Several strata corporations have turned to the online Civil Resolution Tribunal (“CRT”) to collect strata fees and special levies from their owners. There are at least five reported CRT decisions with respect to collections alone. Three of those decisions were for a single strata corporation.
In the three decisions, The Owners, Strata Plan NW 1666 v William, 2017 CRTBC 16, The Owners, Strata Plan NW 1666 v Parsabad, 2017 CRTBC 14, and The Owners, Strata Plan NW 1666 v Logan, 2017 CRTBC 13, the CRT was asked to resolve the issue of outstanding strata fees and special levies. In the Logan decision, the CRT also had to determine the correct allocation of a lump sum payment by the owner.
Each decision carefully analyzes that the strata fees and special levies were properly approved and allocated among the owners. The CRT carefully considered whether the proper notice had been given, whether quorum achieved at the meetings, whether the budget was properly approved, whether the special levy was approved by 3/4 vote, whether the owners had failed to pay, and whether the owner was provided with reasonable notice of the outstanding account.
Ultimately, the CRT agreed that the strata corporation had properly approved the strata fees and the special levy and that the delinquent owners were required to pay those amounts to the strata corporation. The strata corporation obtained an order from judgment against each owner for the arrears of strata fees, special levy payment and interest thereon.
In the Logan case, the CRT also had to deal with the correct application of the owner’s $5,000 lump sum payment. The owner had been in arrears for approximately $6,088.77 for strata fees, special levies and interest thereon. He then paid the strata corporation $5,000 dollars.
In determining how to allocate the payment, the CRT found that the owner never specified how to allocate the payment. Therefore, the CRT agreed that the strata corporation’s allocation of the payment to outstanding strata fees was appropriate.
As a result, unless an owner makes it clear how a lump sum payment is to be allocated, the strata corporation receiving that payment has flexibility in allocating that payment. The bylaws can also provide guidance on how to allocate such payments but need to be clear to do so.
While the strata corporation was successful in obtaining CRT orders for the arrears, the strata corporation will still need to enforce the orders to collect on payment. The CRT cannot force sale of the strata lots to collect those payments. If the owners continue to fail to pay a further separate action would be required to sell the strata lots to collect the arrears. I routinely assist with strata collection arrears issues. If your strata corporation has owners in arrears I am happy to provide assistance: firstname.lastname@example.org.