Among dispute resolution options involving strata properties, going to court is an available mechanism. The expensive nature of this remedy usually makes it the least desirable option - typically used only as a last resort.
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.
Strata disputes can arise at any time. Conflicts can range anywhere from small matters about a bylaw dispute to larger matters such as owners suing their strata council for failure to carry out their responsibilities.
In some circumstances, a strata corporation may make the decision to dissolve itself. Half a year ago, the government passed a new law allowing strata corporations to terminate with less than a unanimous vote. Although no longer new, the law is still relatively unknown, but its importance cannot be discounted for strata corporations that wish to terminate.
With the dismissal of a recent appeal case brought before the British Columbia Court of Appeal, strata councils in Vancouver have strengthened their right to restrict condo rentals.
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.
Your strata neighbour plays music in the pool area, despite a no-music bylaw, and your unit looks out on the pool area. What should you do? When disputes arise between strata lot owners, there are several avenues available to bring about a resolution. 1. Informal discussions frequently lead to a resolution. A member of the strata council may agree to act as intermediary in the discussions. 2. If not, a formal hearing placed on the agenda of a strata council meeting could be the next step. Such a meeting must be requested in writing, and must be held within four weeks of the request. If a decision is reached by the council, a written decision must be provided to the owner who sought the hearing within one week of the meeting.
In Dollan v. The Owners, Strata Plan BCS 1589, a dispute over whether a window should be clear or opaque ended up being appealed all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. The strata lot owners had bought their unit based on plans which showed a certain window as "vision" glass, but when they took title they discovered that the window had instead been finished with opaque glass, apparently out of concerns for the privacy of adjoining units. The owners asked the strata corporation for approval to change the window (back) to vision glass, but a majority of the other strata owners voted against the change.