Strata Properties

Strata Depreciation Reports: What REALTORS® and Clients Need to Know

With more than 1.5 million British Columbians living in strata housing, not to mention all the commercial, industrial and mixed-use stratas in BC, it’s important that REALTORS® understand a key tool in assessing the condition of a strata property: the depreciation report. Here’s a quick primer on what you need to know and how to learn more.

Government’s First Actions on Strata Insurance

After hearing from strata corporations, owners and other stakeholders – including REALTORS® – for several months, on June 23 the BC Government introduced legislative changes to help address the high costs of strata insurance. Strong advocacy work by BCREA and the real estate boards has resulted in BCREA being named as a contributor in the

PODCAST: Episode 2 – The Changing Landscape of Strata Insurance in BC

Open House by BCREA logo

[div id=”buzzsprout-player-2854297″][/div] [script src=”” type=”text/javascript” charset=”utf-8″][/script] Open House by BCREA is a monthly podcast where REALTORS® will find the latest real estate news and feature conversations with experts on issues related to real estate practice in BC. Learn more about the show here. Episode 2, The Changing Landscape of Strata Insurance in BC, features a

Strata Insurance: Action from BCREA

Insurance agent complete wooden model of the house with last piece with text insurance.

Many strata owners are facing significant increases in insurance premiums and deductibles. While the word “crisis” is used often in media articles, BCREA believes long-term government policy changes should be made very carefully and with as much information as possible. There are about 30,000 strata corporations in BC and at least one-quarter of the population

Strata Termination Update #521

A year ago in Legally Speaking No. 509, I described two Supreme Court of British Columbia cases that addressed whether a strata corporation must first pass an 80% vote (sometimes called a “winding-up resolution”) before strata council may list the whole complex for sale with a brokerage or enter a contract to sell the entire

Strata Parking May Get Simpler #518

In its newest report (the “Report”), the British Columbia Law Institute’s formidable committee of strata experts (the “Committee”) recommends more changes to the Strata Property Act (the “Act”). If adopted, these changes will make it easier for a REALTOR® to confirm how strata parking is designated. 1 Background Depending on the circumstances, a strata parking

Strata Properties

The Strata Property Act took effect on July 1, 2000, and was a significant improvement over the Condominium Act. Nonetheless, no legislation is perfect and the intervening years have provided ample opportunity for real estate practitioners and others to identify improvements that can be made. BCREA Recommends the Provincial Government: Ensure legislation specifies what is required to be

Pitfalls in Transactions Involving Strata Condominiums #516

A recent Civil Resolution Tribunal decision1 highlights some important practice points for licensees in transactions involving strata condominiums. The buyer of a strata condominium claimed against the seller’s agent in misrepresentation and false advertising arising from the description of the building as having a “fully rainscreened exterior” in the MLS® listing. The buyer was surprised

Liability For Strata Insurance Deductibles #515

Many strata owners do not know they may be personally liable to reimburse their strata corporation for its insurance deductible, the portion of the loss the insured must pay in an insurance claim, which can be many thousands of dollars. The British Columbia Law Institute’s formidable committee of strata experts (the “Committee”) recently recommended changes

Strata Age Restriction Bylaws #512

Strata age restriction bylaws are alive and well. When providing any accommodation, service or facility customarily available to the public, the provincial Human Rights Code normally prohibits one person from discriminating against another because of the other person’s age or family status, unless there is a bona fide, reasonable justification.1 But, the Strata Property Act

Strata Termination #509

Where strata owners choose to terminate their strata development, two recent cases clarify when a strata council might list the project for sale or contract to sell it to a buyer.1 Many of our earliest strata developments are roughly 50 years old. An aging strata building may need so much remedial work that it is

To Rent or Not To Rent #484

Under the Strata Property Act1 (Act), a strata corporation may pass by-laws prohibiting or restricting the rental of strata units. A rental restriction by-law (RRB) must be filed at the Land Title Office and will take effect: I. immediately upon filing, if filed by the developer prior to the sale of any units; II. alternatively, the later

