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Annual General Meetings for Strata Corporations

Annual General Meetings for Strata Corporations

Annual General Meetings for Strata Corporations

If you are a strata owner in beautiful British Columbia, you’re probably familiar with the importance of Annual General Meetings (AGMs) for strata corporations. AGMs are crucial for making decisions, electing council members, and ensuring that your strata community runs smoothly. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the key aspects of AGMs, helping you navigate the process with confidence and clarity.

Annual General Meetings (AGMs) serve as pivotal junctures in the governance of strata corporations, providing a forum for all owners to convene and collectively shape the future of their shared community. At these annual gatherings, owners undertake a range of crucial responsibilities, including the approval of the annual budget, the endorsement of significant expenditures via special levies or contingency reserve fund withdrawals, the election of a strata council, and the contemplation of bylaw amendments or modifications to common property rules.

Furthermore, AGMs empower owners to guide the strata council’s actions through majority votes, ensuring that their voices are heard and their concerns addressed. In addition to Annual General Meetings, Special General Meetings stand ready to address specific, time-sensitive issues that may arise within the strata corporation, such as the need for a bylaw amendment that demands a ¾ vote approval by owners.

We explore the intricacies of Annual General Meetings for Strata Corporations, shedding light on their significance in shaping the trajectory of these shared living spaces and the potential recourse of Special General Meetings when urgency dictates.

A. Notice Provisions

First things first, let’s talk about notice provisions. The Strata Property Act outlines strict timelines for AGM notices. Notice by mail must be provided at least 20 days before the meeting. Here’s how it’s calculated: 14 days for actual notice, plus 4 days for mailing, and counting the day of mailing and the day of the meeting. Additionally, your strata managers need some time to prepare the notice package and additional information, so factor that in.

Remember, AGMs must be held within 13 months of the last AGM or within 2 months of the strata corporation’s fiscal year-end. Proper notice ensures that all owners are informed and can participate in the meeting.

B. Procedure

The order of business for AGMs is established in your strata corporation’s bylaws. Any resolutions being proposed should be clearly outlined in the meeting notice. Resolutions requiring a ¾ vote of owners must be included in the agenda. This prevents last-minute substantive changes that could disadvantage owners who cannot attend the meeting.

To make your voice heard and prevent a minority from making critical decisions, attend AGMs in person or send a proxy expressing your wishes. While the Strata Property Act allows for some reconsideration of approvals, the time frames are tight, making it challenging to challenge decisions after the fact.

C. Outline of a General Meeting

Each general meeting adheres to a predefined order of proceedings, as detailed in either the standard bylaws or the specific bylaws of your strata corporation. While occasional minor adjustments may occur in exceptional cases, we have provided a comprehensive overview of the standard procedure below, along with insights into individual elements.

Your strata corporation’s property manager will play a pivotal role in facilitating the meeting’s agenda. We encourage you to feel at ease approaching them with any questions or uncertainties that may arise during the proceedings. Their guidance is invaluable in ensuring a smooth and informed meeting experience.

i. Call to Order

The President of the strata corporation, in their capacity as the meeting’s chairperson, will formally convene the proceedings, ideally adhering to the scheduled commencement time. In cases where some owners arrive tardily and have not completed their sign-in and registration process, it may be necessary to delay the meeting’s commencement. The property manager will apprise you when it is suitable to officially begin the meeting.

Given the property manager’s pivotal role in documenting meeting minutes and providing procedural guidance, we kindly request that the meeting not commence until their presence is ensured. As the meeting’s chairperson, we have found it beneficial, at this juncture, to introduce all council members and your property manager to the owners in attendance.

ii. Calling the Roll

The property manager will advise that they have registered owners and proxies as they have arrived and have issued voting cards to those entitled to receive them. At this point, the property manager will often explain how to use the voting cards when voting on resolutions during the meeting.

iii. Confirmation of Quorum

The Strata Property Act lays out specific requirements for achieving quorum at a general meeting. For the majority of strata corporations, the quorum is typically set at one-third of the owners who are both present and eligible to cast votes. However, it’s important to note that owners who are in arrears with their strata fees, and against whom the strata corporation has either registered or is entitled to register a lien (usually following a formal demand for payment), may not be included in the quorum count. This, of course, depends on the specific bylaws of your strata corporation.

Should a quorum not be met at the scheduled start time of the meeting, the Strata Property Act mandates a waiting period of half an hour before adjourning the meeting to the same time and place one week later. Some strata corporations have adopted bylaws that specify a waiting period on the day of the meeting, after which a quorum is deemed to be met.

If your strata corporation lacks such a bylaw and has encountered challenges in achieving quorum at past general meetings, it is advisable to discuss this matter with your property manager. They can assist you in implementing a bylaw to address this issue.

