A tribunal has ordered a B.C. condo owner to pay fines totalling $27,000.
Monica Copeland was found to have rented out her apartment without first securing the approval of the strata council in violation of the strata's bylaws.
Copeland bought the Central Saanich condo in 2014, and her daughter Morgan then began living in the unit.
In 2018, a person identified only as LA began to live with Morgan.
Copeland argued before the B.C. Civil Tribunal that LA was not renting, and was her daughter’s companion.
Moreover, the condo owner claimed that LA was not a tenant because there is no evidence that she paid rent.
However, B.C. Civil Resolution tribunal member Julie K. Gibson noted that the Residential Tenancy Act defines rent as “money paid...or a value or a right given or agreed to be given, by or on behalf of a tenant to a landlord”.
“The RTA definition allows that rent can include non-monetary value or rights,” according to Gibson.
The tribunal member noted that it was “likely that LA paid expenses for services and maintenance associated with the strata lot, given the absence of evidence from Morgan or LA on this central question”.
“Based on the evidence before me, I find it likely that LA was a roommate in unit 104, paying rent from January 1, 2018 to July 1, 2019,” Gibson wrote in her reasons for decision.
Gibson also noted that the RTA does “not require a written agreement for an arrangement to be a tenancy”.
“If someone occupying less than an entire strata lot under a verbal agreement with the owner, tenant or occupant is paying monetary rent or providing other value to the owner, that individual is renting…,” Gibson wrote
The strata sought 58 weeks’ worth of fines totalling $29,000.
However, Gibson determined that the strata could impose fines for only 54 weeks, for $27,000.
Copeland filed a counterclaim for $29,000, claiming stress caused by the strata council. The tribunal dismissed the claim.