The subject of Disclosure of Remuneration to Strata Management Companies is discussed in detail in this article from Tony Gioventu and we encourage Council members to familiarize themselves with the requirements of Strata Management companies in this regard. While this article is from back in May 2016 and we did not initially post to our blog, we have decided to do so as there continues to be a fair bit of “buzz” in the industry on this subject. Although our clients are familiar with the fact that Stratawest Management is not involved in such practices, questions about commissions and other sources of potential ‘extra’ remuneration to a management company continue to be asked by prospective clients.
As you may be aware, Canada Post has issued a 72-hour notice to the Canadian Union of Postal Workers as of last night. The issuing of the notice does not necessarily mean that Canada Post will not be operating on Friday, but it means there can be no legal work disruption before 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 8, 2016.
Some Strata Corporations have General Meetings scheduled in the near future which may be impacted- as notices cannot be mailed and delivered in accordance with the requirements of the Strata Property Act – see this article – for more information on those requirements. If your strata corporation is impacted, your Property Manager will be in touch about potentially postponing the General Meeting as may be required.
Needless to say, the delivery of minutes, bylaw violation letters and other correspondence will be similarly impacted until the work stoppage ends (if it occurs).
With respect to payment of invoices and delivery of cheques, Stratawest is making arrangements to ensure that they are either picked up by trades/service providers or couriered to them as may be required to avoid late penalties. Some vendors, such as utilities and telecommunication companies will be unsympathetic about the strike and will charge late penalties if they are not paid (even though they are unable to deliver to us an invoice, they do not see that as their concern), so we will make progress payments based on the previous invoice to mitigate this possibility.
The last time Canada Post experienced a work stoppage was in 2011 and this included 10 days of rotating strikes and a lockout before employees were legislated back to work by the Government. We’re hopeful that this labour disruption will not occur but are working diligently to ensure we have a solid plan in place in the event that it does.
This is likely much more important to us than our clients, but in case you missed it yesterday…
See also today’s Press Release from the Office of the Premier https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2016PREM0074-001180
The word on the street is that we in the strata world – particularly those companies doing a respectable and honest job in the strata world – should not be particularly effected nor should there be concern with the planned changes in our regulation authority. These actions by the Provincial Government are aimed primarily at the Trading Services/Realtor ™ side of our industry and Stratawest is always in favour of any action taken to better inform and protect the consumer.
It is believed that there will be little diminishment in the REC itself after the ‘overhaul’ takes place and that the REC will largely be business as usual for us – it is thought they will still be in charge of licensing, re-licensing, education, etc.; HOWEVER, ‘rule-making’, regulatory and enforcement responsibilities are intended to be carved out and put under the direction of the Superintendent of Real Estate.
We have had numerous discussions with SPABC, CHOA and other industry stakeholders and we are on the same page that this will be good for the industry in that the real concerns of brokerages or individuals not playing within the rules should be more fully addressed. We work very hard to strictly abide by all legislated requirements and undertake to fulfill all of our duties in a competent and ethical manner, so any tide that forces the rest of the boats up or under is good for business and for the profile of the strata management industry.
So there you go – by all accounts (as of end of business today) there is not yet another enormous wave on the horizon for the strata management industry to try and surf and all is well in the world.
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.