Regarding meeting procedures, it is customary for the Chair to request the property manager to confirm the presence of a quorum before proceeding with the meeting.

iv. Electing a Chair for the Meeting, if necessary

If the President of the strata council is present, your bylaws typically designate them as the Chair of the meeting, obviating the need for a separate election. In the event that the President is absent or unwilling to assume the role of Chair, the Vice President typically steps in to fulfill this responsibility. However, if you prefer an independent individual or the property manager to preside over the meeting, it is essential to inform those in attendance and propose a motion to elect that person as the Chair. The election of an alternative Chair necessitates approval through a majority vote.

v. Confirmation of Notice

The chair or property manager confirms that notice requirements have been met.

vi. Approval of the Annual General Meeting Agenda

At this juncture, the Chair will inform those in attendance that the notice of the Annual General Meeting serves as the official agenda for the gathering. The Chair will then invite owners present to propose any additional agenda items they wish to discuss or clarify that owners may bring up new business matters during the designated “new business” or “any other business” sections, depending on the Chair’s preference.

However, it’s worth noting that in the case of a Special General Meeting, owners typically won’t have the opportunity to introduce new business items. Special General Meetings are convened for specific purposes, and the council is not obligated to entertain additional matters during these meetings.

vii. Reading and Disposing of any Unapproved Minutes

The strata corporation’s protocol dictates that the minutes of the most recent annual general meetings must receive approval at the subsequent annual general meeting. Typically, this entails the adoption and approval of the prior Annual General Meeting’s minutes during the next Annual General Meeting. However, if a Special General Meeting took place within the year, you would have already sanctioned the minutes of the preceding Annual General Meeting during the Special General Meeting. Consequently, at the present Annual General Meeting, you’ll be endorsing the minutes of the Special General Meeting. Your property manager will be there to offer guidance throughout this process.

It’s important to note that there’s no need to recite the previous minutes aloud during the meeting. The minutes would have been distributed to all owners in advance, affording them ample time for review. Additionally, it’s our standard practice to enclose copies of the most recent general meeting minutes with our welcome letters to new owners. This ensures that even if there have been title transfers since the last general meeting, the new owners will have access to the minutes.

Occasionally, owners may desire amendments to the minutes if they believe there are inaccuracies. In such instances, they must propose a motion to rectify any errors or omissions in the minutes. For this motion to proceed, it must be seconded, and the Chair must then call for majority approval to endorse the amendments. After the amendments have been approved (or if there were no proposed amendments), the Chair will request a motion to approve the previous minutes, either as amended or as distributed. Once the motion is moved and seconded, a majority vote will confirm the approval of the previous minutes.

viii. Deal with Unfinished Business

There will rarely be unfinished business arising from the previous minutes. If there is, this is the time to deal with those issues. An example of unfinished business is a motion made at a previous general meeting directing the strata council to bring something back to the next general meeting for discussion.

ix. Receive Reports of Council Activities and Decisions

At this juncture in the meeting, the President typically offers a concise overview of the council’s activities over the past year to those in attendance. Additionally, if your strata corporation has established committees, it is customary for each committee chair to deliver a brief report at this point. This moment provides an excellent opportunity to address any overarching concerns within the strata corporation and express gratitude to those who have contributed to its well-being throughout the year. It’s a particularly positive and impactful segment of the meeting, one that warrants thoughtful preparation.

Moreover, if there are significant resolutions slated for discussion later in the meeting, this segment serves as an advantageous platform to set the stage for those resolutions.

x. Ratify New Rules

The Strata Property Act permits strata councils to make or amend rules governing the use of common property during the year. Any such new rules or amendments must be ratified by the ownership at the next occurring Annual General Meeting. If there are rules to be ratified, they must be contained in the notice and a majority vote resolution must be made and passed in order for them to remain in effect as rules of the strata corporation.

xi. Report on Insurance Coverage

The strata corporation’s insurance policy particulars are to be furnished to owners annually, with a comprehensive summary, including coverage values and deductibles, conveniently enclosed within the Annual General Meeting package. While it isn’t imperative to conduct an in-depth examination of the insurance, it is essential to underscore its inclusion in the package and offer a brief overview of the coverage. Rest assured, your property manager will be handling this aspect on your behalf.

xii. Approving the Accounts

This section is where the property manager, or the Treasurer, will review the extensive notes regarding the previous year’s operating statement that we will have provided as part of the Notice of Annual General Meeting package. These notes will outline how the strata corporation did over the previous year in respect to the various budget categories. Once this section has been reviewed, the Chair will ask if there are any questions from the floor and such questions will be answered by the property manager or the council, depending on your preferences.

