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B.C. strata can give toilet overflow bill to owner, tribunal rules

A B.C. tribunal said a strata tenant was responsible for ensuring a toilet didn't overflow despite the fact a pipe blockage was in common property.
toiletoverflow
B.C.'s Civil Resolution Tribunal says an owner is responsible for toilet overflow damage from a tenant.

A strata corporation in Vancouver’s West End will be getting its $15,000 insurance deductible from an owner after B.C.’s Civil Resolution Tribunal found a tenant was at fault for a toilet overflow.

Tribunal member Richard McAndrew heard the strata lot was rented to a tenant when water escaped from its toilet July 14, 2019. Both that unit and other lots were damaged.

The strata claimed reimbursement of $22,855.68 in water remediation expenses but reduced its claim to reimbursement of the $15,000 insurance deductible.

The strata argued an owner is responsible for any damage caused by residents or residents’ visitors. It added owner Brian Smith was responsible for repair expenses because they created a nuisance and resulted from negligence.

Smith argued the overflow resulted from a blockage located six feet down the toilet drain line, inside the building’s shared sanitary system.

McAndrew found that while blockage occurred on common property, Smith’s tenant breached the standard of care by failing to ensure the toilet drained properly after it flushed.

“By failing to do so, I find Brian Smith’s tenant negligently caused the water damage, even though the blockage occurred outside the strata lot,” McAndrew said.

As such, the member said, the strata is entitled to recover its deductible from Smith.

jhainsworth@glaciermedia.ca

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