BC Supreme Court finds strata-lot owners in contempt of court order, orders eviction and sale of their strata lot

24 May 2017

By Kevin Zakreski

Section 173 of the Strata Property Act gives the BC Supreme Court wide powers to order compliance with the act and a strata corporation’s bylaws and rules. In The Owners, Strata Plan LMS 2768 v Jordison, 2013 BCCA 484, the court of appeal concluded that these powers include the power to evict a strata-lot owner and order the forced sale of the owner’s strata lot.

The Owners, Strata Plan NW 1245 v Linden, 2017 BCSC 852, is the latest example of the court exercising this power. The case is a sequel to a 2016 decision in which the court had granted the strata corporation a wide-ranging order restraining strata-lot owners from engaging in further disruptive and abusive behaviour.

“At the heart of this application,” the court in the 2017 case noted, “is the ongoing abusive behaviour of the respondents and the impact it is having on the other members of the strata.”

After hearing from the strata corporation (the owners “did not see fit to attend court”), the court concluded:

It is clear that the respondents’ bad behaviour has continued since the April 2016 order. In fact, it seems to have escalated.

Nothing has had any impact on them. Complaints of their neighbours and the strata have had no effect. Rather, they seem to spur them on. Strata fines have not had any impact. They ignore them. Similarly, they have shown utter disregard for the April 2016 court order. The respondents have breached virtually every term of the order. They continue to disturb, harass, threaten, and insult their neighbours and their guests with impunity. They seem to take pleasure from causing others to feel uncomfortable and unsafe in their homes.

Several residents have sold their units and moved to get away from the respondents.

Their bad behaviour is escalating to the point that they physically attacked two residents.

They have not paid the fines, nor have they paid the costs ordered by Mr. Justice Ehrcke.

The court then turned to section 173 (1) of the act to determine the strata corporation’s remedy. The court was guided in its interpretation of that provision by the trial and appellate decisions in Jordison, calling them “applicable” to the case at hand.

In the result, the court was “satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the respondents are in contempt of the April 2016 order. I am also satisfied that no measure remains other than eviction that will suffice to protect the other residents in the strata and give them the quiet enjoyment of their property that they deserve.”

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