when they designed their condos, since they at least have bike rooms. But when they are accessed via the underground parking (44 Gerrard IIRC) or via the front lobby (50 Portland IIRC) they aren't great. Underground parking means plenty of exhaust fumes and the possibility of slipping with snow laden tires on the sloped entrance (my condo forbids riding into the underground parking, so others may end up with the same rule). If the bike room is accessed via the lobby, then it is difficult not to ruin the interior of the lobby floor with a wet or snow covered bike.

I've put money down on a condo with Options for Homes which is a non-profit organization that is building a condo at Keele and Dundas. I'm anticipating good bike parking, having seen their earlier developments (including the first condo in the Distillery District). I've been in contact with the founder and architect (who can say they've been able to do that!) and they've told me that they are following the City's new bike parking guidelines as closely as possible. That's just awesome. I just hope they put in enough bike parking.

I highly recommend Options for Homes - affordable and down-to-earth (in all senses of the phrase). They asked the City if they could put in less car parking and will be instead installing car-sharing for residents. The building itself is all eco as well, but still affordable since it's in a less gentrified neighbourhood, they do no advertising, and put in no pool, exercise room, etc. They even have a cool scheme where they give an "Alternative Mortgage" where they give you around 10% of your mortgage and you the only interest you pay on it is 10% of the increase in market value when you sell (e.g. if your condo goes up by 20% in value you pay back the initial amount of $20,000 plus $4000).

Okay, I'll stop doing free marketing for O4H.

I live in a new condo building in DC and we're struggling with issues of bike theft and storage. Last year, when the building was new and not completely occupied we had a rash of thefts that we believe were inside jobs. We deactivated all the FOBs and reset, changed some locks, and educated the residents to use two quality locks. That seems to have worked for the thefts - now we have full occupancy and we're out of space. We have three bike racks and they are beyond full.

We can try to add another rack or two but I don't know if there is any space. Has anyone seen a building put in hooks or other holders in the ceiling (cement) either in a common space or at the far end of individual parking spaces? I don't know if the board will go for putting bikes in parking spaces but there is wasted space and it's better than brining into units.

Thanks for suggestions!

I used to live in the Wrigley Loft in Toronto. We had hooks in the ceiling for hanging bikes. The back wheel was on the ground. It had a method of locking your bike up. I found it did not damage to my wheel and worked well.

As for theft, we had precautions. We all bought our bike spaces, the same way we bought car parking. There was a waiting list to buy the spaces. Because of this, only those with bike parking and the superintendant had access to the bike parking area. It was a secure room. As far as I know, there were no bike thefts.

Perhaps paying for the spots would overcome any objections your board has to taking out car parking spots or filling in unused space. If it is a source of revenue and your current bike parking is full, it is hard to see their objections.

Good luck, I hope this helps. I am encouraged that you are having problems with too many people wanting bike parking instead of the the way around.

I have a legal question I need answered before I pursue this issue and couldn't think of a better place to find an answer. I'll get straight to the point... motorcycles have been prohibited from parking in Atlantic Station. For those of you not familiar with Atlanta, Atlantic Station is a developement between downtown and midtown which is made up of retail shops, resturaunts, townhomes, high-end condos, etc. The decision to ban bikes was made because a lot of dumb asses feel it is necessary to rev their bikes to earpeircing levels, do burnouts and wheelies, yada yada. If I lived there and that was my community, I would be pissed too. I 100% understand that and support that stance. The business owners want individuals and families to come in to spend money and enjoy the area without feeling threatend/annoyed by a few (well alot of) nuts. In fact, I have made it a point that when I see this behavior exhibited, I will ask the offender to chill out, that shit is not cool!

We're here for you, eve.
So what's your legal question?

Hi all,

I am living in a small condo at Dundas and Bloor and just realized that they will not allow me to bring my bike on the elevator.
That is the most stupid rule I have ever seen in Canada. How narrow people can be?
What about a wheelchair? Strollers? Two dogs?
This is a good discussion I will have with the Corp.
The building has two elevators (one service and one social) to serve six floors, it has a storage room made from some cheap mesh and I would never lock my $3000 bike there.
I would like to get support to take this discussion further.

