Bathroom sprinkler mishap forces owner to pay big bucks to strata

Sep 5 2023, 6:52 pm

The owner of a unit in a strata building had to face the music at a tribunal hearing after an occupant allegedly broke a bathroom sprinkler, which led to damage in the building.

The strata sought $100,000 in compensation, which accounted for the insurance deductible it had to pay after the bathroom sprinkler mishap.

According to a BC Civil Resolution Tribunal hearing decision on the strata dispute, the occupant who allegedly broke the sprinkler was in a unit owned by Kit Ching Kwong when the incident occurred.

On April 15, 2020, both sides agreed the sprinkler was activated. The unit is on the 26th floor of a 38-floor building. Costs to repair the damages totalled well over $200,000.

Where both sides disagree is how the sprinkler was activated. The property owner suggests the sprinkler was faulty, while the strata claims it was hit and damaged, causing it to engage.

Statements from two witnesses helped shed some light on this wet mystery.

On April 15, the building manager received a call from the concierge informing them that the sprinkler had broken and a lot of water was “coming down.”

They visited the unit in question, where they were greeted by two occupants, one of whom had wet hair and clothes. One of the residents stated that they had broken the sprinkler by accident.

A second witness statement from the director of Titan Fire Protection claimed a tenant said a “buddy” hit the sprinkler head in the washroom.

Kwong spoke to some experts who suggested that it was possible that the sprinkler failed on its own, but the expert testimony was not enough to convince the tribunal to rule against the strata.

Luckily for Kwong, she was not informed that the deductible for such situations had increased from $10,000 to $100,000 three weeks prior.

In the end, Kwong owed $12,600.20 for the deductible, other costs incurred by the strata, and tribunal fees.

Amir AliAmir Ali

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