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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.

5 Tips for Peaceful Neighbor Relations in Strata Corporations

5 Tips for Peaceful Neighbor Relations in Strata Corporations

Living in a strata corporation, such as a condo or townhouse, can be a great experience, but it also means living in close proximity to your neighbors. Maintaining peaceful neighbor relations is important to ensure a harmonious living environment. By following a few simple strategies, you can build and maintain a positive relationship with your neighbors, ensuring a peaceful and enjoyable living environment for everyone. Here are 5 proven strategies for building and maintaining a positive relationship with your neighbors in a strata corporation

1. Communicate openly and respectfully with your neighbors. If you have an issue with them, try to address it directly and calmly.

Communication is key when it comes to maintaining peaceful neighbor relations in a strata corporation. By communicating openly and respectfully with your neighbors, you can build trust and understanding, and address any issues that may arise. When conflicts do arise, it’s important to address them directly and calmly. Avoiding or ignoring conflicts will only make them worse in the long run. Instead, try to understand the other person’s point of view and approach the situation with the goal of finding a solution that works for everyone. By addressing conflicts in a calm and direct manner, you can prevent small issues from becoming larger problems and maintain a positive relationship with your neighbors.

2. Be considerate of others and try to be mindful of your noise levels, particularly at night.

Being considerate of others is essential for maintaining peaceful neighbor relations in a strata corporation. One of the most important ways to be considerate is to be mindful of your noise levels, particularly at night. Noise can be a major source of irritation for neighbors, especially in close living quarters. Being mindful of your noise levels, whether it’s from playing music, talking, or moving around, can make a big difference in maintaining a peaceful living environment. Additionally, try to be aware of any shared spaces and common areas and respect any rules or guidelines for their use. Taking these small steps to be considerate of others will help keep the peace and foster positive relationships with your neighbors.

Strata bylaws and rules play a crucial role in managing noise within a strata corporation. They set guidelines for acceptable noise levels and times, and outline the consequences for those who violate them. These bylaws may include quiet hours, restrictions on loud music or parties, and regulations for the use of shared spaces and common areas. Bylaws also provide a framework for addressing noise complaints and resolving disputes.

If a resident is found to be in violation of the bylaws, the strata corporation can take enforcement action, which can range from a warning to fines or even eviction. It’s important for residents to be familiar with the strata bylaws and follow them to ensure a peaceful living environment for everyone.

3. Show respect for shared spaces and common areas. Keep them clean, and be mindful of any rules or guidelines for their use.

Shared spaces and common areas are an important aspect of life in a strata corporation, and showing respect for them is essential for maintaining peaceful neighbor relations. Keeping these areas clean and tidy is an easy way to show respect and care for the community. When using these spaces, it’s also important to be mindful of any rules or guidelines for their use. This can include things like quiet hours, pet policies, and designated smoking areas.

Following these guidelines ensures that everyone can enjoy the shared spaces and common areas without any issues. Additionally, being mindful of any rules or guidelines can help prevent conflicts and misunderstandings with other residents. Showing respect for shared spaces and common areas can make a big difference in fostering a positive and peaceful neighbor relations for everyone.

4. Get to know your neighbors. Invite them over for a cup of coffee or a drink. Building relationships with your neighbors can help create a sense of community and reduce the likelihood of conflicts.

Maintaining peaceful neighbor relations in a strata corporation starts with getting to know your neighbors. One way to do this is to introduce yourself when you first move in, and take the time to chat with your neighbors when you see them. Another way to foster peaceful neighbor relations is to participate in community events organized by the strata corporation, such as BBQs, potlucks, or holiday parties. These events are a great opportunity to get to know your neighbors in a relaxed and casual setting.

Additionally, you can also look for online platforms and social media groups that are specifically for your strata corporation, where you can connect with your neighbors and stay informed about the community. Building relationships with your neighbors can help create a sense of community and reduce the likelihood of conflicts.

5. Be willing to compromise. Remember that you are all living in close proximity and that sometimes small concessions can go a long way towards maintaining a peaceful environment.

Being willing to compromise is crucial for maintaining peaceful neighbor relations in a strata corporation. Living in close proximity to others means that conflicts and disagreements are bound to arise from time to time. When these conflicts do arise, it’s important to remember that you are all living in close proximity and that sometimes small concessions can go a long way towards maintaining a peaceful environment. Being willing to compromise means being open to finding a middle ground or a solution that works for everyone. It also means being open to hearing the perspectives and needs of others, and being willing to make adjustments to your own behavior when necessary.

