Strata-property law: 2017 in review
December 18, 2017
BY Kevin Zakreski
2017 has been a busy year in strata-property law, with interesting cases on termination, rental-restrictions, and unit entitlement, and progress on reform efforts across Canada.
Here are some of the significant developments in 2017, as noted in the BCLI blog.
- January: The BC Court of Appeal overturned a supreme-court decision on whether errors in a strata plan needed to be considered in ruling on a parking dispute. The first strata termination approved without a unanimous vote under the new legislation went to the BC Supreme Court for approval.
- February: Ontario published new draft condominium regulations. A Downtown Eastside strata’s fines against a pharmacy were set aside as being significantly unfair. The BC Court of Appeal ruled that a strata’s duty to repair “may include work necessary to make good or sound that which may never have been good or sound.”
- March: The BC Human Rights Tribunal allowed a second-hand-smoking complaint to proceed against a strata. Business in Vancouver launched an investigative series on BC’s new termination legislation. A human-rights complaint on a strata’s decision to deny a hardship exemption from a rental-restriction bylaw was allowed to proceed to a hearing. With the first full year of the Civil Resolution Tribunal hearing strata disputes underway, BCLI launched its monthly CRT roundup series, chronicling the tribunal’s decisions.
- April: As part of its reform efforts, Ontario launched two new condominium authorities’ websites. An Ontario court granted an injunction restraining a condominium from holding a meeting to consider termination. Service Alberta gave an update on that province’s reform initiatives.
- May: The BC Supreme Court considered the first application for leave to appeal from a Civil Resolution Tribunal decision. The BC Court of Appeal considered the meaning of “residential strata lot.” The BC Supreme Court ordered eviction of strata-lot owners and sale of their strata lot.
- June: The BC Supreme Court found that short-term occupancy of strata lots under licenses isn’t entitled to the protection of the Strata Property Act’s rental restriction grace period.
- July: An Ontario court ordered an internet service provider to disclose the identity of the author of allegedly defamatory emails in a strata dispute.
- August: In the second of three recent decisions on the topic, the BC Supreme Court held that a positive obligation in an easement is not binding on subsequent landowners. The third decision on this topic appeared in November.
- September: An incomplete interest schedule foiled a strata’s bid for termination in the BC Supreme Court.
- October: Data released from the 2016 Census of Canada provided some insights into stratas in this country. Alberta gave an update on the status of its reformed condominium legislation and launched a new survey. The Alberta Court of Appeal grappled with the distribution of proceeds from strata’s termination.
- November: The bulk of Ontario’s new condominium legislation came into force. The BC Court of Appeal ruled that a strata is entitled to recover actual legal costs for registering and enforcing lien. An Ontario court refused to amend a condominium’s declaration to remove provisions enabling short-term rentals. The BC Court of Appeal clarified the meaning of “habitable area.”
- December: The BC Supreme Court granted leave to appeal a Civil Resolution Tribunal decision in a dispute over the upkeep of duplex strata property. The BC Human Rights Tribunal allowed a complaint of discrimination based on the language of strata meetings to proceed to a hearing.