Provincial Government Announces New Dispute Resolution System for Strata Owners
On May 7, 2012, the Provincial Government of British Columbia announced the introduction of the Civil Resolution Tribunal Act. This bill will create a four stage online tribunal system designed to help resolve small claims and strata disputes within 60 days.
Until now, the tools available to resolve disputes between strata owners and their strata corporations have been costly and burdensome. Currently, an owner can only request arbitration or launch an action in Supreme Court, a costly and daunting endeavour.
With the introduction of a low cost civil tribunal system, owners in approximately 29,000 strata corporations in the province will finally have access to affordable judicial dispute resolution.
What Does this Mean for Owners?
If you are an owner of a strata property, you will soon be able to launch grievances against your strata corporation and ensure that your strata complies with its obligations under the Strata Property Act.
What Does this Mean for Strata Corporations and Strata Councils?
The proposed tribunal system is part of a larger effort by the Provincial Government to improve strata governance and disclosure. By giving owners a low cost mechanism to challenge the decisions and actions of strata corporations, the balance of power will shift from strata councils to owners on matters of governance and disclosure.
How Can Strata Corporations, Strata Councils and Owners Prepare for the Change?
Strata law can be a complex and challenging area of law. Many disputes arise between owners and strata councils because one or both parties fail to understand their rights and obligations. In preparation for the introduction of this new online tribunal system, strata owners and strata councils should take steps to improve the governance and ensure that the strata corporation’s bylaws and rules comply with the Strata Property Act and are applied fairly and appropriately.
If you or your strata council would like additional information or assistance with strata governance, bylaws, rules or dispute resolution, contact Bell Alliance today.