Disgruntled Strata Owner Takes a Loss

Administrative law – Decisions reviewed – Civil Resolution Tribunal – Condominiums – Strata corporations – Judicial review – Procedural requirements and fairness – Standard of review – Patent unreasonableness

Downing v. Strata Plan, [2022] B.C.J. No. 640, 2022 BCSC 590, British Columbia Supreme Court, April 12, 2022, L.A. Warren J.

The petitioner was an owner of a unit in Strata Plan VR356.  In Spring 2018, the petitioner suffered a stroke and moved into an assisted living facility.  She sought the assistance of a realtor to sell her unit in the Strata.  The realtor discovered water damage in the unit, and with his client’s permission allowed the Vice President of the Strata to enter the unit to investigate the water ingress issue.  The Vice President of the Strata hired a contractor to investigate the damage which required substantial dismantling of the unit. The suite was taken off the market for two years while the repairs were completed by the contractor and eventually sold for almost 200k less than the initially listed market value.

The petitioner commenced a claim in the Civil Resolution Tribunal (“CRT”) alleging trespass, nuisance, negligence and unfair treatment by the Strata for failing to obtain her permission to conduct the repairs, inter alia.  The CRT dismissed all of the petitioner’s claims (the “Decision”).

The petitioner sought judicial review of the Decision.  The parties agreed that the standard of review was patent unreasonableness and questions of procedural fairness were to be determined based on whether the CRT acted fairly.  The Court determined that the standard of patent unreasonableness had remained stable and had not been affected by recent developments in the law.

The Court dismissed the petition, finding the CRT’s decision reasonable.  The Court determined that the CRT had reasonably found that the Strata was authorized to investigate and that the investigation did not exceed what was reasonable in the circumstances.  The Court also found that the CRT correctly identified the elements of negligence and was reasonable in determining that the Strata reasonably relied upon the advice of the contractor and the investigation did not exceed what was required to determine the extent of water ingress.  The Court finally was not persuaded that the CRT’s process was procedurally unfair.

The petition was dismissed.

This case was digested by Roshni Veerapen of Harper Grey LLP.  If you would like to discuss this case further, please feel free to contact her directly at rveerapen@harpergrey.com or review his biography at http://www.harpergrey.com.

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