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Allegations by a Vernon couple that a neighbor’s privacy screen has devalued their Brooks Lane property have been denied.
Allegations by a Vernon couple that a neighbor’s privacy screen has devalued their property have been denied.
Joel and Samantha Becker claimed that the privacy screen resulted in their Okanagan Lake view being “stolen” and demanding close to $ 300,000 in compensation.
The couple claimed the screen was a “defiance fence,” but a civil resolution court said “defiance fencing” is not recognized in Canadian law.
The court also said the privacy screens did not significantly affect the view of the lake or violate the strata building rules.
The Beckers filed several complaints with the Layers Council, asking it to ask neighbors to take down the screens.
But the layers refused, so Beckers took the matter to the Civil Resolution Tribunal in an attempt to get the tribunal to order the layers to enforce their bylaws and have the screens removed.
In a decision handed down on Dec. 22, court member Chad McCarthy wrote “the statutes provide no authority for the layers to remove the privacy screens.”
All of Becker’s claims were rejected. The couple asked for $ 180,000 of allegedly lost property value, $ 50,000 for “adversity due to discrimination and alienation” and $ 30,000 for what they said was the value of bylaws, which they said should have been issued by the Strata Council to the neighbor.
McCarthy found that the screen blocked the view from parts of Becker’s second-floor apartment, but the lake could be seen from elsewhere in their home.
The couple claimed that the layers in the Brooks Lane building did not enforce applicable rules designed to preserve residents’ views of the lake.
The court said those rules referred to cases where the view was unreasonably blocked by trees, shrubs and other living vegetation, not by privacy screens.
McCarthy determined that the neighbor did not violate any of the 10 bylaws as alleged by Beckers.
The one-meter square privacy screens were the neighbor’s personal property, not permanent alterations to the strata building, the court said.
McCarthy also found that the privacy screens would not have reduced the value of the Beckers apartment.
“I find that there is insufficient evidence that its value has declined at all, much less due to reduced lake views. Becker submitted value calculations based on the fact that their strata party did not have lake views, which I do not find. “I find that these calculations are speculative and based on erroneous assumptions and are therefore unreliable,” McCarthy stated.
“Furthermore, I find that Beckers does not sufficiently explain how it is possible for strata lot 12 owners to instantly change the market value of strata lot 11 by $ 180,000 simply by relocating the approximately one meter wide, movable privacy screens behind the existing wall, fence and glass protection panels. I reject Beckers’ $ 180,000 claim for reduced property value. “