Tenants in stratas
Learn more on this page:
Renting in strata housing
Enforcement of strata bylaws and rules
Residential Tenancy legislation
The definition and rights of tenants
The right to end a tenancy
The obligations of tenants
Rights and obligations of long-term tenants and tenants assigned rights
Family members who rent
It is important to understand the strata's (or section's) bylaws and rules before renting in a strata. There is a set of Standard Bylaws issued by the Province as the "default bylaws" for a strata corporation. However many strata corporations and sections have bylaws which are unique to that strata corporation or section.
Bylaws can affect many different areas of strata living. For example, strata bylaws can establish quiet hours, ban smoking anywhere in the strata corporation, including in the strata lot (a person's home), ban or only allow certain types of pets, even specify the type of window coverings. Some strata corporations also have bylaws which ban or limit short-term rentals by tenants or owners.
You can't tell by looking if a property is strata-titled. There are many different kinds of strata properties. Strata housing can include condos (apartment-style strata housing), townhouses, even single family homes in bare land "strata subdivisions". Many different types of property can be strata-titled.
The landlord in strata housing must give the tenant a copy of the strata's (or sections) bylaws and rules.
Owners, tenants, occupants, guests and visitors must comply with a strata's (or section's) bylaws and rules.
- Tenants must follow the strata corporation's (or section's) bylaws and rules, even if the landlord hasn't provided the tenant with a copy of the bylaws and rules.
- Strata corporations and sections can fine strata owners and residents who don’t follow the bylaws and rules.
- If significant strata bylaws are repeatedly or continuously broken by a tenant, the strata corporation can take steps to evict the tenant. The Residential Tenancy Branch Policy Guideline 27 has more information on this.
Long-term rentals are usually governed by the Residential Tenancy Act. The Province's Residential Tenancies website has more information on tenant and landlord rights, obligations and processes and what types of long-term tenancies are governed by B.C.'s residential tenancy legislation.
Under the Strata Property Act a tenant:
- is a person who rents all or part of a strata lot and
- includes a sub-tenant
All tenants have the following rights under the Strata Property Act:
- to obtain a copy of the current bylaws and rules and a “Form K: Notice of Tenant’s Responsibilities” from the landlord
- to inspect at no charge and obtain copies of the bylaws and rules from the strata corporation
- to request that the strata council grant them short term exclusive use of common property
- to have the same access to any dispute resolution methods as an owner
Under the Standard Bylaws (which may be amended), all tenants have the following rights:
- to attend annual and special general meetings, unless a majority vote is passed to exclude them from the meeting
- to participate in discussions at annual and special general meetings if permitted by the chair
With respect to strata legislation, the tenant has a right to end a tenancy without penalty if:
- The tenant has not been given a Form K or a copy of the strata's bylaws and rules. Tenants have the right to end their tenancy agreement, without penalty, within ninety days of learning of the contravention and to receive reasonable moving expenses of up to one month’s rent from the landlord, by giving notice to the landlord, if the landlord: does not give the tenant a copy of the bylaws and rules and a “Form K: Notice of Tenant’s Responsibilities”; and fails to provide the strata corporation with a copy of the Form K signed by the tenant.
Note: a tenant is still bound to comply with the strata corporation’s bylaws and rules, even if the landlord has failed to provide the strata's bylaws and rules and the Form K to the tenant.
There are some things that tenants must do when renting a strata unit.
Under the Strata Property Act, all strata tenants must:
- follow the bylaws and rules of the strata corporation and section
- comply with the Strata Property Act and Regulations
- sign a “Form K: Notice of Tenant’s Responsibilities” when asked to do so by the landlord
- pay a user fee for the use of common property pursuant to a bylaw, if the user fee would also apply to the owner
Guests of the tenant and occupants must also follow the strata's bylaws and rules and comply with the Strata Property Act and regulations.
Under the Strata Property Act, some tenants will have more rights and obligations than other tenants if they:
- rent a commercial or residential strata lot and their landlord has assigned to them extra rights and obligations
- lease a residential strata lot for a term of three years or greater
Under the Standard Bylaws (which may be amended) all tenants must:
- advise the strata corporation of their name, if it is requested
- permit entry to their strata lot by any authorized person:
- in an emergency, even though no notice has been given
- to inspect and repair parts of common property or the strata lot that the strata corporation is responsible to maintain or insure, if 48 hours written notice has been given
- not cause a nuisance to others
- not make unreasonable noise
- not use their strata lot for an illegal purpose and
- leash and secure pets in common areas
Note, under the Strata Property Act, if a tenant is responsible to pay the cost of remedying a bylaw or rule contravention or a fine for a bylaw or breaking a rule breach, the strata corporation can collect this sum from the landlord and owner. The tenant will then owe this sum to the owner (landlord). However, the owner’s responsibility to pay the cost of remedying contraventions or fines on behalf of the tenant cannot be assigned (transferred) to the tenant. Learn more in enforcing bylaws and rules.
The rights and obligations of "Long Term Tenants”
Residential tenants under a long-term lease of three or more years have the same rights and obligations as owners (the landlord) under the Strata Property Act, regulations, bylaws and rules (with the exceptions noted below) for the duration of the lease.
Before exercising any rights of the owner (landlord), long-term tenants must provide the strata corporation with written notice of: the time period of the lease; and their name.
Furthermore, long-term tenants may never, without the consent of the owner, exercise any right of an owner to:
- acquire or dispose of land
- cancel or amend the strata plan
- do anything which would affect the owner’s interest in the strata lot, common property or land that is a common asset
Some of the specific obligations of long-term tenants are:
- to pay strata fees
- to pay special levies that are due within the term of the lease and
- to maintain and repair parts of the strata lot and limited common property that the bylaws make the owner responsible to maintain and repair
Some of the specific rights of long-term tenants are:
- to access and obtain strata corporation records
- to attend and vote at special or annual general meetings
- to receive strata corporation notices and
- to be eligible for election to the strata council
Landlords may assign any of their rights and obligations to tenants provided that they give written notice of the assignment to the strata corporation stating:
- what rights and obligations are assigned to the tenant
- the name of the tenant and
- the time period that the assignment is effective
[Exception: The owner’s responsibility to pay the cost of remedying contraventions or fines on behalf of the tenant cannot be assigned to the tenant.]
Prior to November 24, 2022 tenants who were family members of an owner (as defined in regulation) automatically had all the rights and obligations of a long-term tenant. If this outcome is still desired, the owner would need to assign these rights and provide a written notice to the strata corporation.
References to Strata Property Legislation:
Sections of the Act: 1, 28, 35, 36, 45, 54, 76, 110, 124, 125, 129-135, 137, 138, 142, 145-148, 164, 165, 173, 174, 173, 175, 177, 178
Standard Bylaws (which can be amended) 3, 4, 7, 26
Find it fast: a handy site map listing all the strata housing web-pages.
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: November 26, 2022.