Skip to content

Maple Ridge strata eventually wins fight over inflatable spa

Civil Resolution Tribunal rules against hot tub owner in second hearing
The Trail’s Edge townhouses in Maple Ridge. (Google/Special to The News)

A Maple Ridge man has lost a battle with his property’s strata council, meaning he will not be able to keep an inflatable spa on his patio.

In November of 2022, Alejandro Jose Noriega, a resident of Trail’s Edge townhouses on 106B Avenue, took his hot tub dispute before the B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal, and won.

Weeks later, the strata voted to outlaw the spa. And on May 14, 18 months later, the strata got its own win at the tribunal.

Noriega, the owner, had put an inflatable spa on the limited common property patio outside his unit in October 2021, but was told the strata’s bylaws did not allow it. The strata manager accused him of violating bylaws, and he was subsequently fined $200 for every week the spa was not removed.

However, in 2022, the CRT ruled Noriega would not have to pay $600 in fines levied by the strata council, and the strata was even ordered to pay the $225 it cost Noriega to get the ruling. He was also allowed to keep using the spa.

The tribunal ruling by Megan Stewart noted the strata bylaws said the only items that can be kept on patios are patio-style furniture, barbecues, gas fire pits, and gas patio heaters.

She found the spa qualified as patio furniture, because it is “reasonably movable.”

“I also find the spa something Mr. Noriega can sit in to use and enjoy the patio,” wrote Stewart.

READ ALSO: Maple Ridge man can have inflatable spa on patio, despite strata objections

Stewart also noted that nothing in her ruling prevented the strata from amending its bylaws to prohibit the spa, and that’s what the council did – passing a bylaw which explicitly prohibits spas and hot tubs on patios. The vote met the standard of a three-quarters majority.

Noriega was given a violation letter, and given two weeks to remove the spa. He did so, but continued the fight, asking to be grandfathered.

Noriega again took the matter to the CRT, arguing the new bylaw was not retroactively enforceable, and contradicted other bylaws allowing patio-style furniture.

This time, Alison Wake of the tribunal sided with the strata, noting the bylaw now specifically prohibits spas.

“Here, it appears Mr. Noriega’s expectation is that he be permitted to continue to use his spa on his patio, despite bylaw 44.7,” wrote Wake in the decision. “I find this expectation is not objectively reasonable.”

Wake also said the strata had not been significantly unfair to Noriega, as the bylaw is applied consistently to all residents. Nor, she said, is the bylaw “unduly burdensome.” She noted his spa is portable. It could be packed up in about half an hour.

Neil Corbett

About the Author: Neil Corbett

I have been a journalist for more than 30 years, the past decade with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News.
Read more