A Richmond condo owner has won $500 in damages after complaining about her neighbour’s second-hand smoke and aromatherapy scents.
Pui-Ling Yee took her grievances with her neighbour and their strata - at the Park Residences tower just off Minoru Boulevard, on the west side of Richmond Centre – to a B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT).
Yee claimed the strata failed to investigate her complaints about second-hand smoke and aromatherapy scents entering her unit from a neighbour’s unit.
She alleged that the strata acted in a “significantly unfair manner by failing to enforce its nuisance bylaws in a timely manner” and claimed $2,141.34 as compensation for having to move out of her strata lot on Aug. 8, 2019, due to the smoke and scents.
Yee also demanded the strata stop second-hand smoke or aromatherapy scents coming from the neighbouring unit.
The strata denied Yee’s claim, saying that it “enforced its nuisance and smoking bylaws in a reasonable manner.”
It also says it hired a contractor to examine the ventilation in Yee’s unit and that the contractor found no problems.
A tribunal adjudicator ruled that the strata “initially failed to investigate Ms. Yee’s complaints and enforce its bylaws in a reasonable manner” and awarded Yee $500 as damages for “significant unfairness” and half of her claimed CRT fees and dispute-related expenses.
The adjudicator declined to make the other orders requested by Yee who, in the judgement, was reported to suffer from “allergies and asthma” and can’t tolerate second-hand smoke or strong scents.
To read the full judgement, go to https://decisions.civilresolutionbc.ca/crt/sd/en/item/491456/index.do
The tribunal heard how, for around a year, Yee had to live next door to a neighbour, referred to only as “TLC,” who smoked almost every day.
And, according to a note from her doctor, the smoke and scents worsened her allergies and asthma and affected her ability to sleep.
According to details in the judgment, the smoking finally stopped, but only after Yee’s neighbour had moved out.
But, given that her strata’s bylaws state that a “resident should not cause nuisance or hazard to another person,” Yee decided to take the strata to the CRT because of its handling of her complaint.
The tribunal heard how Yee’s elderly neighbour, in an attempt to stop the smoke leaving her unit, would "close the patio door and add a strip of glue under her door.”