Archive for the ‘Strata Information’ Category

Rules are your ally against council bullies

Thursday, September 20th, 2018

Owners can hold harmonious meetings by following proper bylaws and Strata Property Act

Tony Gioventu
The Province

Dear Tony:

Our recent AGM lasted only 20 minutes before the owners engaged in a massive confrontation with the president of our council. He started the meeting by stating the room was only booked for one hour at the community centre and as a result he limited debate on any agenda items to five minutes. He then proceeded to decide that proxies could not be used for the election of council and would not accept any amendments to the annual budget.  The owners accused him of bullying and demanded he remove himself from the meeting at which time he declared the meeting over and left with no business conducted. He is refusing to respond to any owners or current council members.

This is the second condo I have lived in where a council president has acted like a bully. What is a reasonable method of dealing with these people?  CW Walters, Esquimalt 

Dear CW:

There is nothing in the act or bylaws that gives a chairperson absolute authority. Anything the chairperson declares is subject to the owners challenging the decision. This is done by challenging the chair. Section 50 of the Strata Property Act deems that at annual or special general meetings, matters are decided by a majority vote of the eligible voters present in person or by proxy unless a higher voting threshold is required.

For example, a chairperson has decided to limit debate on an agenda item and the owners wish to continue discussing the item and asking more questions. Any eligible voter may challenge the decision of a chairperson by simply rising and saying, I challenge the chair and move that debate be continued. The chairperson calls for a seconder to the motion, and if there a seconder the chair calls for the vote and the majority decision prevails. If they vote yes to continue discussion the discussion continues, if they vote no the discussion ends and the vote on the resolution is called.  There is no debate on a motion to challenge the chair. The chairperson is not in the position to debate, they facilitate the procedures and the motions of the meeting. 

A limit of time to debate resolutions is a good idea if it is managed well. If the debate requires continued discussion, the chair decides whether it is reasonable to continue; however, any eligible voter may also make a motion to call the vote if the debate on the issue has been exhausted. Procedures that promote good decision making, comply with the Act and the bylaws of the strata corporation, and respect the voting rights of the owners are essential.  Only an owner issuing a proxy has the authority to limit the use of the proxy.  Instructions on a proxy direct the proxy holder to vote in a prescribed manner. That is entirely between the strata lot owner and the proxy holder. There is no way to monitor how a proxy holder has voted if a secret ballot has been called as a ballot must be issued for each voting card issued, and that includes proxies.  If an owner has restricted their proxy it will specifically be itemized on the proxy. For example, to prevent one person from gathering a controlling group of proxies and influencing the outcome of council elections, you will occasionally see owners who restrict proxies so they cannot be used for the election of council. 

Because you did not elect a new council at your meeting, your council members are required to convene a council meeting and issue a notice of  a special general meeting to be held within 30 days so the owners can vote on your annual budget and elect a new council. Bullies are only enabled if we give them our power. Aggressive behaviour, abusive language, manipulative tactics, withholding of information and character attacks on challengers are all signs of bullying. The best solution, don’t engage and elect alternate candidates to your strata council. If meetings are respectful, address resolutions and motions in a business-like manner and enable the participation of all owners, they will run smoothly and contribute significantly to the harmony of your community. 

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.

Incorrect owners’ lists could be a worry

Thursday, September 13th, 2018

Accuracy essential if strata corporation intends to conduct business in a fair manner

Tony Gioventu
The Province

Dear Tony:

Our strata corporation has 158 residential units. At our recent annual general meeting, we had complaints from 10 owners that they had not received the notice package. Luckily, a council member posted a reminder in the elevators a week before, so they showed up at the meeting. 

After the meeting, we had emails from seven other owners claiming they did not receive the notice package and as landlords, should have been mailed a package to the alternate address they provided for notices and correspondence.

When council double-checked the notice information, we discovered the addresses were dated by many years. As a result of changes from several management companies, the following companies inherited less-reliable lists.

We only had 42 votes represented at the meeting, so did not meet the quorum minimum, but our bylaws declare a meeting is a call to order within a half hour by those who are present in person or by proxy.

The problem is, we voted on two contentious bylaws and a special levy and now several owners are challenging the validity of the meeting.

How do determine if our owners’ list is accurate?

