A somewhat typical response from Owners and Tenants to complaint letters we send on our clients’ behalf is that the Strata Council is “harassing” them. Often, we are required to send multiple complaints because of ongoing problems within a suite (noise, pets, smoking, etc.) and rather than addressing the alleged bylaw violation, the subject of the complaint will allege that they are being targeted unfairly.
The Strata Property Act contains an oft-used provision requiring Strata Council’s to hold a “hearing” at the request of an Owner or Tenant. Section 34.1 reads:
Request for council hearing
(1) By application in writing stating the reason for the request, an owner or tenant may request a hearing at a council meeting.
(2) If a hearing is requested under subsection (1), the council must hold a council meeting to hear the applicant within 4 weeks after the request.
(3) If the purpose of the hearing is to seek a decision of the council, the council must give the applicant a written decision within one week after the hearing.
Subject to any clarification in the Bylaws of your Strata Corporation which might provide more details, what you see is what you get. There are no other Regulations relating to Hearings and the above provides very little in the way of guidance to Strata Councils who are asked to conduct a Hearing on what they might look like, whether or not there are any restrictions, what obligations are imposed on them at the Hearing itself, what a written “decision” might entail, etc.
In a ruling that will embolden some Strata Councils to pursue legal remedies against particularly abusive Owners (and occupants), a judge recently ordered an Owner to pay several thousand dollars in unpaid fines and to cease & desist from engaging in abusive, generally awful behaviour.
We were pleased to be selected to be “Mugged” by Rock 101’s team of Willy, Kim and Alece on March 22nd, 2016. It was fun to welcome them into the office (free coffee and donuts!) and hear about their glamorous life in radio.
An audio excerpt from their show can be found here. A really pleasant treat for our staff!
Much has been made of a recent report made to the City of Vancouver regarding vacancy rates, particularly in Strata Corporations where it is estimated that approximately 12% of units sit empty.
The City has suggested it may be time to look at either forcing or strongly encouraging Owners to rent their vacant suites out.
We are now a few years on from the legislation that requires most Strata Corporations in BC to conduct a Depreciation Report. Nearly all of our clients have either conducted one, or are in the process of doing so- and our Property Managers field a wide range of questions from Councils and Owners alike relating to the reports. We thought it might be helpful, especially in light of recent reports that most Strata Corporations continue to be underfunded, to address some of those questions here at our Blog- for the benefit of all interested parties. Our first article, entitled “Depreciation Reports – Our Position” has more than 5,000 hits at current count- indicating significant interest in the subject. We are heartened by the uptake of most of our clients in the Depreciation Report process, for reasons outlined in our original article and expanded upon below.
Please click the following link for an information piece on the coming Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT).
There remains much to be determined related to the CRT including further supporting legislation and the Rules relating to the Civil Resolution Tribunal Act. Once more of this information has been determined and shared publicly, Stratawest will provide a memorandum to clients to share the details.
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!