Successful strata communities are the result of fair behavior, respect

When statutes and rules are not adhered to, troublesome individuals can take advantage.

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Dear Tony:

We are selling our townhouse in the Kootenays because of an owner who was essentially running a woodworking business out of their garage.

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We have over 50 units and the townhouses are clustered in groups of eight.

The strata council refused to do anything about the chronic noise, dust, clogging of our driveway and odors from epoxies because his wife also happens to be the vice president.

It got to a point in the winter where we threatened to sue them, and they started fining us for being difficult to complain.

The other mansion owner has also complained, but as a single senior she has become afraid of the aggression and bullying.

Now they have published false accusations in the minutes to punish us for complaining and frustrate our chances of a sale. Help out!

— Francis and Rob K.

Dear Francis and Rob:

Most publications and legislation refer to the roles and responsibilities of a strata corporation and strata councils. However, we do not understand that successful communities are the result of reasonable behavior, respect, and fair application of law enforcement.

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Many communities rarely impose fines for law enforcement because they address issues as they arise, giving the parties reasonable expectations.

When the statutes and rules are not observed, difficult persons will benefit. Their behavior is disrespectful to neighbors, and they will confront anyone who challenges them.

The Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) in British Columbia has a specific department dealing with strata corporate matters under the Strata Property Act and amended company statutes. The Tribunal can order a person or the strata company to do something, stop doing something, or pay for something.

If your strata company isn’t enforcing the bylaws, it’s time to take formal steps to address the situation.

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Request a board hearing, and if they agree, list your case and evidence. They must allow a hearing within 30 days and provide a written decision within seven days of the hearing.

If that fails, file a claim with the CRT. They can instruct the company to address the law enforcement issues. If your warrant is successful, have it filed with the Registry of the Supreme Court of BC to ensure you can apply for enforcement warrants if necessary.

Also consider contacting your municipal office. Chances are the townhouse is a residential complex and not intended for industrial/commercial use. This can also affect the liability and insurance coverage of the strata company.

Unfortunately, a fight with the strata company can be a no-win situation. Even if you are successful, the continued bitterness will not change.
Owners, tenants and residents have a duty to comply with the statutes of a strata corporation and the Strata Property Act. It is not just about nuisance, noise, smells or disturbances.

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If you are investing in a strata property, be prepared to take a turn on the strata council, attend meetings and participate in decision-making, and support long-term planning for renewals, including voting for special levies for repairs. Delayed construction and lack of council support for administration significantly increase the cost of repairs that are now urgent and failed maintenance resulting in emergencies.

Tony Gioventu is director of the Condominium Owners Association. Email tony@choa.bc.ca.

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