Court orders sale of North Van ‘hostel’ townhouse

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has ordered the sale of the Central Lonsdale townhouse that ran for years as an illegal hostel.

In October 2018, Emily Yu was found in contempt of court for failing to obey rulings from the Civil Resolution Tribunal and B.C. Supreme Court that she stop offering short-term rentals in her home at The Beeches, on West 13th Street in the City of North Vancouver.
In August, the court gave Yu 60 days to pay the $52,100 in legal bills her strata spent trying to have her “Oasis Hostel” business shut down. Yu paid the $5,000 contempt of court fine in November but has not yet covered the legal costs.

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On Monday, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Barry Davies granted the strata’s request to force the sale of her home so they can recoup those costs.

In an effort to halt the forced sale, Yu argued that she shut down the business voluntarily and therefore never should have been found in contempt of court. She said she pleaded with her strata to give her an exemption to their prohibition of short-term rentals on the grounds of financial hardship, but the strata did not give her a hearing or timely decision as the law requires, she argued. Yu made a similar request related to the legal costs and also cited a recent court decision in which a judge ordered a strata and owner cover their own costs following a legal dispute.

But Davies said Yu’s arguments were “fundamentally flawed” and amounted only to collateral attacks on previous court decisions related to her own case.

“I see no basis upon which I can now deny the orders sought by the strata corporation,” he said.

Yu briefly protested but Davies promptly explained his order.

“Don’t pretend that you don’t understand what I say. If you pay all that you owe to the strata corporation before the property has to be sold, then the property won’t be sold. But if you don’t, it will likely be sold,” he said.

The case must now be referred to the court’s registrar for housekeeping matters including determining who else is owed money from the sale of the unit. The province of B.C. has put a lien on the property after Yu failed to pay $60,328 in provincial sales tax, court documents show.

Stephen Hamilton, lawyer for the strata, called it a “day of reckoning for Miss Yu.”

“The court, after listening to her today, decided that time was up for her and we needed to move on with the process,” he said.

Outside the courtroom, Yu’s only comment was “It’s very unfair.”

In response to the ruling, The Beeches strata council issued a statement.

“This has been an incredibly long road for our strata council and residents – longer and more frustrating than we ever foresaw – but today was a good day for us,” it read. “While we know there are some more hurdles still to overcome, we feel encouraged this may all be at an end soon. We are truly thankful for all of the support we’ve received from the media and the public, and look forward to having our quiet community back.”

Hamilton said he expects to have final approval for the sale in January.

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