Leaky-condo legal battle rumbles on

The struggle of leaky-condo buyers is far from over. Take the case of Strata Plan LMS 1725 , owners of units at the Governor's Tower and Villas condominiums in Yaletown.

It took no less than a B.C. Supreme Court ruling to allow them to retain an engineering firm to rehabilitate the buildings that suffered from water-penetration problems following their construction in 1994. Property developer Pacific Place Holdings Ltd . had objected to their hiring of RDH Building Engineering Ltd. on the grounds that the same firm had previously provided expert advice to the builder.

In a July 12 decision, the court noted that the developer's application to disqualify the engineering company will not only delay the repair and hike costs but also "increase the difficulties" of owners.

This won't end the legal fight. The condo owners earlier sued the builder. The trial will start in January 2008, the 245 owners' lawyer, Robert Lesperance , told the Straight .

At least 65,000 homeowners in B.C. have been affected by the leaky-condo problem, according to estimates by the Consumer Advocacy and Support to Homeowners Society.

Society cofounder John Grasty noted that building tarps are visible across the Lower Mainland, indications of additional repairs being done on the defective structures.

"Due diligence is the word," Grasty said. "It's doing as much research as you can."

NDP housing critic Diane Thorne said there aren't enough measures to protect the interests of buyers.

"Consumer protection is not a priority of this government," Thorne told the Straight .