COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – Update #2

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We recognize that some of you are wrestling with important and urgent decisions around general meetings, pending CRT actions, finances and other items.  While we are preparing another memo to you on a variety of matters, we are trying not to inundate you with information all at once.  Below are a few links, and attached are a few documents, which directly address some of the questions we’ve been fielding. 

  • Legal Update & Implications. Our friends at Clark Wilson LLP have prepared a primer for Strata Councils considering subjects such as a Strata Corporation’s responsibility as it relates to reducing the risk of transmission within communities where residents are in self-isolation or self-quarantine, employer obligations (many Strata Corporations act as employers for concierges and Building Managers), how to address challenges around General Meetings, Ongoing CRT disputes and whether or not to disclose when a Resident identifies themselves as being subject to quarantine or self-isolation.  You can find that article at https://www.cwilson.com/the-covid-19-pandemic-advice-for-strata-corporations/;
  • General Meetings. The Condominium Home Owners Association (CHOA) continues to release important bulletins, along with several resources for Strata Councils wrestling with decisions around General Meetings, proxies and general risk management during these challenging times.  We also recommend signing up for CHOA’s e-mail blast, which is providing new updates regularly on the impact of COVID-19 on Strata Corporations at https://www.choa.bc.ca/eupdate/;
  • Consider the Implications on your Finances. Some Strata Corporations are already deferring non-urgent work, such as window cleaning, in light of the crises. Owners are asking whether or not Strata Fees will be waived (ultimately this is not our decision and Councils should prepare themselves for the possible flood of requests from Owners who have lost jobs), and it is likely that some will not be able to pay their fees. It is unclear whether or not liens will be able to be placed on delinquent accounts – a procedure that is laborious, time consuming and ultimately relies on multiple offices and parties (such as Land Title Office and the notaries who they employ) to be operational. Strata Corporations do not typically have access to credit in the way a financial institution does. If Owners do not pay fees, you will be short on cash and it’s prudent to start thinking about some of the implications of that. The only viable option for Strata Corporations if Operating Fund cash runs low is to borrow from the Contingency Reserve Fund, which must be paid back and is short term in nature;
  • Leverage Technology To Solve Problems. Some properties are creating Whatsapp, Facebook and other online groups to brainstorm solutions to community based issues- who will help the self-isolating residents with dog walking, meal delivery, dry cleaning and laundry services and more?  These are problems that can be solved by working together as neighbours- there are many free tools online that can help support your communities in this time of crises beyond the items we are capable of.

Thank you everything you have all been doing to assist during this very trying time.  We will all get through this by working together.  We will circulate another memo in short order with further updates on Stratawest’ response to COVID-19.