Strata council ordered by B.C. court to release list of all owners to one of its members

Do you know the names of your neighbours and do they know yours? A B.C. condo owner went to court to force his strata council to hand over a list of names of all other strata lot owners in his development, after the council refused his request.

A civil resolution tribunal member agreed with the owner. Citing B.C. law, it ordered the strata to compile the list and provide it to the owner, over council’s protestations of privacy and safety concerns, including worries the list could be used for criminal purposes.

“The strata has provided no valid justification for its refusal,” ruled Chad McCarthy.

Ken Johnson several times last year requested an “owner contact list” that he is entitled to under B.C.’s Strata Property Act.

The strata refused, saying he “didn’t provide an adequate reason” and it had concerns about disclosing strata lot owners’ personal information, which includes names, strata lot and mailing addresses, and information on parking stalls, storage lockers and unit entitlements.

The strata passed a motion last summer confirming its refusal to provide Johnson with the list and at a December hearing with Johnson said it wouldn’t release the list to anyone.

But section 35 of the Strata Property Act sets out a strata’s obligation to “create and retain certain records” and section 36 says “on receiving a request from a strata lot owner, properly authorized tenant, or other person authorized by an owner or authorized tenant, the strata must make available” such a list, McCarthy wrote.

The strata had owner information in individual owners files but not in a separate list and it wanted Johnson to bear the cost of compiling it.

The strata also argued disclosing owner contact information could harm those “who have experienced abusive relationships or who have sensitive jobs, such as policing.” It also said it had concerns the list “could be used for criminal purposes.” The strata also noted the information was publicly available elsewhere, such as in the land titles office.

The strata said “disclosure of the list was not in the best interests of the ‘community’” and some owners wanted their names left off.

The tribunal noted the strata had a “statutory obligation” to have an owner contact list under the law and the strata was therefore in violation of the Act. He also said no one had the right to be excluded and an owner doesn’t have to provide a reason for wanting the list nor does an owner “need to demonstrate that his request is in the best interests of anyone.”

“Nothing before me demonstrates that the strata has a valid basis for refusing Mr. Johnson’s owner contact list request,” wrote McCarthy. He noted B.C.’s privacy laws allows for such a list.

He ordered the strata to comply within 21 days and to pay Johnson’s $225 in tribunal fees.

Neither party could be reached for comment.

This article is from the Vancouver Sun. July 2021 (also, find my story in these blog files about Gang Leader Jonathon Bacon owning/living in one of our strata complexes at the top of the mountain in Port Moody prior to his murder…)

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