A strata which tried to impose $30,000 in fines on an owner whose Burnaby condo was rented out on Airbnb has lost a case in front of the province’s Civil Resolution Tribunal.
In September 2021, the strata at the Altus in Brentwood’s Solo District fined Kale Kondra $30,000 for breaking the building’s rules against short-term rentals, according to a tribunal ruling last week (June 29).
The penalty represented fines of $1,000 a day for 30 days between July 14 and Aug. 14, 2021 because Kondra’s condo had been listed on Airbnb at that time, and fob activity and video footage had shown different groups of people living in the unit.
But Kondra opposed the fines, saying his ex-spouse had listed the condo on Airbnb, and that a B.C. Supreme Court order had given that ex-spouse exclusive occupancy of the unit between April and September 2021.
Kondra said his lawyer had even sent the ex-spouse’s lawyer a letter to get the Airbnb listing taken down, but the ex-spouse’s conduct was out of his control because of the court order.
Tribunal vice-chair Garth Cambrey ultimately sided with Kondra for two reasons.
First, he concluded there was enough evidence to show the ex-spouse and not Kondra had allowed the Airbnb rentals.
Second, Cambrey said the strata has no bylaw explicitly banning Airbnb, and the bylaw against short-term rentals doesn’t apply.
The bylaw states no owner shall “rent” a strata lot for a period shorter than one month, but Cambrey pointed out there is a difference between “renting” and “licensing.”
Short-term accommodations, such as vacation rentals, involve licensing arrangements, Cambrey said.
“The words ‘rent’ and ‘rental’ do not apply to licences and only apply to tenancies,” states the ruling.
Cambrey dismissed the strata’s claims.