Ministry of Finance
and Corporate Relations
The Strata Property Act: Overview
Responsibilities | Strata Corporation
Governance | Property Issues |
Matters | Bylaws and Rules
| Rentals |
Resolution Issues | Schedule of Standard
In July 1998, the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia
passed a new Strata Property Act. This modern and flexible framework for
strata ownership is the result of extensive consultation with condominium
homeowners' associations, strata owners, and other stakeholders. This act will
replace the existing Condominium Act without changing the fundamental
nature of strata property ownership.
The Strata Property Act has not been brought into force yet, in order
to allow for the preparation of new Forms and Regulations (which will set out
more detailed procedures for some matters), and to enable the correction of any
technical errors. It is hoped that the act will be in force by mid-1999. In the
meantime, strata corporations will continue to be governed by the Condominium
Existing strata corporations may find that some of their bylaws deal with
matters that are now included in the body of the new act. Even though these
bylaws may conflict with the new legislation, they will continue to be valid for
a transitional period, until December 31st of the year following the year the
Strata Property Act comes into force.
Major changes in the new act include the following:
The responsibilities of the owner developer in the initial stages of the
strata corporation have been expanded and clarified. New provisions include the
All owners must consent to contracts and transactions in which the owner
developer has an interest (section 10).
Owner developers must contribute start-up money to the contingency reserve
fund (section 12).
Owner developers must provide a more comprehensive set of documents to the
strata corporation, including "as-built" plans and warranties (section
Property management contracts entered into by the owner developer will
terminate at the second annual general meeting of the strata corporation
Owner developers must compensate strata corporations for serious
under-estimation of expenses, and for failure to call the first meeting or to
transfer documents to the strata corporation (sections 18 and
- Owner developers must act in the best interests of the strata corporation
Strata Corporation Governance
Fundamental rules of governance and procedure for the strata corporation have
been enhanced and clarified. Many of these provisions have been moved from the
bylaws to the body of the act to ensure that they will not be changed.
Noteworthy provisions include the following:
Strata corporations must keep more detailed information and records,
including information provided by the developer and decisions of an arbitrator
or judge in matters involving the strata corporation (section 35).
Owners have the right to obtain copies of strata corporation records
within a reasonable time (section 36).
Owners may add items to the agenda for general meetings of the strata
corporation (section 46).
Strata managers may not be proxy holders (section 56).
A 3/4 vote of the strata corporation must be reconsidered in certain
circumstances (section 51).
Meetings of the strata corporation may be waived with the unanimous
consent of all owners, and owners may attend meetings by electronic means if
the bylaws permit (sections 41, 44, and 49).
Strata corporations may apply to court to deal with situations where a
resolution requiring a unanimous vote is supported by all but one or a very
small percentage of voters (section 52).
- Strata council members must declare any conflicts of interest (section
Rules of common property ownership and management are fundamentally the same.
New provisions include the following:
Strata councils may only grant owners the exclusive right to use common
property for periods of up to one year (section 76).
- Changes to the habitable area of an individual lot, as well as changes in
the use/appearance of common property, may require strata corporation approval
(sections 70 and 71).
The Strata Property Act maintains the principle of sharing common
expenses based on lot size for existing condominiums. Changes to the
expense-sharing rules are allowed, but only by unanimous agreement (section
100). Further refinements to expense-sharing rules (for example, to "cap" or
limit the recognizable difference in lot sizes) may be set out in the
regulations. Other significant changes include the following:
The minimum contribution to the contingency reserve fund has been
increased to 10%, and strata corporations have the option of basing
contributions on the rate of depreciation of common property (sections 93 and
The Act introduces new rules for the financial management of the
contingency reserve fund, including clarification of investment options
Strata corporations must act in accordance with new guidelines for
spending money out of the operating and contingency reserve funds, including
guidelines for making unapproved expenditures (sections 96, 97, and
Detailed guidelines for budgets and financial statements will be set out
in the regulations (section 103).
Money-borrowing options for strata corporations have been clarified, and
rules for imposing special levies have been established (sections 111 and
Strata corporations may only impose user fees for the use of certain
common property in accordance with provisions to be set out in the regulations
Owners may pay a disputed debt (owed to the strata corporation) to the
court or the strata corporation to hold in trust to enable the sale of a lot
- The operating fund may be used for short term and recurring expenses only,
whereas the contingency reserve fund is to be used for longer term or
uncertain expenses (sections 92, 96, and 97).
Bylaws and Rules
Rules and procedures for bylaw (and rule) creation and enforcement are
substantially the same. Significant provisions include the following:
The act does not prohibit age bylaws (section 121).
New age and pet bylaws will not apply to currently resident persons and
pets (section 123).
Strata corporations must observe new procedures for bylaw enforcement,
which include giving persons against whom a complaint has been made a hearing
before imposing any penalty (section 135).
The act makes tenants responsible for complying with the bylaws of the
strata corporation, and makes landlords responsible for disclosing the bylaws
to tenants (sections 130, 131, 137, 145, and 146).
- Owners must ratify new rules of the strata corporation at a general
meeting (section 125).
The new act maintains and clarifies the strata corporation's ability to pass
bylaws limiting or prohibiting the rental of lots. However, it contains the
following new provisions:
Owners will have one year to comply with any new rental restriction bylaw
An owner developer's exemption from rental restriction bylaws will end
when the first purchaser sells the lot (section 143).
- Rental restriction bylaws will not apply to family members (section
Enhanced insurance provisions include the following:
Strata corporations must review and report on insurance coverage annually
The act clarifies that an insurance deductible is a common expense, and
that its payment does not require the approval of the owners (section
- Strata corporations must obtain liability insurance (section 150).
Dispute Resolution Issues
The dispute resolution provisions of the Condominium Act have been
significantly expanded. The Strata Property Act contains detailed
arbitration rules and procedures, including a new method of appointing an
arbitrator and a requirement to consider mediation (sections 175 to 189), as
well as a provision that allows strata corporations to adopt a voluntary dispute
resolution bylaw (section 124).
Schedule of Standard Bylaws
The Strata Property Act includes a new set of Standard Bylaws for new
strata corporations. It is now proposed that the Standard Bylaws will replace
the bylaws of existing strata corporations on Dec. 31 of the year after the new
act comes into force. However, if a strata corporation has filed any bylaws at
the land title office, these filed bylaws will continue unless they conflict
with the new act. Significant provisions include the following:
Strata corporations will have to repair and maintain certain property, as
will owners (bylaws 2 and 8).
Owners must obtain the approval of the strata corporation before making
any alteration to common property (bylaw 6).
Tenants may participate in general meetings of the strata corporation
Strata council members will sit for staggered terms of office, owners may
request and attend council meetings, and strata councils must post council
minutes (bylaws 10, 15, 17, and 19).
Strata councils may delegate their powers, including spending powers, but
only in accordance with certain rules (bylaws 20 and 21).
- Owners may keep pets, including one dog or cat (bylaw 3).
The Strata Property Act is available at the following British Columbia
Government web site:
Official copies of the act may be purchased from Crown Publications in
Victoria, phone (250) 386-4636, or Queen's Printer in Vancouver, phone (604)
Printed copies of this pamphlet are available from:
Financial and Corporate Sector Policy Branch
Ministry of Finance and
PO Box 9418 Stn Prov Gov't
Victoria BC V8W
Corporate Sector Policy Branch
BC Ministry of Finance and
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