Pet urine, stairwell garbage at centre of B.C. strata fine dispute

B.C.'s Civil Resolution Tribunal has ruled a strata council cannot collect a bylaw fine from an owner renting out a unit unless both the tenant and owner have been notified of an alleged bylaw breach.

B.C. strata property disputes are handled by the Civil Resolution Tribunal. | Chris Jongkind / Moment / Getty Images

A B.C. strata will only receive $100 of the $800 it claims it was owed after two renters allegedly left garbage in a stairwell and let their pet pee in an elevator.

The strata isn’t entitled to the remaining $700 because it didn’t notify both owner and renters when bylaws were broken, according to a March 28 decision from B.C.’s Civil Resolution Tribunal.

The tribunal heard Mohsen Babaee and Mahnaz Babaee are Quanrong Li’s former tenants.

The strata claims Li owes $800 for bylaw fines incurred while the Babaees lived in the unit, from February 2019 to January 2020.

Li does not dispute that the Babaees violated the bylaws but argued the pair is responsible for the fines.

The strata did not dispute Li’s claim that the Babaees performed the alleged conduct relating to each of the bylaw fines.

“I accept this as accurate,” said tribunal member Richard McAndrew.

The strata, however, claimed Li was responsible for the $800. 

PET URINE IN ELEVATOR, GARBAGE LEFT ON FLOOR

The strata’s property manager sent Li a Feb. 28, 2019 letter that said a pet urinated in an elevator on Feb. 18, 2019. The strata did not notify the Babaees.

McAndrew said as the Babaees were not notified of the violation, the strata can’t collect from Li.

The manager’s letter to Li also said that there was a bylaw violation for leaving garbage on the garbage room floor on Feb. 19, 2019. Again, the Babaees were not notified and McAndrew dismissed the claim.

However, the manager sent Li and the Babaees a June 3, 2019 letter saying that both breached a bylaw by letting water drip from the balcony on May 29, 2019, causing a nuisance for other owners.

On July 23, 2019, the manager sent Li and the Babaees another letter saying both breached a bylaw by letting debris fall from their balcony on July 15, 2019.

On Aug. 21, 2019, all three were sent a letter stating they’d be fined $50 for the water and debris incidents. In those two cases, McAndrew said the strata was entitled to impose a fine against the Babaees and collect from Li.

On Oct. 22, 2019, the manager sent the Babaees a letter advising them they had violated a bylaw by letting a pet urinate in the elevator on Oct. 11, 2019. The letter also said they broke a bylaw by leaving garbage in a stairwell and outside the garbage room. The letter was also sent to Li and a $50 fine was imposed.

McAndrew said a complaint email from another resident left him satisfied about the urine incident. However, he did not find a violation with the garbage issue. 

On Dec. 18, 2019, the manager sent Li and the Babaees a warning letter, noting garbage was left in a stairwell on Dec. 2, 7 and 11, 2019. The strata’s property manager sent Li a Jan. 27, 2020 letter with a $600 fine.

However, McAndrew said the strata did not prove the bylaw prohibits the storage of garbage bags in the stairwell.

“I find that Quanrong Li owes the strata a total of $100,” McAndrew said.

jhainsworth@glaciermedia.ca

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