Aug 31

Strata Council: The Bad and the Ugly

A large portion of new residential developments in Langley, Surrey, and Maple Ridge, are subject to the Strata Property Act. For those of you looking for a new condominium, town-house, semi-detached, or even detached home, pay attention.

The stratification of properties is not a new concept in British Columbia. There are several benefits and drawbacks of strata properties. Without being too positive or optimistic, it is clear that several strata disputes involve strata governance – the strata council.

The laws in British Columbia, afford strata councils quite expansive powers to govern the operation of strata corporations. Legal jargon aside, strata councils act as the brain of strata complexes. Councils have a lot of power to make a lot of decisions; decisions that will probably affect the usage – and lives – of the owners residing in strata properties.

“With great power comes great responsibility.”

Unfortunately, in my experience, most strata council members do not have the benefit of legal advice, as would your local or provincial government. Interpreting provincial laws, local laws and strata bylaws, requires a keen understanding of the unique interplay of laws, which quite frankly, most councilmembers do not have. This sometimes translates to a heavy handed council, without the legal basis to back it up.

Time and time again, strata councils make decisions which are contrary to provincial and local laws, which unfortunately negatively impact the usage of one’s property.

Don’t be deterred. Owners have very substantial rights under the Strata Property Act to remedy the wrongs done by strata council. In extreme cases, it is even possible to remove councilmembers or, the entire council itself. Don’t let council take advantage of your investment and your life. Give us a call to learn more!

Aman Oberoi