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Strata dispute resolution mechanisms: Resolving conflicts internally

Last week, our post discussed the different conflict resolution mechanisms that strata corporations can employ. This week we will examine the first process: resolving disputes internally.

When strata corporations face minor conflicts, or if an owner puts forward a complaint, the parties often draw first on informal ways to resolve the problem.

For instance, an owner may write a letter of complaint to the council regarding the behaviour of a fellow owner. The council may resolve the matter internally by simply cautioning the latter to refrain from the offending behaviour.

If such internal methods failed to resolve the issue, more formal internal approaches may be engaged.

Special general meetings

For more urgent matters, the owner or tenant with the dispute may make a request by letter to the strata corporation to hold a special general meeting. The letter must be signed by individuals who, as an aggregate, hold at least 20 per cent of the vote.

The council must hold the meeting within four weeks of the date of request. Once the matter is raised at the meeting, the owners in attendance are then asked to resolve it.

Putting an issue on the general meeting agenda

If the matter is not urgent, a tenant or owner can ask for a resolution or issue to be included at the next special general or annual meeting.

Requesting a hearing

An owner or tenant has the right to make a written request for a hearing at a council meeting. According to the Strata Property Act:

· The hearing must be held no more than four weeks after the request.

· The council must provide a written decision within a week of the hearing, if a decision was requested.

Voluntary dispute resolution

If a problem involves the strata's act, bylaws, rules or regulations, it may be forwarded to the dispute resolution committee - if this mechanism is provided for in the bylaws. Both parties to the conflict must agree to use this process.

If a strata corporation's internal methods are unsuccessful, the matter may proceed to other dispute resolution options.

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