Sabey Rule Blog

Enforcing Short-Term Rental Restrictions

The issue of short term rentals is an ongoing and complex issue for many strata corporations and one strata in particular. In one of my previous posts, I discussed a strata in North Vancouver that successfully restricted an owner from short-term AirBnB type rentals and was granted $4,600 in fines for the owner’s breaches.

The original decision was at the Civil Resolution Tribunal. The owner trial to appeal the CRT decision and was denied.

The owner also continued to rent out her strata lot in breach of the bylaws and the court order until the strata applied to BC Supreme Court that the owner was in contempt of court (refusing to comply with a court order).

From September 2017 when the CRT decision was granted to October 2018, the owner was actively breaching the bylaws and the CRT order. Therefore, the BC Supreme Court had to decide what punishment was appropriate for more than a year of breaching the CRT order.

The Court noted:

[24]        The aggravating circumstances are:

1.            Ms. Yu’s continued assertion that the bylaws did not apply to her notwithstanding the orders of the CRT and of this court and her continued breaches of those bylaws for profit during that period.

2.            The disruption caused to all of her neighbours by her conduct in breach of those bylaws for which I am satisfied she has never apologized

3.            The cost to the strata corporation caused by her conduct for both the CRT proceedings and the proceedings in this court.

4.            The fact that Ms. Yu ignored the order of the CRT, which is now the body charged with resolving strata corporation disputes in a most cost-efficient way, by requiring the involvement of the process of this court before she would cease her conduct. I agree with counsel for the strata corporation that general deterrence in relation to others of like mind of Ms. Yu and respect of the process of the CRT concerning the determination of strata corporation disputes requires that the integrity of the CRT process be upheld by an appropriate denunciation order in this case.

5.            In my opinion, Ms. Yu is not truly remorseful for her actions or the difficulties and cost she has caused to her neighbours and the strata corporation. She has, in my view, only reluctantly and recently when faced with resolute action on behalf of the strata corporation and her pending punishment accepted and obeyed the orders of this court.

[25]        The mitigating circumstances are:

1.            Ms. Yu has now paid all of the outstanding fines for which she is responsible and is up to date with her strata fees.

2.            Although costs have not yet been assessed, they are scheduled to be assessed on April 11, 2019.

3.            Most importantly, Ms. Yu has, although with reluctance, complied with my orders of October 24, 2018, and the consent order of December 2018.

As a result, the court ordered a fine of $5,000 against the owner for contempt of court. The Judge also noted that he would have considered incarceration for the owner if she had continued to breach the order after October of 2018.

On the issue of whether the strata could sell the owner’s strata lot as punishment for her contempt, the court noted:

[28]        Although such an order is open in cases such as this, as established in Bea v. Owners, Strata Plan LMS 21382015 BCCA 31 (CanLII), it is in my view a remedy of last resort. Although Ms. Yu’s conduct is deserving of rebuke, the fact is that she has paid outstanding fines and has been compliant with the order of this court since October 24, 2018. Ms. Yu has been a very bad neighbour and has made life difficult for her neighbours and the strata corporation, but her conduct has not, in my view, yet reached a level that requires the sale of her unit with the conduct to the strata corporation.

The application was adjourned until after the costs that the owner owed to the strata for the litigation was determined.

This case proves that it can be very costly for an owner to breach the bylaws and, although years can pass before final resolution is achieved, courts will assist a strata in enforcing the bylaws.



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Taeya Fitzpatrick