V.A. Lee, Richmond           

Dear Ms. Lee:

The accuracy of owners’ lists, notice/mailing lists and the schedules of unit entitlement and voting entitlement are essential if the strata corporation intends on conducting business in a fair manner to comply with the legislation and avoid complaints or actions in the Civil Resolution Tribunal or the courts.

While there may be ownership changes resulting in unintended occasional inaccuracies, 17 incorrect addresses indicates a serious problem with your records.

Provided a strata corporation has not removed or altered Standard Bylaw 4, “Inform the Strata Corporation”, of ownership or tenancy changes, an owner must give notice to the strata corporation within two weeks of becoming an owner and informing the strata corporation of their name, strata lot number and if there is any mailing address outside the strata corporation.

The same conditions apply in the circumstance of a tenancy, requiring the strata lot owner to provide a signed Form K Notice of Tenant’s responsibilities within two weeks of renting all or part of a residential strata lot.

If the owner/landlord intends on receiving notice at a separate address or supplying an email address for the purpose of receiving notices, they must provide that information to the strata corporation as well. Failure to issue proper notice could result in your motions being overturned or an order for another meeting. A potentially costly mistake for your strata. 

Start with a complete review of your owners’ list and inform your owners of the necessity to update the owners’ list for accuracy. Review copies of any Form Ks that have been provided to the strata corporation for tenancies, and copies of any Form C Mortgagee’s Requests for Notification. 

Incorrect owner lists may also result in ineligible persons being elected to council, votes being cast by ineligible voters at general meetings or a failure of the strata corporation to provide proper notice to an owner prior to enforcing bylaws, filing liens for collections or issuing notice of court or tribunal disputes or notice of any general meetings that may have a serious impact on the outcome of your decisions.

I know from recent experience that prior to issuing a notice for a special general meeting for a strata corporation to proceed with an 80-per-cent vote to wind up the strata corporation, it is mandatory that the owners’ list is accurate.

An owner who is not represented in person or by proxy for 80-per-cent and 100-per-cent votes is automatically a no vote. Most important, how do you verify the owner or eligible voter if the owners’ list is not accurate?

This may be a prudent time to conduct title searches on all strata lots to ensure accurate information is maintained by the strata corporation. In light of the many property management changes in your strata corporation, obtain official documents representing owners’ lists and notification requirements, the registered strata plan, the schedules of voting entitlement and unit entitlement. 

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.

Changes to common property require scrutiny of strata council

Thursday, September 6th, 2018

Condo Smarts: Changes to common property require scrutiny of strata council

Tony Gioventu
The Province

Dear Tony: 

We would like to share a recent decision made by our council that seemed appropriate at the time. 

Given the bylaws, the type of request to alter common property and the advice of our manager to require the owner to sign an alteration indemnity, we assumed it couldn’t be more iron clad. We were very wrong.

An owner requested permission to install a skylight in their penthouse unit. They agreed to the conditions we set out and to assume any costs relating to the alteration. Our basic conditions were a requirement to use a credible contractor and contact our roofing company to ensure there were no warranty issues. 

That was back in April. We have since had rain on a few occasions and discovered the installation was not done correctly. The contractor was an unlicensed renovator and we are plagued with leaks and damage to the building.

In future, our council has decided no more alterations to the exterior of the building. Even if we are successful in recovering the costs, the stress and disruption this has caused to all of the owners and council is not worth it.

We definitely support the position that common property is owned by everyone, everyone shares in the responsibility and no one should be entitled to alter the area for their own benefit at the risk of the owners.

Frederick W., Kelowna

Dear Frederick:

Owners should not be permitted to alter common property without the close scrutiny and supervision of the strata council.

If an owner wishes to make an alteration to the common property or a common asset, the first discussion/request to council needs to include, not only a detail of the scope of the alteration, but a clear understanding of who is going to perform the alteration. 

The natural tendency of owners is to take short cuts and reduce costs wherever possible. I am yet to find an owner who chooses the best contractor over the cheapest.

Over the years, I have spoken to many councils facing obstinate owners who believe they have the right to convert a window to a door, install a skylight, enclose a balcony or remove structural walls within their units. When owners do their own alterations, it ultimately results in a failure to meet building codes, numerous WorkSafe violations, reduced or comprised standards of construction, hidden errors or modifications, and a lack of accurate reporting to the strata corporation of what was done. 

