Fundamentals of the Strata Corporation: An Introduction

A strata property is a form of organizing property which aims to accommodate individual ownership of private property within a collective, multi-unit structure.

To Hire or Not to Hire: Licensed Property Management Companies and Strata Management

Strata council members are responsible and accountable for strata management, but this doesn’t mean they need to do all the work themselves.

Strata Management: Responsibility, Accountability, Delegation

The line between strata governance and strata management can be less than perfectly clear. Determining whether something is strata governance or strata management can be made by asking the question: Why does the strata corporation want to do this?

Debt Collection and Strata Corporations: An Introduction

Strata corporations are, at their core, non-profit entities which often have little room in their budgets to absorb unforeseen costs and if they don't take steps to collect their debts, the owners end up collectively bearing the burden.

How to Read (and Write) Strata Bylaws

Every strata corporation must have bylaws and these bylaws may govern a range of matters including: the control, management, maintenance use and enjoyment of strata lots, common property and common assets of the strata corporation and the administration of the strata corporation.

Short Term Exclusive Use Agreements: When and Why?

Common property belongs to all the owners in a strata corporation in proportion to the owner’s unit entitlement. A general presumption in strata law is that owners are not allowed to use common property except as authorized by bylaw or agreement.

Significant Unfairness: When is an Owner Treated Unfairly?

What can be done by a strata lot owner when they are unhappy with their treatment by a strata corporation or those who direct its actions? The Strata Property Act provides a powerful tool to strata lot owners who disagree with the actions or direction of a strata corporation or its council.

Changing Common Property: Understanding the Requirements

All strata lot owners own the common property. Neither an individual owner nor the strata council can make a significant change to the use or appearance of common property without approval by the owners at a general meeting.

Types of Property under the Strata Property Act

The Strata Property Act deals with property under three categories: common property of the strata corporation and common assets of the strata corporation, and personal property of the strata lot owners.

Privacy: How the Personal Information Protection Act Applies to Strata Corporations

The Personal Information Protection Act requires organizations in British Columbia to have a proper system for the collection, use, disclosure and protection of personal information. Strata corporations are one such organization.

Paying the Bills: Properly Spending the Strata Corporation’s Money

The Strata Property Act requires every strata corporation to meet its common expenses. The money to meet those expenses is usually held in one of three funds: an operating fund, a contingency reserve fund, or a special levy fund. Understanding the operating fund and the contingency reserve fund and the requirements for spending the money in these funds are fundamental concepts that must be understood by anyone intending to spend the strata corporation’s money.

Contracts Should be a Living Thing: When Parties Fail to Negotiate Future Terms

Good contracts often provide frameworks and formulas by which parties are expected to negotiate and contractually resolve future issues and eventualities, but this can still result in disputes on interpretation and application of set frameworks and formulas.

Contractual Frustration: Frustrating is Not Frustrated

Contractual frustration relieves all parties to a contract from the requirement to perform any of their contractual obligations. What does or does not constitute frustration is often not easily discerned.

Securing a Claim for Stolen Funds: Certificate of Pending Litigation

Certificates of Pending Litigation (CPLs) are instruments that get registered on title to real property which effectively preclude an owner of a property from placing other charges on title or otherwise selling or transferring any interest in a property.

Builders Liens: Use it or Lose it

Case law has continuously recognized that builders liens and all related rights flowing therefrom collectively form a draconian regime which can significantly encumber and restrict the use of real property. To strike a balance, the Builders Lien Act (the BLA) forces lien claimants to pursue their actions in a timely manner and strictly adhere to the requirements of the BLA.

Injunctive Relief Largely Explored in One Case

Injunctive relief, the court ordering an opposing party to do or refrain from something, is a fraught and confusing area of the law. The requirements for successfully seeking injunctive relief are both intuitive in nature, but difficult to appreciate in practice. Some of these difficulties are explored in a recent case.

Positive Covenants, Parallel Contracts, Post-Incorporation Contracts and Termination

In a recent decision, the original owner developer owned and developed two neighbouring parcels of land into strata properties. As part of the approval process, the owner developer entering into an agreement with Burnaby the terms of which included that several amenities facilities (sport courts, swimming pool, etc.) would be constructed on parcel A, parcels A and B could use the amenities and parcel B would contribute to the costs of maintenance of the amenities.

Getting Rid of Useless Charges On Title

Encumbrances on title to a real property can significantly affect the fair market value and use that can be made of a property. When encumbrances no longer serve their purpose and/or too significantly burden a property, landowners will often look to cancel the encumbrance.