In a different type of dispute, an owner sued the strata corporation so the owner could put personal security cameras in the common property hallway: Parnell v The Owners, Strata Plan VR 2451, 2018 BCCRT 7.
The facts in this case are simple:
- The strata is a mixed-use, 4-story complex with 50 units in Whistler, BC.
- The owner purchased his vacation rental strata lots in April of 2016.
- In July 2016, the owner mounted surveillance cameras and doorbells in the common property hallway next to his entry doors.
- July 2017, the strata asked the owner to remove the equipment saying it was installed without permission and was as an alteration to the common property.
- In August of 2017, the owner started the claim in the CRT asking permission to reinstall it.
The CRT found that the cameras were alterations:
The doorbell cameras and surveillance camera are of an entirely different character than the common hallway ceiling joist or drywall wall. In that sense, the equipment does not “build on or supplement what is already there”. Rather, they are things that add to what is already there. Thus, I find they are “alterations” within the meaning of bylaw 7, bearing in mind the equipment is mounted to the common property ceiling and wall. As such, the owner’s surveillance equipment required the strata’s written approval, under bylaw 7.
The CRT dismissed the owner’s claim to have the surveillance equipment reinstalled and further dismissed the owner’s claim to have the bylaws changed to allow the surveillance equipment:
. . . I find that any bylaw amendment is a matter for a vote by all owners. Such a bylaw can be proposed and brought forward at a general meeting for a vote, and if a 3/4 vote resolution is approved, the bylaw would pass. In these circumstances, I find it would be inappropriate for me to order the strata to take steps to amend its bylaws.
All of the owner’s claims were dismissed and the owner was not reimbursed his filing fees.