Mediation For Strata Corporations can be a valuable tool for strata owners to find compromise and resolve conflicts as it provides a neutral third party facilitator who can help the parties involved communicate effectively, identify underlying issues and find mutually acceptable solutions.

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.

5 Important Reasons To Have A Depreciation Report

5 Important Reasons To Have A Depreciation Report

A depreciation report for strata corporations in British Columbia is a document that outlines the current condition and estimated remaining useful life of the common property and assets of a strata corporation. The report is typically prepared by a professional engineer or other qualified person, and is used to help the strata council plan for and budget for future repairs and replacements of common property and assets. The report also contains information on the replacement cost of the assets and the estimated reserve fund. This report is mandatory for Strata Corporations in British Columbia to have after 2010.

1. Planning and Budgeting

A depreciation report helps a strata corporation plan for and budget for future repairs and replacements of common property and assets. This information is critical for the strata council to make informed decisions about how to allocate resources and maintain the building.

Planning and budgeting are indispensable aspects of efficient strata management. A depreciation report is a valuable tool for strata councils to make informed decisions about the planning and budgeting of repairs and maintenance on common property or assets. Such a report provides detailed information, including estimated lifecycles and replacement costs, that can enable planning for both short-term repairs as well as long-term projects. Armed with this document, members of the strata council can work constructively to ensure that resources are allocated appropriately and that potential risks are addressed in order to maintain a high standard and integrity for the building.

2. Legal Compliance

In British Columbia, strata corporations are required to have a depreciation report after 2010. Failing to have one can result in legal penalties.

In British Columbia, strata corporations must take the essential step of obtaining a depreciation report after 2010 in order to stay compliant with legal standards. The penalties for not having one can range from suspension of strata services to financial fines – this could cost both time and money if penalties are incurred. Even though obtaining a depreciation report is mandated by law and can be intimidating, it is necessary to ensure that your strata property remains complaint and meets legal requirements.

3. Asset Management

Depreciation reports provide an overview of the current condition and estimated remaining useful life of the common property and assets. This information is useful for the strata council to prioritize repairs and replacements and to make informed decisions about the maintenance of the building.

Asset management is an important part of ensuring that a strata building remains value-driven, and depreciation reports provide a helpful overview of the current condition of common assets and properties in order to help the strata council make informed decisions. This ensures that strata owners can maintain their asset, with necessary repairs and replacements prioritized according to expected remaining useful life, thereby preserving its value over the long term. Asset management is integral to keeping buildings in safe, good condition.

4. Contingency Reserve Fund

Depreciation reports also provide information on the replacement cost of the assets and the estimated reserve fund. This information is important for the strata council to plan for how to fund future repairs and replacements and to ensure that the reserve fund is sufficient to cover the costs.

The contingency reserve fund and the accurate information it provides are essential for the effective financial planning of any strata council. Depreciation reports allow detailed, up-to-date insight on the replacement costs associated with maintaining the building, enabling council to budget life cycle expenses and plan future repairs. A reserve fund that is large enough to cover these costs can ensure that owners are not faced with unexpected levies or special assessments. It is also important to consider that good maintenance of shared property or buildings can help protect its value. With detailed reserve fund information available in depreciation reports, strata councils have the opportunity to best manage their resources for monthly budgets and anticipated expenditures.

5. Transparency and Fairness

Depreciation reports provide transparency to the strata owners about the condition of the building and the estimated costs of future repairs and replacements. This information is important for the strata owners to understand the financial health of the building and to make informed decisions about their investment in the property.

Transparency and fairness are essential in providing direction for strata management teams. By offering depreciation reports to strata owners, transparency enables them to understand the financial health of the building, make well-informed decisions about their investment in the property, and distribute shared budgeting costs equally among all owners. With this information being made available, it increases awareness and allows everyone involved to work together as a team towards common goals by having detailed data on hand. As a result, this helps foster a sense of communal transparency and equality throughout the property.

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.

Exploring Age Restriction Bylaws

Exploring Age Restriction Bylaws

As strata owners, realtors, lawyers and homeowners battle the effects of escalating housing costs in British Columbia’s hyper-competitive market, one solution has come to the forefront: implementing age restriction bylaws.

These types of restrictions can be used by both strata corporations and local governments as a tool for creating more accessible housing. However, with great power comes great responsibility – before making any decisions involving age restriction bylaws, it is important that stakeholders familiarize themselves with relevant legislation in order to ensure compliance.

