Earlier this year, the Civil Resolution Tribunal decided on a case that has notable implications for Strata Corporation operations here in the province of British Columbia. You can read more about the decision here, and the decision itself is available at the CRT website here. The case spins on the use of email as a means of communication and crucially, decision making, for Strata Councils.
In January 2023, the Provincial cabinet produced Order in Council No. 32 which amended portions of the Strata Property Act relating to the minimum contributions to the Contingency Reserve Fund (CRF).
A phased approach was taken at the time, allowing Strata Corporations to amend their budgets accordingly. That phased window is now closed, as November 1st brings the Order into effect for all Strata Corporations.
Going forward, every Strata Corporation (regardless of their current CRF Balance) must contribute 10% of their Operating fund (in the Order it notes “contributions”, ie. the Strata Fee portion) to the Contingency Reserve Fund.
In other words, if your Strata anticipates $1,000,000 in Strata Fees to be collected in your budget, then you must allocate at least $100,000 to the CRF. The previous provision, allowing Strata Corporations with a pre-set minimum balance in their CRF to opt out of a contribution has been removed.
Our friends at CHOA have put together a helpful article on this subject which you can find here if you’d like to read more: https://choa.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/700-020-CRF-contributions-increase-Nov-1-2023.pdf
Electronic Bikes (ebikes) are an increasingly popular consumer product, designed to assist cyclists by applying electrical energy to the cadence of pedaling- thus helping people up hills or on longer rides with a motor assist that adds to the power produced by turning the pedals with your feet. These ebikes are increasingly popular- and municipalities all over the Lower Mainland are trying to shift commuters out of vehicles and onto mass transit and bicycles to alleviate some of the worst impacts of climate change (amongst other good reasons, such as the benefits of exercise and fresh air). Various levels of government are incentivizing the purchase of ebikes with rebates to further drive uptake in this burgeoning industry. The goal of this is certainly commendable, especially when it comes to lessening our dependance on commuter vehicles on a day to day basis, something that will reduce our individual carbon emissions and thus our impact on our ecology.
We take this opportunity to share with you the (known) details of an important case recently decided upon at the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT).
With thanks to the good folks at Lawson Lundell LLP, we’d like to share this article regarding a City of Vancouver bylaw amendment requiring that accessible parking stalls be held in common, rather than assigned to individual suites.
Note that this bylaw is not retroactive, meaning it only applies to new developments. However, going forward, all buildings within the City of Vancouver will require a proportion of their parking to be held as common property to be assigned to those who need it (rather than assigned by the developer to anyone who wishes to purchase one, which was the previous regime).
Likely, other municipalities will follow suit with similar bylaws in the future- designed to increase the accessibility of Strata Corporations.
After a material public outcry, the provincial government has implemented Order In Council 276 which provides additional classes of exemptions for rental restriction bylaws, most notably spouses, partners and children.
Bill 44 has impacted many Strata Corporations throughout the province- and many are considering their options with respect to further bylaw amendments to support the unique nature of their own communities. To say that the Bill 44 amendments are controversial is an understatement. Before considering amendments to your own bylaws, we strongly recommend seeking independent legal advice- your Property Manager can arrange this for you.
From time to time, it is important to be reminded of resources available to us in preparing for emergencies- natural disasters and the like. There are a number of excellent resources already freely available and we don’t seek to duplicate those (nor do we presume to speak as experts on this topic, though we are happy to connect you with experts in this field who can provide more specific advice for your Strata Corporation), but we will highlight some of the critical points to consider. Below you will find links to websites that will help you prepare for a disaster.
The Insurance Council of British Columbia recently introduced a new Rule which explicitly prohibits insurance agencies from selling insurance to Strata Corporations when the agency has common ownership with the Strata Management company for that Strata Corporation.
You can read more about the new rule at their website.
While this new rule will impact some of our competitors, Stratawest has always maintained arms-length dealings with insurance brokers and agencies. We are proud to confirm that this rule will have no impact on our operations or those of our clients.
In May 2022, the Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner updated their Guidelines for Strata Corporations on how to best achieve compliance with the Personal Information Privacy Act (“PIPA”). We wrote about this at the time and would like to take this opportunity to highlight other aspects of the Guidelines not touched on in our initial article yet come up regularly with clients.