Tenants

  • to obtain a copy of the current bylaws and rules and a "Notice of Tenant's Responsibilities" (Form K) from the landlord;
  • to inspect at no charge and obtain copies of the bylaws and rules from the strata corporation;
  • to request that the strata council grant them short term exclusive use of common property;
  • to the same access to any dispute resolution methods as an owner; All tenants have the following rights under the Standard Bylaws:
  • to attend annual and special general meetings, unless a majority vote is passed to exclude them from the meeting; and
  • to participate in discussions at annual and special general meetings if permitted by the chair.

Residential long term tenants have the same rights and obligations as landlords under the Act, Regulations, bylaws and rules (with the exceptions noted below) for the duration of the lease. However, before exercising any rights of the landlord, long term tenants must provide the strata corporation with written notice of:

    the time period of the lease; and
  • their name.

Exceptions: Long term tenants may never, without the consent of the owner, exercise any right of an owner to: acquire or dispose of land; cancel or amend the strata plan; or do anything which would affect the owner's interest in the strata lot, common property or land that is a common asset.]

  • to pay strata fees;
  • to pay special levies that are due within the term of the lease; and
  • to maintain and repair parts of the strata lot and limited common property that the bylaws make the owner responsible to maintain and repair.

  • to access and obtain strata corporation records;
  • to attend and vote at special or annual general meetings;
  • to receive strata corporation notices; and
  • to be eligible for election to the strata council.

give written notice of the assignment to the strata corporation stating what rights and obligations are assigned to the tenant; the name of the tenant; and the time period that the assignment is effective. [Exception: The owner's responsibility to pay the cost of remedying contraventions or fines on behalf of the tenant cannot be assigned to the tenant.]


The Strata Corporation

A strata corporation is created to divide a building(s) and/or a parcel of land into separate components individually owned and common components owned by all of the owners. The strata plan will show the separately and commonly owned components of the building(s) and/or land:

  • separately owned components are referred to as "strata lots"; and
  • commonly owned components are referred to as "common property".

A strata corporation is a legal entity created by the deposit of a strata plan in the Land Title Office. The Land Title Office will assign a number to the strata corporation. This will become the legal identity of the strata corporation. Strata corporations are created under the Strata Property Act (the "Act"), and not the Company Act. This means that there is no incorporation certificate for a strata corporation, and the Registrar of Companies does not regulate strata corporations.

The strata corporation is a legal entity with all of the powers of a natural person who has full capacity. This means that it can sue others, be sued by others, enter into contracts with others and hire employees. The owners of the strata lots are the members of the strata corporation. If a strata corporation is responsible for paying a judgment, the owners are personally liable to pay a portion of the judgment in proportion to their unit entitlement. A strata corporation does not have limited liability like a company.

The strata corporation is responsible for managing and maintaining the common property and assets of the strata development for the benefit of all of its owners. The specific obligations of the strata corporation are usually performed by the strata council, or agents or employees which it hires. Additionally, the strata council will also perform its own obligations which are imposed by the Act and Regulations on the strata council, and will benefit the strata corporation. The specific obligations of the strata corporation which are set out in the Act and Regulations are:

  • preparing, retaining and making accessible various records;
  • holding general meetings, or obtaining the appropriate waiver of general meetings;
  • giving notices of general meetings;
  • preparing "Information Certificates" (Form B) and "Certificates of Payment" (Form F);
  • ensuring that the strata corporation address is correct at the Land Title Office;
  • maintaining and repairing common property, except any limited common property that the owners may have to maintain under the bylaws;
  • complying with work orders which deal with common property;
  • maintaining a contingency reserve fund which is accounted for separately from the operating fund;
  • paying common expenses;
  • determining the amount of contributions which owners must make to the operating fund and the contingency reserve fund;
  • preparing annual budgets;
  • informing owners of any changes to strata fees;
  • obtaining adequate insurance coverage; and
  • informing owners if the strata corporation is sued.

