In 2016, BC introduced a new method for strata corporations and unit owners to resolve disputes - the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT). It is Canada's first online tribunal to handle strata disputes, and beginning June 1, 2017, the CRT will also accept small claims disputes.
The CRT was designed to address minor issues traditionally resolved internally or through arbitration in the most efficient and cost effective way possible. It is accessible by users 24/7 via a computer or mobile device. It encourages collaboration and problem-solving, providing resources, tools and facilitators to ease and speed the process of dispute resolution. The CRT will only step in to make a decision if the parties involved cannot come to an agreement. Matters that can be resolved through the CRT include:
•Non-payment of monthly strata fees or fines
•Unfair actions by the strata corporation or by people owning more than half of the strata lots in a complex
•Unfair, arbitrary or non-enforcement of strata bylaws (such as 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
•Issues regarding the common property
Since the CRT was implemented in July 2016, there has been more than 280 users. More serious and complex disputes should still be filed with the courts.
Beginning June 1, 2017, the CRT will also have the authority to handle small claims under $5,000. Disputes that can be filed with the CRT will include those related to contracts, debts, personal injury, personal property and consumer issues. From that point on, the BC Small Claims Courts will begin handling disputes in amounts up to $35,000 (up from $25,000).
For more information about the Civil Resolution Tribunal, visit www.civilresolutionbc.ca.
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