BC Strata Dispute: Homeowner Won’t Be Reimbursed for Plumbing Costs

A lack of evidence on the location of a blocked pipe had led the British Columbia Civil Resolution Court to dismiss the bulk of a Vancouver condo owner’s $10,050 claim against his condominium company.

A Vancouver condo owner will not receive his floor replacement or other plumbing expenses from his condo company after the BC Civil Resolution Court rules the problem stems from his suite.

David Carten is co-owner of a suite in a building of approximately 41 floors.

He claimed that in August 2019, a blocked drain pipe from the common property caused water to back up and damaged the suite. He said strata failed to properly repair and maintain the drain pipe and provided certain reports which he was required to keep.

Carten requested orders that Strata pay him a total of $10,050.

Strata denied responsibility, saying the blockage did not occur in a common property drain pipe, but rather in a pipe that was part of the suite.

Alternatively, if the blockage was found to have occurred in a common property drain pipe, Strata said he was not negligent.

Carten saw water backing up in his kitchen sink between August 8 and 14, 2019. He hired a plumbing snake to unblock the pipe and used chemicals to unclog the blockage, but his efforts were unsuccessful. .

So he hired a plumber to unclog the pipe and was billed $500.14.

The plumber was mostly successful in unblocking the pipe, but the stratum sent their plumber, who managed to clear the blockage and charged the strata $425.

Strata tried to get Carten to pay his plumbing costs, but court vice president Garth Cambrey said that for the costs to be recovered under the Strata Property Act, a strata must state a breach of the regulations. before charging an expense to the owner.

“There is no established rule violation,” Cambrey said.

Soon Carten filed an insurance claim with his condo insurer for damages suffered as a result of the plumbing backing up. He paid a $500 deductible plus flooring costs totaling $8,634.77.

The evidence shows that there was no claim against the condominium insurance policy because the deductible for water damage was higher than the cost of the repairs.

In October 2019, Strata asked Carten to pay the amount of his plumber’s bill. He replied that it was a responsibility of layers.

Cambrey said there was no evidence before him showing the location of the blockage.

“I don’t have enough evidence to determine who is responsible for the section of pipe in which the blockage occurred,” Cambrey said.

Cambrey further found that there was no evidence that Strata breached their duty of care in the situation.

Carten had requested Strata’s plumbing records and claimed that Strata had not provided them.

“I find that Strata was unable to provide all of the records and documents requested by Mr. Carten simply because they did not exist,” Cambrey said.

Additionally, the court found that the fact that the condominium did not have a maintenance plan for cleaning the drain pipes of the common properties does not mean that it was negligent.

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