Decisions of the strata corporation are made by either the eligible voters in the strata corporation or the strata council in the following manner:

  • the Act or Regulations may require that a matter be resolved by a unanimous vote. These decisions must be made by all the voters in the strata corporation;
  • the Act or Regulations may require that a matter be resolved by a 3/4 vote. These decisions must be made by 3/4 of all the eligible voters who are present in person or by proxy at a general meeting, and who have not abstained from voting;
  • the Act or Regulations may require that a matter be resolved by a majority vote of the strata corporation (e.g. approving budget, directing or restricting council, ratifying rules, continuing first strata management contract). These decisions must be made by more than half of all the eligible voters who are present in person or by proxy at a general meeting, and who have not abstained from voting;
  • if a matter is not required by the Act or Regulations to be decided by a specific vote of the strata corporation it can be resolved by a majority vote of the strata corporation even if the matter is usually decided by the strata council. These decisions must be made by more than half of all the eligible voters who are present in person or by proxy at a general meeting, and who have not abstained from voting;
  • any matter that is not required by the Act or Regulations to be resolved by a specific vote of the strata corporation, or has not already been resolved by the strata corporation, can be made by the strata council. These decisions usually relate to the daily management of the strata corporation.

Strata corporations are democratic, and run on democratic principals, such as the following:

  • equal voting
  • election of representatives
  • majority rule
  • right to raise issues

A strata corporation creates a community of strata owners. The right of an owner to use and enjoy his or her property will be limited by rules, bylaws and decisions of the strata corporation which are in the community interest. The obligations and limitations placed on a strata lot owner may be significantly greater than an owner who lives in a non-strata titled house.

For instance:

  • strata lots may be separated by interior walls, floors and ceilings that are just several inches thick, and the strata corporation may have bylaws which are intended to control noise, such as a bylaw prohibiting the installation of hardwood flooring; and
  • a roof may be in need of repair, but an owner wishes to put off the repair, as he or she cannot afford to pay his or her share of the repair. The strata lot owner may have no choice but to pay the special assessment for the repair, as getting the roof fixed is in the community interest and an obligation of the strata corporation.


The Strata Council

  • act as the managing body for the strata corporation;
  • make daily decisions that enable the strata corporation to operate smoothly and;
  • operate within any restrictions created by the Act, Regulations, bylaws, or a majority vote of the owners. The Act states that the strata council's role is to: "exercise the powers and perform the duties of the strata corporation, including the enforcement of bylaws and rules".

The strata council can hire a strata manager to perform some or most of the functions of the strata council. However, if a strata council has delegated its powers to a strata manager, the strata council is still ultimately responsible for ensuring that its obligations under the Act are fulfilled.

The strata corporation can pass a resolution by majority vote at general meetings to direct or restrict the actions of the strata council. However, the strata corporation can never restrict or limit the strata council if the restriction or limitation:

  • is contrary to the Act, Regulations, or bylaws;
  • interferes with the strata council's ability to decide based on the facts whether a person has breached a bylaw or rule; a person should be fined; or a person should be restricted from using a recreational facility.

The following persons are eligible to sit on strata council:

  • all owners, including existing or past strata council members unless their strata lot can be liened for money owing to the strata corporation, and a bylaw permits this restriction; there are multiple owners of one strata lot, in which case, only one owner can sit on the strata council, unless all owners are on council (but each lot only has one vote). The Standard Bylaws provide that if there are fewer than four strata lots or owners, then all owners must sit on the strata council;
  • representatives of corporate owners;
  • tenants who have been assigned the owner's right to vote, by either being a family member, as defined in the Regulations; entering into a lease of three years or more; or the landlord delivering a written notice to the strata corporation which discloses the terms of the voting assignment;
  • different classes of persons, if a bylaw is created to permit certain classes of persons to sit on strata council, such as spouses or children of owners.

The strata council is elected every year at the annual general meeting. The number of persons on the strata council is determined by the bylaws. The number of strata council members set out in the Standard Bylaws is between three and seven members. However, if there are fewer than four lots or four owners, then all owners are required to sit on the strata council.

