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Strata dispute resolution mechanisms: Civil Resolution Tribunal

Up until last year, strata corporations and owners had the option of resolving disputes through internal methods or arbitration. Last year, British Columbia introduced a new method: the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT). The CRT is Canada’s first online tribunal to deal with strata disputes. The tribunal began accepting claims on July 13, 2016.

The new resolution mechanism was designed to be an easier and more cost-effective way to resolve minor strata dispute matters. Benefits of using this mechanism include:

  • Easy access through a computer or other mobile device with an internet connection
  • Convenient service — available seven days a week, 24-hours a day
  • Timely and efficient resolution to a strata dispute
  • An alternative, more collaborative approach to the traditional courtroom/arbitration model

Many issues cannot be brought to the tribunal because they are considered too serious in nature. Such issues include:

  • Conflict of interest allegations by members of the strata council
  • Problems that involve land, such as the sale of a lot
  • Problems involving the winding up of strata corporations
  • Problems involving the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • Problems with developers
  • Orders related to the vesting of authority in a liquidator

The tribunal is designed to resolve minor issues that were traditionally resolved through either internal mechanisms or arbitration. These include:

  • Non-payment of fees or fines
  • Unfair actions or enforcements by the strata corporation
  • Common property issues
  • Disputes in regards to the rules, regulations, the bylaw or legislation
  • Problems with voting and meetings
  • Issues with bids for services and financial responsibilities for repairs

While the CRT may be beneficial for resolving minor strata disputes, complex issues are best resolved with advice from a lawyer experienced in strata property matters.

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