For tenants or owners facing a fine for violating a strata rule or bylaw, it can feel like the council plays the role of police, judge and executioner. Although the strata council does have a lot of discretion to issue fines, an owner or tenant who feels that a fine is unfair has rights and remedies under the Strata Property Act. Section 135 of the Act states that before a strata council can impose a fine, the following four conditions must be met:
- the council must have received a complaint about the bylaw or rule violation;
- the council must have given the owner or tenant the details of the complaint, in writing, and a reasonable opportunity to answer the complaint, including a hearing if requested by the owner or tenant,
- if the person is a tenant, the council must have given notice of the complaint to the person's landlord and to the owner.
- if the tenant or owner has provided a written explanation of the complaint, or made arguments at a hearing, the strata council must provide the owner or tenant with written notice of its decision to issue the fine.
If the strata council does not follow these procedures in issuing a fine, then arguably it has violated the provisions of the Act, and acted outside its jurisdiction. So what then?
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