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  • The Third Annual Stratawest Christmas Toy Drive

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    The Third Annual Stratawest Christmas Toy Drive

    With incredible support from our staff and industry colleagues alike, Stratawest is proud to have blown the doors off the North Shore Christmas Bureau for the third year running.  The response to our Toy Drive this year was again awe-inspiring, with amazingly generous donations of toys, musical instruments, gift cards, sporting equipment, iPods and other items for needy families… there was actually more than the picture below shows and it continues to come in!  

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  • Strata Property Act Change re: Special Levies

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    We were advised this week by the Office of Housing & Construction Standards (Ministry of Natural Gas Development and Minister Responsible for Housing) that on December 12, 2013 the Province brought into force legislative amendments to allow strata corporations with majority support to apply to the BC Supreme Court to require strata owners to pay for certain repairs. 

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  • Stratawest Holiday Hours

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    Please make note of the following important dates for the upcoming festive season.

    Friday, December 13, 2013 – Staff Lunch, office closed at 10:00 a.m.

    Tuesday, December 24, 2013 – Office Closed at 12:00 Noon.

    Wednesday, December 25, 2013 – Office Closed

    Thursday, December 26, 2013 – Office Closed

    Friday, December 27, 2013 – Office Closed

    Tuesday, December 31, 2013 – Office Closed at 12:00 Noon.

    Wednesday, January 1, 2014 – Office Closed

    Thursday, January 2, 2014 – Office Re-Opens

     

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  • Exciting Industry News: The RCM Designation Comes to British Columbia

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    Exciting Industry News: The RCM Designation comes to British Columbia

     

    Stratawest would like to acknowledge and congratulate six members of our property management staff for the successful completion of the Registered Condominium Manager (RCM) curriculum and, accordingly, their recently received designation as RCM’s.  Those Property Managers are: Linda MacSeafraidh, Monica Dare, Adam Lord, Muryn Merta, Jason Kurtz and Cory Pettersen. Stratawest is a strong supporter of ongoing education for property managers and we are very proud to have the highest concentration of RCM designates of any firm in B.C.

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  • Halloween Fire Safety Tips

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    The National Fire Protection Association (a US body) has put together a list of tips and considerations for Halloween fire safety.  These are very relevant to strata corporations which are becoming increasingly popular family residences with lots of young children running around in full costume.

    We thought we’d share those tips with you at this link.

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  • Who is Eligible To Stand For Council?

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    Quite often, there is an awkward moment towards the end of Annual General Meetings where neighbours look at each other and wonder who would be crazy enough to volunteer for the Strata Council.  Thankfully, most Strata Corporations have enough interested owners to fill out the Council; however, there are many buildings where this is unfortunately not the case.  Prior to those particular elections and during the call of nominations, crickets chirp and tumbleweeds roll.  Usually, some brave soul will step up to the plate and be the first to raise their hand to volunteer or perhaps will be “volun-told” by their significant other. Then a neighbour will be cajoled because they have a background in accounting, or law, or construction, and will eventually acquiesce. On it goes, and eventually enough hands are raised to elect a council made up of neighbours.

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  • Investing Your Reserves

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    Please note that this post is outdated, but still contains useful information. An important update to this post can be found here as the Regulations referred to below have been amended.

    We have previously written on the amendments to the Strata Property Act requiring all strata corporations to obtain a Depreciation Report by December 2013.

    If you live in a strata corporation which has obtained a Depreciation Report already, you’re no doubt familiar with the various funding scenarios they present.  At least one of those scenarios will involve a very substantial increase in the amount of money your strata corporation puts away into the Contingency Reserve Fund (CRF).  Depending on the size of the strata corporation, there could be millions of dollars put away over the 30 year time horizon to fund capital renewals of expensive common elements such as windows, walls, mechanical equipment and waterproofing.  This money will get put away gradually over time, again depending on the nuances of the scenario itself, and accrue interest at a given rate.  Strata Corporations also have the advantage of being able to invest money tax free, because they are ‘not for profit’.  So, money invested by your Strata Corporation is not taxed when in a Strata account (while it would be if each individual owner invested the money on their own and then pooled it later on via a special levy).

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  • Changes to the Limitation Act – Consequences on Strata Collections Procedures

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    First off, a disclaimer- we are not lawyers, nor do we offer legal advice.  We usually point this out, but it’s especially critical when we write about legal statutes.  An industry colleague of ours, Veronica Franco at Clark Wilson LLP provided our staff with an in-house seminar on the new Limitation Act recently and has prepared an excellent primer on what we discuss below. You can find it here.  Our purpose in discussing this is to elaborate on some of the practical consequences facing your strata corporation and our industry as a result of this new Act.

    On June 1st, 2013, a new Limitation Act came into force in British Columbia.  One of the primary aims of the new Act was to bring it in line with similar statutes across the country.

    Because we’re not lawyers, we’ll steer clear from a broad commentary on the Act and focus on one important subject: the new Act’s consequences for Strata Corporations collecting arrears.

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  • Who Is Entitled To A Special Levy Refund?

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    We are often contacted by former owners of strata lots, who have learned that a Special Levy Refund was issued at the Strata Corporation in which they used to own and where they had paid the initial special levy.  Sometimes there is a great deal of confusion, and unfortunately it is often the case that the owner’s realtor did not explain to them when they sold their suite that, failing a clause they are not entitled to any refunds which are paid out by the Strata Corporation after the transfer of title is complete.  However, the Strata Property Act clearly states that refunds are issued to the individual who is the owner at the time of the refund.  Indeed, Section 108 (which contains Special Levy provisions) was amended on December 10, 2009 to clarify previous ambiguities on the subject.  Section 108, clauses 5 and 6  (which deal with levy surpluses) read as follows:

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  • Owner Access to Records

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    Quite regularly, an owner (or a group of owners) will request access to certain records of their given Strata Corporation.  The owner must be provided access under Section 36 of the Strata Property Act (SPA) and need only pay for the copy costs (with the Strata Corporation being charged the related administration time for staff to observe the records review, if so required). The most typical requests relate to financial records, copies of contracts, repair work and the like.

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