The following provisions dealing with strata council terms and the early removal from a term are set out in the Standard Bylaws:

  • a current strata council term ends and a new strata council term begins at the end of every annual general meeting in which the new strata council is elected;
  • a strata council member can be removed, with or without cause, by a majority vote of the owners at a general meeting, and the owners must then elect a replacement strata council member; and
  • if a strata council member is unwilling or unable to perform his or her duties for two months or longer, he or she can be replaced by a new strata council member to be appointed by the existing members of strata council. The new strata council member will hold the seat for the remainder of the replaced member's term.

Strata council members may be paid if their pay is permitted by one of the following:

  • the bylaws;
  • a resolution passed by a 3/4 vote of the owners; or
  • the annual budget.

The following provisions dealing with strata council meetings are set out in the Standard Bylaws:

  • at the first meeting of the new strata council, members must elect from amongst themselves the following: a president; a vice-president; a treasurer; and a secretary.
  • a member can hold more than one office, so long as it is not both president and vice-president;
  • any strata council member can call a strata council meeting by giving other members at least one week's notice specifying the reason for the meeting; or by giving less than one week's notice if? the strata council members agree; or ?the meeting is required to deal with an emergency situation, and strata council members either consent in advance of the meeting, or are unavailable to provide consent after reasonable attempts to contact them.
  • an owner can requisition a strata council meeting to have a hearing, and the purpose of the hearing must be specified in a written application. A meeting requisitioned for a hearing must be held within a month;
  • minutes of strata council meetings need to be taken and the strata council must inform owners of the minutes of all strata council meetings within two weeks of the meeting;
  • at the outset of a strata council meeting, members should determine if the required quorum under the bylaws is met;
  • strata council members can attend a strata council meeting by electronic means, so long as all members (or participants) can communicate with one another;
  • decisions at strata council meetings are made by a majority vote of strata council members;
  • owners may attend strata council meetings as observers only, but they may not attend portions of meetings related to bylaw enforcement proceedings; rental restriction bylaw exemption hearings; and matters where a person's privacy would be unreasonably interfered with.

Under the Interpretation Act, if the reference to time includes phrases such as "clear" days or weeks, or "at least" in reference to days or weeks, the time must be calculated by excluding the first day and the last day of the period. Another way of thinking about the days that must be excluded is to think that nothing can happen on those days. Thus, when calculating the number of days within the one week notice period for calling a strata council meeting, the day the notice is given cannot be counted as one of the days. The strata council meeting cannot take place on the last day of the notice period. It can only take place on any of the days following the last day of the notice period.

In exercising the powers and performing the duties of the strata corporation, each council member must act honestly and in good faith with a view to the best interests of the strata corporation, and exercise the care, diligence and skill of a reasonably prudent person in comparable circumstances. The Standard Bylaws provide that strata council members are not personally liable for anything they do or do not do in the course of acting as a strata council member, so long as they are acting honestly and in good faith. However, strata council members will still be liable for judgments against the strata corporation in their capacity as owner. The strata corporation can obtain errors and omissions insurance to insure strata council members for any liability resulting from mistakes incurred while acting as a strata council member. However, before obtaining such insurance, the strata corporation may wish to amend the Standard Bylaws, in order to remove the bylaw which limits the personal liability of strata council members.

Strata council members must ensure that they refrain from acting in their capacity as strata council member if their personal interests conflict with those of the strata corporation. Strata council members must:

  • disclose any personal interest they have in a contract or transaction under consideration by the strata corporation;
  • refrain from voting on that matter at strata council meetings;
  • leave strata council meetings when that matter is being discussed; and
  • not participate in bylaw contravention decisions if they are the alleged bylaw or rule offender, unless all owners sit on council.

The specific duties of the strata council include the following:

  • keeping a list of the names of owners and tenants, and similar documents;
  • paying strata corporation bills;
  • 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;
  • hiring and supervising employees of the strata corporation;
  • keeping all strata corporation records;
  • making records available for inspection and copying for the owners for a charge of not more than 25 cents per page;
  • calling and conducting general meetings;
  • completing "Information Certificates" (Form B) and "Certificates of Payment" (Form F);
  • preparing the budget and financial statements;
  • directing investments and expenditures;
  • collecting strata fees and other money owed to the strata corporation;
  • enforcing the bylaws and rules;
  • obtaining adequate strata corporation insurance;
  • approving strata lot alterations;
  • granting owners and tenants short term exclusive use of common property; and
  • exempting the application of rental restriction bylaws for individual owners based on hardship.

