FAQs: Common Property

The strata council has received a request from an owner for permission to use a space as storage located under some stairs adjacent to the electrical room. This is common property. May the council do that?

Yes. In some instances, the permission may also require the approval of the owners by a 3/4 vote, but generally speaking, the strata council may give an owner permission to exclusively use common property for a period of not more than one year and subject to conditions specified by the council.

If an owner wants to install a skylight, is a 3/4 vote of the strata corporation required?

If an owner wants to install a skylight , the Schedule of Standard Bylaws would require approval from the council because a roof is common property. However, an alteration may also require a 3/4 vote, if the alteration is a significant change in the use (or appearance) of common property.

May a strata corporation change a common property roof with access for all to a private access roof for some strata lot owners?

A strata corporation may, by 3/4 vote resolution designate common property as limited common property for the exclusive use of one or more strata lots. A strata corporation may make a significant change in the use (or appearance) of common property by a resolution passed by a 3/4 vote. Therefore, a strata corporation may, by 3/4 vote, change a common property roof to private access roof for some strata lot owners.

Our strata corporation would like to have a resident caretaker's suite in the building. May the strata corporation buy a strata lot for this purpose?

Yes, but before entering into a contract to purchase a strata lot (which will be a common asset of the strata corporation), the purchase must be approved by a resolution passed by a 3/4 vote at a special or annual general meeting.

My strata corporation consists of two identical buildings each with 40 residential strata lots. The furniture in the lobby of one of the buildings is looking rather worn and we would like to purchase new furniture and pay for it by a special levy. Do all strata lots pay the special levy?

Yes. Since the complex is not eligible under the Strata Property Act to have separate sections, one for each building, the strata corporation must levy on all 80 strata lots and not just the strata lots in the building getting the new furniture.

Our strata corporation is entering into a contract to repaint the exterior of our building. The contract refers to the complex as Mountain Oaks, which is our building name. What is our strata corporation's legal name for purposes of a contract?

Pursuant to section 2 of the Strata Property Act, the owners of the strata lots in the strata plan are members of the strata corporation under the name “The Owners, Strata Plan [insert the registration number of the strata plan].

A strata corporation has a bylaw that prohibits the posting of signs in a strata lot or on common property. An owner wants to put an election sign in the window of his strata lot. Does that contravene the bylaw?

No. The Canada Elections Act, in section 322, provides that no condominium corporation or any of its agents may prohibit the owner of a condominium unit from displaying election advertising posters in his or her unit. However, the condominium corporation or agent may set reasonable conditions relating to the size or type of election advertising posters that may be displayed on a strata lot or the common property and may prohibit the display of election advertising posters in common areas of the building in which the premises are located.

A company that provides cell phone communications services approached the strata corporation to place a communications tower on the roof of the strata's building. Does the strata corporation need approval of the owners in order to allow this?

Yes. Pursuant to the Strata Property Act, this is a lease of common property and as such requires approval of the owner by a 3/4 vote at a general meeting.

An owner is in arrears of strata fees and the strata corporation is responsible for repairing certain damage inside the owner’s strata lot. May the strata corporation delay repairing the damage in the owner’s unit until the owner pays the arrears?

No. A strata corporation has a duty under the Strata Property Act to repair and maintain common property and any damage that results from its failure to repair and maintain common property. An owner must pay strata fees. However, the strata corporation may use other remedies in the Act to collect strata arrears.

An owner reports to council that there are water stains on the ceiling of her strata lot. The council does nothing. A common property pipe bursts. The leaking water damages the owner's hardwood floors. The hardwood floors are not original to the unit. Does the strata have to repair the hardwood?

Yes. The strata corporation must repair and maintain the common property. The strata corporation must repair the damage caused by the strata corporation’s failure to repair and maintain common property even if the damage is caused to owner’s upgrades.

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