A new act has replaced the Condominium Act as the primary legislation covering the development and governance of condominiums in B.C. The Strata Property Act, along with its amendments, regulations and forms, came into force on July 1, 2000. The new Act applies to all condominiums, both new and existing.
The responsibilities of the owner developer in the initial stages of the strata corporation have been expanded and clarified. For example, developers will be required to:
- act in the best interests of the strata corporation
- contribute start-up money to the contingency reserve fund
- provide more comprehensive documents to the strata corporation, including “as-built” plans and warranties
- 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.
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.
The creation and enforcement of bylaws is substantially the same. Some of the key provisions regarding bylaws include the following:
- Owners must ratify new rules at a general meeting
- The Act does not prohibit age restriction bylaws
- New age and pet bylaws will not apply to currently resident persons and pets
- New procedures for bylaw enforcement include giving persons against whom a complaint has been made a hearing before imposing any penalty
- The Act makes tenants responsible for complying with the bylaws, and makes landlords responsible for disclosing the bylaws to tenants.
The bylaws of existing strata corporations will remain in force until January 1, 2002, when they will be replaced by a new set of Standard Bylaws. However, the Standard Bylaws will not affect any bylaws that have been filed at the Land Title Office, except to the extent that the filed bylaws do not comply with the Act..
Condominium rentals are often a cause of dispute. The new Act maintains and clarifies a strata corporation’s ability to pass bylaws limiting or prohibiting the rental of strata lots. However, rental restriction bylaws will not apply to family members, and owners will have one year to comply with any new rental restriction bylaw.
If you would like more information or have any questions about this new legislation, please call us.
More information is also available at http://www.fin.gov.bc.ca/strata.htm