Strata corporations, strata owners, residents and strata council members can access online services through the BC Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT).
- non-payment of monthly strata fees or fines;
- unfair actions by the strata corporation or by those owning more than half of the strata lots in a complex;
- uneven, arbitrary or non-enforcement of strata bylaws (such as smoking, noise, pets, parking, rentals);
- issues of financial responsibility for repairs and the choice of bids for services;
- irregularities in the conduct of meetings, voting, minutes or other matters;
- interpretation of the legislation, regulations or bylaws; and
- issues regarding common property.
The tribunal also helps solve small claims disputes up to $5,000.
How are tribunal services accessed?
Tribunal services are available online 24/7. Assistance is also offered by phone, mail or even in person. Disputes are expected to be resolved within 60 days, compared to 12 to 18 months for the court process.
What to expect
Here are the stages in the CRT process:
Stage 1: Get started and apply
Information and tools including the strata solution explorer are available online 24/7 to help parties resolve disputes. Learn and then apply
Stage 2: Responding
Anyone receiving a dispute notice must respond.
Stage 3: Negotiation
Once all parties to the dispute respond, they will have the opportunity to negotiate.
Stage 4: Facilitated settlement
If negotiation doesn’t work, parties can request active facilitation by the tribunal involving mediation or other dispute resolution processes. All parties must consent.
Stage 5: Get a CRT decision
If the parties can’t reach an agreement by negotiation or facilitation, an independent CRT member will make a decision about the dispute.
What the CRT doesn’t decide
The CRT doesn’t decide matters that affect land, including:
- ordering the sale of a strata lot;
- court orders respecting rebuilding damaged real property;
- dealing with developers and phased strata plans; or
- determining each owner’s per cent share in the strata complex (the “Schedule of Unit Entitlement”).
These matters will continue to be heard in the BC Supreme Court, as will other matters, including:
- the appointment of an administrator to run the strata corporation;
- orders vesting authority in a liquidator;
- applications to wind up a strata corporation;
- allegations of conflicts of interest by council members; or
- appointment of voters when there is no person to vote in respect of a strata lot.
CRT fees for strata property disputes
There are fee waivers for anyone with a low income.
Get fees reimbursed
If an independent CRT member makes a final decision about a dispute, they may order an unsuccessful party to pay the successful party’s CRT fees and other reasonable expenses.
For strata property disputes and small claims disputes, the CRT typically won’t order an unsuccessful party to reimburse fees paid by the successful party to a lawyer or other representative.
The CRT considers factors such as:
- the complexity of the dispute;
- whether a party or representative’s conduct has caused unnecessary delay or expense; and
- other factors the tribunal considers appropriate.
If a party applies for CRT dispute resolution, follows all steps to provide notice and the respondent doesn’t respond, the initiating party may request a Default Order.
The CRT may then decide the dispute without the non-responding party’s participation.
A default order can include an order for the defaulting party to pay the other party’s CRT fees and reasonable expenses.
How is a strata order enforced?
The successful party must file it with either the BC Provincial Court or the BC Supreme Court.
When it is filed, the order has the same force and effect as if it were a judgment of that court.
Whether it’s filed in the Supreme Court or the Provincial Court, the enforcement procedures are in the court’s jurisdiction.
For information on Supreme Court, visit the BC Supreme Court Guidebook on Enforcing Court Orders. (Opens an 18-page pdf).
For information on provincial court, visit the Provincial Court of British Columbia website.
Decisions are filed online and are searchable.
Strata housing website
The Province of British Columbia has launched a strata housing website. It provides strata owners, residents, and strata council members with information about the Strata Property Act, Regulation and standard bylaws, including:
- understanding stratas;
- operating a strata;
- resolving disputes;
- buying and selling strata properties;
- renting in stratas; and
- strata associations.