Pubdate: Wed, 12 Sep 2007
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2007 Times Colonist
Author: Tony Gioventu, Times Colonist


This is last in a series that deals with questions about the six
notorious Ps of strata living: Pets, people, parking, prostitution,
pools and pot.

Dear Condo Smarts: Our townhouse complex has been plagued with grow-ops over
the past five years.

It seems that every few months we have another visit from the drug
squad and another unit is busted. Two units have been busted more than
once. There are constant legal costs being paid by the strata owners,
routine damage to common property and the neighbouring units have had
their homes and personal property affected.

The police have always been co-operative, but we're at the point where
we can't pay the costs any longer and, quite frankly, we're tired of
being an easy target for grow-ops.

How have other strata corporations solved this problem?

Mrs. D. Warren,


Dear Mrs. Warren: There are several parts to a solution for grow-ops and
meth labs. The first is enforceable bylaws that address common-area damage,
grow-ops and related costs, including legal expenses for enforcement.

The second is a good working relationship with your local government.
Most municipal bylaws make a provision to name the strata corporation
in an order for repairs, where a grow-op is identified.

It is critical that the order include the legal name of your strata,
for example: the owners, strata plan ABC 1234. By including your legal
name, the order empowers the strata corporation to effectively meet
the obligations of the repairs in the order and then, under the Strata
Property Act, file a lien for those related costs against the
offending unit.

It gives your strata priority over other charges, such as bank
mortgages, and forces the owner of the offending lot to pay the bills.

Your strata council must actively enforce your bylaws. Routine
inspections of every strata lot for operation and maintenance
requirements make it inconvenient for growers to set up operations.

If an owner fails to comply with inspections, enforce the bylaws
requiring access for inspections. This might also include proceeding
with a court order to enforce the bylaws and gain access to the suites.

Simply put, enforce the bylaws and act quickly. If the operation is a
meth lab, the contamination could also make some units

For those strata corporations with no history of grow-ops, there are
also some insurance options in case a grow-op sets up. While the
deductible might be $50,000 or greater, consider that grow-op or meth
lab damages can easily exceed $250,000.

Tony Gioventu is executive director of the Condominium Home Owners'
Association (CHOA). Send questions to him c/o New Homes, Times
Colonist, 2126 Douglas St., Victoria, B.C., V8T 4M2.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Derek