Owners may still request alterations to common property; however, the best solution and protection for the strata corporation and your owners is to insist the consultant and contractor must be selected or previously approved by the strata corporation before any construction begins. Because there are building code and safety implications to many alterations, a qualified consultant may be necessary.

There are several strata corporations that have adopted stringent alteration bylaws that permit alterations to common property. However, they require the strata corporation to manage the scope of work, negotiate the construction documents and legal agreements, obtain permits, select contractors, determine if the alteration is significant and requires a three-quarters vote of the owners at a general meeting, and require the owner provide full payment in advance of construction. This is the only really fail-safe method of ensuring the work is done to a reasonable standard and everyone is protected. 

Real estate flippers are the most common offenders of unauthorized work and our most common complaint. Their focus is profit and reselling the condo as soon as possible often with a total disregard for the strata corporation bylaws or their fellow owners.

Under the Standard Bylaws and most bylaws adopted by strata corporations, a strata council does not have to grant permission to alter common property. Before you approve an alteration to common property, do you know who is going to pay the bills if something goes wrong?   

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.

Strata sections comparable to provincial municipalities

Thursday, August 30th, 2018

A strata corporation is created when the strata plan is registered in the Land Title Registry

Tony Gioventu
The Province

Dear Tony: Could you please explain the difference between sections, types and air-space parcels to our strata corporation of 171 units?

Our property manager is insistent that if the residential and commercial agree, we don’t need to have a joint section council or meetings. We understood there was no choice.

We have commercial offices, residential units and a restaurant. Since we started operating a few years ago, this has been a constant source of confusion over how bills are allocated, how decisions are made and who has voting rights at different meetings.

Karen D., Vancouver

Dear Karen: There is no such entity as a joint section. A strata corporation is created when the strata plan is registered in the Land Title Registry. It shows the boundaries of strata lots, common property, limited common property, residential and non-residential strata lots. The strata corporation must operate in full compliance with the Strata Property Act, regulations and any bylaws as amended by the owner developer or the strata corporation.

In some circumstances, there may be minimal operating obligations for the strata corporation, but any common expenses such as insurance or any operating or utility costs not exclusive to a section are approved in the annual budget of the strata corporation, and the strata corporation must elect a strata council at its annual general meeting.

Think of your strata corporation as the province of B.C. Sections are created through the bylaws and are like municipalities within the province. Those common exclusive expenses, bylaws and matters that affect only the strata lots identified in the section bylaws are approved by the section — in your case, the residential strata lots — and administered by the executive council elected at the AGM of the residential section.

The same applies to the commercial section(s). In basic terms, a section can do anything a strata corporation can, but within the entity of the corporation. However, they are all separate legal entities.

What this really means is you have three separate management contracts, three budgets, three councils, possibly three sets of bylaws or other matters that would be exclusive to one of your sections. 

One of the common misconceptions applied to sections is that costs may be allocated between sections based on the formulas filed in the bylaws. If the expense is not a sole expense of a section, it is an expense of the strata corporation and shared by everyone. The amount or ratio of cost is irrelevant and bylaws cannot reallocate common expenses. 

Types can be administered within the strata corporation or a section and they apply only to operating costs. For example, if only 25 units had access to natural gas for heating and fireplaces, the strata corporation may adopt a bylaw that creates the classification of types and only those 25 strata lots would pay for the gas based on their relative unit entitlement. Types are a simple method of allocating an operating cost only to those entitled users without the need for a higher level of administration. 

I have reviewed your registered strata plan and documents and discovered an error in how your strata corporation and sections are being administered. The restaurant is not part of your strata corporation. If you look closely at your registered strata plan, you will see it is a separate property, partly under your building, where an air-space parcel agreement was created. An air-space parcel agreement is an easement/contract filed on the Strata Corporation General/Common Index that defines how multiple property owners share use and liability of properties within the same air space.

Your ASP sets out use of parking, shared cost formulas for joint areas and terms for shared liability. In your ASP, the restaurant owner has no voting privileges or rights to attend your general meetings of the corporation or sections, even though some of your current general meetings indicate they were at the meetings, made motions and voted on matters.

It would be valuable for your strata corporation to speak with a lawyer to explain the formulas and obligations of the ASP to ensure the fees and allocations of costs and use are being properly administered.  Go to www.choa.bc.ca and type in the search “Understanding Air Space Parcel Agreements” for an extensive guide on the subject.

