Civil Resolution Tribunal – Owner to Owner Complaints
We take this opportunity to share with you the (known) details of an important case recently decided upon at the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT).
In the judgement, the CRT found that one neighbour had caused unreasonable noise and nuisance to another which eventually resulted in the complainant selling and moving out of their Strata Corporation. Monetary awards were made to the complainant for the past actions of the respondent.
No doubt, most experienced Council members have witnessed disputes such as the one recounted in the ruling. The respondent denied creating excessive noise despite some objective measurements being submitted (such as a decibel reading from a modern smartphone, a log of incidents, corroborating accounts from a neighbour and a Council member) which is not uncommon. Strata Councils are often left with a “he said/she said” dynamic in attempting to resolve these disputes.
The excellent news is that the CRT now has jurisdiction over owner-to-owner disputes, such as the one discussed here. This gives complainant(s) another avenue to pursue if the actions of the Strata Corporation do not achieve the ends they desire- the quiet enjoyment of their Strata Lot. As we’ve written about in the past, bylaw enforcement is a highly regulated task and one which is both time consuming and somewhat plodding- especially when consideration is given to the length of time needed for Councils to issue complaints, meet to discuss them, offer an opportunity to the respondent to be heard and the various other steps that must be taken before a fine is applied. Owners who feel aggrieved by the actions of their neighbours now have the option of applying to the CRT for dispute resolution, separate and apart from the bylaw enforcement process of Strata Corporations. It’s important to note that in the Ruling, the CRT gave weight to the evidence that the Strata Corporation considered this to be a bylaw infraction and had issued contravention letters which indicates that Councils continue to have a positive obligation to take action when a complaint is received.
We’ll be writing more on the growing complexity associated with bylaw enforcement in the future. In the meantime, if you are struggling with an ongoing and contentious dispute between neighbours, please note that the CRT is now an option for complainants.