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B.C. tribunal dismisses strata marijuana smoking dispute

Babak Sadeghvishkaei claimed his next door neighbour smoked marijuana contrary to strata bylaws.
marijuana smoke
B.C.'s Civil Resolution Tribunal has dismissed a strata pot dispute.

B.C.’s Civil Resolution Tribunal has dismissed a Langley strata owner’s $4,000 claim for injured dignity because his neighbour smokes marijuana.

Babak Sadeghvishkaei said his next door neighbour smokes marijuana contrary to the strata’s bylaws, adding the same neighbour has caused unreasonable noise. The latter complaint was not addressed, as it was not mentioned in the dispute notice.

Sadeghvishkaei said he and his co-owner are allergic to smoke and alleges the strata “failed to resolve the root cause” of his complaint.

Tribunal vice-chair Garth Cambrey’s June 1 decision also sought an order that the strata obtain an expert opinion on air quality and a “proper sensor to detect smoke." He valued that request at $3,850.

The strata, however, said it acted reasonably in carrying out its bylaw enforcement duties under the Strata Property Act. It denied the smoking violations occurred and asked for Sadeghvishkaei’s claims be dismissed.

It was on July 9, 2022 that Sadeghvishkaei emailed the strata alleging his neighbour was smoking marijuana on their balcony. He included a video.

A week later, he emailed a second complaint and video to the strata.

The strata wrote to the neighbour on July 18 advising them of the smoking complaints and citing bylaws. They were given two weeks to respond.

The strata sent a second smoking bylaw violation letter on Aug. 2 about a July 21, 2022 smoking complaint from someone else. The neighbour emailed back and was invited to attend a strata council meeting.

In further emails between the neighbour and the strata manager in September 2022, the neighbour said they did not smoke, and were not smoking on the dates in July noted in strata letters.

The Sept. 19, 2022 strata council meeting minutes show the neighbour attended the meeting and asserted they did not smoke. The complaints were dismissed.

On Oct. 11, 2022, the manager emailed Sadeghvishkaei, telling him the neighbour on the other side had never smelled smoke or seen the neighbour smoking.

“The strata manager said the strata council suspected the smoke was coming from the ground level commercial strata lots and would take the matter up with them,” Cambrey said.

Soon after, Sadeghvishkaei stated in an email to the manager that his neighbour had admitted smoking marijuana but Cambrey said there was no evidence to support the assertion.

Then, on Dec. 22, 2022, following further smoking complaints, a strata council member went to the hallway near the neighbour’s unit after Sadeghvishkaei sent her a text message that he smelled smoke in the hallway.

“The strata council member reported that she did not smell smoke after checking the entire hallway,” Cambrey said.

Cambrey said he found no evidence proving Sadeghvishkaei's assertions and found the strata had acted reasonably in responding to his concerns.

"I find the neighbour has not breached the strata’s no smoking bylaw,” Cambrey said. “In the absence of any proven smoke, I do not need to consider Mr. Sadeghvishkaei’s submissions about Code violations or air quality. I dismiss Mr. Sadeghvishkaei’s claims and this dispute.”