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Burnaby strata not responsible for owner's toilet noises, vibrations: tribunal

Ka Hung Szeto complained to the Civil Resolution Tribunal that cracks in his drywall and a toilet that 'vibrates and makes an unusual flushing noise' was caused by a contractor the strata hired to work on the outside of the building.
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An apartment owner at Empire Place in North Burnaby has lost a Civil Resolution Tribunal case over toilet troubles and drywall cracks.

The strata of a North Burnaby lowrise apartment building is not on the hook for cracks in the drywall or a toilet that “vibrates and makes an unusual flushing noise” in one of the units, according to a ruling by the Civil Resolution Tribunal this week.

Ka Hung Szeto, who owns an apartment at Empire Place just north of Hastings Street, had applied to the tribunal for an order compelling the strata to inspect and repair the drywall and toilet damage.

He said the damage appeared around the time the strata’s contractor, Grantson Construction Group Inc., was performing building envelope repairs.

“Mr. Szeto says Grantson’s exterior building work caused those issues,” states a ruling by Civil Resolution Tribunal member Chad McCarthy.

Szeto also later requested the strata be made to repair a hole in the ceiling, pay $2,500 as compensation for unreasonable noise, nuisance, loss of enjoyment of the strata lot, and pay his $100 Condominium Home Owners Association (CHOA) membership fee.

McCarthy dismissed all of his claims.

McCarthy ruled it would be procedurally unfair for the tribunal to rule on the later claims because the strata hadn’t had sufficient time to respond.

As for the drywall and toilet allegations, McCarthy said expert evidence is normally required to assess the quality of a professional’s work, and Szeto had not provided any to support his claims.

“I find Mr. Szeto’s submission that construction ‘pounding and thumping’ likely caused the wall cracks and alleged toilet vibrations is speculative and is not supported with required expert evidence,” McCarthy wrote.

The strata, meanwhile, tried to claim more than $4,500 in legal expenses and disbursements, but McCarthy dismissed that claim as well.  

“The strata submitted no evidence showing that it owed or paid the claimed amount. I find those legal expenses and disbursements are unproven,” McCarthy wrote.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor
Email cnaylor@burnabynow.com

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