It’s not for Stratas to find municipal bylaw breaches

In my earlier article on short term rentals in British Columbia, I discussed the BC Supreme Court case Nanaimo (Regional District) v. Saccomani where the district was successful in getting a statutory injunction against a vacation home operator.  That case was referenced in a February 2019 Civil Resolution Tribunal decision between an owner and a strata located in Vancouver, Meloché v. The Owners, Strata Plan BC 478, 2019 BCCRT 230.

In this case, the self represented applicant alleged and sought, among other things, that: his strata was inconsistently enforcing the bylaws respecting short term rentals; two of the strata council members should be removed from the strata as they were short term rental operators; and, he wanted his legal costs for bringing the dispute.

The tribunal member, aka adjudicator, conducted analysis as to whether a strata bylaw had been breached as alleged by the applicant.  In analyzing this, the adjudicator noted that the Strata Property Act, “…says that a “residential strata lot” means a strata lot designed or intended to be used primarily as a residence.”

In referencing Nanaimo, the adjudicator noted in that case a decision was made with “specific reference”  to a  municipal bylaw.  Thus, substantiating my point that that case can not be used to prohibit short term rentals in Vancouver as the City of Vancouver expressly allows them under certain conditions.

The applicants claim was dismissed and he was not awarded costs.  No costs award was made and the strata presumably absorbed its own costs.

Key takeaways

 1) The adjudicator found where there is an absence of a specific bylaw restricting short term rentals, or otherwise, it is reasonable to interpret them as permitted.

2) Further, the adjudicator found that it is not up to the strata to investigate possible breaches of municipal bylaws.

Click here to download a copy of the Resolution (PDF File)

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