It can come as a shock to some owners that they don’t have a right to a hot tub in their strata lot. Hot tubs can be restricted or outright banned by a strata corporation’s bylaws. As a result, it is very important to review a strata’s bylaws when considering buying a strata lot.
In the case of Doig v The Owners, Strata Plan VR 1712, 2017 BCCRT 36, the owners had installed a hot tub and the strata demanded its removal.
The owners bought their strata lot in August of 2015 and received a copy of the bylaws to review (which copy was missing the last page). Prior to purchasing, they asked and received permission to renovate the interior of the strata lot and extend the roof-top deck. Alterations to the strata lot and common property required strata council approval.
The owners then put a hot tub on their expanded deck without telling the strata council in advance. This was the first hot tub in the strata plan and a complaint was received shortly thereafter. After much discussion and debate, the strata council required the hot tub to be removed. The owners removed the hot tub after much debate.
The owners then sued the strata corporation in the Civil Resolution Tribunal saying that the council acted unfairly and that the owners be permitted to replace the hot tub.
Ultimately, the CRT found that the strata had some irregularities in enforcing their bylaws, but were permitted to deny the owners a hot tub based upon their bylaws. The owner required council approval to have a hot tub, and the council was permitted to deny that request.
The owners were not permitted to replace the hot tub and were then out of pocket for the hot tub, its installation, removal and storage fees because they failed to see if they would get permission before they acted.