Vancouver condo owner's arguments about exterior balcony wall fail to convince judge

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      A B.C. Supreme Court judge has dismissed a downtown Vancouver condo owner's application to overturn a decision by her strata council.

      Siu Lin Chan wanted the court to order the owners of 1005 Beach Avenue to set aside a decision refusing to pay for repairs to her exterior balcony wall on the 28th floor.

      "The evidence is clear that a further recoating may well impair the integrity of the wall," Justice Bruce Greyell wrote in his ruling. "Further, while the cost to effect the remediation sought by the petitioner was not significant, an issue referred to by counsel for the petitioner in argument, the strata council’s response was not inappropriate in the sense of being harsh, wrongful or taken in bad faith."

      According to the decision, the strata council passed a resolution in November 2011 to spend $806,000 to recoat the building exterior. It was completed in 2012.

      However, Chan claimed that the coating "appeared uneven and patchy" on her balcony wall and asked for repairs on several occasions.

      The strata council refused so Chan's husband filed a lawsuit in small claims court, which was dismissed in 2014.

      Then her husband asked a real-estate consultant to assess the marketability of Chan's unit.

      This consultant concluded that the "paint deficiency" on the balcony's southern wall was “conspicuous and can easily be seen, as soon as a person opens the door separating the living room from the balcony”.

      Any potential buyer, according to this consultant, would use this "deficiency" to try to drive down the price of the unit.

      The strata corporation then retained its own real-estate agent, who claimed that the cladding looked better outside Chan's suite than on two other units in the building.

      In the end, Greyell pointed out that the recoating was effective in dealing with moisture problems and the debate over the deficiency was solely over cosmetic considerations.

      "The degree of the alleged cosmetic deficiency does not appear in the photographs annexed to the petitioner’s material to be significant," the judge ruled. "It is difficult to see any noticeable defect in the photograph."

      Moreover, no other strata owner filed any complaints about the recoating.

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