As a prospective purchaser, it’s important to be familiar with the Strata Property Act and the ownership type associated with strata properties.
The schedule of Standard Bylaws in the Strata Property Act applies to every strata corporation in the province of British Columbia. The Strata Property Act and the strata’s bylaws & rules provide the legal framework that all strata corporations must follow in British Columbia.
The Strata Property Act came into effect on July 1st, 2000, replacing the former Condominium Act. As they say, a strata is a strata is a strata. Meaning that whether it’s two units or 200 units, the Strata Property Act still applies. The Strata Property Act states that a strata corporation is established once the developer files the strata plan at the Land Title Office.
Common property is the area owned by all strata owners as tenants in common, as set out in the Schedule of Unit Entitlement.
The Schedule of Unit Entitlement determines the proportionate share that each strata lot owns of the common property. It is also used to determine the monthly strata fees and the amount an owner would have to pay if a special levy is passed.
Each owner has the right to use the common property, as long as they do not violate the Strata Property Act, the strata corporation’s bylaws or rules.
Condominium ownership involves both individual ownership of a strata lot (as set out in the strata plan) and common ownership of the parts of the strata development, excluding any individual strata lot (the common property).
Some examples of common property include the lobby, hallways, elevators, amenity rooms, the landscaping surrounding the strata complex, and the roof.
Limited common property is common property that has been designated for the exclusive use of one or more of the strata lots. For instance, parking stalls, storage lockers, and balconies are often limited common property.
The strata plan will determine whether the parking stalls, storage lockers, and balconies are limited common property or common property. Sometimes, with common property, the storage locker number and parking stall number may change when the property transfers ownership.
It’s important to look at the strata plan to determine if an area is common property, limited common property, or part of a strata lot.
The strata lot (known as freehold) is shown on the strata plan and it is the area that belongs to the individual strata owner. Therefore, when you purchase your strata property, your strata lot is your property, and you can do what you like within it, except for restrictions set out in the strata’s bylaws and rules.
The strata corporation’s responsibilities are set out in the Strata Property Act and include the duty to repair, manage, maintain, and insure the building’s common property and common assets.
A strata corporation can edit, add, or delete any terms in the standard bylaws. Any changes to the standard bylaws would result in an amended bylaw.
To be enforceable, an amended bylaw needs to be filed at the land title office. However, strata owners cannot enforce an amended bylaw if it violates the Strata Property Act, the regulations, or the law. The owners of the strata lots are members of the strata corporation.
The strata council is usually elected every year at the Annual General Meeting (AGM). The strata bylaws determine the number of people on the strata council.
The strata council is responsible for enforcing the strata’s bylaws and rules. Therefore, they cannot make exceptions for any of the owners.
Strata owners can amend the schedule of standard bylaws if 3/4 of the votes favour the new bylaw.
In addition, a strata council may make rules for the use of common property. Rules, however, are not as formal as bylaws and are optional for a strata to implement. Rules also cannot regulate the use of individual strata lots, only the common property.
All strata corporations must have bylaws that govern the restrictions, use, maintenance, and management of the assets, limited common property, and common property.
Once the strata plan is registered at the Land Titles Office, the strata council must be selected by the owners in a strata corporation.
There are many advantages to owning a strata property. While it may take time to familiarize yourself with a strata’s bylaws and rules, the benefits include security, central urban locations, and low monthly maintenance compared to single-family homes.
*Disclaimer: The topics of discussion, content and resources on this website are general information that may not be the right solution or advice for you specifically. Not intended to solicit buyers or sellers currently under contract with a brokerage.
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