Once any questions have been answered, the Chair will request a motion to approve the operating statement for the strata corporation for the current fiscal year.

xiii. Approving the Proposed Budget at the Annual General Meeting

When reviewing the proposed budget, either the property manager or the Treasurer will provide a concise overview of the detailed budget notes circulated for the upcoming fiscal year. Notable changes from the previous year’s budget will be emphasized and discussed.

Owners may occasionally raise concerns about specific budget items and have the opportunity to propose amendments during the meeting. To make an amendment, owners must have a mover and a seconder for the proposed change, and it must pass by a majority vote among owners present, either in person or by proxy.

If any amendments are approved, the budget must then be voted on “as amended,” requiring a majority vote in favor for the amended budget to be accepted. If multiple amendments arise, procedural complexities may emerge, but your property manager will assist in navigating these issues.

In some years, resolutions regarding expenditures from the contingency reserve fund or through special levies may arise. These special expenditure resolutions should be included within the proposed budget section to ensure they are voted on BEFORE final budget approval. As these resolutions can impact the overall budget, it’s prudent to delay approval of the proposed budget until the outcome of these special resolutions is determined.

If one or more of these resolutions are not passed, adjustments to the proposed budget will be necessary.

xiv. Deal with New Business

This is the section under which any bylaw amendments or non-financial special resolutions would be tabled and discussed. Any change to the bylaws requires a ¾ vote resolution in favour to pass. This is also the section for other new business that may have been identified when the owners were approving the agenda or that owners may have notified the strata corporation of, in writing, in advance of the meeting.

The Chair should ensure that all formal business identified in the Notice of Annual General Meeting is dealt with prior to having discussion on “new” items that may be identified by owners, in writing, before the meeting or at the start of the meeting when considering approval of the agenda.

xv. Elect a council

Strata council members need to be elected annually according to the Standard Bylaws. However, in many strata corporations, they have staggered term bylaws, which means only some council members stand for re-election each year. Regardless of the system in place, there will always be an election for some council members every year. If there are just enough owners willing to fill the available positions, they will usually be elected without a formal vote.

When it’s time to find new volunteers, there isn’t a strict procedure to follow. The best approach is for owners at the meeting to nominate individuals or ask for volunteers. If it seems like there will be an election for the available council spots, we recommend that prospective council members briefly introduce themselves and explain why they want to join the council before the vote. If a formal vote is necessary, owners will show their voting card (or proxies) to the property manager, who will provide them with a ballot.

Owners will then use the voting stations and a provided ballot box to cast their votes. After the voting is finished, the property manager and volunteer scrutineers will count the votes and announce the results.

xvi. Any Other Business

At this point in the meeting, the formal business that must be conducted has been completed and owners have a final chance to raise an issue or ask questions of the strata council or property manager. If it is getting late and there are a large number of issues, the Chair has the right to create rules with respect to the amount and length of time a person may speak, as long as they treat everyone equally.

xvii. Terminate the Meeting

Once all business is concluded, the chair calls for a motion to terminate the meeting or declares it terminated.

D. Voting at General Meetings

A recent legal decision has reshaped voting procedures in strata corporations, especially for secret ballots and council member elections. This decision aimed to prevent manipulation of votes by council members and certain owners.

To ensure fair voting, property managers bring election-style voting booths and ballot boxes to all general meetings. For secret ballots, owners present their voting cards to the property manager, receive a ballot, cast their vote privately, and deposit it in a sealed ballot box. Scrutineers then tally the votes. This process, though it may seem cumbersome, is efficient.

AGMs play a vital role in the functioning of strata corporations. Proper notice, adherence to procedures, and fair voting practices are key to ensuring that your voice is heard and decisions are made in the best interest of your strata community. Remember, your property manager is there to guide you through the process, so don’t hesitate to ask questions. We hope this guide helps you navigate your next Annual General Meeting with confidence and clarity.

Not Legal Advice - The material provided on the StrataPress website is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice or opinions of any kind and may not be used for professional or commercial purposes. No one should act, or refrain from acting, based solely upon the materials provided on this website, any hypertext links or other general information without first seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice. These materials may have no evidentiary value and should be checked against official sources before they are used for professional or commercial purposes. Your use of these materials is at your own risk.

Understanding Bylaw Enforcement

Understanding Bylaw Enforcement

Understanding Bylaw Enforcement: A Guide for Strata Corporations in BC

In the world of strata corporations in beautiful British Columbia, bylaw enforcement is a critical aspect of maintaining harmony and order within a community. Whether you’re a strata council member, an owner, or a tenant, it’s essential to be well-versed in the basics of bylaw enforcement to avoid costly legal battles and ensure a fair and consistent living environment. In this article, we’ll explore the fundamental principles of bylaw enforcement and the procedures outlined in the Strata Property Act.

