Common property and limited common property in stratas
It is important to understand the different types of property within a strata corporation and to correctly identify the strata lot, common property and limited common property (LCP). The different types of property can make a difference about who is responsible for paying for repairs and who can use the property.
A strata plan is an important document for owners. It designates the locations and boundaries of the different categories of property.
A strata lot is owned individually by the owner(s) and is often referred to as a strata unit. In condominiums and townhouses, the strata lot usually ends at the center of the walls, floors and ceilings, but may have different boundaries, if shown on the strata plan.
A bare land strata plan ("strata subdivision") is different. The bare land strata plan will not usually show the outlines of houses, although it will show the outlines of buildings that are common property such as a club house.
The strata plan will contain a legend that explains how strata lots are noted on the strata plan; the legend on the sample strata plan below shows that strata lots are designated as “SL” with the strata lot number after it.
Any part of the land and buildings shown on the strata plan that is not part of a strata lot is common property. For example, in a condominium, common property typically includes hallways, elevators, recreational amenities and building exteriors such as the roof.
In a bare land strata corporation ("strata subdivision") common roadways and in-ground services such as water and sanitation are often common property. In addition, pipes, wires, cables, chutes, ducts and other facilities for passage or provisions of water, sewage, gas, oil or other similar services may also be common property.
Common property is owned collectively by the strata lot owners, as tenants in common. Individual ownership is proportional to the strata lot's unit entitlement as set out in the "Form V: Schedule of Unit Entitlement." The strata corporation exclusively controls the common property. Owners can use the common property except to the extent the Strata Property Act, the regulations, bylaws or rules restrict the use of common property.
To understand the areas designated as common property review the strata plan, and the general index for the strata corporation at the Land Title Office for any sketch plans and resolutions modifying the common property.
The strata plan will contain a legend that designates the common property. In the sample strata plan below, the legend shows that the common property is designated as “C”.
Common property can be changed into limited common property (LCP) or designated for the short term exclusive use of one or more particular strata lots. Learn more about the exclusive use of common property.
Parking and Storage Lockers: Examining the development's strata plan and the general index at the Land Title Office for sketch plans and resolution will provide information on whether parking stalls and storage areas are designated as a separate strata lot or part of a strata lot, limited common property or common property. Learn more about different ways to allocate parking stalls and storage areas.
Limited common property (LCP) is common property that has been designated on the strata plan or on a sketch plan filed at the Land Title Office for the exclusive use of one or more strata lots. For example balconies and parking spaces may be designated as limited common property.
In a strata corporation with sections, LCP can be designated for the exclusive use of all strata lots in that section. In this case, the maintenance and repair of the LCP is a common expense of the section. Learn more about section within a strata corporation.
Limited common property is often designated on the strata plan as “LCP” with the strata lot number after it. The legend on the strata plan explains how the limited common property is noted. For example the legend on the sample strata plan below shows that the limited common property is designated as:
- “P” with the strata lot number after it for patios
- “PR” with the strata lot number after it for porches
- "W" with the strata lot number after it for bay windows
Common property may be designated as Limited Common Property (LCP) by several methods.
When the strata plan is initially deposited at the Land Title Office, the Owner Developer can designate areas as LCP. The Owner Developer can designate parking stalls on a strata plan as LCP at any time before the first annual general meeting, or if the strata development is phased, on a phased strata plan at any time before the first annual general meeting of that phase. The Owner Developer does not need to obtain a resolution of the strata corporation to do this. To remove LCP designation created in this manner, the strata corporation will need to obtain a unanimous resolution.
The strata corporation can amend the strata plan to designate LCP by passing a unanimous resolution at an annual or special general meeting. The strata plan amendment needs to be filled at the Land Title Office with a reference or explanatory plan that shows the amendment. In addition, a “Form E: Certificate of Strata Corporation” needs to be filed stating that the resolution has been passed and that the reference or explanatory plan conforms to the resolution. A designation of LCP on a strata plan created by way of a plan amendment can only be removed with a unanimous resolution and by filing a new plan amendment which shows the removal of the LCP.
By filing a sketch plan at the Land Title Office, the strata corporation can designate an area as LCP. This method requires requires the strata corporation to pass a resolution approved by a 3/4 vote at an annual or special general meeting.
The resolution needs to be filed at the Land Title Office with a sketch plan that is satisfactory to the registrar and shows all the areas that are being designated as LCP; and which strata lot will be entitled to the use of the newly designated LCP. LCP designated in this manner can be removed by filing a resolution passed by a 3/4 vote, which approves the removal of LCP in the Land Title Office. A subsequent sketch plan does not need to be filed.
All strata corporations must have bylaws and may have rules. Bylaws can govern the management, maintenance, use and control and enjoyment of common property (including limited common property) and common assets within the strata corporation. For example, the Standard Bylaws (which may be amended) state that an owner must get approval of the strata corporation before making an alteration to common property, including limited common property, or common assets. Rules can only govern the use, safety and condition of common assets, common property and LCP. Learn more about amending bylaws and rules.
Under the Standard Bylaws (which may be amended) alterations by an owner to common property, LCP, or common property with a short term exclusive use arrangement:
- requires written approval from the strata corporation
- may require, as a condition of approval for the alteration, that the owner agree in writing to take responsibility for any expenses relating to the alteration
Under the Strata Property Act, a resolution passed by a 3/4 vote at an annual or special general meeting must be obtained if the alteration will result in a significant change in the use or appearance of common property or a common asset.
Under the Strata Property Act an owner or tenant must allow the strata corporation reasonable access to LCP or to common property or a common asset that is subject to a short term exclusive use agreement.
A strata corporation may impose a user fee for the use of common property. A strata corporation that wishes to do this must ensure that the amount of the fee is reasonable and the fee is set out in either a bylaw or a rule that has been ratified at the first annual general meeting following the creation of the rule. Examples include user fees for extra parking, clubhouse privileges and extra storage lockers.
This portion of a strata plan shows how different types of property are designated.
Strata Plan Legend:
|SL: strata lot||A: area|
|PR: porch (limited common property)||P: patio (limited common property)|
|W: bay window (limited common property)||C: common property|
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: December 9, 2020.
Strata Property Act: Sections 71, 73, 110, 119, 125, 257
Regulations: Sections 6.9
Standard Bylaws (if these apply as bylaws can be amended): 2,3(2), 6, 8