On again off again

Authority Real Estate Council of British Columbia
Details

The Real Estate Council of B.C. (REC) was responsible for handling Jim’s complaint about a strata corporation property manager he accused of mishandling funds and communicating inappropriately with unit owners.

The REC refused to investigate Jim’s complaint because it claimed to need proof that Jim’s allegations had the support of his strata council. Jim thought that he had given the REC sufficient evidence of his strata council’s support, so he contacted us.

We began our investigation by reviewing the REC’s enabling legislation. The REC can receive complaints about strata property managers and had the discretion to decide whether or not to investigate a complaint made by an individual. To make this decision, the REC has a policy that, in most cases, the REC will only investigate complaints by an owner that are shown to be supported by the owner’s strata council. This policy was intended to ensure, in part, that strata owners do not file complaints with the REC that are better addressed by a strata council directly. The policy also reflected the fact that Jim’s strata manager reported to the strata council and not the REC. The REC policy guidelines are consistent with the legislation. We also concluded that the policy was not applied unfairly or arbitrarily as the REC had explained its policy to Jim and the reasons for it, told Jim what he needed to do, and gave him several months to provide the authorization from his strata council.

Nonetheless, our investigation learned the REC had actually quietly investigated Jim’s concerns about the alleged mishandling of strata funds. The REC never gave its conclusions to Jim, because the REC mistakenly believed that Jim had backed away from his complaint when he failed to provide the requested authorization from his strata council.

We suggested to the REC that Jim would likely benefit from knowing that one part of his complaint had been investigated. We asked the REC to consider writing Jim, explaining the steps it took and the conclusions it reached. The REC agreed and provided Jim with a letter outlining its investigation and conclusions.

Category Housing and Property
Type Case Summary
Fiscal Year 2014
Location City of Vancouver