Strata council member slammed for filing legal action against homeowner without other members' consent

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      A White Rock man has received a judicial roasting for falsely claiming to speak on behalf of a strata council before a quasi-judicial tribunal.

      Henry Peter Rose was a member of his strata council when he launched a claim at the Civil Resolution Tribunal for $2791.52 against Roderick Louis, alleging unpaid strata fees.

      The case continued after the strata corporation authorized a lien of $34,456.71 on Louis's unit for alleged nonpayment of strata fees.

      Rose continued pursuing the claim against Louis even after he ceased to be on strata council in 2019.

      In a recent B.C. Supreme Court decision, Justice W. Paul Riley declared that Rose never had any authority from the strata council to launch the action. 

      "I find it impossible to conceive that the Strata Council would go forward with the lien process for a debt of $34,456.71, while simultaneously conducting a civil dispute resolution through the CRT for a debt of $2,791.84," Riley wrote.

      "The two approaches are completely inconsistent and the amounts are vastly different," he continued. "This is compelling and uncontroverted evidence that the Strata Council was, at the time, completely unaware that any CRT proceeding was under way."

      Louis has claimed in the past that these fees are not owing because the strata council operated under invalidly approved bylaws.

      The judge relied in part on an affidavit filed by the president of the strata corporation. He swore that to the best of his knowledge, no strata council members were aware of the legal action against Louis before the tribunal. 

      As a result, Riley concluded that Rose "abused the CRT process" and imposed special costs against him.

      Moreover, Riley described Rose's conduct as "intentional and reprehensible", perpetrating an "abuse of process on the CRT, to the prejudice of the Strata Corporation".

      "Mr. Rose’s original motivation was a well-intended desire to save the Strata Corporation and the Strata Owners from the expense and risk associated with further litigation of its issues with Mr. Louis," Riley wrote. "However, his actions have had the opposite effect, resulting in significant legal costs to the Strata Corporation. Those costs ought not to be borne by the strata owners."


      The case came before Riley after Louis filed a judicial-review application to have the tribunal's decision to be set aside because Rose did not have standing.

      Minutes from the strata council gave no indication that the council ever voted to launch the Civil Resolution Tribunal case against Louis. 

      The strata corporation applied to the court to be added as a party and sought special costs against Rose.

      The judge rejected Louis's attempts to dismiss the strata corporation's application and obtain a court order requiring disclosure of the strata council members' email correspondence from 2017 to 2020.

      The Civil Resolution Tribunal was created by the NDP government to save legal costs by keeping smaller financial disputes out of the courts. But it didn't accomplish that in this instance.

      "What started out as a dispute over unpaid strata fees has now devolved into an unfortunate legal morass involving a botched civil dispute resolution proceeding and at least two separate petition proceedings in this Court," Riley noted in his ruling.