Introduction

Strata development began in British Columbia in 1966 when the province enacted the first Strata Titles Act. In 1974 a second Strata Titles Act was enacted. In 1980 the government changed the name of the statute to the Condominium Act. 1 On July 1, 2000, the Strata Property Act, as amended, replaced the Condominium Act. 2

The Strata Property Act governs condominium matters in British Columbia. The Act retains nearly all of the legal principles expressed in the earlier statutes. Although the Act is much easier to read than previous legislation, it is longer and more complex than the former Condominium Act.

The terms strata and condominium are synonymous; they refer to the same thing. These words may be used interchangeably. British Columbia is the only jurisdiction in North America to use in its legislation the term strata instead of condominium. In legal terms, a condominium is a strata lot. In a strata development, we subdivide a building, or sometimes land, into separate parts for individual ownership (technically called strata lots) together with common property. For instance, in a high-rise strata building, each apartment becomes a separate strata lot. The legal anatomy of a strata development is explained in detail later, in Chapter 2, The Creation of Strata Developments.

This book is designed as a manual for strata owners, including strata council members, and as a resource for real estate licensees, including strata property managers, and legal professionals. The manual begins by explaining the strata concept and the significance of a strata plan. Next, the book identifies the various parties in a strata development and describes their particular roles and responsibilities. The manual then reviews the essential operations in a strata corporation including record keeping, meetings, voting, finances and insurance. After describing how bylaws and rules work, this book explains the subject of repairs. The manual then examines legal proceedings and explains phased developments.

This manual gives the reader pinpoint references to the relevant provisions in the legislation and to related court cases. The book cites all significant court cases to the date of publication. The manual also includes case studies to illustrate important concepts. While some cases decided under the former Condominium Act continue to apply to matters under the Strata Property Act, other situations will require a court to consider whether, and to what extent, the Strata Property Act affects earlier court decisions.

The information in this book is not legal advice. This book is intended to provide general information of a practical nature. In particular, nothing in this book should be considered legal advice about a reader’s own circumstances. Neither the author nor the publisher, Strata Publishing Corp., assume any legal responsibility for the information in this book. Readers must assess each situation on its own merits , bearing in mind that general information of the type in this book may not suit particular circumstances. For advice about a specific problem, a reader should consult a lawyer.

Whenever the author suggests consultation with a lawyer, he means that the reader should consult a lawyer who is familiar with strata law. Although the Canadian legal profession does not recognize specialties, most lawyers restrict their work to particular legal areas. Our references to lawyers are not meant to exclude notaries, who carry out with excellence many real estate transactions in this province. This manual refers only to lawyers because we are usually speaking about obtaining legal advice.

 

 

Notes:

  1. Strata Titles Act, S.B.C. 1966, c. 46; Strata Titles Act, S.B.C. 1974, c. 89; Condominium Act, R.S.B.C. 1979, c. 61, later enacted in consolidated form as the Condominium Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 64.
  2. Strata Property Act, S.B.C. 1998, c. 43 amended by the Strata Property Amendment Act, 1999, S.B.C. 1999, c. 21. See also Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act (No. 2), 2000, S.B.C. 2000, c. 26, ss. 59-66; Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, 2002, S.B.C. 2002, c. 22, ss. 11-22; Trustee Investment Statutes Amendment Act, 2002, S.B.C. 2002, c. 33, ss. 21-22; Residential Tenancy Act, S.B.C. 2002, c. 78, s. 116.