Civil Resolution Tribunal Rules on Second Hand Marijuana Smoke
The Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT ) has issued its first decision, and wouldn’t you know it, its about weed.
In this case a strata corporation filed a complaint against an owner who had repeatedly contravened the strata’s no-smoking bylaw. The strata only sought an order to stop the nuisance, listing “$0.00” as the monetary amount for the remedy.
The owner failed to answer the strata’s Dispute Notice within the 14 day deadline set out in the notice. Under rules 79 and 80 of the CRT rules, an applicant can ask for a default order where a respondent has not provided a response in the time required, as long as the Dispute Notice was properly delivered. The strata produced evidence that it had properly delivered the Dispute Notice: a registered mail receipt from Canada Post, a delivery receipt from Canada Post with the owner’s name as signatory, and a completed Proof of Notice Form certifying that the Dispute Notice had been sent to the owner by registered mail.
The decision, written by CRT chairperson Shannon Salter, confirmed that the CRT’s mandate is to “provide dispute resolution services accessibly, quickly, economically, informally and flexibly”. In examining the complaint, the Tribunal can consider any evidence it considers relevant, even if that evidence would not have been admissible in court.
In this case, the Tribunal had looked at a large number of emails to the property manager from other residents in the strata complaining of the respondent’s smoking, including from neighbouring units who had smoke coming into their units through their bathroom ventilation. When the strata issued complaint letters to the respondent, he retained a lawyer who claimed that the respondent suffered from a disability that required him to smoke marijuana indoors.
The Tribunal agreed that the respondent had breached the strata’s bylaws and, although it was satisfied that the respondent had a disability, it found there was no persuasive evidence that the respondent couldn’t ingest marijuana without smoking it, nor was there any valid reason for smoking tobacco.
The Tribunal issued an order prohibiting the respondent from smoking tobacco or marijuana on any property of the strata corporation including within his strata lot, and requiring him to reimburse the strata for its CRT fees.
An order from the CRT may be enforced by filing it with the B.C. Supreme Court once the time period for appealing the decision (which is 28 days) has passed. Once filed, the Tribunal’s order has the same force and effect as an order of the B.C. Supreme Court.
WHAT WE DO: Lesperance Mendes has been representing strata owners and strata corporations on bylaw enforcement matters since 1997. If you have an unsettling bylaw enforcement dispute, or to learn more about our strata law practice, contact Paul G. Mendes, Partner at 604-685-4894 or PGM@LMLAW.CA.
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