Many don’t consider the High Cost of “doing nothing” during winter conditions. Some thrive on taking chances. Not a good thing when it comes to Ice and Snow. Even worse if you are a business owner or if you live in a strata complex. For the non-realtor types. Townhouses or Condominiums are strata’s.

It is prudent to check with your Strata Manager and see if they have a Snow and Ice plan in effect for your strata.

A recent case. A Townhouse sold in Burnaby, B.C.

Last year, winter 2016, a visitor slipped and was injured on the “Strata Common Property”. The Strata Council did not have a winter contingency plan in place to clear ice and snow.

A visitor was injured in a fall and a law suit against the strata ensued. Part of the claims success may stem from the fact that no contingency plan was in effect. Now for the difficult and expensive part.

An owner in the townhouse complex has her property for sale. She has received an acceptable offer from a purchaser for the property. The Injury Claim has not been settled and remains in litigation between the insurance company and others. The claim until settled becomes a potential liability against the Strata and all of the owners in this particular complex.

To permit the sale to complete, the purchaser requires the potential liability for the claim be held in trust until such time as the claim is resolved. The Seller/current owner will now have to wait to receive all of the proceeds of her sale.

Condominium Home Owners’ Association of British Columbia makes the following statement.

Strata corporations have 3 types of general property designations.  Strata lots, limited common property and common property.  We first need to understand the property designated then look at your bylaws.  If the property area is common or limited common property then the bylaws of the strata may impose obligations for maintenance and repairs, including snow and ice removal.  If the area is common property then it defaults automatically to the strata corporation, and the strata is not permitted by the Act or Regulations to make owners responsible.  Your strata plan shows the driveways and all the sidewalks as common property, so yes, it is the responsibility of your strata corporation to maintain these areas, including snow and ice removal.  If your strata corporation fails to meet its obligations to maintain common property, owners have a valid claim and may now use the Civil Resolution Tribunal to obtain an order for the maintenance.  It is quick, easy access and inexpensive.

Planning for snow removal in annual budgets is unpredictable on the BC coast, but for the strata corporations who plan for the expense, the funds are there if needed, and if we don’t get any snow the strata may end up with a surplus they can transfer to their contingency to offset major expenses.

A call to GVRD Snow Patrol Ltd. for a free quote may assist in preventing this type of claim. Arrange for a Snow Patrol Service Agreement and take the worry out of winter. “Snow Patrol” monitors the weather for you. When the temperature falls to +2’ Celsius steps will be taken to apply Ice Melters. This will help in preventing expensive injuries. A log book of the service with pictures and weather conditions recorded will be provided. This will go a long way to keeping this winter trouble free.

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