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Flood repair: Why this condo owner had to pay strata fees for an uninhabitable unit


August 28, 2020   by Greg Meckbach


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A British Columbia resident who had to move out for nearly six months for flood restoration work still has to pay his monthly fees to the strata corporation, the B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal has ruled.

Ye Yuan said that from September 2018 to February 2019, he had to move out of the strata unit he owned because it was undergoing repairs as a result of a flood. He did not initially pay the $1,466.10 strata fees for that period. He later paid those fees after the strata registered a lien against his unit, charging him an additional $500 in lien fees.

Yuan took the strata corporation to the CRT, seeking an order to reimburse him $1,466.10 in strata fees and to remove the $500 lien fee from his strata lot account. For its part, the strata corporation sought reimbursement from Yuan for its legal fees.

All claims were dismissed in the CRT’s ruling in Yuan v. The Owners, Strata Plan EPS 3982, released Aug. 21.

The strata corporation could not have waived Yuan’s strata fees even if it wanted to, CRT member Trisha Apland suggested. Neither the provincial Strata Property Act nor the strata’s own bylaw give the strata the discretion to waive or reduce fees. This applies even if an occupant has to leave to accommodate restoration.

Section 92 of the B.C. Strata Property Act stipulates the requirements for strata corporations to maintain operating and contingency reserve funds as follows:

To meet its expenses the strata corporation must establish, and the owners must contribute, by means of strata fees, to

(a) an operating fund for common expenses that

(i) usually occur either once a year or more often than once a year, or

(ii) are necessary to obtain a depreciation report under section 94, and

(b) a contingency reserve fund for common expenses that usually occur less often than once a year or that do not usually occur.

When a strata unit owner fails to pay those fees, the Strata Property Act stipulates the notice obligation for the strata corp. A letter to Yuan from his strata corporation, dated Apr. 25, 2019, meets the requirements of provincial law, the CRT ruled. If a payment is not made within two weeks, the strata corporation may register a lien.

In Yuan’s case, the strata registered a lien on May 29, 2019, which it was permitted to do so under the Strata Property Act, wrote Apland.

But she still declined to award the strata corporation’s $752.64 in legal expenses.

“While I found the strata’s interpretation of the SPA was correct, there is no evidence before me that Mr. Yuan’s conduct during this CRT proceeding was improper or somehow deserving of rebuke. I find there were no extraordinary circumstances here.”

 

Feature image via iStock.com/gaiamoments