Strata Alert: Strata functions through the council


The strata functions through the council

Robert A. Mallett, Associate


One of the CRT’s goals is to simplify strata dispute resolution. What are the CRT’s limits in providing stratas with solutions moving forward to prevent repeated conflict?

Stratas with ongoing and long-term disputes would like these matters dealt with finality so that further hearings can be avoided.

For example, a strata with a challenging owner who refuses to maintain their property may wish for a standing order directing repair work recommended by a third party on an on-going basis. A strata may want a binding, simple arbitration as an alternative to revisiting the CRT every time a dispute arises.

This was what the BCSC considered in the recent decision of McKnight v. The Owners, Strata Plan VIS 2963, 2018 BCSC 1342, in which Ms. McKnight appealed the CRT’s decision against her.


The Strata obtained a CRT order compelling the parties to undertake annual inspections and any repairs recommended by the inspector.

The CRT also directed the parties to join the Condominium Home Owners Association (“CHOA”). The parties would be bound by CHOA’s findings on referred disputes.

(Notably, prior to appeal, the CRT amended this portion of its decision so that the CHOA findings would not be binding on the parties).

The BCSC Decision

The BCSC disagreed with the order to conduct future recommended repair work.

The CRT cannot make this form of order as it assigned the strata’s decision-making power to a third party. The CRT can only order that a strata undertake reasonable repairs with reference to the strata’s budget and other competing needs and priorities.

The CRT also cannot order parties to use a particular binding dispute resolution mechanism, such as a third party arbitrator. This would be an improper abdication of the CRT’s own role in the resolution of strata disputes.


Stratas often try to resolve disputes by abdicating their own authority. For example, council members and owners may want an engineer or an arbitrator to make an important repair decision.

This solution is often a good one. It is not a problem if the parties agree to delegate this authority. The BCSC makes clear that (outside of the context of a strata administrator) the CRT cannot order a strata to delegate its authority. This is the case even if the strata seeks the order.

More generally, the CRT will not make orders that will constrain the strata’s ability to make its own decisions in the future, even if requested by the strata.

Stratas should carefully consider how a CRT order could affect the strata’s self-governance. A strata that wants to avoid blame or conflict by putting someone else in charge of difficult future decisions will not be assisted by the CRT.


WHAT WE DO:  Lesperance Mendes has been advising strata corporations and strata owners on strata governance matters since 1997.  For more information on how experienced lawyers can assist you with your strata legal problem, contact Paul G. Mendes, Partner at 604-685-4894 or


Caution:  The content on this website is intended as general information only and should not be relied on as legal advice.  Views expressed in articles, alerts, and other publications may not apply to the circumstances of a specific case and are subject to change as a result of legislative amendments and court or tribunal decisions.  Readers should obtain their own up-to-date independent legal advice before making any decisions that affect their rights.

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