If no eligible person or not enough eligible people in a strata corporation are willing to sit on the strata council, then the strata corporation, or an owner, tenant, mortgagee or other person having an interest in a strata lot, may apply to the Supreme Court for the appointment of an administrator to exercise the powers and perform the duties of the strata corporation. The court may appoint an administrator if, in the court's opinion, the appointment of an administrator is in the best interests of the strata corporation. This may resUlt in the administrator taking on the responsibilities of the strata council, but it may also eliminate or interfere with the normal democratic functioning of the strata corporation and the rights of owners under the Act. In particular, the court may:

  • appoint the administrator for an indefinite or set period;
  • set the administrator's remuneration (which will be paid by the owners as a strata corporation expense);
  • order that the administrator exercise or perform some or all of the powers and duties of the strata corporation; and
  • relieve the strata corporation of some or all of its powers and duties.


The Owners

The Act makes numerous references to owners. Under the Act, an owner includes an Owner Developer, and can be any of the following persons:

  • the registered owner of a strata lot, and includes trustees who hold title for the benefit of someone else;
  • the registered owner of a leasehold strata lot in a leasehold strata plan (who is referred to in the Act as a "leasehold tenant"), and includes trustees who hold title for the benefit of someone else;
  • the person registered on title as a holder of an agreement for sale of a strata lot, and in this case, the registered owner will not be an owner under the Act; and
  • the registered holder a life estate (which is referred to in the Act as a "tenant for life") and in this case, the registered remainder owner will not be an owner under the Act.

The following persons are not defined as owners under the Act:
  • spouses of registered owners or tenants;
  • beneficiaries, who may live in or collect rent from a strata lot, but are not registered on title as owner or tenant;
  • tenants or sub-tenants, who may hold a long term lease or rent on a month to month basis; and
  • tenants with a lease that expires upon the tenant's death.

An owner of a strata lot owns the following:

  • his or her strata lot Usually a strata lot's boundaries are at the center of walls, ceilings and floors, but these boundaries will be different if the strata plan shows a different boundary; In a bare land strata plan, the strata lot will consist of the land and not the building situated on the strata lot; and
  • a share, as a tenant in common with other strata lot owners, of the common property and assets of the strata corporation that is based on their unit entitlement.

  • vote at a general meeting, unless pursuant to a bylaw they are ineligible to vote on resolutions needing to be passed by a majority or 3/4 vote, due to unpaid strata fees or other monies owing; they have assigned their right to vote on certain matters to tenants or mortgagees; they no longer have a vote due to an automatic assignment to:
    • a tenant who is a family member, as defined in the Regulations;
    • a residential tenant with a lease of three years or greater; or
    • they lack capacity to vote or are under sixteen years of age.
  • under the Standard Bylaws, vote by secret ballot if requested at a general meeting;
  • demand certain records from the strata council;
  • under the Standard Bylaws, attend strata council meetings as observers for matters other than bylaw contravention, rental hardship, or matters affecting an individual's privacy;
  • direct the actions of the strata council by majority vote at general meetings;
  • limit the power of the strata council by majority vote at general meetings;
  • requisition general meetings with a petition of 25% of the owners;
  • add matters and resolutions to a general meeting agenda with a petition of 25% of the owners;
  • obtain insurance for: loss or damage to his or her:
    • strata lot; and
    • fixtures built or installed on the strata lot by the Owner Developer as part of the original construction for perils not covered by the strata corporation insurance or for amounts in excess of any strata corporation insurance; fixtures in the owner's strata lot that were not built or installed by the Owner Developer as part of the original construction; improvements to fixtures built or installed on the strata lot by the Owner Developer as part of the original construction; loss of the rental value of his or her strata lot; and liability for property damage and bodily injury that occurs either on his or her strata lot or on the common property.
  • seek a court or arbitration order to prevent or stop unfair acts of the strata corporation or strata council;
  • seek a court or arbitration order to prevent a person who holds more than 50% of the votes, including proxies, from exercising those voting rights;
  • seek a court or arbitration order to require the strata corporation to perform a duty under the Act, Regulations, bylaws or rules; and
  • seek a court or arbitration order to require the strata corporation to stop contravening the Act, Regulations, bylaws or rules.

