Ask the Expert: What Can I Do About a Disruptive New Business Below My Condo?

Richard Bell B.A. LL.B.
July 6, 2015

Q: I bought a condo in a mixed-use development last year, when there was an organic grocery store underneath. The store has now closed, and a smelly fried chicken shop has opened in its place. I can’t even leave my windows open! What can I do?

A: As a condo owner, you are entitled to reasonable use and enjoyment of your property. This is based on the law of nuisance, which obligates the strata council of the condo complex to ensure that these rights are upheld. This applies to noise, odours or disruptive residents. It is a matter of degree and balancing the rights of the individuals with the rights of the group.

First, you need to bring the matter to the attention of your strata council in writing. The strata council must then work with the owner of the strata unit housing the fried chicken business – or, if the commercial section of the complex has a separate section executive, with that governing body, who would then deal with the owner of the strata unit.

Ultimately, if the problem cannot be resolved with improved ventilation or a change of tenancy, a court order could be obtained to remove the tenant.

Richard Bell B.A. LL.B.
Richard Bell is a Vancouver lawyer who specializes in real estate, wills and estate planning, probate, and immigration law. He is the co-founder of Bell Alliance Lawyers & Notaries Public and has been named Best Real Estate Lawyer in Canada by Canadian Real Estate Magazine.