Tribunal finds strata management company responsible for bike theft | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Tribunal finds strata management company responsible for bike theft

October 26, 2020 - 6:00 AM

A B.C. man has managed to hold his strata’s property management company accountable after his bicycle was stolen from a storage locker in his building.

A Civil Resolution Tribunal decision Oct. 20, ordered the property management company to pay $730 to cover the cost of a new bicycle after it found the company had not warned the building's residents of earlier break-ins.

Ian Bushfield launched the case against strata property management company Remi Realty after he discovered his bicycle had been stolen from his storage locker in July 2019. The thieves had cut a padlock on the locker.

Following the theft, Bushfield discovered there had been two other break-ins in recent months, but the company didn't tell him about them. Bushfield said if he had known, he could have taken extra security measures to secure the locker.

"Bushfield alleges that Remi negligently handled these incidents... was aware of the previous break-ins... but did not inform the strata council or the strata residents, including himself, about them," reads the decision. "Bushfield says that Remi’s failure resulted in his bicycle’s theft."

Remi Realty argued it provided adequate security and says that the previous incidents were not thefts that required reporting.

The property management company said it encouraged the strata council to improve security at the building prior to the bicycle theft, but the council declined because of the cost.

"However, I find the evidence, including strata council meeting minutes before the July 4, 2019 bicycle theft does not show that Remi advised the strata council to improve security or that Remi advised the council of the security incidents involving broken locks and door handles," reads the decision. "On the evidence before me, I find that Remi did not alert the strata or its residents of the break-ins."

Ultimately, the Tribunal ruled Remi Reality had a duty of care to warn the strata and the residents about the earlier break-ins and did not do so.

"I find that Remi’s failure to inform Mr. Bushfield about previous break-ins, when Remi had a duty to do so, deprived Mr. Bushfield of the opportunity to better secure his bicycle, which resulted in its theft," the decision says. "Overall, I find that Remi was negligent, and is responsible for Mr. Bushfield’s bicycle theft."

The property management company also tried to argue that because Bushfield's bike was insured, he should submit an insurance claim, but the Tribunal dismissed the argument saying that does not affect their liability for negligence.

The Tribunal then ordered Remi Realty to pay $730 to cover the cost of the bicycle, plus $15 interest, and $125 in fees.

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.

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