Stratawest is a proud member of the Canadian Condominium Institute, a national non-profit organization dealing exclusively with condominium (Strata here in BC) issues.
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.
The Vancouver Island Strata Owners Association has put together a handy explainer for these amendments. You can also find more information at the official BC Ministry of Housing page.
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.
We can now confirm that Bill 44 has been read through and proclaimed into law by the BC Legislature. As a reminder from our previous articles on the subject, the three main changes in the Strata Property Act arising from these amendments are:
- The end of rental restrictions – the provisions in SPA which allowed for Strata Corporations to pass bylaws limiting the number of rentals within a property or setting a minimum duration for rentals have been removed. Special note should be made that “short term accomodations” (which are not “rentals” under the law) can still be prohibited by bylaw with fines of up to $1,000/day for offenders;
- Electronic General Meetings no longer require a bylaw to be permitted- all Strata Corporations are free to hold their General Meetings via electronic means;
- Age restriction provisions have also been amended – only “55+” communities are now permitted under the Act with various provisions for caregivers.
In our previous article, we noted that the esteemed Strata legal community had not yet weighed in on the impact of Bill 44, designed to end Rental Restrictions in BC.
We would like to take this opportunity to link you to an article from Lesperance Mendes, very astute Strata-focused lawyers here in the Lower Mainland and their commentary on the new prohibition on rental restrictions, changes to the age restriction provisions in the Strata Property Act, and an overlooked change as well: that electronic Annual/Special General Meetings will be permanently enshrined as legitimate in the SPA. Notably, the provision in the “proposed legislation would also clarify that a voter who attends a general meeting virtually does not need to be issued a voting card and is not entitled or required to vote by secret ballot.”
As Lesperance Mendes notes, general commentary on this legislation is not to be taken as legal advice. If your Strata Corporation has specific questions about the impacts of this legislative change, your Property Manager would be pleased to arrange a legal opinion on your behalf.
As we wrote about recently, subsequent to last year’s devastating and tragic “heat dome”, there is growing demand for heat pumps and other air conditioning units to be installed within Strata Corporations. These usually require some physical alterations to accommodate the associated electrical and piping requirements.
Our colleagues at Lesperance Mendes published this article which covers some of the most recent developments in this area and we take this opportunity to share it with you here.
Our advice on this subject is brief- due to the complexities involved with installations of this type of equipment and the legal implications of refusing applications to allow them, we strongly encourage Strata Councils to engage legal advice for assistance on developing a framework for the installation (or accommodation) of air conditioning devices. More and more Owners are going to be requesting permission to install and your Strata would be well served to be prepared to review these applications and determine what accommodations can be made, especially for those most vulnerable to heat related health issues.
We take this opportunity to link this excellent article from Vancouver Magazine, “Strata Squeeze: Could Florida’s Condo Collapse Happen in Vancouver?”.
The author highlights and expands upon several subjects we have been discussing on our blog for many years now. These topics include:
- The impacts of inflation and recent cost increases for just about all labour;
- The Insurance crisis in BC,
- The shortage of qualified and licensed Property Managers compared against the massive number of new Strata titled developments, which is creating significant disruption within our industry;
- Depreciation Reports and the importance of long term planning;