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Burnaby strata ordered to pay $5K for ignoring owner’s right to storage room

The Civil Resolution Tribunal has ordered the Ingleton Place strata on Hastings Street to pay Trinden Enterprises Ltd. $5,000 for renting out a storage room to Telus that Trinden should have had exclusive use of.
Telus has had an agreement to place cellular and microwave antennas atop the Ingleton Place apartment building on Hastings Street since 1989, according to a recent Civil Resolution Tribunal ruling.

A Burnaby strata has been ordered to pay $5,000 for renting out a storage room to Telus for years over the objections of the owner that should have had exclusive use of the space.

Trinden Enterprises Ltd., which owns the two commercial strata lots at Ingleton Place in the 3900 block of Hastings Street, took its strata to the Civil Resolution Tribunal over a 59-square-metre (635-square-foot), plaza-level storage room in one of its buildings, according to a tribunal ruling last week.

Exclusive use denied

A March 1999 letter showed the strata was renting the storage room and space on the apartment building's rooftop to Telus for telecommunications equipment, including “cellular and microwave antennas,” according to the ruling

On the strata plan, the storage room is set aside for the exclusive use of the commercial section, but Trinden, which bought the lots in 2005, didn’t initially object to the Telus arrangement.

It was only when Telus’s lease was about to run out in January 2017 that Trinden informed the strata it would not agree to extending it but would agree on “reasonable rent” to house the Telus equipment.

Up until that time, the strata had been collecting the rent and depositing it into its joint operating account.

Despite Trinden’s objections, the strata renewed the Telus lease (after increasing the rent) at a November 2017 strata council meeting when no Trinden representative was present, according to the ruling.

Since then, Trinden has repeatedly complained to the strata that it opposed the agreement and that third parties could not use the storage room without compensating Trinden for reasonable rent.

Lawyer’s advice ignored

The strata “generally took no action” in response to the complaints and even ignored advice from its lawyer, who said in a July 2020 email that Trinden “may have a claim” against the strata for leasing the room without permission, the ruling said.

Trinden applied to the Civil Resolution Tribunal last August, seeking $26,100 for five years’ worth of lost rent and an order compelling the strata to immediately return the storage room to Trinden’s use.

The strata argued it was justified in renting the room to Telus because the rent benefitted the whole strata and the owners had approved the lease at a council meeting, so it had “acted properly.” It said it would “return” the room to Trinden in February 2023.

Strata ordered to pay

The tribunal sided with Trinden, but said the company was only entitled to lost rent going back to August 2020 because it didn’t make its claim earlier.

Tribunal member David Jiang ordered the strata to pay Trinden $5,000 in lost rent, $214.46 in interest and $225 in tribunal fees.

Jiang also ordered the strata to return the room to Trinden’s use within 30 days if it hadn’t already done so.

He said Trinden was legally entitled to exclusive of the storage room and the strata had violated that right by renting it to Telus.

“It did so even though Trinden, over the course of several years, repeatedly told the strata that it objected to the strata’s actions,” Jiang said.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor
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