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.

Meeting chair must take steps to ensure validity of proxies

Thursday, August 23rd, 2018

Condo Smarts: Take steps to ensure accuracy of proxies

Tony Gioventu
The Province

Dear Tony:

I recently attended the annual general meeting of our strata corporation and was given two proxies from my neighbours.

When I registered to vote for myself and the two owners, I was told by the property manager that my proxies were not valid because they were not the proxies issued by the strata corporation with the notice. I pointed out the legislation makes no such requirement, but he refused to issue voting cards for the two owners.

When the meeting was called to order, I raised this matter with the chair as a point of order and the chairperson said the decision had already been made by the property manager before the meeting started and it was out of his hands.

We had one controversial resolution for a communications lease that was passed by one vote, and had my neighbours’ proxies been allowed, the resolution would have failed.

Was I correct in my understanding of the act that we don’t need to use the proxy the strata corporation issues? Most important, who has the authority to determine whether a proxy is valid or not? We were feeling bullied by the property manager.  

Michael J., Richmond

Dear Michael:

Strata corporations may issue an optional proxy form when they send out their notice of meeting; however, a proxy in any written form is still valid if it is in writing and signed by the person appointing the proxy. While it is not necessary, the proxy should also identify the strata lot number or unit number and the strata plan number so it is easy to identify the owner assigning the proxy from the owners’ list.

Many owners and investors who do not reside in the city often issue general proxies to their representatives or agents who act on their behalf. These proxies could endure for a number of years and are not required to be in the form that was issued by the strata corporation or a separate proxy for each meeting. 

The proxy is the property of proxy holder and the owner, and is not collected at the time of registration. It may contain special instructions to the proxy holder on how the owner wishes them to vote, or it may contain restrictions that the registrar of the meeting will have to record on the registration records to enable the chairperson to identify if any eligible voter by proxy has been imposed any restrictions.

At the point of registration, owners register and are issued a voting card. Any person eligible to hold a proxy registers for those units they have been given a proxy and are issued a separate voting card for each proxy. To ensure accuracy, it is ideal if the voting cards identify the strata lot number for each registered owner and proxy. This is essential in strata corporations with commercial units as each commercial unit has a different vote allocation based on the size of the strata lot and commercial units are generally not counted as one vote per strata lot. 

If there is a discrepancy with a proxy at the time of registration, that proxy is held to the beginning of the meeting when either the president or vice-president chairs the meeting, or a chair is elected. There are only two parties with authority to make decisions at general meetings. The voting quorum who vote on resolutions and the chairperson of the meeting who convenes the meeting establishes the validity of proxies and procedures and is required to determine whether an amendment to a three-quarters, 80-per-cent or unanimous vote is permitted.

Even then, the eligible voters present in person or by proxy have the ability to challenge a decision of the chair. When people make claims of authority at general meetings, challenge them to provide evidence.

If the owners who issued proxies wish to challenge the decision of the property manager and chairperson as their eligible votes were denied, they could make an application to the Civil Resolution Tribunal. Go to http://www.civilresolutionbc.ca

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.

Ask plenty of questions about new fee schedules

Thursday, August 16th, 2018

Ask questions about new fee schedules

Tony Gioventu
The Province

Dear Tony:

Our property manager has recently sent to all its clients an addendum that they wanted signed. I believe this is of concern to all strata councils as it can cause an increase in fees and in the event of major construction, imposes much higher costs on the owners. 

There are so many items of concern. The most distressing is their request that they receive a two-per-cent fee on all projects over $10,000. This is in addition to any fees by the engineer or project manager. 

So, an upcoming $2-million project for our strata would cost the strata another $40,000, just to the management company for them to oversee the project. In addition, they want a waiver of liability if anything goes wrong under their oversight of the project.

We are addressing this and have refused to sign the document as is, but many councils may read this and not completely understand the implications to their strata. Are the additional fees normal? I am hoping you publish this to alert other strata councils before they sign new fee schedules.

JD, president of council, North Vancouver

Dear JD:

The purpose of a strata-management agency agreement is no different than any other contract relationship. It defines what we are getting from the strata-management company, any terms and conditions that may apply to our agreement, and in exchange, what we going to pay. 

