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In June 2015 I bought a strata unit in Rock BC. Within the…

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In June 2015 I...

In June 2015 I bought a strata unit in White Rock BC. Within the first month I noticed a wet patch on the living room carpet. In rainy weather it became a permanent puddle that rotted the carpet under-layers. Now, finally the strata Council retained a contractor to repair its leaky windows, eight altogether. My personal cost share was set at approx. $35,000. I feel that it should not cost me anything, since the damage had been done before I moved in.

Lawyer's Assistant: What province are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.

British Columbia

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have you taken so far?

I expressed my disagreement.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

They set a deadline for the 7th of August for me to pay, or else they will not fix my window

Submitted: 11 days ago.Category: Canada Law
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Answered in 28 minutes by:
8/5/2018
Lawyer: Debra, Lawyer replied 11 days ago
Debra
Debra, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 106,013
Experience: Lawyer
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Hello! My name is Debra (formerly known as Legal Ease). Thank you for your question. I'm reviewing it now, and will post back again shortly.

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Lawyer: Debra, Lawyer replied 11 days ago

If the windows belong to the Strata why do you have a shared cost?

Are you saying the former owners knew about the problem but failed to disclose it?

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Customer reply replied 11 days ago
Probably because the common account is too low (about $90,000). Or probably because this way they get my money.
The former owners insist they knew nothing of the leak.
Lawyer: Debra, Lawyer replied 11 days ago

I can see why they want you to pay but what gives them the right?

Does it set this out in the by-laws?

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Customer reply replied 10 days ago
The details were determined in special general meetings by majority vote. The strata has 12 units, so 7 votes can determine the outcome.
Customer reply replied 10 days ago
As it is now, by tomorrow I will have to pay my share of the window seal repair, and glass replacement cost (a total of $34,233.85 for window seal, + $2,428.12 for glass replacement = $36,661.97). Is it possible to recover money from the strata after the payment? Is it worth still going after them?
Customer reply replied 10 days ago
what about my carpet, which has been badly damaged in the window area, due to rain water accumulation over the last 3 years. The strata does not think they are responsible!!
Lawyer: Debra, Lawyer replied 10 days ago

This doesn't make any sense to me. Can you attach the by-laws for me to read?

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Customer reply replied 8 days ago
According to the Bylaws: The bow windows are considered a special feature of the building, and any expenses associated with them are the responsibility of the Strata. So, all bow window repair expenses must be shared by every owner, in proportion with the floor area of his unit, even if his unit has no bow window, or if his bow window is not leaking. Only 10 of the 12 units have bow windows, only 8 bow windows are leaking.
My objection is that the damage to the window seals happened before I bought the units. When the leaks showed up, the damage had already occurred.
I bought the unit end of May 2015, moved in end of June, and the first sign of rain entering the living room, that I am aware of, showed up about end of June. The then-president of the strata was an old friend of mine, and he helped me dry up the carpet. But the wet patches kept coming, bigger and bigger as we moved from the dry months of June / July / August to the rainy September / October of 2015, etc. I ended up having a permanent water puddle in my living room. The carpet, of course, suffered wit time, ending up with a black, crumbly underside. And I ended up with a permanent allergic condition, with my eyes and nose constantly running.
I have two problems here:
1. The window leak repair cost ($34,233.92): Since all the damage happened before I bought the unit: should the strata not bear the window repair costs?? and
2. If the Strata had proceeded to repair my window soon after the leak appeared in my living room, the carpet would not have suffered damage. The damage occurred because the Strata chose to not take action on the window leak for a whole 3 years(!), and in so doing, caused the damage of my carpet. (The cost of replacing the carpet will be approximately $6,000.)
Lawyer: Debra, Lawyer replied 8 days ago

You are likely right that this should not cost you anything. But this is not the Strata's fault or issue. As between the Strata you owe this money but you should be going after the seller of the condo as they sold you this condo representing it to be in good shape and it was not.

Do you see what I mean?

Please feel free to post back with any follow-up questions you may have. If you don't have any then I hope I have earned a 5 star rating but if you don't feel that I have please don't hesitate to reply back and let me know what more I can do to assist you. Finally, please know that even after you rate me I will be here for you and you can ask follow-up questions if you think of them later on at no further charge of course.

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Lawyer: Debra, Lawyer replied 6 days ago

Is there anything more I can help you with at this point in time?

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Customer reply replied 6 days ago
1. The previous owner of my unit maintains that he did not, at any time, see any sign of rain water leaking through the bow window before I bought the unit. So, now I can see that as far as the repair of the bow window leak, I may have to carry the costs .
2. With regard to the carpet damage however, the responsibility is fully on the strata: They were fully aware of the leak from the beginning, they saw the puddles in my living room, and they could have organized for a contractor to come and do the necessary work to stop the leak, in time to avoid permanent damage to the carpet. There is no excuse for them to have waited for more than 3 whole years before taking any action!! What they did shows pure negligence and irresponsibility on their part. In that sense, they caused the damage to the carpet. As a result I feel strongly that they should bear the total cost of carpet replacement.
Lawyer: Debra, Lawyer replied 6 days ago

I agree.

They are liable for damages they cause.

I suggest that you retain a lawyer to send them a letter asserting your position and threatening court if necessary.

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Customer reply replied 6 days ago
Your advice is that I retain a lawyer.
The problem is that I have never dealt with lawyers, courts, judges... and I know they are expensive and unpredictable. So I have to think well, and I need your advice. I know the Strata will pursue the case, as a show of determination, and they have nothing to lose. Maximum gain for me, if I win, is the approx. $5,000 minus expenses. Roughly what can I expect the legal costs to be?? Is it worth bothering? Or will it cost me more than I can hope to get out of this exercise?? I will appreciate any advice you may have.
Lawyer: Debra, Lawyer replied 6 days ago

I am not suggesting you hire a lawyer to sue. I am suggesting you hire a lawyer to send a demand letter and see what comes of it.

You can sue them in Small Claims Court and can self-represent.

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Lawyer: Debra, Lawyer replied 4 days ago

Is there anything more I can help you with at this point in time?

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