The Importance of Fair and Consistent Bylaw Enforcement

The Courts have increasingly shown impatience with imperfect bylaw enforcement procedures by Strata Councils. Unfair, unlawful, or inconsistent enforcement can lead to expensive litigation. To stay out of trouble, strata corporations must ensure that their bylaw enforcement is fair, consistent, procedurally compliant, and effective.

According to sections 4, 26, and 31 of the Strata Property Act, it is the duty of the Strata Corporation to enforce the bylaws fairly and evenly, honestly, and in good faith, with a view to the best interests of the strata corporation.

Steps in the Enforcement Process

The following steps should be taken by parties in dealing with complaints of alleged bylaw and rule violations. If the alleged offender is a strata council member, that member must excuse themselves from the complaint process, unless all strata lot owners are on the strata council.

Here’s a summary of the procedure:

Receiving a Complaint: The process begins when the council receives a complaint that a bylaw has been breached. This complaint can come from anyone, including council members, strata managers, tenants, or government officials. It’s preferable to receive or confirm the complaint in writing for proper documentation.

Sending a Notice of Bylaw Complaint: Once a complaint is received, the council decides whether to send out a written Notice of Bylaw Complaint to the owner or tenant accused of breaching the bylaws. This notice should include reasonable particulars of the complaint and provide the owner or tenant with a reasonable opportunity to respond in writing or request an in-person hearing before the council.

Validating Bylaw Compliance: Before sending out a Notice of Bylaw Complaint, the council must be confident that the bylaw being enforced is valid and enforceable. This involves ensuring that the bylaw has been properly amended, if necessary.

Council Meeting: After receiving a response or when the response time expires, a council meeting is convened to consider the allegations, submissions, and make a determination on the alleged bylaw breach. During this meeting, council members go ‘in-camera’ to discuss the bylaw issue. Only council members, the strata manager, and the Strata Corporation’s lawyer should be present. If the breach is corrected, the strata council may decide not to take any further steps or the strata council may proceed with further enforcement.

Making Determinations: Council must make determinations by majority vote on whether the evidence shows that one or more bylaws were breached and, if so, determine the penalty to be imposed for each contravention. Penalties may include warnings, directions to correct the breach, fines, or restricted access to facilities. If the strata council decides to proceed with enforcement, it must give the alleged offender a reasonable opportunity to respond to the complaint, including an opportunity to respond at a hearing at a strata council meeting, if requested. (Strata Property Regulation 7.2 defines hearing as “an opportunity to be heard in person at a council meeting” for the purposes of Section 135 (1) (e) of the Strata Property Act).

Notifying the Parties: After a decision is made, council must promptly send a letter to the owner and/or tenant advising them of the decision and any imposed penalties. This decision is also recorded in the meeting minutes, which are then distributed to all owners.

Note: the strata council may give the alleged rule or bylaw offender a warning at any time before proceeding with other enforcement options. Bylaws and rules are unenforceable if they contravene the Strata Property Act, the Human Rights Code or other enactment or law.

Seeking Legal Advice When Necessary

There are situations where seeking legal advice is crucial:

  • The Strata Council is unfamiliar with bylaw enforcement procedures
  • A resident disputes allegations or threatens legal action
  • Bylaw enforcement is being used for harassment
  • Bylaw breaches pose serious concerns
  • Bylaws are unclear, controversial, or possibly invalid
  • Bylaws no longer reflect the will of the ownership
  • Historically, bylaws haven’t been enforced fairly or consistently

By understanding the basics of bylaw enforcement and following the procedures outlined in the Strata Property Act, strata corporations can maintain a harmonious and well-regulated community while avoiding unnecessary legal entanglements. When in doubt, seeking legal advice can help ensure that bylaw enforcement is carried out effectively and in compliance with the law.

In conclusion, bylaw enforcement is an essential part of strata living in British Columbia. Staying informed and following the correct procedures can help maintain a fair and consistent living environment for all strata owners and tenants. So, remember the keyword ‘bylaw enforcement’ and make sure your strata corporation is on the right track!

Not Legal Advice - The material provided on the StrataPress website is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice or opinions of any kind and may not be used for professional or commercial purposes. No one should act, or refrain from acting, based solely upon the materials provided on this website, any hypertext links or other general information without first seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice. These materials may have no evidentiary value and should be checked against official sources before they are used for professional or commercial purposes. Your use of these materials is at your own risk.

The Roles and Responsibilities of Strata Council

The Roles and Responsibilities of Strata Council

The Roles and Responsibilities of Strata Council

There are 2 basic principles to understand how the Act creates obligation and delegates authority to the strata council.

