B.C. homeowners win leaky condo court case

B.C. homeowners awarded $3 million to fix leaky B.C. condominiums. Court finds municipality partly responsible.

People who own a leaky condominium complex in British Columbia have been awarded $3 million to cover the cost of fixing the place.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled Friday that the suburb of Delta was 20 per cent responsible for the damage. The contractor, developer and the architect share the rest of the responsibility.

If the companies don't pay their portion, Delta might be forced to come up with the entire amount and then sue for the balance, according to lawyers.

It's believed to be the first time a B.C. municipality has been found liable for the way it enforced building standards on condos.

The Riverwest housing complex on the outskirts of Vancouver began leaking after being built in the early 1990s.

Similar problems have been reported in many other parts of the province. As many as 50,000 home owners are believed to be affected. Many have filed lawsuits against a long list of defendants, including builders, developers, the federal Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., the government of B.C., and numerous municipalities.

It was not clear Friday if the judgment involving the Delta dispute would have any bearing on the other cases.

In 1998, B.C. set up a $250 million fund to help some people cover the cost of repairing leaks in their condos. Former premier Dave Barrett, who headed an inquiry into the homeowners' complaints, had recommended that those in greatest need be given financial assistance.