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B.C. man objecting to strata spending ordered to pay owner fees

Disagreeing with how a strata council spends its money is no reason to stop paying strata fees, B.C.'s Civil Resolution Tribunal has ruled.
strata dispute
A B.C. strata owner who protested council actions by withholding his maintenance fees has been told to pay up.

B.C.’s Civil Resolution Tribunal has ordered a man who refused to pay his strata corporation fees to pay up.

A B.C. strata corporation took Ronald Jay Blackall to the tribunal alleging he owed $6,848 primarily in strata fees. It sought an order that he settle his outstanding bill and pay promptly in the future.

Under the Strata Property Act, strata fees are a contribution toward payment of common expenses. Courts have upheld the law that payment is mandatory and cannot be waived or withheld in protest of strata actions.

Blackall countered he was reluctant to pay the fees based on how the strata has been spending money. He said he makes payments when he can but said expecting full payment was unreasonable during a pandemic when people have been struggling to pay their bills.

The strata was created in 1980 and includes 20 residential strata lots, one of which Blackall has owned since 1998.

Tribunal member Micah Carmody said in a March 25 decision that Blackall provided no evidence and did not directly dispute the amount the strata claimed.

“I find Mr. Blackall is required to pay strata fees and cannot withhold them for any reason,” Carmody said.

In addition to ordering Blackall to pay his debt, Carmody said Blackall must provide the strata with written authorization for monthly automatic debit from his bank account or post-dated cheques dated for the first day of each month for the remainder of the strata’s current fiscal year, and 12 post-dated cheques at the start of each fiscal year after that.

The ruling did not specify where in B.C. the strata is located.

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