Strata Property Act Responsibilities of Strata Corporation

Part 2. 3  Except as otherwise provided in this Act, the strata corporation is responsible for managing and maintaining the common property and common assets of the strata corporation for the benefit of the owners.

Strata Property Act Strata Corporation functions through council

Part 2.4  The powers and duties of the strata corporation must be exercised and performed by a council, unless this Act, the regulations or the bylaws provide otherwise.

To grasp the intricacies of the strata council’s roles, one must first delve into the responsibilities of the strata corporation. Essentially, the strata council acts as the representative of the corporation, holding the authority delegated by the corporation. Their responsibilities encompass the execution of maintenance and repair of shared assets and facilities, addressing emergencies, upholding bylaws, overseeing financial activities, maintaining records, handling court actions and arbitration, managing forms for real estate transactions, administering service contracts, ensuring proper insurance, convening council and general meetings, and orchestrating the holistic operations of the corporation, all in alignment with the Strata Property Act.

Upon being elected, a primary consideration for the strata council is the allocation of roles among its members. Questions often arise like: Who assumes the position of president, vice president, secretary, or treasurer? Does candidate “A” fit the role of secretary, or is their gardening expertise more aligned with landscaping duties? How involved should the strata council be in supervising service contractors, especially if the strata manager already oversees this responsibility?

Moreover, if the property receives comprehensive management and has service contracts in place, what is the exact role of the strata council? Should they immerse themselves in everyday business operations? Conversely, in the absence of management, which service contracts will the strata necessitate to fulfill its commitments? It’s worth noting that the Strata Property Act (SPA) provides clear guidelines, detailing limitations, delegation terms, and ethical standards expected of strata council members.

Strata Property Act Council member’s standard of care

Part 4.31 In exercising the powers and performing the duties of the strata corporation, each council member must:
(a) act honestly and in good faith with a view to the best interests of the strata corporation, and
(b) exercise the care, diligence and skill of a reasonably prudent person in comparable circumstances

Strata Property Act Disclosure of conflict of interest

Part 4.32 A council member who has a direct or indirect interest in a contract or transaction with the strata corporation must:
(a) disclose fully and promptly to the council the nature and extent of the interest,
(b) abstain from voting on the contract or transaction, and
(c) leave the council meeting (i) while the contract or transaction is discussed, unless asked by council to be present to provide information, and (ii) while the council votes on the contract or transaction

Strata Property Act Council exercises powers and performs duties of strata corporation

Part 4 (1). 26 Subject to this Act, the regulations and the bylaws, the council must exercise the powers and perform the duties of the strata corporation, including the enforcement of bylaws and rules.

Strata Property Act Council member’s standard of care

Part 4.31 In exercising the powers and performing the duties of the strata corporation, each council member must
(a) act honestly and in good faith with a view to the best interests of the strata corporation, and
(b) exercise the care, diligence and skill of a reasonably prudent person in comparable circumstances.

In the context of strata management, it’s imperative to understand the roles and responsibilities that underpin the operations. Before arriving at any decision, both the strata council and the manager should be well-acquainted with who oversees each specified role. There are times when the strata council might take a direct, active role, whereas in other scenarios, their focus might be on disseminating information, addressing concerns, and casting votes. The onus of determining these roles rests with the strata council itself.

Through a majority vote, the strata council delineates where duties and obligations lie. While the strata council can delegate certain responsibilities to either individual members or the manager on the corporation’s behalf, it’s important to note that the ultimate accountability and liability rest with the strata council and the corporation.

For a clearer perspective, let’s delve into some typical roles associated with the strata council. These roles often demand a synergistic approach between council members and the manager. While this overview isn’t comprehensive, it aims to facilitate the strata council and manager in understanding and appropriating responsibilities.

The strata council basic obligations and duties are:

  • Calling and conducting general meetings
  • Preparing the budget and financial statements
  • Collecting strata fees and other money owed to the strata corporation
  • Obtaining adequate strata corporation insurance
  • Paying strata corporation bills
  • Keeping a list of the names of owners and tenants, and similar documents
  • Hiring and supervising employees of the strata corporation
  • Considering exempting the application of rental restriction bylaws for individual owners based on hardship
  • Enforcing the bylaws & rules & convening council meetings to conduct hearings requested under section 34 of the Act
  • Making themselves accessible by providing a telephone number or some other method of contact
  • Entering into strata corporation contracts and supervising the performance of duties under those contracts
  • Keeping all strata corporation records required by Section 35 of the Act including, depreciation reports, environmental and engineer reports, or materials related to depreciation reports

For a clear understanding of strata management, it’s essential to grasp the distinct roles and authority within the strata council. Outside of the president/vice president’s duty to oversee meetings or notify of petitioned general meetings, no individual council member possesses unique authority to represent the corporation.

