In British Columbia, condominiums are referred to as “strata corporations”. When a loss occurs at a strata corporation, there could be potential for subrogation. However, even though the wrongdoer may be known to the strata corporation, there are limitations on commencing an action. It is important to be aware of these limitations as proceeding otherwise could result in negative costs consequences for the insurer.
In British Columbia, prior to commencing an action, sections 171 and 172 of the Strata Property Act, SBC 1998, c 43, require a strata corporation to obtain a special resolution passed by a ¾ vote at an annual or special general meeting authorizing litigation. As well, written consent of unit owners must be obtained. Obtaining the appropriate authorizations will take a good amount of time and should be done well in advance of British Columbia’s general two-year limitation period. Therefore, should a loss occur at a strata corporation, it is best to advise a lawyer of the loss as soon as possible.
In addition, generally an insurer cannot proceed with subrogation against those named on the strata corporation policy. It is important to note that section 155 of the Strata Property Act, SBC 1998, c 43, deems “persons who normally occupy the strata lots” as named insured’s on the policy. Therefore, a tenant renting a unit from a strata unit owner could reasonably be considered to be “a person who normally occupies the strata lot”. That being the case, an insurer may not be able to pursue subrogation against a rental tenant even if the tenant caused the loss.