Different kinds of stratas
Strata housing is often referred to as condos or condominiums but there are many different kinds of strata housing and strata corporations. The legal term for stratas is strata corporations.
Strata housing is more than just condos. Strata housing can also include: duplexes, townhouses, fractional vacation properties—even single family homes in bare land strata corporations (“strata subdivisions”).
In addition to strata housing or residential strata, there are also commercial, industrial and mixed use strata developments (e.g. restaurants, retail space, hotels, parking lots, offices, stables, marinas, etc).
While some strata developments are solely commercial or residential, many strata developments are a combination of commercial and residential strata (mixed-use). Strata developments may also include air space parcels with their own set of legal and contractual responsibilities.
Strata corporations may also be divided into sections. In addition to belonging to the strata corporation, sections must have their own executive, annual general meetings, budget and may also have their own bylaws and rules.
Strata developments can also be either freehold or leasehold. It is important to understand the specific legal responsibilities attached to these different types of strata tenure and the fair market value (FMV) of the strata leasehold.
You can't tell by looking whether a building or development is strata-titled. A single family home in a bare land strata development (“strata subdivision”) can look identical to the single family home across the street which is not in a strata corporation. A townhouse in a strata development may look identical to a row house which is not strata-titled.
It’s not the size or type of buildings that makes a strata corporation; instead, it’s the legal nature of it. If the development is legally created by a strata plan, it’s a strata corporation. A strata corporation is created when a developer files a strata plan at the Land Title Office. Sometimes these types of properties are referred to as “strata-titled”. There are significantly different legal responsibilities if housing is strata-titled.
A strata development can be buildings or land, divided into separate units, called strata lots. This allows for individual ownership of a strata lot. All the strata lot owners together own the common property as a strata corporation. The strata corporation is, in law, an artificial person that can do everything of a legal nature that a real person can do. For example, a strata corporation may buy goods or services, sue or be sued.
For a bare land strata corporation, there will be a strata plan filed with the Land Title Office. The strata plan should be clearly labelled as a bare land. The bare land strata plan will not usually show the outlines of houses located on individual strata lots, athough it will show the outlines of buildings that are common property such as a club house. If individual houses are shown, it may not be a bare land strata and the house exteriors may be common property for which the strata corporation is responsible. In this situation, the strata corporation should get legal advice from a knowledgeable strata lawyer.
The Bare Land Strata Regulations provide that there must be easements registered to ensure that the strata corporation has the right to enter strata lots in order to install, repair, maintain or replace any common property pipes or lines that may be laid on or under a strata lot.
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.