Such authority can only be granted if the strata council, through a majority vote, bestows this responsibility. However, it’s crucial to note that the strata council cannot delegate tasks related to the enforcement of bylaws, rules, or to ascertain the legitimacy of hardship applications.

To further illustrate, let’s explore some examples of how the strata council might designate and allocate duties. This division of tasks aids council members in efficiently managing their work, ensuring they can effectively report and introduce topics at upcoming strata council meetings.

President/Vice President

  • Chairing meetings
  • Setting draft agendas for council meetings
  • Convening council & general meetings
  • Insurance: appraisal, review, claims
  • Handling emergencies and restoration
  • Supervising management contracts
  • Coordinating hardship applications
  • Representing the Corporation in legal actions or arbitration


    • Meeting minutes
    • General correspondence
    • Notice packages
    • Owners/residents list
    • Rental list
    • Suite records
    • Alteration agreements
    • Form B record information
    • Form K / Form C
    • Section 35 information requests.


      • Financial reports
      • Budget monitoring and reports
      • Year-end financial statements
      • Audit reports
      • Receivables: fines, liens, orders for sale
      • Form B/f financial information
      • Section 35 financial info request
      • User fee collections and records
      • Special levies
      • Investments
      • Expenses
      • Collections
      • Refunds/surplus
      • Contingency reserve
      • Loans
      • Year-end reports
      • Final reports

        Bylaws and Rules Council Member

        • Annual reviews
        • Correspondence
        • Filing & amendments
        • Distribution of new rules/bylaws
        • Review of enforcement options
        • Review of bylaw violation notices
        • Parking plan and assignments
        • Locker plan and assignments
        • User agreements for parking and lockers

          Buildings Council Member

          • Service contracts & agreements
          • Inspections, reports, and records
          • HVAC
          • Fire & safety systems
          • Elevator
          • Security systems
          • Roofing system
          • Building envelope system
          • Long-term planning and replacements
          • Waste removal

            Landscaping Council Member

            • Pools & ponds
            • Seasonal plantings
            • Pruning & perennial planting
            • Gardener service agreement
            • Water management & irrigation
            • Decks/patios
            • Pest management
            • Composting

              At the outset of each year, it’s essential for every council to allocate time during their initial meeting to define their roles and responsibilities. This ensures that they can collaboratively and effectively engage with both each other and their property manager.

              Establishing a harmonious working relationship underpinned by a clear comprehension of roles can mitigate potential conflicts and misunderstandings. Such a proactive approach paves the way for a conducive environment that benefits both owners and residents.

              Not Legal Advice - The material provided on the StrataPress website is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice or opinions of any kind and may not be used for professional or commercial purposes. No one should act, or refrain from acting, based solely upon the materials provided on this website, any hypertext links or other general information without first seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice. These materials may have no evidentiary value and should be checked against official sources before they are used for professional or commercial purposes. Your use of these materials is at your own risk.

              How Do Stratas Work?

              How Do Stratas Work?

              How Do Stratas Work? A Guide to Strata Living in British Columbia

              Navigating the world of real estate can be likened to learning a new language, especially in places with unique property management systems. In British Columbia (BC), one such term you might encounter is “strata.” Let’s dive in and understand what it means and how it operates.

              1. What is a Strata?

              At its core, a strata is a system of property ownership where individual owners have their private units but also share ownership of common spaces. Think of the garden in your complex, the roof above, elevators, and hallways. While you own your specific unit, these common areas belong to all unit owners.

              2. Key Components of Strata Living

              Strata Corporation: Essentially, this is the collective body comprising all individual unit owners. They jointly own the common property. Think of this corporation as a company, and the individual unit owners as its shareholders. This corporation is registered with a specific strata plan number, giving it a unique identity. Just like any company, it has its own bank accounts, a set of bylaws governing its operations, and rules every owner needs to follow.

              Strata Council: Under this big umbrella, there’s a team ensuring the day-to-day operations run seamlessly – meet the Strata Council. This is a group of dedicated unit owners elected by their peers. They’re the hands-on team overseeing the daily affairs of the building and the strata corporation.

              Property Manager: Employed by the strata corporation, the property manager liaises mainly with the strata council but answers to the corporation as a whole. They handle various duties, ensuring the property runs smoothly.

              Operations Coordinator: This person assists the property manager, acting as the primary contact for residents, owners, and others connected to the strata corporation. They manage various administrative tasks, from updating resident information to handling maintenance requests.

              Strata Administration Experts: They prepare essential documents for the strata corporation under the guidance of the Property Manager. These experts ensure accurate and prompt document preparation, be it meeting notices, minutes, or council manuals.

              Individual Owners: Owners have rights and responsibilities based on the Strata Property Act. They can elect council members, decide on bylaws, and more. They have a voice and a vote in significant matters.

