In the case of Rawle v The Owners, Strata Plan NWS 3423, 2017 BCCRT 15, the Civil Resolution Tribunal found that an owner who wants the strata to repair common property, actually has to give the strata a chance to do so before suing the strata.
Within the strata lot was a fireplace with a disconnected flue. How the flue became disconnected was unknown. However, the cost to reconnect it was in issue between the owner and the strata corporation. It was discovered to be disconnected when the owner noticed a crack in the wall above the fireplace with soot in the crack.
The day after the owner notified the strata of the crack, the strata sent a contractor to the unit to investigate the issue. The owner, unsatisfied with the contractor’s conclusion, opened the wall and found the flue disconnected. The strata council investigated again. There was a dispute following as to whether the owner advised the strata that he would take care of it as the owner intended to replace the fireplace.
Subsequently, the owner hired a contractor, replaced the fireplace and spent approximately $6,000. After, the owner demanded that the strata reimburse him $3,000 for the cost to reconnect the flue.
There was a dispute between the owner as to how the flue became disconnected and whether the strata should reimburse the owner for the claimed $3,000, when the strata, a few years previous, had reconnected a flue at no cost by volunteer work. However, the strata offered the owner $500 as reimbursement, which was rejected.
The CRT determined that the flue was common property and the strata corporation’s responsibility to repair. But, the CRT found that the strata corporation wasn’t negligent, nor was it responsible to reimburse the owner for any of the claimed costs: because the owner didn’t give the strata time to fix the issue, and completed repairs without permission.
The CRT denied the owner reimbursement for any of those expenses and the owner’s claim was dismissed.