Rental Restriction Bylaws in Stratas
Strata corporations may have rental restriction bylaws that can restrict or prevent strata owners from renting their strata units. However, even with rental restriction bylaws, some rentals are still allowed.
Learn more on this page:
Overview of Rental Restriction Bylaws
Rentals Allowed for Family Members
Rentals Allowed for Hardship
Rentals Allowed by the Form J
Phasing in Rental Restriction Bylaws
When renting in stratas, tenants and landlords must follow the Strata Property Act and regulations, the strata’s bylaws and rules and other provincial legislation such as the Residential Tenancy Act.
Some strata corporations have rental restriction bylaws. These bylaws can:
- limit the number or percentage of residential strata lots that may be rented or
- limit the length of time the residential strata lots may be rented
A bylaw that limits the number of strata lots that can be rented must also set out the procedure to be followed by the strata corporation in administering the limit (i.e. what process is used).
The strata corporation cannot:
- screen tenants
- establish screening criteria
- require that it approve of tenants
- require the insertion of terms in tenancy agreements or otherwise restrict the rental of a strata lot except by a bylaw that limits the rental of residential strata lots
In addition to strata bylaws, there may also be applicable local government zoning that could affect rentals. Zoning information is available from the local government, such as a municipality, where the strata lots are located.
Despite rental restriction bylaws, rentals can still occur in some circumstances. Strata lot owners may rent:
- to some types of family members
- because of hardship
- to the date set out on the "Form J: the Rental Disclosure Statement", depending on when the Form J was filed
These exceptions to rental restriction bylaws are discussed in more detail below.
A strata lot can be rented to some family members even if rentals are not allowed under a rental restrict bylaw. Family members allowed to rent are defined by Strata Property Regulation 8.1.:
- a spouse of the owner: a spouse of the owner includes an individual who has lived with the owner for a period of at least two years at the relevant time, in a marriage-like relationship
- a parent or child of the owner
- a parent or child of the spouse of the owner
A rental to a family member creates an assignment of the owner’s powers and duties under the Strata Property Act, regulations, bylaws, and rules.
A strata lot may still be rented despite a rental restriction bylaw, if the owner has demonstrated hardship.
An owner may apply to the strata corporation for an exemption from a rental restriction bylaw on the grounds that the bylaw causes hardship to the owner (neither the Strata Property Act nor the regulations define hardship, although there have been some court rulings on the meaning).
An application for the hardship exemption must:
- be made in writing
- state the reason why the owner thinks an exemption should be made; and
- indicate whether the owner wishes a hearing. The Regulation states that a hearing means “an opportunity to be heard in person at a council meeting.”
When a hardship application has been made, the strata council must:
- Hear the owner or owner’s agent within four weeks of the date of the application, if the owner requests a hearing
- Give its decision in writing to the owner within one week of the hearing
- Give its decision in writing within two weeks after the owner applied for the exemption if no hearing is held or requested
If the strata council fails to provide its decision within the time specified, or fails to hold a hearing within four weeks after the date the application is given to the strata corporation, the exemption is allowed, and the owner would be permitted to rent the strata lot.
An exemption granted by the strata corporation may be for a limited time.
The strata corporation must not unreasonably refuse to grant an exemption.
A "Form J: the Rental Disclosure Statement" also determines whether strata lot owners can rent their lots despite rental restriction bylaws. The Form J:
- describes the strata lots that may be rented and
- sets out the date during which the rentals may occur
Under the Strata Property Act, Owner Developers must provide prospective purchasers with a Form J that has been filed with the Superintendent of Real Estate, if the Owner Developer intends to rent or preserve the right to rent any of the residential strata lots.
Rental disclosure statements are only filed by the Owner Developer and are completed individually for each strata lot.
Strata lot owners may have different rights to rent their lots depending on when the Form J was filed.
For Form Js filed on or before December 31, 2009, a lot that has been designated as a rental lot by the Owner Developer on a Form J remains eligible as a rental lot – regardless of rental restriction bylaws – until either:
- the lot is sold or transferred by the first purchaser or
- the date set out on the Form J expires (whichever occurs first)
For the Owner Developer or the first purchaser from the Owner Developer, the effect of the Form J is to preserve the right to rent the strata lot for the length of time set out in the Form J, despite any subsequent rental restriction bylaws.
However, a purchaser who buys the strata lot from someone other than the Owner Developer does not have a right to rent the strata lot. For the new owners, a strata lot may only be rented if there is no rental restriction bylaw or the owner is permitted to rent despite a rental restriction bylaw because of:
- the family member exception
- a determination of hardship by the strata council
- the provision that delays the application of a rental restriction bylaw. The Strata Property Act gives owners who are renting time to comply with a new rental restriction bylaw
For “Form J: Rental Disclosure Statements” filed on or after January 1, 2010 there are different rules. The owner-developer can now designate that a strata lot can be rented to a date specified on the Form J.
For these strata lots, a strata lot eligible as a rental remains designated as eligible until the date the rental period expires. The strata lot is not affected by any subsequent rental restriction bylaws until the rental period date on the Form J expires.
This means the right to rent a strata lot can continue from one purchaser to the next as long as the rental period on the Form J remains unexpired. This provision only applies to "Form J: Rental Disclosure Statements" filed on or after January 1, 2010.
If a rental restriction bylaw is passed, owners who were affected by the rental restriction bylaw, and who were renting their lots would have time to adjust.
Under the Strata Property Act, a rental restriction bylaw would not apply to rented strata lots until the later of:
- one year after a tenant who is occupying the strata lot at the time the bylaw is passed ceases to occupy it as a tenant or
- one year after the bylaw is passed
Sometimes a strata corporation or residential section will have a limit on the number of strata lots that can be rented. A rental restriction bylaw cannot prevent, or include within this limit:
- rentals to family members
- rentals permitted on the basis of hardship or
- as permitted under a “Form J: Rental Disclosure Statement”
If the strata lot owner has rented despite being subject to a rental restriction bylaw:
- The strata council can proceed to fine the strata lot owner as long as the maximum amount of the fine is set out in the bylaws. (The maximum amount that can be set out in a bylaw for a breach of a rental restriction bylaw is $500).
- The bylaws may provide that a fine will be re-assessed for a continuing breach to a maximum frequency of every seven days (i.e. weekly)
- The Strata Property Act specifically provides that the tenant is not in contravention of the bylaw and
- The Strata Property Act provides the tenant with the right to end the tenancy agreement within ninety days of learning of the breach of the bylaw by the strata lot owner – the landlord must pay the tenant’s reasonable moving expenses to a maximum of one month’s rent if the tenant ends the tenancy agreement within ninety days of learning of the breach
The information on this website about 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: June 5th, 2017.