Living in a Strata
Strata living is a popular choice in B.C. In fact more than one million people live in stratas in B.C. Living in strata housing has unique roles and responsibilities; it is not the same as renting an apartment or owning a home which is not part of a strata corporation.
Strata living requires owners and residents to follow the Strata Property Act, regulations and the strata corporation’s bylaws and rules.
This legislative framework applies to all strata corporations in British Columbia, including single family homes in bare land strata corporations ("strata subdivisions") as well as duplexes and triplexes if they are strata-titled.
Strata housing is often referred to as condos or condominiums. However, strata housing not only includes apartment-style condominiums but can also include: duplexes, townhouses, fractional vacation properties, even single family homes in bare land strata corporations (“strata subdivisions”).
There are many different kinds of strata developments including industrial, commercial, residential, bare land or a combination called mixed-use.
Stratas corporations are self-governed. The strata corporation is made up of all the strata owners. Strata lot owner responsibilities include approving an annual budget and electing a strata council. The strata council may be assisted by a strata property manager or the strata corporation may be self-managed.
It is up to the strata owners, residents and strata council to ensure compliance with strata legislation, bylaws and rules and use the tools available to resolve any disputes.
Strata corporations can also have sections which will have their own budgets and section executive and may their own bylaws and rules. For example a strata corporation may have a residential section with apartment-style condos and a commercial section with a restaurant.
A strata corporation must have bylaws and may also have rules. Bylaws and rules affect the strata lot owners’ rights and responsibilities and how the strata corporation operates. Bylaws are usually not the same for every strata corporation or section.
Strata corporations may have bylaws which can: restrict the age of residents, establish quiet hours, ban smoking in common areas, allow certain types of pets, restrict the rental of residential units, or even specify the type of window coverings.
Bylaws may require strata lot owners to get written permission from the strata council before making changes to their strata lot, such as moving walls, changing flooring or making plumbing or electrical changes.
Strata corporations and sections can fine strata owners and residents who don’t follow the bylaws and rules. There is a set of Standard Bylaws issued by the Province as the "default bylaws" for a strata corporation. However, a strata corporation's or section's bylaws can be changed by the developer or by a 3/4 vote of the owners.
It is important to understand the strata's bylaws and rules before buying into a strata. Learn more about strata bylaws and rules.
To pay for shared common expenses such as insurance, gardening, cleaning, snow removal, repair and maintenance of common property strata owners must pay strata fees. In addition to strata fees, sometimes owners will be required to pay special levies for matters affecting the strata corporation, including the repair and maintenance of common property and assets like replacing the roof or upgrading an elevator.
The information on strata housing is provided for the user’s convenience as a basic starting point; it is not a substitute for getting legal advice. Learn more about the site’s purpose and limits. The content on this website is periodically reviewed and updated by the Province of British Columbia as per the date noted on each page: July 2016.