Maple Ridge man must remove his hot tub from patio after years long fight, court rules

A Maple Ridge man who had initially won the right to keep an inflatable hot tub on the patio of his property has been ordered to take it down.

Alejandro Jose Noriega had set up the hot tub on the patio of his strata property — of which he is a co-owner — in November 2021. The strata accused Noriega of violating bylaws preventing him from putting the structure on the patio, arguing that he had not requested permission and that a hot tub wasn’t included on a list of approved patio-friendly furniture.

In November 2022, the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) disagreed with the strata, saying he hadn’t violated any bylaws after all, since the hot tub counted as patio furniture, per the strata’s own bylaws.

At the time, the tribunal found Noriega didn’t break the rules regarding patio alterations as the hot tub is “free-standing,” easy to drain, and didn’t require any electrical or gas sources.

Two months later, the strata passed a bylaw specifically prohibiting hot tubs and spas on patios. The strata then fined Noriega under the new bylaw.

Noriega argues that the new bylaw contradicts the strata’s other patio bylaws and should not be retroactively enforceable, but the CRT disagreed.

“Here, it appears Mr. Noriega’s expectation is that he be permitted to continue to use his spa on his patio, despite bylaw 44.7. I find this expectation is not objectively reasonable,” Tribunal member Alison Wake wrote.

“There is no dispute that the new bylaw passed with the required ¾ vote resolution under the SPA, and as noted, there is no exemption in the Strata Property Act or in the bylaw itself for existing hot tubs or spas. So, I find that it is unreasonable for Mr. Noriega to expect bylaw 44.7 not to apply to him.”

Wake wrote that under the new bylaw, Noriega is not entitled to use his spa on his patio and dismissed his claim.

The decision says Noriega will not be charged with dispute-related expenses.

With files from Cole Schisler.