Bylaws and Rules
At the last council meeting, the council passed a rule requiring anyone who books the common room for a private event to pay a fee of $100. Is the rule enforceable?
Although section 110 of the Strata Property Act and Strata Property Regulation 6.8 permit a strata corporation to adopt a rule to impose a user fee with respect to common property or a common asset, the rule and the fee are not enforceable until the rule has been ratified by the owners at the next annual general meeting after the rule was adopted by the council.
Our bylaws provide that owners cannot put up any signs to advertise the sale of their strata lot. Is such a bylaw enforceable?
No. Section 122 of the Strata Property Act permits a strata corporation to pass a bylaw relating to the sale of a strata lot, including locations for the posting of signs but the bylaw cannot prohibit or unreasonably restrict the posting of such signs.
Can a strata corporation amend the bylaws before the second annual general meeting?
As of December 2009, a strata corporation containing residential strata lots cannot amend the bylaws before the second annual general meeting without a unanimous vote resolution.
Can a strata corporation charge interest on late strata fees?
Yes. A strata corporation can charge interest on strata fees if the strata corporation adopts a bylaw authorizing the imposition of interest on strata fees.
Do amendments to the bylaws have to be filed in the Land Title Office?
Yes, section 128(2) provides that any amendments to the bylaws must be filed in the Land Title Office and do not have any effect until they are filed.
Is a strata corporation subject to the Human Rights Code?
Yes. Section 121(1)(a) of the Strata Property Act specifically provides that a bylaw is not enforceable to the extent that it contravenes the Human Rights Code. In addition, the BC Human Rights Tribunal has concluded that a strata corporation’s relationships with its owners, tenants, prospective purchasers and employees is subject to the Human Rights Code.
My strata corporation has both residential and non-residential strata lots. The residential strata lots have enough votes to pass amendments to the bylaws without considering the non-residential strata lots. Can the residential strata lots pass bylaws over the objections of the non–residential strata lots?
No – Section 128(1)(c) of the Strata Property Act provides that separate 3/4 vote resolution are required of each of the residential strata lots and the non–residential strata lots in order to pass bylaw amendments.
My strata corporation has a bylaw that prohibits open houses – is the bylaw enforceable?
No. Section 122 of the Strata Property Act states allows a strata corporation to pass a bylaw limiting the times for the holding of open houses relating to the sale of a strata lot but does not allow a strata corporation to prohibit them entirely.
May a strata corporation prevent an owner from standing for council if the strata lot is in arrears of strata fees?
Yes, but the strata corporation must have a bylaw that states that no person may stand for council with respect to a strata lot if the strata corporation is entitled to register a lien against that strata lot. In that case, the owner may not stand for council.
Our strata corporation has a painting that was provided by the developer as per the disclosure statement. We have had the painting appraised and found out it is worth $60,000. The strata council wants to sell it and use the money for future expenses of the strata corporation. Is this allowed?
Yes, but before the painting is sold, the strata corporation must approve the sale by a resolution passed by a 3/4 vote at an annual or special general meeting if the painting’s market value is more than the amount set out in the bylaws or $1,000, if the bylaws are silent as to the amount.
Is a bylaw enforceable if the bylaw permits hard surface flooring, but only in strata lots on the first floor of the building?
Yes. A strata corporation may adopt a bylaw that limits hard surface flooring to the strata lots on the first level where there are no residential strata lots below.
If a rule and a bylaw conflict with each other, which one takes precedence – the bylaw or the rule?
If a bylaw and a rule conflict, the bylaw prevails.
The council wants to levy a fine for contravention of a bylaw. What are the procedures to follow?
Before the strata corporation imposes a fine against a person for contravening a bylaw or rule, it must (1) receive a complaint; (2) give the owner (or tenant) details of the complaint in writing; and (3) provide a reasonable opportunity for the owner (or tenant) to answer the complaint. A reasonable opportunity to answer the complaint may include a hearing in front of the council, if the owner (or tenant) requests a hearing. If the person complained of is a tenant, the strata corporation must give notice of the complaint to the landlord and to the owner, if the landlord and the owner are not the same. Once the strata corporation has complied with (1), (2) and (3), it makes its decision and gives notice in writing of its decision to the person complained of. Then the strata corporation may impose a fine.
Our strata council has received a complaint about a council member contravening a bylaw, what do we do?
If a complaint is made about a council member contravening a bylaw or rule, the council member complained of must not participate in the decision made by council about the complaint.
Our strata corporation has never adopted any bylaws. Are we required to have bylaws?
Yes. A strata corporation must have bylaws. The Schedule of Standard Bylaws found in the Strata Property Act are the bylaws of every strata corporation, as of January 1, 2002, unless that strata corporation has repealed the Schedule of Standard Bylaws or resolved that the Schedule does not apply to their strata corporation. In that case, the strata corporation must adopt its own set of bylaws.
Must a strata corporation file its rules in the land title office?
