Vancouver strata justified in unplugging EV charger: CRT

The strata for a luxury building in downtown Vancouver was justified in unplugging an owner’s electric vehicle charger over that owner’s debt, a B.C. tribunal ruled.

The Civil Resolution Tribunal decision, posted online Tuesday, outlined a dispute between a condo owner and the strata corporation over payments for an electric vehicle charging station. The building is identified by the CRT as Strata Plan BCS 3165, which court documents link to the Shangri-La on Alberni Street.

The decision explained Milad Rostamkhani filed with the CRT alleging strata overcharged him $1,911 for the use of the station and that he was also overcharged for its installation. He said the power at his station was turned off, forcing him to pay for gas for months. Rostamkhani asked that the debt be cleared from his account and that a refund be issued for overpayment.

But the strata argued Rostamkhani never paid the $1,911, which is why the power was turned off.

In her decision, tribunal member Andrea Ritchie explained strata launched a project in 2017 to install 50 charging stations in the parkade, at participating owners’ expense.

The cost of installation included part of the core installation costs and the cost of connecting the owner’s stall to the larger infrastructure. As 32 people signed up to have a charging station, the charges were divided among them and ended up being $3,822 per owner, with a 50 per cent deposit due in June 2018.

The strata and Rostamkhani agree that half of the deposit was paid. However, the two groups don’t agree on whether the second half of Rostamkhani’s deposit was given.

The tribunal heard the strata didn’t realize there was an outstanding balance until early 2021, when it was auditing financials.

Rostamkhani said he did pay the remaining $1,911 and “provided a carbon copy cheque that he says he wrote.”

“The strata submits, and I agree, that a carbon copy cheque is not proof of payment, but rather only shows that Mr. Rostamkhani wrote a cheque for $1,911 at some point,” Ritchie wrote. “It does not mean the cheque was delivered, cashed, or cleared the bank.”

Ritchie determined Rostamkhani didn’t adequately prove he paid the balance, so the debt didn’t need to be cleared from his account.

With that amount owing, Ritchie also ruled strata “acted reasonably in turning off the power” to the charger until payment is either received or proven. She did not order strata to restore power to Rostamkhani’s stall and she also didn’t grant his request for $200 per month compensation for the gas he needed to buy while his power off.

Rostamkhani also requested a $368 refund, alleging the amount paid among the owners who signed up for the station was too high. However, strata said the installation of the charging stations isn’t complete, so final calculations of how much each owner must pay haven’t been made yet. The tribunal heard strata argue the time for calculating potential refunds hasn’t come, and Ritchie agreed.

“I accept the strata acknowledges a refund is due, but I agree that it is reasonable to wait until the project’s completion which, at the latest, will be the end of this year,” Ritchie wrote.

“Additionally, as I have found (above), Mr. Rostamkhani has not proven he has paid in full for the charger, so would not be entitled to a refund in any event.” 

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