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Noisy upstairs neighbour ordered to pay damages, fines in Burnaby strata battle

Downstairs neighbours said 'overly loud music,' noisy gatherings ruined their sleep at least 16 times last year
strata dispute
A strata spat at Park 360 in Burnaby's Edmonds neighbourhood has led to two recent complaints to the province's Civil Resolution Tribunal.

A pair of Burnaby condo owners have won a victory over upstairs neighbours who reportedly ruined their sleep with excessive noise at least 16 times last year.

Yang Chu and Felix Tan own a 19th-floor apartment at Park 360, a 29-storey apartment highrise in the Edmonds area, according to a recent B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal ruling.

The pair complained to the tribunal that people in the apartment above them had repeatedly created excessive noise after 10 p.m. and before 7 a.m. in 2020 by playing “overly loud music” and hosting noisy gatherings.

Chu and Tan said the noise had disrupted their sleep and they sometimes had to leave their apartment to sleep at a relative’s home and miss work.

They called on the tribunal to order the owners of the unit – Seyed Mohsen Hashemi Sefat and Hirad Abbaspour – to pay $200 in damages for each noisy incident for a total of $3,200.

They also called on the tribunal to order their neighbours to stop using their apartment in a way that causes a nuisance to others and the pay Chu and Tan $795 for three days of lost work.

Sefat, who represented the two owners of the upstairs apartment, denied causing unreasonable noise but provided little proof to counter Chu’s and Tan’s evidence, according to tribunal member Julie Gibson.

“Mr. Sefat’s evidence does not respond specifically to the multiple individual incidents of unreasonable nighttime noise, despite him acknowledging loud music in some of his own text messages to the applicants,” wrote Gibson in her June 30 ruling. “By contrast, the applicants’ evidence of undue noise coming from the strata lot at night is thorough and includes several sound recordings, emails to the property manager written when the noise was observed, text messages with the respondents about the noise while it was happening, and statements from other strata residents.”

Gibson concluded the noise coming from the upstairs apartment had been unreasonable and amounted to a “repeated interference with the applicants’ use and enjoyment of their strata lot.”

She ordered Sefat and Abbaspour to pay $2,500 in damages, $9.52 in pre-judgment interest and $225 in tribunal fees, but she declined to award Chu and Tan any money for missed work, saying they hadn’t provided enough evidence on that claim.

In a second ruling the same day, Gibson ordered Sefat to pay another $2,734.52 in unpaid strata fines.

The Park 360 strata had appealed to the tribunal to order Sefat to pay the unpaid penalties.

Most were linked to noise complaints during the same time period as the other case, but the strata had also fined Sefat for having an “open fire pit” on his 20th-floor balcony in February, according to the ruling.

Sefat told the tribunal the fines had been unfairly imposed after complaints from Chu and Tan, the ruling said.

“Although he does not specifically deny causing the noise, Mr. Sefat says he did not get along with the (downstairs owner),” Gibson wrote. “He says that same owner is close friends with some strata council members.”

Gibson was unmoved.

"I find that he failed to prove any of these assertions, or that the strata was otherwise unfair to him in imposing the fines," she said.

She ruled Sefat had violated the strata’s bylaws and ordered him to pay $2,000 in fines, $8.01 in pre-judgment interest and $225 in tribunal  fees, but she dismissed the strata’s claim for $5,000 for time spent on the dispute.

“There was no documentation provided of the time it says was required to respond to the owner’s dispute, nor any explanation for the basis of the amount claimed,” she wrote.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor