Blog

  • Renovation/Alteration Fees – Recent CRT Decision

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    The practice of charging renovation fees is becoming more prevalent within Strata Corporations, at least according to our observations within our own portfolio and our discussions with other brokerages.  We do not take a position on whether or not these charges are appropriate, each community is different and there are usually many variables at play when a Strata Council decides it is time to consider implementing fees.  These circumstances usually include a noticeable uptick in the number of renovations being performed (i.e. an aging property) along with longer renovations (causing more disruption) becoming more common.  Increases in both the number and duration of renovations inevitably result in more complaints being received by Councils, not to mention the additional wear and tear that they sometimes cause on common property (even with imperfect measures such as damage deposits being collected).

    With these fees becoming more widespread, it was only a matter of time before the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) heard a challenge of such fees.  They did so and made a recent relevant ruling in Korecki vs. The Owners, Strata Plan LMS 4255 in which they rejected an Owner’s challenge that their Strata Corporation’s renovation fee of $1,000 is “unreasonable”.

    Essentially, what the CRT considered were two questions- the first, whether or not the Strata has the authority to implement renovation fees at all (yes is their answer, the bylaw in question requiring user fees for the use of common property to support renovations to a strata lot is perfectly valid) and the second, whether the fees applied against Mr. Korecki were reasonable (also yes, but based on the particulars of this case).

    The CRT did reiterate the importance of ensuring user fees are “reasonable”, as they have done in the past when it comes to move fees and other charges levied by Strata Corporations.  They made the rather nuanced point that “reasonable” doesn’t always have to mean perfectly accurate.  Their judgement included the following statement:

    With that, I find that the strata has not proven that Mr. Korecki’s renovations cost $1,000 or more. However, I find that it is not necessary for the strata to prove that its costs were $1,000 or more to establish that the renovation fee is reasonable. The purpose of the renovation fee is not to recover the exact actual cost of each renovation. It is a fixed user fee to provide reasonable compensation to the strata for the use of common property. A fixed user fee, which again the SPR specifically permits, necessarily involves some rough justice. Some owners may pay too much while others may pay too little.

    If your Strata Corporation is considering implementing renovation fees, we encourage you to consider the reasonableness of such fees and to seek legal advice in drafting of appropriate bylaws for your Strata Corporation to ensure that they are capable of withstanding a legal challenge.

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  • Election Season

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    The 2021 Federal Election season is now in full swing.  With that there are two common questions that often arise from Strata Councils during this period of sometimes fierce debate and partisan showmanship.

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  • COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – Update #22

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    Dear Strata Councils,

    It has been an eventful few days with important developments in the fight against COVID-19.  We hope this message finds you safe and sound in this challenging summer season, which has seen multiple crises facing British Columbians and others around the world.

    We understand that you all will have many questions about the new announcements from the Province, and would like to offer the following regarding the latest announcements:

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  • Wildfire Season

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    On Tuesday July 20th, the Province of British Columbia declared a state of emergency to allocate additional resources in the fight against wildfires.  This is the third such state of emergency in the last 6 years, a truly unprecedented phenomenon.

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  • Surfside Florida & Structural Inspections

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    With heavy hearts, we have followed the news out of Surfside Florida after a condominium building partially collapsed, leading to many deaths.

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  • COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – Update #21

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    Dear Strata Councils,

    We are now into Phase 2 of the Province’s Restart Plan.  We know that you are as excited as we are to see friends, family and to re-engage in activities we have all missed.  We’d like to help support your efforts by providing the latest updates we have on various matters impacting your Strata Corporation:

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  • COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – Update #20

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    Dear Strata Councils,

    It has been a while since our last update as there have been few policy developments with respect to COVID-19 for a number of months. However, with reopening on the horizon (the Province is set to announce a Reopening Plan today, May 25) we wanted to update you on some of the changes to expect in the weeks and months to come, along with other important recommendations relating to COVID-19.

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  • Restricted Proxies & Electronic Meetings – The Story of the Invalidated AGM Continues…

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    Stratawest Management is a proud member of the Strata Property Agents of BC (SPABC) and the Professional Association of Managing Agents (PAMA) with principals of the company sitting on both Boards for nearly 10 years, volunteering time and energy to better our industry and improve the quality of strata management in the Province. From time to time, the Board of SPABC requests our colleagues on the legal side of the strata industry to dive deeper into specific topics and give broader context and opinion to topics such as recent Court decisions, issues in the media and matters addressed by the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT). We are pleased to provide access here to an article from Lisa Mackie of Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang LLP on Shen v. The Owners, Strata Plan EPS3177, 2020 BCCRT 1157 in regards to the use of Restricted Proxies at General Meetings.

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  • COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – Update #19

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    Dear Strata Councils,

    As we post our 19th Covid-19 update there are many reasons for wider optimism regarding the pandemic and we are all thrilled for some better news coming in. That said, there are obviously still reasons to be concerned about the next few months and beyond.  Delays with vaccine delivery, variants and more suggest that we will need to continue to remain vigilant and cautious as we move through 2021. Business as usual, it seems, is still not yet close to reality.

    With that in mind, we’d like to update you and provide some suggestions on the following items relating to COVID-19 and it’s impact on our operations and your Strata Corporation:

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  • 10th Annual Stratawest Christmas Toy Drive

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    Done for another year! The results are in and they are… pretty incredible.

    Lots of toys and gift certificates delivered to the North Shore Christmas Bureau last week, a truck load of new bikes picked up by our good buddy James at Obsession Bikes & Bikes for Tykes and, wait for it… $16,250 raised so far on behalf of Harvest Project to give a whole bunch of families a better Christmas and huge hand up this year. Unbelievable!

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