Leasehold Strata Parking and Storage #475

Strata developers often use long-term leases to generate revenue from the sale of leasehold interests in parking stalls and storage lockers. A recent case1 reminds licensees about the importance of the lease documentation, the requirements for which were updated in 2014.2 In a lease over land, recall that the tenant acquires exclusive possession for the

Strata Update #472

Since late 2013, the provincial government has brought into force various changes affecting strata properties. It seems a good time to review these notable developments. Strata RecordsThere are new strata record-keeping requirements concerning parking stalls, storage lockers and depreciation reports. As of April 9, 2014, a strata corporation must keep a current list of each

Parking Stalls and Strata Units #464

Legally Speaking

By Jennifer Clee B.A., LL.B. Licensees often mistakenly misrepresent the parking included with a strata unit sale, as a result of relying upon the seller for that information. As many sellers are mistaken as to their parking rights, licensees cannot rely upon sellers to provide accurate parking information. Parking stalls are designated either as part

A Phased Developer Must Contribute to Common Facilities #454

Legally Speaking

Though many licensees are not aware of it, in a phased strata project the developer must contribute to the cost of common facilities until the final phase is deposited. The British Columbia Court of Appeal’s recent decision in Strata Plan NES 97 v. Timberline Developments Ltd. is a good illustration.1 In that case, a strata

Condo Document Alert #451

Legally Speaking

The majority of all new housing starts involve strata properties. In a dozen municipalities, strata properties now make up more than half of all taxable properties.1 In December 2011, the provincial government changed several important strata requirements.2 Whether a licensee markets strata properties or manages them, the licensee needs to know about these developments. The

Strata Property Act – Changes to Rental Restrictions Rules #436

Legally Speaking

By Edward L. Wilson Since its adoption, the Strata Property Act has permitted residential strata corporations to adopt rental restriction bylaws. With the adoption of the Strata Property Amendment Act (SPAA), important changes to rental restrictions for new strata developments came into force as of January 1, 2010. Rental Disclosure Statements Developers of residential strata lots have long been

A Developer Must Disclose All Amendments to a Disclosure Statement #431

Legally Speaking

An anticipated result of the current economic situation has been in increase in litigation concerning condominium unit pre-sales. One such recent B.C. Supreme Court case relieved an unhappy purchaser from his obligations under the purchase agreement because the purchaser did not receive all of the amendments to the disclosure statement at the time of purchase.1

A Strata Council Member’s Liability #417

Legally Speaking

Many licensees own condominiums; some also serve on strata councils. Strata property managers regularly encounter strata council members. Recently, the Supreme Court of Canada had the last word on the liability of some strata council members (the Members) for conflicts of interest. The Strata Property Act requires a council member to fully disclose whether the member has

Strata Corporation — Suit by Some Owners Against Strata Council Members Personally; Strata Corporation — Unequal Habitable Areas but Equal Payment of Common Expenses Not Significantly Unfair #400

Legally Speaking

By Gerry NeelyB.A. LL.B. A strata corporation may sue one or more owners as representative of all owners, except those who are being sued, on a matter affecting the common property. It may also sue on behalf of one or more owners about matters affecting their strata lots. In either event, approval by a three-quarters’ majority vote of owners

Townhome and Apartment-Style Strata Units – Significantly Unfair Allocation of Expenses and Section Creation #399

Legally Speaking

By Gerry NeelyB.A. LL.B. Section 164 of the Strata Property Act (SPA) gives the Supreme Court of BC the authority, upon application by a strata owner or tenant, “to prevent or remedy a significantly unfair action or threatened action by, or decision of, the strata corporation, including the council, in relation to the owner or tenant.” The townhome-style owners referred to in column 392

A Judge’s Guide to Whim and Fancy, or Best Efforts Clauses; Seller Had to Have Actual Knowledge of Default, Not Deemed Knowledge of Agent, to Be Liable Under Contract; Note Re: Legally Speaking 332 #333

Legally Speaking

By Gerry NeelyB.A. LL.B. In one case, the conditional clause in a Contract of Purchase and Sale required the buyer to satisfy himself as to the tax implications of Canadian/USA/international law upon his purchase of Canadian property. The buyer lived and worked in California, and the purchase monies from an inheritance were to be transferred

