Strata Property Act changes add flexibility
Changes to B.C.’s Strata Property Act will give strata owners greater flexibility when their property reaches the end of its life cycle or when the strata members want to sell the property, reported Rich Coleman, Minister of Natural Gas Development and Minister Responsible for Housing recently.
The changes will allow strata owners to terminate their strata corporation by an 80% vote of all owners instead of the previous difficult-to-achieve unanimous vote, which also required the signatures of all lenders and other registered charge holders. Most other jurisdictions, including Alberta and Ontario, do not require a unanimous vote to terminate a strata corporation.
As older strata corporations reach the end of their life cycle, major building and common property components start to fail, resulting in expensive repair bills. In such cases, terminating a strata corporation and selling the underlying land for redevelopment may be the best choice for strata lot owners. Often, the underlying land value of these stratas is higher than the sum of the market value of the individual units. More units can also be rebuilt on the site, adding to the housing supply.
The changes allow for court oversight to protect any minority dissenting owners and registered charge holders, such as mortgage providers. Without an appeal being required, the court will automatically consider whether the proposed termination is significantly unfair to one or more owners or charge holders.
“We made this change to give strata lot owners more freedom to choose what they want to do as their property nears the end of its life cycle. We don’t want people to be stuck in a situation where they’re paying for repairs on a property that’s not worth repairing, but they can’t terminate the strata because it’s really difficult to get a unanimous vote,” Coleman stated.
The changes to the Strata Property Act are based on the BC Law Institute’s recommendations. There was extensive public consultation and the changes are widely supported by the strata community, Coleman added.
“The regulations bringing the 80% vote into effect are a positive step for strata corporations considering liquidation of their buildings for redevelopment. Requiring 80% of the voting entitlement to support a liquidation enables owners to collectively negotiate for the best possible financial returns. The requirement for a court application to approve the decision will ensure protection of the public interest and minority rights,” said Tony Gioventu, executive director, Condominium Home Owners’ Association.