Bylaw Enforcement

There is a surprising number of cases involving strata councils that have failed to properly enforce the bylaws as per section 135 of the Strata Property Act and, as a result, are unable to collect the fines associated for the breach, even if the owner clearly breached the bylaw.

In the case of Mason v The Owners, Strata Plan BCS 4338, 2017 BCCRT 47, the strata council sent a letter advising that fines had been levied and provided the owner no opportunity before or after to respond to the complaint that she had been smoking on her balcony in breach of the bylaws. Further, council had made no attempt to even investigate the breach, simply issued fines to the owner. The CRT easily made the decision that the smoking fines were invalid.

In the case of SM v The Owners, Strata Plan ABC, 2017 BCCRT 23, the strata council had failed to follow the correct procedure under section 135. However, the strata council attempted to correct its failure by sending a fresh bylaw complaint notice to the owner and held a hearing with the owner in response to the complaint. After the hearing, the council confirmed that the fine would be upheld.

The CRT noted that while section 135 was not initially complied with, the irregularity was rectified prior to the imposition of the fines ultimately imposed. Therefore, the fines were upheld.

In cases where the fines were deemed invalid, the strata council made no attempt to comply with the procedure set out in section 135. However, as can be seen by the SM case, if a council takes corrective steps, the strata corporation can still recover the fines for bylaw breaches. There are numerous helpful articles online about how to correctly enforce the bylaws including the Government of BC Housing Website and CHOA.

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