Strata Property Act, Continued #325

Legally Speaking

By Gerry NeelyB.A. LL.B. An owner-developer now has the opportunity until the first annual general meeting to amend the strata plan to designate parking stalls as limited common property for the use of strata lot owners and, in addition, to designate up to two extra stalls for their use. “Extra” means those stalls set aside

Strata Property Act Regulations #324

Legally Speaking

By Gerry NeelyB.A. LL.B. BCREA published in 1999, a very useful cpe seminar manual, called Strata Property Law for REALTORS, on strata property law and in particular, the Strata Property Act which becomes law on July 1, 2000. This year, regulations to the Act were published which will affect developers, owners and strata councils. The Act requires an owner/developer to

Condominiums – Leaky – Court Disallowed Fines for Breach of Rental Bylaw; Owners Entitled to a Hearing #316

Legally Speaking

By Gerry NeelyB.A. LL.B. Two strata owners, who were faced with a rental bylaw limitation, rented their condominium to their adult children without seeking permission from the strata corporation. At various times over several years, permission to rent was denied, then given, and then denied. The owners tried unsuccessfully, in a poor market, to sell

Retail Strata #305

Legally Speaking

By Gerry NeelyB.A., LL.B. The businesses in a retail shopping centre in Richmond were carried on by owners or tenants of strata lots in a strata corporation. Its bylaws required an owner or occupier of a strata lot to obtain written approval from the strata council to make any change in the nature of the business

Condominiums – Special Assessment, Owners Refusal to Pay #304

Legally Speaking

A strata owner who refused to pay the second half of a special assessment for the cost of substantial repairs to a condominium complex applied to the court for an order for the cancellation of a certificate of default filed against the strata owner’s property by the strata corporation. The owner claimed that a cost overrun

Commission Trust and the Personal Property Security Act ; Condominium Act – Assessments, Defaulting Owner, Strata Corporation Priority Over a Mortgagee #272

Legally Speaking

By Gerry Neely B.A. LL.B Column No. 266 described a B.C. Court of Appeal decision that a valid trust can be created by a properly worded independent contractor contract, despite the illegality of that form of contract under the current Real Estate Act. The significance of this decision is that the trust protects the licensee’s

Condominium Jacuzzi’s Excessive Noise and Chlorine Odour #264

Legally Speaking

By Gerry NeelyB.A., LL.B. The Condominium Act, as out-of-date as it is in many respects, may provide a remedy to a strata lot owner, who finds that a decision of the strata council to manage part of the common facilities for the benefit of all owners, interferes with the owner’s enjoyment of her suite. Section 40

Condominium Retroactive By-Law Unenforceable #263

Legally Speaking

By Gerry NeelyB.A., LL.B. A ground level strata unit had a patio on common property, which was reserved for the exclusive use of the owners of the unit. Buyers who purchased it installed a hot tub about June of 1995. The patio was entirely surrounded by the wall of the building, a fence and gateway.

Condominium Age Restriction Upheld #259

Legally Speaking

By Gerry NeelyB.A., LL.B. Another decision concerning the right of a strata corporation to pass by-laws limiting occupancy to those of advancing years and to prohibit the rental of any strata units. This case arose out of the occupancy of a unit by parents in their seventies, and a son who was forty-eight, in 1990,

Attention to Detail Successful #253

Legally Speaking

By Gerry NeelyB.A., LL.B. A nominee who called to report the successful defense of an action for damages brought by a purchaser, thought that publication of the brief details might provide a welcome balance to the cases, in which occasionally the licensee has been found wanting. He was full of praise for the professionalism of

Water Damages to Owner’s Suite, Strata Corporation not Liable #252

Legally Speaking

By Gerry NeelyB.A., LL.B. Over a period of four years a ground floor condominium owner experienced water seeping through the exterior wall of her condominium. The frequency and extent of the seepage was sufficient to result in the growth of fungi and bacteria in the soaked carpet, which led to an asthma-like respiratory condition. This

Satisfactory Financing #248

Legally Speaking

By Gerry NeelyB.A., LL.B. A seller tried to save a deal based upon a Contract of Purchase and Sale that was subject to the purchaser obtaining satisfactory financing, by offering to take back a mortgage when the purchaser was unable to obtain financing satisfactory to him. The purchaser refused this offer and successfully sued for

Owner Consent and Notice Requirements #223

Legally Speaking

By Gerry NeelyB.A., LL.B. Failure to comply with the Condominium Act may result in an unsuccessful action brought by a strata corporation or the failure of arbitration. In one case, the units in a strata titled industrial park were subject to a building scheme, which allowed units to be used for “manufacturing, processing, storage…of goods and materials.”

