Skip to content

Two-unit strata in Burnaby deadlocked over failing retaining wall

A quorum for a two-unit strata is two, but owners at a Dufferin Avenue duplex can’t agree on a plan to replace a failing retaining wall – and their Civil Resolution Tribunal dispute didn’t solve much.
A retaining wall at a Dufferin Avenue duplex is failing, but the owners can't agreed on a plan to replace it.

A Burnaby strata-of-two is back to square one after taking a dispute over a failing retaining wall to the Civil Resolution Tribunal.

George and Audrey Ann Sidney own a duplex unit on Dufferin Avenue attached to a second unit owned by Cheol Hyun Shon, according to a tribunal ruling Monday. 

The Sidneys applied to the CRT for an order forcing Shon to pay $38,873.10 as his share of the cost of replacing a failing retaining wall on the Sidneys’ side of the duplex.

The Sidneys claimed the two-unit strata council had already met and passed a resolution to accept a $77,746.20 fixed-price quote to replace the wall and an affected pathway that runs beside the Sidneys’ unit.

They said the strata had also already imposed a special levy to raise the necessary funds, although neither party had paid it.

But Shon hadn’t attended any of the meetings the Sidneys had called because the Sidneys had refused to allow telephone attendance, according to the ruling.

Shon didn’t dispute the strata was responsible for repairing the retaining wall or that he was on the hook for half the cost, but he argued he shouldn’t have to pay for a new concrete path and said the $77,746.20 quote was excessive because he’d gotten other estimates for about half as much.

Shon also disputed the validity of the meeting where the Sidneys voted to accept the $77,746.20 quote and impose the special levy.

Tribunal member Eric Regehr agreed with Shon that the meeting was invalid.

He noted a quorum for a strata corporation with only two strata lots is two and ruled the Sidneys had misapplied the sections of the Strata Property Act that outline ways stratas can legitimately hold meetings and make decisions without a quorum.

The Sidneys also failed to provide sufficient notice of the meeting, according to Regehr.

Regehr declined to order Shon to pay the $38,873.10 since the strata had not legitimately passed resolutions to accept the $77,746.20 quote or to impose the special levy.

Regehr then mulled what the strata should do next to break the deadlock over the wall.

Regardless of how the parties decided to replace it, he ruled the concrete pathway next to the Sidneys’ unit had to be included in the project and the cost shared.

Regehr noted there was no evidence of “imminent collapse” but there was some “urgency to the issue because the retaining wall is clearly failing.”

In the end, however, Regehr declined to make any orders on how the two parties should move ahead.

“I … find that neither party has proven that their preferred proposal is the strata’s only reasonable path forward,” he said.

The CRT is an online, quasi-judicial tribunal that hears strata property disputes and small claims cases.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor
Email [email protected]