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BC Civil Resolution Tribunal

Small Claims: coming soon to the CRT
Owner wanted major repairs done by the strata
Dispute about smoking cigarettes and marijuana in a unit
Dispute about a disabled parking spot
Dispute about paying the strata corporation's insurance

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Small Claims: Coming Soon to the CRT
Posted on December 9, 2016
It’s been almost 5 months since the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) began accepting strata property disputes. We wanted to pause for a moment to give you an update on how things are going, and where we’re planning to go from here.

Since we opened our doors, well over 3500 people have used the Solution Explorer to find help for their strata disputes. Based on public feedback and our data analytics, we believe most people who use the Solution Explorer find useful information and tools to resolve their dispute themselves.

About 185 parties have made online applications for strata dispute resolution with the CRT. About half of filed disputes are currently in the facilitation phase, where we’ve started to see parties reach agreements, with the help of our expert facilitators. The CRT has also published its first tribunal decision, with more to come.

So far, the technology is working very well and is easily able to accommodate the CRT’s case volume. The team meets weekly to review possible improvements to all aspects of the CRT’s technology and processes.

The CRT is being implemented in stages. This lets us learn from the public and refine our dispute resolution processes as we take on different kinds of disputes. Now we are looking ahead to the CRT’s next stage of development: resolving low-value small claims disputes.

Small claims are very broad, and span many areas of law. They include disputes about consumer goods, employment, personal injury, contracts, debt, personal property, the specific performance of agreements, and many other dispute types as well. Really, the only thing that small claims have in common is their monetary value. In BC, small claims are claims under $25,000.

The Civil Resolution Tribunal Act provides a framework for the CRT to resolve many small claims disputes. For lower value small claims, this will likely happen sometime in the early part of next year. The CRT will likely start with a lower monetary limit, but this limit will increase over time. This starting monetary limit hasn’t been set yet, and we will keep you informed as we know more about the details. In the meantime, we’re working closely with the BC Provincial Court and the government to create a clear process for participants during this transition.

So what else are we doing to prepare to resolve these new cases? As a first step, we’ve created new free legal information and tools for people with small claims disputes, just like we did with strata property disputes. This information is now loaded into the Solution Explorer and is undergoing early beta testing. You’ll have the chance to let us know what you think of these new resources in the coming weeks.

We’re also busy hiring new facilitators and resolution support clerks to help us handle the new small claims disputes we will be resolving next year. These new staff members will be in place in the next couple of months. There’s a lot of other work in progress as well. We’re adding new rules for small claims disputes, and changing our processes and web content to accommodate these new claims. We’ll be asking for your feedback on these new small claims rules in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, the CRT technology development is continuing, providing new features to help save our staff’s time, so that they can use that time to serve the public more quickly and responsively. We’re consulting with community advocates and members of the public, to make sure these features are easy to use.

This is an exciting next step for the CRT and, as always, we are taking it with a clear focus on increasing access to justice and building the CRT around the needs of the public.

Thank you for your ongoing support for the CRT. Please let us know if you have any questions or comments.

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James MacArthur v. The Owners, Strata Plan K588, 2016
Civil Resolution Tribunal
File ST-2016-00227
Indexed as: CRTBC 2
Tribunal Member: Patrick Williams
Date Issued: 15 December 2016

James MacArthur is an owner in the the Owners, Strata Plan K588. The strata has four lots.

Mr. MacArthur asks the Tribunal to make two default orders. First, an order that the strata allocate up to $5,000 to obtain one or two additional engineer’s assessments to address the potential remedies to the strata’s foundation problems. Second, an order that each strata lot contribute $25,000 to fund a special levy totaling $100,000 to ensure that the strata’s foundation problems are fixed.

Decision
The Tribunal Member found that the strata failed to repair and maintain the common property (required under section 72 of the SPA).

Order
He made the following orders:
a.)
Pursuant to section 72 of the SPA the strata must perform its statutory obligation to repair and maintain the building foundation.
b.)
The strata must retain BC Foundations to commence repair of the building foundation by January 15, 2017.
c.)
In carrying out the repair, the strata must consider the observations and adhere to the recommendations contained in the engineering report.
d.)
To finance the building foundation repair work the strata is required to issue a special levy to the owners of $100,000. The $25,000 contribution of each owner is based on unit entitlement, payable by each owner in five equal installments of $5,000 commencing January 1, 2017 and continuing on the first of each and every month thereafter until fully paid.
e.)
The strata shall immediately reimburse Mr. MacArthur the amounts paid by Mr. MacArthur to the Tribunal to commence and complete this within claim.

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The Owners, Strata Plan LMS 2900 v. Mathew Hardy, 2016
Civil Resolution Tribunal
File: ST-2016-00297
Indexed as: CRTBC 1
Tribunal Member: Shannon Salter
Date Issued: 24 November 2016

The strata corporation asked the Civil Resolution Tribunal to order the owner to stop smoking tobacco and marijuana in his unit.

The strata provided a large number of emails from strata residents sent to the property manager, detailing smoke complaints.

Mathew Hardy claimed to have a disability but did not respond to an inquiry why he could not ingest marijuana.

Order
The tribunal ordered:
1.)
The owner is prohibited from smoking tobacco or marijuana on any property of The Owners Strata Plan LMS 2900
2.)
The owner must reimburse the strata for any Tribunal fees paid under dispute number ST-2016-00297 within 30 days from the date of this decision.

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Lisa Marie Ehrne v. The Owners, Strata Plan VR 2601, 2017 CRTBC 2
Date Issued: January 26, 2017
File: ST-2016-00255
Tribunal Member: Jamie Bleay

Lisa Marie Ehrne (the “Applicant”) asks the Civil Resolution Tribunal to make a default order that the respondent, The Owners, Strata Plan VR2601 do the following:
1.
Return the handicap parking sign to its original location in the parking facility; and
2.
Reinstate the use of the designated handicap parking stall in the building as a disability parking space.

The Applicant also requests an order that she be reimbursed for expenses incurred in connection with this dispute.

Dispute
the disability parking requirements for Strata Plan VR 2601 requires one disability parking stall be provided for use by visitors.

Sometime in the summer of 2014 the disability parking signage for the Designated Handicap Parking Stall was painted over. The stall was later assigned to a new owner for that owner’s use. No strata council meeting minutes have been produced to confirm this assignment.

The Applicant asked the Strata Corporation why it painted over the disability parking signage and assigned it to a new owner. She also asked why the Strata Corporation changed the use or appearance of common property. The Strata Corporation has not respond.

On May 25, 2015 the City of North Vancouver – Community Development Department asked the Strata Corporation to reinstate the disability parking signage and required disability parking of the Designated Handicap Parking Stall. The City gave the Strata Corporation a deadline of June 26, 2015 but the Strata Corporation did not comply with this request.

In September 2015, a handicap parking sign was bolted to the wall in front of the Applicant’s parking stall. The Strata Corporation has not responded to a request made by the Applicant’s legal counsel to the Strata Corporation to remove the affixed signage and reinstate the Applicant’s personal use of the Applicant’s Parking Stall.

Findings
I find that the Strata Corporation did not have the right to paint over the handicap parking sign for the Designated Handicap Parking Stall and assign it to an owner in the building.

Visitors to the building with handicap parking requirements would, seeing the handicap sign, expect to be able to park in the Applicant’s LCP Parking Stall.

Orders
I order that the strata corporation:
a.)
Return or restore the handicap parking sign to its original location within 30 days from the date of this decision;
b.)
Reinstate the use of parking stall # 8 in the building as the disability parking stall as designated on the strata plan and required by the City of North Vancouver within 30 days from the date of this decision;
c.)
Remove the handicap parking sign from the wall in front of the Applicant’s LCP Parking Stall #21 within 30 days from the date of this decision;
d.)
Reimburse the Applicant for the sum of $53.71 for land title agent’s fees,
within 30 days from the date of the decision.

I decline to order the Strata Corporation to reimburse the Applicant for legal costs she incurred prior to the Dispute Notice being delivered as they are not reasonable expenses that I consider directly relate to the conduct of the proceeding.

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Wilson v. Stone, 2017  CRTBC 4
File: ST-2016-00325
Date Issued: 06 February 2017
Tribunal Member: Angus M. Gunn

The Owners, Strata Plan VIS5977 is located at 473 Grafton Street in Esquimalt, British Columbia. It has only two strata lots: Lot A owned by Margaret Wilson and Lot B owned by  Elizabeth Stone.

Ms. Wilson claims that:

She and Ms. Stone were each responsible for half of the insurance premiums;

Ms. Stone refused to pay her half of the annual premium in 2014, 2015, and 2016;

To avoid having the policies lapse, Ms. Wilson paid the full premium in each of those year and

Ms. Stone’s share of the annual premium for those three years is $2,553.

Ms. Wilson asks the Civil Resolution Tribunal to order that Ms. Stone pay her $2,553.00 and to require that Ms. Stone pay her share of the annual premium
in future years.

This is another case where the respondent did not respond.

Decision and orders
The Tribunal Member ordered Ms. Stone to pay Ms. Wilson the principal amount of $2,549.50 plus $27.06 in prejudgment interest and $150 in Tribunal fees within 30 days of the date of this decision.

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