No, rules are not filed in the land title office. The strata council adopts new rules by a majority vote and then advises the owners of new rules, perhaps in the council meeting minutes. Rules are effective from the date that owners are notified about them. However, if new rules are not ratified by the owners at a forthcoming special or annual general meeting, the rules cease to be effective.
Our strata corporation recently obtained all of our registered bylaws from the Land Title Office. It surprised us to find that Part 5 of the Condominium Act was registered as our bylaws in addition to a few other bylaws filed over the years. We thought that our bylaws were the Schedule of Standard Bylaws to the Strata Property Act. What does this mean?
Part 5 of the Condominium Act is the form of standard bylaws provided in that legislation. Where a strata corporation filed Part 5 as their bylaws, those bylaws continue to govern the strata corporation with the exception that any of those bylaws that are in conflict with the provisions of the Strata Property Act will be invalid and unenforceable as of January 1, 2002. In addition, the Schedule of Standard Bylaws to the Strata Property Act will also be your bylaws as of January 1, 2002 except where they conflict with any valid and enforceable bylaws already filed in the Land Title Office. Your strata corporation should review its bylaws and choose which bylaws the owners wish to carry forward and vote on a newly-revised set of bylaws. However, be sure to repeal the old bylaws to avoid any further confusion.
May council members be paid to perform their duties?
Yes, but any remuneration paid to a strata council member for performing council duties must be approved in advance of any payment in the annual budget or in the bylaws or by a resolution passed by a 3/4 vote at an annual or special general meeting.
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 strata corporation passed a bylaw two years ago prohibiting pets. An owner wishes to sell the owner's strata lot, but the prospective buyer has a pet. Is a "no pet" bylaw enforceable?
If the “no pet” bylaw was adopted by a 3/4 vote of the owners at a properly convened general meeting and filed in the Land Title Office, it is enforceable. A strata corporation may prohibit pets. However, the bylaw will not apply to a pet living with an owner, tenant or occupant at the time the bylaw was adopted.
What is the difference between rules and regulations? Are they not the same thing?
Under the Condominium Act, a strata corporation could make rules and regulations governing the enjoyment, safety and cleanliness of common property and common assets. Under the Strata Property Act, a strata corporation has rules, not rules and regulations. Rules govern the use, safety and condition of common property and common assets. Regulations are part of the Strata Property Act and are made by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.
Our strata corporation has a bylaw that prohibits dogs that was passed under the Condominium Act and filed in the Land Title Office. The strata corporation never filed any new bylaws when the the Strata Property Act came in. According to the Strata Property Act, the Schedule of Standard Bylaws applies to our strata corporation, but it has a different pet bylaw. Which bylaw applies?
The original pet bylaw still applies as long as it has not been repealed since the date it was passed. The Schedule of Standard Bylaws in the Strata Property Act applies only to the extent that your strata corporation does not have an enforceable bylaw that deals with the same issue. An enforceable bylaw on the same issue, filed in the Land Title Office, will take precedence over a bylaw in the Schedule of Standard Bylaws.
May the spouse of an owner who is not on title to a strata lot stand for council?
In order for the spouse of an owner who is not an owner to stand for council, the strata corporation must have a bylaw that permits the spouse of an owner to stand for council.
The strata corporation has a bylaw stating that all persons who occupy a strata lot must be over the age of 45. Is it enforceable?
Section 123(1.1) of the Strata Property Act provides that a strata corporation can pass a bylaw that restricts the age of persons who can reside in a strata lot. Neither the Strata Property Act nor the Human Rights Code set out any limitations or prohibitions about which ages are acceptable or not. As a result, such a bylaw is enforceable.
Our strata corporation recently filed a bylaw in the Land Title Office and the bylaw may be contrary to the Strata Property Act or any other legislation. Is it possible to file bylaws in the Land Title Office that are contrary to the Act?
Yes. The Land Title Office does not adjudicate on the enforceability of bylaws. As long as the strata corporation complies with Land Title Office requirements for filing documents, the Land Title Office will accept documents for filing. The Land Title Office does not scrutinize bylaws.
May a strata corporation have a rule that prohibits live Christmas trees?
Rules apply to common property, not strata lots. If a strata corporation adopts a rule that bans live Christmas trees, then it is only banning them from the common property. To prohibit live Christmas trees in strata lots, a strata corporation must adopt a bylaw.
May a strata corporation prevent an owner from voting if the strata lot is in arrears of strata fees?
Yes, but the strata corporation must have a bylaw that states that the vote for a strata lot may not be exercised if the strata corporation is entitled to register a lien. In that case, the owner may not vote.
May a strata corporation require an owner to reside in a strata lot for one year (or another period of time) before being allowed to rent the owner's strata lot?
No. A strata corporation may, by bylaw, prohibit rentals, limit the number of strata lots that may be rented or limit the period of time that strata lots may be rented. A strata corporation may not require an owner to first reside in the owner’s strata lot in order to qualify to rent the strata lot.