B.C.’s Civil Resolution Tribunal has ordered a strata to pay an owner $1,181 after the council had items he had in the complex’s bike room thrown out.
Ales Eisner told tribunal member Sarah Orr that the strata removed his bikes and equipment from the room and disposed of them without proper notice.
The strata, on the other hand, said it notified all owners of a bike room audit. It said the items Eisner claims in this dispute were either not permitted in the bike room or were not properly tagged and so the strata properly disposed of them.
The strata said it didn’t owe Eisner anything.
Undisputed in the case is that, Dec. 21, 2020, the strata posted a first notice to residents on its strata manager’s web portal of an upcoming bike audit. It instructed residents to tie a ribbon on their bikes in the bike room or to mark them with their unit numbers by Jan. 25, 2021.
The notice said the strata would move any unmarked bikes to storage and any bikes not claimed by Feb. 1, 2021, would be donated to charity.
Eisner said he marked all his belongings in the bike room with a ribbon as instructed.
Also undisputed was that on Feb. 16, 2021, the strata posted a second notice saying the bike room could not be used to store “spare parts, tools or liquids of any kind.” Residents were required to remove such items by Feb. 28.
As with the first notice, the second instructed residents to tie a ribbon to their bikes or mark them with their unit number, this time by Feb. 28, 2021.
The second notice said the strata would move any unmarked bikes to storage and any unclaimed or unmarked bikes would be donated on March 1, 2021.
The notice did not say what the strata would do with any spare parts, tools, or liquid left in the bike room. It is undisputed that the claimed items remained in the bike room after that date.
I’s further undisputed that, on April 23, 2021, the strata posted a final reminder to all owners about the audit. It did not refer to either the previous notices, nor did it state that any specific items were not permitted to be stored in the bike room. This time it gave a May 7, 2021 deadline.
It's undisputed Eisner’s claimed items remained in the bike room after that date.
Eisner said that on Aug. 25, 2021, he discovered his items were missing from the bike room. That same day, he emailed the strata reporting what he believed at the time to be a theft.
Eisner said that since the strata removed the items from the bike room more than three months after the May 7, 2021, deadline, it was unannounced and without proper notice.
The strata said it conducted the audit in response to multiple complaints that the room was overflowing and contained spare parts and partially dismantled bikes.
Orr found in her April 26 decision that it was reasonable for Eisner to conclude that after May 7, 2021, the strata had completed the bike audit and decided not to dispose of the items.
She said that by removing the items from the bike room in August 2021 without providing express notice, the strata did not act reasonably and breached its duty to maintain common property.
The strata claimed the room was only for bikes in working order.
“I find there is nothing in the strata plan, bylaws or evidence before me to suggest that the bike room was intended only to store bikes in working order,” Orr said.
She noted the strata said it intends to propose bylaw amendments to specify a maximum number of bikes per strata lot allowed in the room and to clarify that no accessories or parts might be stored in the room.