Since our original blog post and the related Vancouver Province article back in March 2015, there has been tremendous discussion around the topic short-term rentals within Strata Corporations, specifically the use of websites such as Air BnB and VRBO by Owners to sublease their units on a nightly or short-term basis. The Condominium Home Owners’ Association of BC (CHOA) Journal published an article by Veronica Franco (partner and Chair of the Strata Property Group at Clark Wilson LLP) which provides more lessons learned, important information, and strategies for addressing the related concerns (spoiler alert: strata councils dealing with short term rental concerns need to contemplate seeking legal advice to assist with review of and revisions to the strata corporation bylaws).
From time to time, it is important to be reminded of resources available to us in preparing for emergencies- natural disasters and the like. There are a number of excellent resources already freely available and we don’t seek to duplicate those (nor do we presume to speak as experts on this topic), but we will highlight some of the critical points to consider. Below you will find links to websites that will help you prepare for a disaster.
We are so thrilled with the tremendous support we received this year from our many fantastic industry colleagues and our staff for our Christmas toy drive. It was by any measure the biggest haul we’ve netted so far, all on behalf of the North Vancouver Christmas Bureau. This was the fifth year of our annual toy drive, and we received hundreds and hundreds of dollars in gift certificates that parents will be able to use to Christmas shop for their kids, bikes, guitars, toys, iPods, board games, dolls and other amazing gifts for needy local families.
We actually had to press our good friends at Ferguson Moving & Storage into service this year to help us get all the goods to the Christmas Bureau, so thanks to them for their wonderful support!
As always, none of this happens without you, and we want to sincerely thank and acknowledge the support of our colleagues in the industry and our staff for making this holiday season a better one for so many kids and their families. It is because of the participation and big hearts of many that we are collectively able to make a difference in so many lives, so thank you so much for taking part.
Season’s Greetings to all of you, and best wishes from all of us here at Stratawest Management. Cheers!
On December 3rd, Minister Suzanne Anton announced that British Columbia’s new Guide Dog and Service Dog Act will come into force on January 18, 2016. As some of you may know, the Guide Dog and Service Dog Act was passed by the Legislature earlier this year.
We have been informed that corresponding changes to the Strata Property Act will also come into force on January 18, 2016. Strata owners, occupants, tenants and visitors will be able to have their certified guide dog or service dog on strata premises, regardless of tenancy agreements or strata bylaws restricting or banning pets. Owners, occupants and tenants will also be able to keep their certified retired guide dog or service dog with them, including after a new dog has been certified to take over its duties. This serves to acknowledge the bond between a handler and their retired guide dog or service dog.
These changes are intended to protect the rights of individuals who rely on guide dogs or service dogs, while providing clarity to strata corporations. In order to be certified, a guide dog or service dog will need to demonstrate that it meets a high training standard for public safety. Once the new program is in place, efforts will be made to provide certified handlers and trainers with standard provincial identification.
Please note the following:
- Not all certified guide dogs and service dogs will necessarily be a specific breed or size – the focus of certification is on the dog’s training to support public safety.
- Protections under the Human Rights Code may still apply to uncertified dog and handler teams – clients may wish to seek legal advice specific to your strata corporation’s situation if there is a concern in this area.
For more information about these changes, please see https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2015JAG0296-002012 or visit www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/guideanimal/index.htm.
There has been a great deal of media attention over the past few years on the use of drones for a variety of purposes. As the cost of small machines that can take flight plummets, they become more and more common for both commercial and personal use.
We have previously written on Access to Records requests that Strata Corporations routinely face. All Strata Corporation records are subject to various pieces of legislation, most notably the Strata Property Act (SPA) itself. However, SPA is subservient to other provincial and federal legislation such as the Personal Information Protection Act and PIPA overrides SPA in a variety of circumstances.
The Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) has recently updated their guidelines for Strata Corporations. In their words:
These guidelines will help strata corporations and strata agents in discharging their duties under the Strata Property Act (“SPA”) in a manner that respects the privacy of owners and tenants under the B.C. Personal Information Protection Act (“PIPA”) and promotes transparency in the operation of strata corporations.
A recent news story generated a fair bit of “buzz” in the Strata community, as a downtown Vancouver Strata Corporation found itself without insurance after a marijuana dispensary set up shop in one of the commercial units in the ground floor of the building. As mixed-use facilities are becoming more and more common, it is more important than ever for Strata Corporations to ensure they have sound bylaws with respect to the use of Commercial Strata Lots in order to restrict activities that the community would find unwelcome. In particular, certain types of commercial uses may have negative consequences on the insurability of your Strata Corporation. We encourage all mixed-use Strata Corporations to consider seeking legal advice on potential amendments to the bylaws and giving serious consideration to the types of activities you would like occuring in your community.