Summerland condo owner loses fight with strata over noise
A Summerland condo owner has lost a legal fight with the strata over noise complaints after a Tribunal ruled that as the condos are also used as hotel rooms owners should expect a higher level of noise.
The case involves The Summerland Waterfront Resort and condo owner Michael Drance who have both been embroiled in legal wrangling before.
According to a June 10, B.C. Civil Resolution decision, Drance agues that the noise in his strata unit from "very loud footsteps and excessive walking and jumping noise" is excessive and while he previously put up with it, he won't any longer.
As evidence, Drance also submits statements from three other condo owners who say they are all bothered by the noise.
"The noise came from things like heavy foot traffic, loud voices, parties, chairs dragged on a patio and slammed doors," one owner says.
"There seemed to be way more noise in 2021," another condo owner said.
Drance argues he's approached the strata council who have refused to do anything about the noise.
It also appears Drance's relationship with the strata council is less than rosy.
In his submissions to the Tribunal, Drance refers to a strata council member as an "idiot."
When Tribunal order him to redact the comment he refused saying his statement was "factual" and argued there was a distinction between saying someone is an idiot and saying they acted like an idiot.
The Tribunal said Drance's comments were "demeaning, abusive, and unnecessary," although doesn't order that he has breached the code of conduct.
Drance has been involved in legal action with the strata on several occasions and in February 2021 won a case against the strata after they ordered him to rent his unit as a hotel room.
Drance was awarded $69, but said lawyers cost him $29,000 fighting the case.
And he's not the only one battling the Summerland Waterfront Resort strata council.
In June, Loreen Knelsen lost a Civil Resolution Case against the strata over voting rights, although the Tribunal did agree with some of her arguments.
In August 2021, four condo owners had their case dismissed by the Tribunal over what they said was an unfair fee schedule for those that didn't rent their units as hotel rooms.
In Drance's current dispute, he argues the strata council should investigate the noise levels and asks the Tribunal to order it to do so.
However, the Tribunal picked holes in the evidence he submitted.
"The evidence before me does not show that Mr. Drance had provided any specific details about the date, time or specifics of noise bylaw violations by the time he filed this dispute," the Tribunal said. "The evidence before me shows that Mr. Drance began compiling a noise log around August 1, 2021, and made audio and decibel level recordings. However, (the) evidence does not indicate that he provided any of this information to the strata before filing this dispute."
Drance says the building has inadequate sound insulation and structural problems but doesn't back up his claims.
"There is no evidence before me about how the strata building is constructed, or what insulation exists, if any, around Mr. Drance’s strata lot or elsewhere. There is also no evidence about how that specific construction or insulation affects the transfer of sound or vibrations," the decision reads.
The strata argue that as the property operates as a resort hotel the noise level is reasonable.
"Drance knew about the hotel use before he purchased his strata lot, and that he knew or ought to have known that noise from travellers might exceed that of normal residential use," the decision reads.
The Tribunal looks at previous legal noise disputes that have found that what constitutes unreasonable noise will vary depending on location.
"I find the strata’s resort hotel use and 'tourist commercial' zoning are relevant in determining what constitutes unreasonable noise," the Tribunal ruled. "I find the context is relevant, and in practice, it is reasonable to expect higher noise levels in a resort hotel."
With that, the Tribunal dismisses the noise complaint.
Separately in his claim, Drance also argued that the strata council had denied his requests for him to view "all the strata records."
The strata says that his request is too broad and due to the history between them Drance is "unwelcome" in the strata manager’s office where the records are stored.
The strata also say it gave him a USB drive containing 2,819 pages of records.
The Tribunal sided with the strata.
"I find Mr. Drance’s request to view all strata records is unreasonable, in part because it is too broad," the decision reads. "This is likely thousands of pages of records."
With that, Drance lost the case – his sixth legal fight with the strata council.
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