Owners do not have a right to:
  • place items on the agenda of annual or special general meetings, unless 25% of the owners petition to have items on the agenda;
  • requisition general meetings, unless 25% of the owners petition to have a general meeting for a specific purpose;
  • claim any interest in the Contingency Reserve Fund upon selling his or her strata lot.
  • under the Standard Bylaws: participate in discussions or decision making at strata council meetings, if they attend as observers; refuse entry to their strata lot by any authorized person:
    • in an emergency, even though no notice has been given; and
    • to inspect and repair parts of common property or the strata lot that the strata corporation is responsible to maintain or insure, if 48 hours written notice has been given; alter certain parts of the strata lot without written strata council approval; alter common property or limited common property without written strata council approval.

Pay regular strata fees, usually in proportion to their unit entitlement, on the date set out in the bylaws, which is the first day of each month under Standard Bylaw 1;

  • maintain and repair all parts of their strata lot and limited common property which are required by the bylaws;
  • use property in a manner required by the bylaws, which under the Standard Bylaws requires that owners: not cause a nuisance to others; not make unreasonable noise; not use their strata lot for an illegal purpose; and leash and secure pets in common areas.
  • pay special levies to the strata corporation if the special levy has been approved by the necessary vote;
  • under the Standard Bylaws, within two weeks of becoming an owner, inform the strata corporation of their name, strata lot number, and any mailing address outside the strata development; and
  • comply with work orders from a local authority to do work to his or her strata lot.

In order for a strata corporation to function effectively, strata lot owners should be willing to do the following:

  • participate in managing the strata corporation by sitting on the strata council;
  • attend general meetings to participate in important discussions and decision making about the strata corporation;
  • understand and observe the bylaws and rules of the strata corporation;
  • educate themselves about the Act and Regulations, so the strata corporation functions as it should;
  • compromise individual interests for the good of the strata corporation as a whole; and
  • take responsibility for resolving disputes between owners through discussion, mediation and arbitration, as there is no government body that can become involved in strata affairs.


General

No, the meeting is likely still valid.

Whether you disagree with the budget or may not have received approval from the corporation for your proposal or other matter which has you disgruntled, there are no valid reasons to withhold your monthly fees and you may be subject to fines.

A strata corporation cannot force an owner to move.

The council typically makes the daily decisions with respect to performance of contracts and project completion unless directed by the majority of owners.

There are no strata police but there is a court system.

No, unfortunately there are no refunds on contributions to the contingency reserve fund.

Research matters well before purchasing or renting a strata lot. There are democratic procedures available to every owner, and some tenants if you disagree with something but use discretion before rocking the boat. What seems wrong to you may be right to everyone else. You may wish to exercise your rights but if unsuccessful, you may choose to move if you cannot live with the current arrangements.

If a bylaw was registered after a pet was brought into the strata community, the pet (and others at the time) will likely have been exempted from the bylaw.

Is the space outside your unit designated as common property? If so, it is for everyone's use.

While certainly an effective way to influence future decisions, joining council is about acting in the ownerships better interest, and may sometimes be in violation of your own. Joining council is a selfless act, not a selfish one.

As does the inflation rate. Ask "why?" rather than "by how much?"

AGM/SGM's require 14 to 21 days notice, and council meetings require 7. Other forms of notice may be required for booking a common facility, moving activity, booking an elevator. See your bylaws. Remember to add 2 days under the Interpretation Act.

You need to write a letter to your council providing specific details relevant to your request. Once written permission is granted, you may proceed subject to the Act, your bylaws/rules, and the council's directions. You may be required to obtain permits and other approvals including an engineering report in some cases. Your council may also require that you agree to specific terms including responsibility for insuring and repairing.

Issuing reasonable time to rectify an infraction is in order before the corporation levies a prescribed fine.

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