It's almost two years late, but the launch of B.C.'s Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) may well prove to be worth the wait for the province's 1.5 million residents living in strata properties. The new online platform began accepting claims in mid-July and is poised to end strata disputes quicker, cheaper and more conveniently than going through the courts.
Canada's first online tribunal for resolving strata disputes
The 24/7 electronic tribunal makes it possible for strata property residents to conveniently work through a claim from their computer or smart phone and eventually walk away with a court-enforceable order - all without having to set foot inside a court. By early next year, the platform will also begin accepting small claims disputes.
As part of the province's push to increase access to justice, the CRT features plain language legal information, self-serve tools and the assistance of human facilitators to resolve a predicted 2,500 condo and 15,000 small claims disputes annually.
Types of strata disputes accepted
CRT dispute matters range from the minor - noise, pets, pools, parking - to the more involved. But, there are limits on what the tribunal can decide on and what it can't.
Some of the acceptable disputes include:
- Issues related to fines and monthly strata fees
- Interpretation of legislation, regulations and bylaws
- Unfair, random or non-enforcement of strata bylaws
- Issues involving common property, repairs and service bids
- Voting and condo meeting practices
Matters that fall outside of the CRT's jurisdiction and which must be pursued in court include:
- Issues affecting land
- Developer plans
- Strata liquidations or windups
- Claims in which the government is a party
- Claims in which the event in dispute occurred outside the province
Although promising in its predicted ability to provided expedited resolutions for strata disputes, the CRT will, in some cases, only be a starting point. Parties who are dissatisfied with an outcome still have the option to appeal. But, that means ending up in court after all.
Consultation with an experience strata disputes lawyer provides claimants with pointed analysis and could help get their dispute on the right track from the outset.