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Debra, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 98030
Experience:  Lawyer
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I own a condo that is 7 years old. A building envelope

Customer Question

I own a condo that is 7 years old. A building envelope review was done in 2012, and another in 2013, and it was noted by the engineering that water is seeping into the building due to incorrect installation of the cladding and flashing. The strata filed a claim with the insurer, who took months to respond. Strata then engaged legal counsel. The warranty period is 10 years for building envelope issues which includes water ingress. The insurer has done little investigation whereas the strata has engaged a building engineer and has prepared 2 reports. There are 100 units in the building. The cost estimate for repair is $4,200,000 according to the engineering report. The strata filed a claim with the insurer before the 5 year warranty period was up within the legal time frame. The insurer finally responded saying their cap is $2,500,000 for any claims and offered to either do a partial remediation at no cost to the owners or a full remediation whereby the owners would have to cover 70% of the cost and the insurer would cover 30%. The lawyers advised that this was not beneficial to the owners and have proceeded to go to trial suing the insurer and the developer. What is the possibility of the outcome ruling in favour of the owners of the building and how long does this type of case take? How long would an out of court settlement take?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Canada Law
Expert:  Debra replied 1 year ago.

Where in the legal proceedings is the case now?

For example, do you know if discoveries have taken place yet?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The case has been filed in BC Courts and has a file number. This was done in May 2014. That is where it is at.
Expert:  Debra replied 1 year ago.

Sadly, and I really hate to have to say this, this can take several years if this is not settled by agreement.

The legal system is highly complex, exceedingly expensive and considerably over-burdened. The lawyers are too busy as are the courts.

An out of court settlement could happen at any time so I cannot possibly know whether this can be settled and whether they are far apart or close to being able to be settled but given that the case just started and given the figures you mentioned I don't see it settling for a long time, if at all.

I cannot possibly know what your chances of success are as I cannot analyze the facts. I assume that your lawyers think the chances are good or they would not have said to undertake the difficult and expensive route.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The lawyers seem to believe that 90% of these cases settle out of court and that is what they are hoping for. At least at 60 to 70% settlement.
Expert:  Debra replied 1 year ago.

Court is terribly expensive and very risky so it is a very last resort. I sure hope it settles.

A somewhat faster and somewhat cheaper idea is to consider binding arbitration. I suggest asking the lawyers about that.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The issue is that the building was still under warranty when the deficiency was discovered, and the claim was filed before the expiration of the warranty period with the insurer taking so long to respond. They have now made an offer of covering 30% of the cost or partial remediation. The lawyers seems to think that this is not beneficial to the owners and that going to trial would be a better option.
Expert:  Debra replied 1 year ago.

I agree based on the facts. This should not cost the owners anything.

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