The negotiation is up to each strata corporation to determine the scope of services, terms and fees; however, these agreements will often carry over for long periods and frequently require renegotiation for services, fees or because of changes in legislation.

Volunteer council members are often afraid to admit they don’t understand the existing contract, let alone the changes proposed, so when a strata corporation is approached with a new schedule of fees or changes to the contract, this is your opportunity to renegotiate all the existing contract and consult with a lawyer so your best interests are represented. This is not a one-sided relationship and provides a good opportunity for your strata corporation to renegotiate the working relationship with your strata-management company. 

In most situations, the renegotiation begins with a proposed fee increase that was not previously agreed to or a change in services or other fees. Like the proposed two-per-cent fee on contracts over $10,000, or hourly costs, weigh the value of the fee and how it is applied or earned as it could potentially change for all contracts.

You may have a contract that is labour intensive, disruptive to the owners and requires a significant amount of attention from the manager where additional fees are necessary, or you may simply be replacing a building component that has a similar cost with no impact and no services are required. If a company is providing additional services beyond the scope of their contract, they should be compensated accordingly.

Rather than being confused by a new proposed schedule of fees, apply a test to services to help determine the best method of negotiation. For example: Is it better to provide a flat rate for all contracts or should each contract be negotiated separately based on the services required? Is the company insured for the type of services they are providing? Is there a written scope of services provided for each project? Is the fee within the scope of authority of the council to approve in a service agreement or does it require a three-quarters  vote of the owners at a general meeting?

How could you impose a fee on contracts that require a special levy when the owners have not yet approved the special levy? Are there other fees being charged that off-set the additional proposed fees? Are we paying for additional meetings or hourly services as well as a surcharge on projects?   How does the management company report the scope of services provided to be able to earn the fee? Is there an itemized invoice provided, along with disbursements for the approval of strata council? Is the contractor responsible and liable for the services they are providing? 

In any negotiation, go back to the basics. What are you doing for us, what are we paying you for, and how much will it cost us?  

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.

Majority rules when making council decisions

Thursday, August 9th, 2018

Property manager is overstepping boundaries ? it’s time for strata council to take control and require all decisions at council meetings are conducted by majority vote

Tony Gioventu
The Province

Dear Tony:

We have a situation in our strata that needs clarification. Our property manager always chairs our meetings and refuses to allow owners to participate in the process. The minutes always indicate that the president of our council chairs the meetings, and the property manager is the facilitator, but the president never speaks and the manager makes all the decisions.

He even cast an additional ballot at our recent AGM to pass the budget because there was a tie.  Several members protested that this was a conflict of interest because the budget included a substantial increase for the management company.

The manager also decides who our executive will be so we end up with the same person as president every year.

The president does little about the behaviour of the manager and the remaining six council members are ready to resign. 

Who is in charge of our strata corporation? The manager or the strata council?

Mae K.

Dear Mae:

The decision of who is effectively in charge of your strata corporation is a majority vote decision of a strata council. Your authority is subject to the decisions and directions of owners at any general meeting.

A common example is the approval of the annual budget. The owners approve the annual budget at your annual general meeting, the council then have the authority and obligation to approve expenses and implement the contracts and services necessary for the operation of your strata corporation. The increase for strata management fees is not an automatic approval of the contract increases. This simply authorizes the strata council to vote on and negotiate any amendments or changes to the strata management contract. The increase is not automatically applied. An additional casting ballot is applied in the event there is a tie at a general meeting or council meeting for a majority vote. The additional casting ballot can only be applied by the president of council, or failing the president, the vice president of council. This is different than many society rules of order because every council member including the president will cast a ballot at the meeting, if a tie results, the president is granted an additional ballot to break the tie. 

Titles are important. 

The Strata Property Act grants the additional ballot only to the president or vice president. An elected chairperson for a meeting does not have the authority to cast a tie breaking ballot. There is no such role as a facilitator in either the Act or your bylaws. The person who is convening the meeting, accepting motions, calling for votes, certifying the proxies, deciding on procedures is the chairperson.

If the manager did cast the original ballot to break the budget tie, they were in violation of the Act, your bylaws, and yes in conflict of interest for applying an unlawful decision where they were to benefit. 

Many experienced strata managers chair general meetings for their strata corporations and do a fine job; however, before they take on the role, the president and vice president will need to either decline or be absent, and the owners by majority vote must elect the manager to chair the meeting. At your council meetings the same conditions apply, and all decisions at council meetings are made by a majority vote of those council members present at the meeting.