I had quite an internal debate justifying to myself getting a Pashley. Which I did on the basis that it will last the rest of my life. But $3000?? There's a certain moral issue here.

My Pashley is locked up in my building's bike room. It has the same locks (good ones!) that I use when locking it up outside.

My advice is to get a good city bike and a good set of locks for it. Then when you get home every day you can feel comfortable leaving it locked up in your building's storage area.

It sounds like Condo Managers are trying to take the easy way out here, without any regard for of the needs of their tenants.

I know people that will not buy a bike because of this rule.

There is so much good information on this blog that it is difficult to know where to turn. There are many reasons for condos to allow their tenants to secure their bicycles, or better yet, provide adequate facilities.

If all else fails get a lawyer involved, there is an excellent condo lawyer who works for Heenan Blackie named Denise Lash - she also has an operating interest in the Toronto Condo Show.

Maybe a CM ride could detour through a Condo Lobby - just throwing that out there.

Dear Kevin,

What you are asking me is the same as I ask you for moving from your condo into a community house. Would you do that? Would you leave your car to sleep at a TTC parking lot?
What we are discussing here is the right of take your property inside and out you unit. A bicycle is like a wheelchair. So what is the point?

Dear ap1970,

You are the first person here in quite a long time to write about what you paid for your bike. If you did so to get a reaction, then I congratulate you on your success. You may get the same flavour of reaction if you mention the same dollar amount at a meeting of the condo owners to which you take your grievance. This may be strongly counterproductive in terms of achieving your goal.

Ok Kevin,

I just mentioned the value of my bike because I don't want it to be stolen. If you really know what a good bicycle is I am sure you add a lot of emotional and financial value on that. Now if you don't like bicycles as the majority of the car drivers and tv watchers you tend to think that all bicycles in the world cost $100,00 and should stay in the garage. I just want to have the right of keeping my properties inside/outside of my home whenever I decide likeother people do with skis, rockey bags, wheelchairs, skates, lugages, snowboards or any other sport equipment.

I have three bikes: $800, $1000, $1700. Am I a bad man? All I know is that I would not even leave my $400 bike outside in Toronto (Kenk or no Kenk), which is why I still had it to sell last summer.

Kevin, he payed a lot for a bike, not a car. A car is a moral issue, because it poisons people, ruins cities, and kills; leading international cause of childhood deaths. See the forest, not the trees.

I never realized there was such a big issue with bikes in condo's until I read your article and the comments here. I personally haven't had any issues taking my bike up the elevators. You guys must have strict associations.

This weekend I had my bicycle stolen from the garage of my condo. My condo does have a bike room, but it is full of bikes that nobody rides. Previously I asked the condo Board to do something about this problem so that people who ride their bikes have a safe place to park them.

By Fall the bike room was jammed full and I was forced to lock my bike against a wall in the garage. This weekend my bicycle was stolen.

Since I did not have access to the bike room, as promised when I bought my unit, do I have any legal recourse? The condo Board said that they will not submit an insurance claim on my behalf.

Comments? Advice?

Call the police and make sure they fill out a report detailing the bike was stolen from inside the condo property. The report should make it official and thus put a bit more pressure on the board to do something.

Start making demands for reparations from the condo board themselves(they probably have insurance), maybe you can force them to concede and actually do something instead of just ignoring you.

Are you willing to pay for a spot? Part of the reason for the bike build up might be free parking. People think "why waste storage space i'll just lock the bike up and leave it there for 362 days a year."

Beat the condo board over the head with a board maybe they'll get the idea. kidding.. well you should at least start out as nice.

If it isn't your condo, threaten to leave... maybe your landlord will do something about it.

and finally, sorry! too bad you can't just walk down to Igor's and pay a cheap ransom.

pennyfarthing ok frye