Removing Fixtures; Whim or Fancy #205

Legally Speaking

By Gerry NeelyB.A., LL.B. If section 441 of the Criminal Code of Canada were better known to tenants, less of them might trash rented premises. This section makes it an offense, punishable upon conviction for up to five years imprisonment, if an occupant of a dwelling house or other building deliberately and to the prejudice

Clause One – Contract of Purchase and Sale; Condominium Bylaw #188

Legally Speaking

By Gerry Neely B.A. LL.B Column #160 discussed a Vancouver case where a purchaser was successful in avoiding the completion of a purchase because the vendor was unable to remove a private easement charging his property for the benefit of adjoining property easement. He was successful because clause one of the standard form Contract of

Licensees' Duty to Know Basic Municipal Bylaws #187

Legally Speaking

By Gerry Neely B.A. LL.B The decision of the city of Cranbrook to extend its boundaries led to a lawsuit against the owner of a small vacant lot and the listing and selling agents involved in its sale to a purchaser who found that the bylaws of the city prevented him from building a home

Parking Not Limited Common Property #180

Legally Speaking

By Gerry NeelyB.A., LL.B. A sales brochure for a condominium project which consisted of 55 strata lots and 69 parking stalls, stated that each unit was entitled to one parking stall and that an additional stall, if available, would be rented by the strata council to an owner. The purchasers of one unit made it

Reserving the Right to Sue to Resolve Dispute Concerning Adjustments #176

Legally Speaking

By Gerry NeelyB.A., LL.B. One problem conveyancers don’t want at closing time is a dispute about the adjustments to be made between the parties. Because the amounts involved are generally small in relation to the purchase price, the main reason these disputes are not compromised is because one party doesn’t want to complete. If litigation

Amended Disclosure Statement – Rescission Rights #171

Legally Speaking

By Gerry NeelyB.A., LL.B. A judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia has interpreted the rescission rights contained in Part II of the Real Estate Act which are available to the purchaser of a strata title property, in a way which may bring some limited joy to developers. The case involved an accepted offer made March

The Condominium Act – Section 49 #159

Legally Speaking

By Gerry Neely B.A. LL.B This section states that no expenditures in excess of $500 shall be made by a strata council unless: (a) an emergency exists, or (b) the expenditure was set out in the annual budget of the corporation which was approved by the owners at a general meeting, or (c) the owners

Area, Mistake Discovered After Closing #157

Legally Speaking

By Gerry Neely B.A. LL.B A vendor innocently misrepresents the area of his lot as 10 acres when it is only six acres. If the purchaser relied upon this misrepresentation and discovered the mistake BEFORE completing his purchase, the probability of the purchaser being able to repudiate the contract is high. That probability may be

Reference: Condominiums – Noise and Vibration. A Nuisance #142

Legally Speaking

By Gerry NeelyB.A. LL.B. It’s probably just a coincidence that the manufacturers of stereo equipment are packing more noise into a smaller box at a time when more condominiums are being built, and more and more people are living separated only by a common wall. Condominium living has been described by one judge as “a

Property Manager’s Liability for an Assault Upon a Tenant #79

Legally Speaking

By Gerry NeelyB.A. LL.B. A case involving an assault upon a tenant will be of interest not only to property managers and owners of rental properties, but perhaps also to Strata Corporations. The facts involve the rape of a tenant by an employee of the Company managing the property for the owners. The police concluded

Prospectus, Disclosure Statement and Other Changes #83

Legally Speaking

By Gerry NeelyB.A. LL.B. More than you ever wanted to know about this subject, but were afraid to ask. The changes to Part 2 of the Real Estate Act that have been made over the past three years, ending with the most recent policy statements Numbered 7 and 9 issued by the Superintendent in December, 1985, justify