Would you like to subscribe to our newsletters?

Sunshade or windowing covering? B.C. strata loses legal case

Image Credit:

A B.C. condo owner has ended up in a legal battle with her strata arguing its rules about window coverings only being "white or off-white" don't apply because she hung up a "sunshade" and not a "window covering."

The case is laid out in a Sept. 16 Civil Resolution Tribunal decision, after the strata fined condo owner Heather Anne Prenty $200 for hanging up the incorrectly coloured sunshade.

Prenty, in turn, took Surrey-based strata NW2603 to the online Tribunal arguing she'd done nothing wrong and asked the Tribunal to order the strata to refund her the $200 fine and let her keep her sunshade up.

According to the decision, the strata complex has a bylaw about what colour sunshades can be and stipulates they can only be "white or off-white in colour."

The strata said Prenty's sunshade is brown and also states she did not get written permission before she hung it on her balcony.

The strata pointed to its bylaw that states: "an owner must not install window coverings visible from a strata lot’s exterior in a colour other than white or off-white."

However, Prenty argued her sunshade is not a "window covering" because it hangs on her balcony, and because it's not a window covering it doesn't matter what colour it is.

And the Tribunal agreed.

"There is no indication in the evidence that there are windows on (the) balcony that Ms. Prenty’s sunshade is covering," the Tribunal ruled. "So, I find the sunshade is not a window covering and (the) bylaw... does not apply."

However, the Tribunal wasn't satisfied that Prenty got permission to hang it up in the first place.

Prenty argued that she had obtained consent from the strata council in the past to put up sunshades, but the Tribunal said the evidence she presented from various meeting minutes was too vague.

"The evidence does not establish that it was Ms. Prenty who made this, or any other, request as the minutes do not include names and only refer to 'owner,'" the Tribunal said.

READ MORE: B.C. strata spent $22,000 on lawyers, loses case over inflatable hot tub

The Tribunal ruled Prenty didn't have permission to hang up the sunshade.

However, the Tribunal also had issues with the strata's $200 fine that it issued to Prenty in March 2021 and ruled the fine was invalid.

The Tribunal then ordered the Strata to pay back Prenty the $200 fine she'd paid, but wouldn't order the strata to allow Prenty to put up her sunshade as she wanted.

The Tribunal ruled that Prenty would have to request the strata council allow her to put up the sunshade in the future.

The strata were also left on the hook for $112 in Tribunal fees.

READ MORE: B.C. condo owner fined $200 for having too many planters

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above.