Tenant builds unauthorized dog run and gets his landlord fined $819 by strata

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      An unauthorized dog space has taken a bite out of strata owner's wallet.

      The owner was charged by the strata $819 for the cleanup of the area, which is known as a dog run.

      However, it wasn’t the property owner who put up the outdoor dog space at the back of the property.

      The dog run was built by the owner’s tenant, Jeffrey Gabriel-Yu.

      Sometime in April 2018, Gabriel-Yu spread pea gravel at the backyard of the unit he is renting.

      The gravel was meant for a dog run.

      However, the strata corporation indicated that the dog area was an unauthorized alteration of property.

      The strata also didn’t like the dog run because the gravel and dog feces pose a serious health hazard to residents.

      It asked Gabriel-Yu to remove the gravel.

      There was a number of back-and-forths between the parties until finally in April 2019, the strata had the landscaper of the complex remove the gravel.

      The strata then charged the owner of the unit, who is Gabriel-Yu’s landlord, the sum of $819 for the removal of the gravel.

      Gabriel-Yu claimed that the charge for the cleanup cost was unauthorized because the strata did not give him a reasonable opportunity to answer a strata bylaw violation.

      Gabriel-Yu also wanted to be reimbursed $209 for the cost of the gravel.

      The tenant filed a claim before the B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal, and he lost.

      Kate Campbell, vice chair of the tribunal, wrote in her reasons for decision that Gabriel-Yu has no standing to ask for the reversal of the cleanup cost.

      That’s because it was the owner who got charged, not the tenant.

      Campbell also noted that the strata corporation had the authority to clear the dog run.

      Under section 33 of the Strata Property Act, a strata “may do what is reasonably necessary to remedy a bylaw or rule contravention, including doing work on or to common property, and removing objects from the common property”.

      Campbell likewise ruled that Gabriel-Yu is not entitled to be reimbursed for the cost of the gravel, which the applicant said was $209.

      According to Campbell, the tenant did not present evidence on how much he purchased the material.

      The tribunal vice chair also related that before the dog run was cleared, Gabriel-Yu had complained that his yard was not being maintained by the strata’s landscaper.

      Gabriel-Yu emailed the strata council that the landscaper wasn’t maintaining his yard because “we have gravel and the Chihuahuas use it to eliminate”.

      “The applicant wrote that he kept the loose gravel as a security measure, because someone tried to pry open his back window when he first moved in,” Campbell recalled.