              Residents/Tenants: Residents and tenants enjoy almost the same rights as owners. While they can’t vote or serve on the council, they must abide by the strata’s bylaws, rules, and regulations.

              3. Meetings for Decision Making

              Like in any organized system, meetings are crucial for decision-making. Every year, an Annual General Meeting (AGM) is held, gathering all unit owners. Here, pivotal decisions that affect everyone are made and require collective voting. Picture this as the annual general assembly of a company where major shifts and decisions are tabled.

              But what if something pressing comes up in the middle of the year? That’s when a Special General Meeting (SGM) might be called, addressing issues that can’t wait till the next AGM.

              In addition to these large-scale meetings, the Strata Council also convenes regularly (perhaps monthly or every few months) to discuss nitty-gritty details and ensure the smooth running of the strata.

              Annual General Meeting (AGM): Held yearly, it gathers all unit owners to make pivotal decisions.

              Special General Meeting (SGM): When urgent matters arise mid-year, an SGM is convened.

              Regular Strata Council Meetings: The council meets frequently to discuss finer details and ensure smooth operations.

              4. Common Property Ownership

              At the core of strata properties is the concept of common property ownership. Imagine living in a complex that has multiple units. While you own your individual unit, there are shared areas that belong to everyone. Think about the garden you pass by every morning, the roof shielding all units from rain, the elevators you take, and the hallways you stroll through. These areas are all commonly owned by everyone who owns a unit in the complex.

              These shared spaces need maintenance. They need to be cleaned, repaired, and sometimes renovated. This is where the idea of strata governance comes in, to ensure the smooth functioning of these common areas and regulate the activities within the complex.

              When considering strata living in BC, it’s crucial to understand what part of the property you actually own. Typically, your sole ownership extends from roughly the middle of the walls inward. Everything outside of this, including areas you might assume are yours like patios and decks, is considered common property, or limited common property. This common property is overseen by the strata corporation, which includes you as a member.

              5. Unit Entitlement: Fair Share for All

              Now, with all these common areas and shared responsibilities, how do we ensure everyone pays their fair share for maintenance and other costs?

              Enter the concept of Unit Entitlement. This is a way to divvy up responsibilities, both financially and for insurance purposes. If you’re thinking, “Why not just divide everything equally?” – well, it’s not always that simple. Units within a complex can vary in size, features, and amenities.

              Consider a complex with 20 units, where ten are 1-bedroom suites and the remaining ten are 2-bedrooms. It wouldn’t be fair to split costs equally, given the differences in size and potential usage of common spaces. Therefore, a specific unit entitlement or percentage is assigned to each unit. In our example, the 1-bedroom units might have an entitlement of 0.8/20, while the 2-bedroom units could be given a 1.2/20 entitlement. This ensures everyone contributes fairly based on their ‘ownable’ space and its value.

              Stratas, with their unique structure and governance, offer a fair and organized way to manage multi-unit properties. For potential buyers or new unit owners, understanding how stratas work is key to a harmonious living experience. Whether it’s through shared responsibilities or individual entitlements, a strata ensures everyone has a stake in the community and its well-being. So, the next time you’re looking at properties, you’ll know exactly what to expect when considering a strata property in BC.

              Not Legal Advice - The material provided on the StrataPress website is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice or opinions of any kind and may not be used for professional or commercial purposes. No one should act, or refrain from acting, based solely upon the materials provided on this website, any hypertext links or other general information without first seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice. These materials may have no evidentiary value and should be checked against official sources before they are used for professional or commercial purposes. Your use of these materials is at your own risk.

              The Indispensable Role of a Strata Manager

              The Indispensable Role of a Strata Manager

              Navigating the Complex Web of High-Value Strata Corporations


              Amidst the bustling heartbeats of urban metropolises, the horizon of cityscapes in places like British Columbia is punctuated by towering residential and commercial edifices. These are not just architectural marvels, but emblematic of a society that’s leaning increasingly towards strata-titled properties.

              Strata living is an interwoven tapestry of diverse residents, varying amenities, shared responsibilities, and complex regulations. At the helm of these dynamic communities stands a pivotal figure, often operating behind the scenes, but holding the threads that keep the fabric intact – the role of a Strata Manager.

              Delving into this career is akin to understanding the central nervous system of these properties, as Strata Managers shoulder the responsibility of overseeing strata corporations whose value often runs into hundreds of millions.

              The Indispensable Role of a Strata Manager in Strata Property Management

              It’s the role of the Strata Manager that often goes unnoticed. Yet, their influence permeates every brick, every shared space, and every communal decision. The Strata Manager is not just an administrative role but the very lifeblood of successful strata property management.

              Consider the role of a Strata Manager.

