In my January 2012 and July 2012 blog posts, I discussed the ongoing saga of the Jordisons, arguably the epitome of strata owners from hell. For a period of years, the Jordisons continually behaved in an obnoxious and outlandish manner towards their neighbors. To try to stop them, the strata council levied fines totaling over $20,000 for their ongoing and flagrant breaches of the strata bylaws and rules. This did not work.
The strata council then sought the assistance of the court. The case was significant because, for the first time in B.C., the court ordered the Jordisons’ strata unit sold. In doing so, the court relied on s.173 the Strata Property Act, R.S.B.C 1998, c. 43 (the “SPA”) which provides:
On application by the strata corporation, the Supreme Court may do one or more of the following:
(a) order an owner, tenant or other person to perform a duty he or she is required to perform under this Act, the bylaws or the rules;
(b) order an owner, tenant or other person to stop contravening this Act, the regulations, the bylaws or the rules;
(c) make any other orders it considers necessary to give effect to an order under paragraph (a) or (b).
The court held that the authority to order a sale was implicit in s.173(c) as the only reasonable means of solving the problems created by the Jordisons. The court also imposed an injunction prohibiting the Jordisons from violating the strata bylaws and rules and from “making loud noises . . ., making obscene gestures or uttering any abusive or obscene comments directed at any member” of the strata.
The Jordisons appealed. The Court of Appeal set aside the order requiring the sale of the strata unit though left in place the mandatory injunction prohibiting the Jordisons from behaving badly. The Court of Appeal held that s.173(c) is intended only to enhance the efficacy of the two preceding subsections and is not, on its own, a source of authority to order a sale. Subsections 173(a) and (b) allow the court to order mandatory or prohibitory orders against someone regarding their obligations under the SPA, the strata bylaws or rules. Those types of orders do not include an order for sale, at least not at first instance.