When a strata council is deciding whether to put age restriction bylaws to a ¾ vote of the owners, the strata council must consider and weigh the needs of both current and potential future residents when deciding whether to introduce age restriction bylaws. there are practical and legal considerations to take into account as well. One practical consideration is that an age restriction bylaws may impact the number of owners willing to serve as strata council members. This is because some retirement complexes have many owners who are away for the winter months. Another practical consideration is whether age restriction bylaws will increase or decrease the purchase price of the suites in the building. Conversely, in complexes with recreational facilities close by as well as access to shopping or public transport but without schools or playgrounds nearby, introducing such restrictions could prove beneficial – helping attract like-minded individuals likely seeking similar amenities from their homes.

In assessing the impact an age restriction bylaw will have on the value of the suites, the strata council may wish to consult a realtor.

There are legal considerations to take into account when deciding whether to put an age restriction bylaw to a ¾ vote of the owners. One legal consideration is whether an age restriction bylaw is constitutional. The Supreme Court of Canada has held that age discrimination is a reasonable and justifiable limitation on the right to freedom of association under section 2(d) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This means that an age restriction bylaw is likely to be constitutional if it is reasonable and justifiable. A strata council should carefully consider whether an age restriction bylaw is reasonable and justifiable before putting it to a vote of the owners.

Age restrictions are a common way for strata councils to manage the demographics of their buildings, but they are not without controversy. The Strata Property Act sets out a number of requirements that must be met for an age restriction bylaw to be valid. The bylaw must be reasonable and necessary to protect the legitimate interests of the strata corporation, and it must not discriminate against any person on the basis of age or any other ground prohibited by the Human Rights Code.

Another legal consideration is whether an age restriction bylaw will contravene any provincial or federal anti-discrimination laws. For example, British Columbia’s Human Rights Code prohibits discrimination on the basis of age. This means that a strata corporation that restricts ownership or occupancy to persons over a certain age could be found to have contravened this law. Before putting an age restriction bylaw to a vote of the owners, a strata council should ensure that it does not contravene any provincial or federal anti-discrimination laws.

If an owner challenges an age restriction bylaw in court, the judge will consider whether it meets these requirements. If the bylaw is found to be discriminatory or unreasonable, the judge may find it to be unenforceable.

If the strata council decides that an age restriction bylaw would benefit the strata corporation, they should consult their condominium lawyer. If an owner challenges the bylaw in court, the judge will take into account whether it meets the requirements of the Strata Property Act (“Act”), the Human Rights Code and other federal and provincial legislation. If the age restriction bylaw does not meet these requirements, the judge may find the bylaw to be unenforceable.

The Human Rights Code prohibits discrimination against persons purchasing property on the basis of marital status but not on the basis of age. This means that a person cannot be discriminated against when purchasing property based on whether they are married, single, divorced, or widowed. However, a person can be discriminated against when purchasing property based on their age. Age is defined in the Human Rights Code as an age of nineteen (19) years or more and less than sixty-five (65) years. This means that a person who is under the age of 19 years or over the age of 65 years can be discriminated against when purchasing property.

Section 10 of the Human Rights Code lists grounds of discrimination that are prohibited when a landlord is choosing a tenant. Included in the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination is age. Therefore, a landlord cannot discriminate against tenants on the basis of age.  At first glance it appears that a strata corporation could enact an age restriction bylaw that prohibits those under the age of 19 years from residing there. However, discriminating against tenants on the basis of family status is also prohibited by section 10 of the Human Rights Code. There is no definition given in the Human Rights Code for “family status”. However, refusing to rent to parents with young children would likely be found by a judge to be discrimination on the basis of family status.

Therefore, strata corporations who wish to enact age restriction bylaws now should consider setting the age limit at fifty-five years of age and older. Exceptions should be made for spouses and visitors. Strata corporations should not only have their age restriction bylaws drafted by a lawyer but the bylaw should be reviewed by a lawyer from time to time as judges will give more direction in the coming years about what age restrictions can be legally enforced by strata corporations.

Even if a strata corporation has a bylaw that prohibits rentals, tenants are always a possibility because an owner must be allowed to rent his or her suite if he or she is under hardship. It may not make sense to apply an age restriction to owners that reside in the building that does not apply to tenants.

Changes to the Strata Property Act are now in efffect.  More information via the Vancouver Island Home Owner’s Association

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.

