If you own or rent an apartment in Vancouver, BC, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with your buildings strata management company. While most people have become comfortable with paying their monthly strata fees, you may not be as inclined to pay a strata bylaw fine. If you’ve received a ticket for a strata infraction, it is important to know your rights and to ensure you are not taken advantage of. Common infractions could include failure to wait for your parking gate to close, excessive noise, failure to dispose of garbage, etc. Your strata company is governed by the Strata Property Act of BC, and in specific they need to comply with section 135 of the Act.
Section 135 states that the strata company:
- Must have received a complaint about the contravention, and
- Must give the resident the particulars of the complaint, in writing, and a reasonable opportunity to answer the complaint, including a hearing if requested by the resident.
Strata corporations often use generic infraction notices for bylaw contraventions, and as a resident you need to ensure your rights are not trampled on. If you’ve answered the complaint and the strata has made their decision final, you still may have further options under part 10 of the Strata Property Act. Section 163 of the Act allows an owner (not tenant) to sue the strata corporation, and Section 164 allows the Supreme Court (on application of an owner or tenant) to make an order if they consider the actions or the threatened actions of the strata to be significantly unfair.
Lastly, your strata company is made up of residents like yourself, so sometimes taking a more kindhearted and apologetic approach will go a long ways regarding both the infraction and future interactions with council members!