BC is leading the country with Canada’s first online legal platform for settling strata disputes. Introduced in the summer of 2016, the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) is an innovative and efficient service to resolve issues relating to strata fees and fines, enforcement of bylaws, unfair actions, and any other strata owner problems. More than 3500 individuals have used the CRT’s Solution Explorer, over 200 claims have been submitted, and 23 resolved to date. Due to its success, the Civil Resolution Tribunal will also start taking on small claims, totaling $5,000 or less, as of June 1, 2017 – a highly anticipated addition to the BC judicial system
In the Civil Resolution Tribunal Act, section 48.1, the CRT may resolve to make one or more of the following actions:
- order a party to do something;
- order a party to refrain from doing something;
- order a party to pay money
In practice, the Civil Resolutions Tribunal resolves issues ranging from enforcing the repayment of debts, barring owners from breaching bylaws, and holding strata councils accountable to their bylaw obligations. Once a dispute is brought to the CRT, the actions of the involved parties are legal and binding.
In the case of The Owners, Strata Plan NW 1512 v. Yang, the strata council was seeking repayment for repair expenses to an owner’s balcony. In this case, the Civil Resolution Tribunal made a default order in the strata’s favour due to the owner’s lack of response to the Dispute Notice within the required two weeks of its receipt. Therefore, a decision was reached without the participation, or defense of the owner, to repay incurred fees, including the tribunal fees.
Similarly, in the case of James MacArthur v. The Owners, Strata Plan K588, the Civil Resolutions Tribunal applied a default decision ordering the strata to issue a $100,000 special levy, payable by all owners, to fund necessary building foundation repairs. The CRT determined that the strata had failed to meet its statutory and bylaw duties to repair and maintain the common property.
The latter case is unique in that a strata owner was able to seek action where the strata was collectively failing to meet its requirements, but also because the value being sought exceeded $35,000, the maximum allowable in the BC Small Claims Court.
The platform works similarly to a small claims court, but is accessible online, 24 hours a day, from any electronic device including mobile. It enables individuals and strata corporations to seek mediation, legal advice and action without having to go to court, incur costly fees, and waste precious time.
For more information on the Civil Rights Tribunal, you can review their website here.
On May 17th, Normac is sponsoring a seminar in collaboration with PAMA, the Professional Association of Managing Agents to aid Property Managers in understanding the CRT, how to leverage its services and review previous CRT decisions.