Apr 8, 2014

Residential Tenancies Branch has Exclusive Jurisdiction Over Condominium Dispute

Kirby et al. v. Winnipeg, 2014 MBQB 60 (CanLII)
The plaintiffs had leased a condominium unit to Masters. The unit and the adjoining property suffered damage when the pipes froze.The defendant condominium corporation filed a lien against the unit under The Condominium Act, C.C.S.M., c. C17, section 14 for damage to the common elements. The plaintiffs brought a claim against the condominium corporation for removal of the lien with an alternative claim against Masters for negligently leaving a window open on a cold night. Masters moved to stay or dismiss the action against him on the grounds that the claim against him fell within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Director of Residential Tenancies.
Held: Section 152 of The Residential Tenancies Act, C.C.S.M., c. R119 gives the Director of Residential Tenancies exclusive jurisdiction over all disputes arising under a residential tenancy agreement. The plaintiffs and Masters were parties to a residential tenancy agreement and the plaintiffs’ claim for damages clearly fell within the jurisdiction of the Director. Furthermore, the jurisdiction of the Director may extend to third parties who are closely connected to the dispute between landlord and tenant, which might include the lien claim by the condominium corporation. The proceedings were stayed to allow the Director to determine which aspects of the dispute fell under The Residential Tenancies Act. If the director declined jurisdiction, the parties were free to return to court with those aspects of the claim the Director declined to consider.