Owner’s Violation of Unit Occupancy Limit Causes “Irreparable Harm”

This case involved a dispute between a condominium owners association (“Association”) and the owners of a unit within the condominium association (“Owner”) over Owner’s right to have more than six people occupy their condominium unit. Association’s Declaration contained a provision limiting the occupancy of a unit to a maximum of six people. In disregard of the limitation, Owner was renting out his unit to up to ten people at a time, so Association filed suit seeking an injunction to prohibit Owner from renting the unit to more than six people.

In considering the case, the trial court addressed the issue of whether Association could satisfy the requirements of showing “irreparable harm” if the injunctive relief were not granted, and that the balance of equities weighs in favor of issuing an injunction. In defining “irreparable harm,” the court stated, irreparable harm “consists of harm for which there can be no adequate recompense at law, i.e., an award of compensatory damages will not suffice.”

In addressing the “irreparable harm” issue, Association contended that absent the requested injunctive relief, the other units whose interests Association represented in bringing the action, because Owner’s continued breach of the occupancy limitation contained in the Declaration diminished the other unit owners enjoyment of their own property. Association argued that Owner’s conduct increased crowding in the common areas and the possibility of disruptive group rentals, and absent a grant of the requested injunctive relief, there would be no way to stop Owner from renting to more than six people.

Considering these facts, the court concluded:

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