Condominium advice: Who pays to repair, maintain terraces, balconies

Overloading and stressing roof decks and balconies is a chronic problem across the province

Dear Tony: Can a landlord be liable for damage to the membrane and structure of a balcony if they have overloaded the space? Our stratum is a four level low rise in False Creek with expansive exterior balconies and terraces. Some are suspended from the building and others are roofs above the living spaces. With the heavy snowfall, preceded by rain and then frost, leaks appeared in two separate units from saturated and overloaded planters. The weight stressed the seams of the decks and the resulting tears caused leaks into the living areas below. Our condo board has never issued an opinion, but we have a bylaw that says owners are responsible for maintaining and repairing decks and balconies.

Nick W

Overloading and stressing roof decks and balconies is a chronic problem across the province. Liability is often confused based on the designation of the property. Some are commons, some are limited commons, and some are part of a stratum package. In your situation, terraces and balconies are common property. A condominium corporation is not allowed to make a landlord responsible for the maintenance and repair of common property. If it was limited common property, your bylaw may apply to designated areas; however, the nature and type of liability for limited common property should be clearly identified to ensure that the duties of the owners and the condominium corporation are clear.

Where is it wrong? The owners assume that the board and the company are responsible, and the board assumes that the owners are responsible. Ultimately, nothing is done for inspections or maintenance until there is a breakdown. Most of us tend not to link the consequences of weight and material loads to activities and weather conditions. A condominium corporation may do anything reasonable to remedy a violation of its bylaws and rules, including work on the property and demand that reasonable costs be paid by the owner of the condominium lot.

The complication your condo company will encounter is whether you regularly inspected the areas, were you aware of the existing planters at the time, did you inform the owners of any of the risks and if there were conditions in regulations or council notices advising of the need to remedy potential hazards. Repairs are essential first, then consult an attorney to determine if your settlements are enforceable and if your condo has the ability to recover the costs.

CHOA has completed a new weight load bulletin in partnership with BC Housing to illustrate weight load limits and effects in wood frame structures. You can download it at choa.bc.ca, under “what’s happening this week”.

[email protected]

Tony Gioventu is Executive Director of the Condominium Home Owners Association

Please note that CHOA is a member-based not-for-profit association. If your stratum is not currently a member of CHOA, please consider joining – membership details are posted on our website at: choa.bc.ca/about-choa/join-choa/

Effective December 20, 2021, the Province has extended the ability of condo corporations to hold electronic meetings, without condo bylaws, beyond December 31, 2021. This new extension will be in effect until December 31, 2022, at unless the COVID-19 Measures Act is repealed. before this date. Thus, condominium corporations are encouraged to adopt condominium bylaws allowing electronic meetings if they wish to continue to have this option.

Updated information on condominiums related to BC’s restart plan and COVID-19 is also available on the Government of British Columbia website

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