Who is in charge of your strata corporation? You as council members, and it is time for you take control and require all decisions at council meetings are conducted by majority vote, the chair of general meetings is elected by the owners. The election of your president, vice president, secretary and treasurer are all elected by majority vote, not appointed by the manager. 

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.

The do’s and don’ts for planning strata hearings and meetings

Thursday, August 2nd, 2018

Tenant may be abusing the hearing process

Tony Gioventu
The Province

Dear Tony:

Our strata council has an owner, that was the past president, who is constantly requesting hearings and demanding to come to council meetings. It is disrupting the business of our council meetings to the point where other than hearings we get nothing done.

The owner is always dragging in other people to the meetings and raising a long list of frivolous issues that we have no chance to prepare for, or items that date back several years before any of us were on the council. It has been three months since our council has managed to review financials, address letters from other owners and review service agreements and maintenance contracts. 

We are meeting two times a month and everyone is concerned we are going to be dragged into the Tribunal if we don’t comply with this owner’s request. Most council members are ready to quit.

Is there any way to manage this better? 

Caroline V. Richmond

Dear Caroline:

A hearing is an opportunity for an owner or tenant to be heard on a specified matter and for the council to gather information in preparation of a response.  Hearings are not an opportunity for owners and tenants to harass council members and attempt to prevent the business of the strata corporation from being conducted.  The most effective method of managing your council meetings and the requests of the owners is to ensure you are following the Strata Property Act and the bylaws in a disciplined manner that apply to your strata corporation. If you reasonably apply the Act and the Standard Bylaws, there are some opportunities that may be helpful.

If an owner or tenant requests a hearing, they must put their request in writing and state the reason of the request. The strata must hold the hearing within four weeks after the request, and if a decision on a matter has been requested, the council must give the applicant the decision within one week after the hearing.  Your council has a duty to comply with these requests; however, there is no obligation to permit additional items to be raised at the hearing that were not part of the request, and the council is not permitted to allow observers if the matter regards a bylaw contravention, rental hardship request, or any other matters the council deems may unreasonably interfere with an individual’s privacy. 

Here are a few do’s and don’ts that might help in planning hearings and meetings.

When you are conducting a hearing, provide the person with a reasonable amount of time to address the matters in the written request. Don’t tell the person they have only 10 minutes for their hearing and they’re out. Manage your meeting efficiently so you have time as a strata council to be able address other business.

Don’t put the hearing at the end of meetings and then inform the owner there is no time left. Conduct the hearing separately and take minutes of the general information and decisions of the council.

Don’t forget a hearing is a council meeting where minute of the decision of council are reported. Gather as much information about the request as possible, including a request for personal information that may help in responding to the person.

Don’t release or publish personal information of an owner or tenant. Only permit matters raised in the request, and individuals whose identified in the request. 

Don’t permit matters not raised in the request and don’t let your council members engage in debates with the person. Remember, this is their request to be heard and your opportunity to gather information. 

When your hearing is complete, council meets without any observers present and decides on how they are going to respond to the request, which may include a request for more information on a matter. 

At some point if the person is intent on abusing the hearing process and harassing your strata council, it is time to seek legal advice on how to respond, when to respond, and when to let the matter go into the Civil Resolution Tribunal or the courts.

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.

When parking goes sideways

Thursday, July 26th, 2018

Condo Smarts: When parking goes sideways

Tony Gioventu
The Province

Dear Tony:

Over the past two years, our strata council has created a bit of a parking fiasco that has evolved into a full-blown war with owners.

In 2015, we had an owner submit a special request for the special needs parking space close to the elevators because she had surgery that resulted in limited mobility.

To facilitate this owner, we had to move two cars. One exchanged with her space and the other had to be moved to a lower level, which resulted in a domino effect of parking spaces being moved around. At the time no one complained.

In June, a new owner moved in and demanded she be given the two parking spaces for her unit that were shown on the strata plan. Unfortunately, the only way we could accommodate her was by moving other owners, while still accommodating the special needs space.

We indicated to the new owner this would cause a serious parking problem and request that she accept two spaces on a lower level. She has flatly refused. The one parking space she was assigned on the Form B is not the same as the spaces shown on the strata plan, and at the time of purchase, no one indicated the parking spaces were allocated any differently.