              Operational Maestro:

              The day-to-day operation of a strata-titled property can be likened to running a small town. From ensuring that utilities are functioning seamlessly, overseeing cleaning and maintenance, to making sure security protocols are adhered to, the Strata Manager ensures that the property runs like a well-oiled machine.

              Financial Custodian:

              One of the most crucial aspects of managing a property is financial oversight. Strata Managers are responsible for budgeting, managing funds, ensuring timely collection of levies, paying bills, and overseeing any financial transactions. Their vigilant eye ensures that the property remains financially solvent and that residents get value for their contributions.

              Legal Beacon:

              Strata properties come with a set of by-laws, rules, and regulations stipulated by the Strata Property Act and the specific property’s constitution. The Strata Manager ensures that these are adhered to, offers advice on legal matters, and often mediates in conflicts to ensure compliance.

              Community Builder:

              Beyond bricks, mortar, and laws, a strata property is a community. The Strata Manager plays a crucial role in fostering a sense of belonging. By organizing community events, addressing residents’ concerns, and ensuring effective communication, they create a harmonious living environment.

              Emergency Responder:

              When unforeseen issues arise, from maintenance emergencies to security threats, the Strata Manager is often the first point of call. Their ability to respond swiftly, make decisions under pressure, and mobilize resources can be the difference between a minor hiccup and a major catastrophe.

              Liaison Expert:

              Strata Managers are the nexus between residents, strata council members, contractors, service providers, and sometimes even municipal authorities. Their ability to communicate effectively and maintain harmonious relationships is key to the smooth functioning of the property.

              In essence, the Strata Manager is the captain of the ship, navigating through calm waters and stormy seas, ensuring that the journey is smooth for all aboard. As strata properties grow in popularity and complexity, the role of the Strata Manager becomes even more critical, warranting a deeper appreciation and understanding of the myriad tasks they undertake and the challenges they overcome.


              What Does it Take to Have a Career in Strata Management?



              Strata Managers are expected to have a comprehensive understanding of the Strata Property Act, as well as the specific by-laws and rules of each property they manage. Their duties range from convening and attending meetings, to overseeing maintenance, financial management, and addressing disputes among residents. Furthermore, they are expected to liaise with various stakeholders including residents, strata council members, contractors, and legal professionals.


              In 2023, the compensation of a Strata Manager in British Columbia is competitive, reflective of the vast responsibilities they hold. However, it’s worth noting that salaries can vary widely based on the size and value of the strata corporation, the complexity of the tasks involved, and the Strata Manager’s experience and qualifications.

              Working Hours:

              Being a Strata Manager is not your standard 9 to 5 job. While there might be regular office hours for administration, Strata Managers often have to attend evening meetings, handle emergencies, or address unexpected maintenance issues. It’s a role that demands flexibility and availability beyond the typical workweek.

              Attitude and Aptitude Required:

              The ideal Strata Manager is a unique blend of various skills:

              Administrative prowess: To handle paperwork, financial statements, and documentation efficiently.

              Mediation skills: Handling disputes requires tact, neutrality, and patience.

              Proactive mindset: They need to anticipate problems and come up with effective solutions.

              Excellent communication: As a go-between for various stakeholders, clarity in communication is vital.

              Career Growth:

              For those who excel in the field, there are numerous avenues for growth. They might consider specializing in luxury or commercial stratas or even venturing into consultancy for developers creating new strata projects. With the right experience and possibly additional qualifications, one might even consider starting a strata management firm.

              Balancing Strata Council Expectations and Realities:

              This quote captures a unique dilemma: “No one is expecting a strata council to be a corporate administrator, and yet we place the operations of strata corporations often exceeding hundreds of millions in value, on the shoulders of the volunteers, and often without the budget resources necessary to retain qualified professionals.”

              This observation underscores the importance of Strata Managers. They fill the critical gap between what is expected of a volunteer-driven strata council and the reality of managing a multimillion-dollar property. The weight of this responsibility is heavy, and it’s imperative that strata corporations recognize the value a qualified Strata Manager brings to the table. Balancing budgetary constraints with the need for professional oversight is a challenge, but one that must be met to ensure the longevity and success of the strata.

              The role of a Strata Manager in 2023’s British Columbia is multifaceted and crucial. As strata living continues to be a preferred choice for many, it’s essential to shine a light on this career and give it the recognition and respect it deserves.

              Not Legal Advice - The material provided on the StrataPress website is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice or opinions of any kind and may not be used for professional or commercial purposes. No one should act, or refrain from acting, based solely upon the materials provided on this website, any hypertext links or other general information without first seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice. These materials may have no evidentiary value and should be checked against official sources before they are used for professional or commercial purposes. Your use of these materials is at your own risk.