5 Tips For Using Social Media as a Strata Owner

5 Tips For Using Social Media as a Strata Owner

 5 Tips for Using Social Media Effectively as a Strata Owner

As a strata owner, you’re automatically a part of a community. And like any good community, communication is key to making sure everything runs smoothly. Thanks to the internet, gone are the days of having to rely on paper notices or in-person meetings to get information out to your fellow strata owners. But with this increased convenience comes the need to be more mindful about how you use social media to communicate with your strata. Here are 5 tips for using social media effectively as a Strata Owner.

1. Use private groups or forums instead of public pages.

One of the great things about social media is that it allows you to easily connect with other people who have similar interests. When it comes to your strata property, this means you can join online groups like B.C. Strata Living on Facebook or forums for strata owners like StrataCommons.ca, where you can ask questions and get advice from other strata owners. But beware of using public pages instead of private groups or forums — anything you post on a public page is fair game for anyone on the internet to see, which could lead to security risks for your strata property if used incorrectly.

2. Be Active and Engaged.

Once you have joined a group or forum, be sure to participate regularly. Don’t just sit back and read what other people are saying—contribute to the conversation! The more active you are, the more likely you are to get helpful advice from other members of the group. Be sure to stay on topic and keep it relevant.

3. Ask Questions!

One of the best things about social media is that it provides a platform for you to ask questions and get answers from experts in real-time. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your peers for help when you need it. Chances are, someone has already gone through what you’re going through and can offer some valuable insights. Questions should be about a topic that is within the scope of the Strata Property Act; other relevant legislation; and living in a BC Strata Corporation.

4. Use social media to stay up-to-date on strata news.

In addition to using private groups and forums, another great way to use social media as a strata owner is to follow official strata pages or accounts. This way, you can stay up-to-date on any news or updates that might affect your strata property without having to sift through lots of irrelevant information. Use Google Alerts to get email notifications when new results for a topic show up in Google Search.

5. Be respectful and considerate when posting online.

Just as you would in real life, it’s important to be respectful and considerate when communicating with your fellow strata owners online. This means not posting anything that could be considered offensive or inflammatory, as well as being mindful of other people’s privacy by not sharing personal information without permission. If you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t say it online!

Social media is a powerful tool – but only if used correctly. As a strata owner, you can use social media platforms like Facebook to stay up-to-date on news affecting your property, join private groups and forums for advice from other owners, and even follow official pages or accounts for timely updates. Just remember to be respectful and considerate when posting online, and always err on the side of caution by keeping personal information private. By following these simple tips – joining relevant groups and forums, being active and engaged, and asking questions – you can effectively use social media as a strata owner to get the information and advice you need.

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.

3 Trends for Strata Owners

3 Trends for Strata Owners

For Strata Owners, it’s important to be up-to-date on the latest trends in the industry. This helps you make informed decisions about your property and stay ahead of the curve. Strata living has been on the rise in recent years, as more and more people are discovering the benefits it has to offer. For those who want the security of ownership without the hassle of maintaining a large property, strata living is the perfect solution. And with the strata market booming, there are more options than ever before for those looking to make the switch.

Looking to the future, strata living is poised to become even more popular. As more people seek out low-maintenance lifestyles, strata living will become an increasingly attractive option. And with advances in technology, strata properties will only become more efficient and easier to manage. So if you’re thinking about making the switch to strata living, now is the perfect time!

Here are three trends that we predict will shape the future of strata living for Strata Owners.

1. Residents are motivated by premium lifestyle offerings.
One trend we’re seeing is that residents are increasingly motivated by premium lifestyle offerings. They’re looking for properties that offer amenities like gyms, pools, and concierge services. They want to be able to enjoy a luxurious lifestyle without having to leave their building. This is especially true for young professional strata owners and empty-nesters who are downsizing from a house.

2. Residents are socially & environmentally conscious.
Another trend we’re seeing is that Strata Owners are becoming more socially and environmentally conscious. They’re looking for properties that have green features like solar panels and electric car charging stations. They also want to live in buildings with social programs like community gardens and dog-walking groups. This is especially true for millennials who are just starting out in their careers.

3. Residents are seeking easy care & low maintenance.
Finally, we’re seeing a trend towards easy care and low maintenance living. Residents are looking for properties that require little upkeep and aren’t time-consuming to manage. This is especially true for busy professionals who don’t have the time or energy to deal with complex strata issues.

Conclusion:
These are just a few of the trends we predict will shape the future of strata living. for Strata Owners, it’s important to be aware of these trends so you can make informed decisions about your property. Stay ahead of the curve by keeping up-to-date on the latest industry news!

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.