If we allocate her use of these two parking spaces, we end up with many unhappy owners because we don’t have spare parking allocations. 

Can we amend our parking allocations by having the owners vote at a general meeting and set a parking plan in our bylaws? 

Gordon D., Vancouver

Dear Gordon:

When a new development is created, the allocation of parking is generally managed by the owner developer as strata lots are sold.

In many strata corporations such as yours, the owner developer files the allocation of parking in the Land Title Registry and designates the parking spaces as limited common property for the exclusive use of the strata lots registered on the plan. When an allocation of limited common property is filed by the owner developer in the prescribed time periods set out by the Strata Property Act, the designation of LCP can only be removed or amended if the strata corporation passes a unanimous vote at a general meeting of the strata corporation. 

A unanimous vote requires every strata lot — all the votes by all the eligible voters — to vote in favour of the resolution. All 116 of your 116 units/votes must vote in favour of the changes to the LCP created by the owner developer, and the amendments must be filed in the Land Title Registry. 

The new owner is correct: her parking is allocated to her use and the strata corporation does not have the authority to allocate the spaces to another person. 

While owners often agree to changing parking spaces with other owners because of access, the size of the vehicles or number of vehicles, owners must understand the consensual exchange of spaces does not change the LCP allocations, and may result in their losing access to unassigned parking in the future.

While a buyer relies upon the information disclosed in a Form B Information Certificate before they purchase, the registered strata plan and any amendments filed in the Land Title Registry will be the accurate record. Complete the forms exactly as they are described and identify how the parking is allocated on the strata plan or any amendments filed by the developer or the strata corporation. 

Whether it is your strata-management company or a council member completing the forms, accuracy is critical. Before you complete the Form B, verify the parking allocations and designations from the registered Land Title Documents.

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.

Windup formula varies greatly

Thursday, July 19th, 2018

Significant variations to windup formula

Tony Gioventu
The Province

Dear Tony:

Our strata corporation has been involved in the winding-up process for three months and we are at a stalemate with our owners.

Our condo was built in 1988 and as a result, we have been told the formula used to buy out each owner is not the same as how we have been paying strata fees and special levies. What this means for several of our owners is that even though they have been paying higher rates for our leaky condo repairs and maintenance over the past 30 years, they are now going to receive less money than units smaller than theirs who paid substantially lower fees.

We are at a lost to explain to our owners how this formula applies and why.  

Carol R., Burnaby

Dar Carol:

The schedule of Interest upon destruction was a formula introduced into the legislation under the Condominium Act that sets a value to each property within a strata corporation. The formula would be used in the event the property was destroyed or sold.

For example, if your building was to experience a devastating fire and the structure was demolished, the insurance would pay the settlement amount under your policy to each of the owners based on the schedule of interest upon destruction.

You are correct: the formula is different from the schedule of unit entitlement, but look at it from the perspective of real estate value. A top-floor one-bedroom unit with a view may sell for more than the same unit on the ground floor facing the street. This was the approach that was taken at the time the legislation was adopted; however, after reviewing hundreds of strata plans in this time period, there appears to be a significant variation to the application of the formula.

We often see within the same strata corporation where three identical units with the same unit entitlement that determines strata fees and no differences at all, have significantly different schedules of interest on destruction.

Unfortunately, if your building was developed and filed during the time period of the Condominium Act, this schedule legally applies to your windup.

If you can convince all the owners to amend the schedule to another formula, such as unit entitlement or current assessment values, that is an option, but it requires a unanimous vote, which means a vote in favour by all the votes of all the eligible voters. If you have 66 units and 66 votes, you require all 66 votes in favour to amend the schedule that is being used.

A few strata corporations have tried to amend their schedules and failed once the benefitting owners realize they are giving up proceeds from their unit. 

If your strata corporation was developed before the Condominium Act, you may be sharing your proceeds based on unit entitlement, and if the strata corporation has been developed since the Strata Property Act came into effect in 2000, the interest schedule is based on each unit’s comparative recent assessment value.

Before anyone ventures into the time periods and formula for your strata, it is critical that all the relevant land title documents are accessed and interpreted by an experienced legal professional. Several strata corporations have started their windup process with the incorrect information and more time was spent on conflict than the windup process. 

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