The Civil Resolution Tribunal is an online dispute resolution tribunal that handles many strata disputes as well as small claims matters under $5,000. Recently, the CRT was asked to resolve a dispute between a former owner of a strata lot and the strata corporation. Before the CRT could make a decision, it had to consider whether it had jurisdiction to resolve the claim.
In Somers v The Owners, Strata Plan VIS 1601, 2017 BCCRT 28, Somers had sold his strata lot prior to starting the claim in the CRT. The strata had charged $2,450 in fines against Somer’s strata lot and the owner paid those fines to the strata ‘under protest’ so that he could sell his strata lot (with outstanding fines, the strata could prevent the owner from completing the sale by withholding a Form F).
The Strata Property Act defines ‘owner’ as:
a person shown in the register of a land title office as the owner of a freehold estate in a strata lot, whether entitled to it in the person’s own right or in a representative capacity. ..
As Somers had already sold their strata lot, they didn’t fall within the definition of owner when they filed their dispute with the CRT.
The CRT determined that the strata division of the CRT only applied to current owner disputes. Somers was at liberty to file a new dispute under the small claims division of the CRT.
Somers’ claim was dismissed and the CRT didn’t make any further findings as to whether the fines were validly levied against Somers.