Tenants in stratas
Learn more on this page:
Renting in strata housing
The definition and rights of tenants
The obligations of tenants
Eviction of a tenant
Rights and obligations of long term tenants and tenants assigned rights
Family members who rent
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".
Strata living is a popular choice in B.C. In fact more than 1.5 million people live in stratas in B.C. However, living in strata housing is not the same as renting an apartment which is not part of a strata corporation. Living in strata housing has some unique roles and responsibilities such as strata bylaws and rules.
A strata corporation must have bylaws and may also have rules. Bylaws and rules affect owners and residents rights and responsibilities and how the strata corporation operates. Owners, tenants, guests, visitors and occupants must comply with a strata's bylaws and rules. Bylaws are usually not the same for every strata corporation or section.
It is important to understand the strata'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 have bylaws which are unique to that strata corporation.
Strata corporations can have bylaws which: establish quiet hours, ban smoking, ban or allow certain types of pets, restrict the rental of residential units, or even specify the type of window coverings. Some strata corporations have bylaws which ban or limit short-term rentals by tenants or owners.
Strata corporations and sections can fine strata owners and residents who don’t follow the bylaws and rules.
Learn more about strata bylaws and rules.
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
The tenant has a right to end a tenancy without penalty if:
- The rental violates a strata’s rental restriction bylaw. If the rental agreement contravenes a strata corporation’s rental restriction bylaw, then tenants have the right to end their tenancy agreement under the Strata Property Act, without penalty, within ninety days of learning of the contravention. Tenants also have the right to receive reasonable moving expenses of up to one month’s rent from the landlord, by giving notice to the landlord.
Note: if the tenancy agreement is in contravention of a rental restriction bylaw, the tenant cannot be found in contravention of the rental restriction bylaw and fined; only the landlord can be fined by the strata corporation for violating the rental restriction bylaw.
- 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 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
- are a family member, as defined in the Strata Property regulations
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.
A strata landlord can evict a residential tenant if the tenant repeatedly or continually contravenes a reasonable and significant strata bylaw or rule.
The strata corporation may be able to evict a residential tenant who repeatedly breaches reasonable and significant strata bylaw or rules, if there is serious interference with the rights of other persons in the strata development. Readers should seek legal advice if they need to determine specific legal rights and duties which may apply in their particular situation.
The Residential Tenancies website has more information on tenant and landlord rights, obligations and processes.
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.]
A family member is defined in the Strata Property regulations as:
- a spouse of the owner. The 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 family member (as designated by the strata regulations) who rents a strata lot:
- will have all of the rights and obligations of long term tenant
- will not be subject to a rental restriction bylaw
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 pages and subpages.
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: January 11, 2021.