The popularity of strata title properties is rising in BC as both first-time buyers and empty nesters embrace their relative financial accessibility and convenience. The lower maintenance, shared amenities and relative affordability of condos, townhomes and other strata properties as compared to single-family homes offer benefits for many BC home buyers.
It’s estimated that more than 1.5 million BC residents live in residential stratas–34 percent of BC’s population.
Strata ownership is a great alternative to owning and maintaining a house, but BC Notaries caution that buyers need to understand it’s a different form of ownership and those considering a purchase should know exactly what they are acquiring.
Essentially, strata councils are local mini-governments that administer the Strata Property Act and the strata’s own set of rules. Strata bylaws can include restrictions on age, pets, rentals, and other factors intended to benefit all the owners, but at the same time they impose limitations on the owners.
With this in mind, The Society of Notaries of BC offers 10 essential tips to potential strata unit buyers:
- Carefully read the strata’s bylaws and find out if any new bylaws are currently proposed at an upcoming Annual General Meeting or Special General Meeting.
- Parking can be contentious, so find out if the parking stalls are owned by the strata lot, or are limited common property and how they would be addressed upon sale.
- Find out whether an engineering report has been obtained to determine any current or potential problems. If so, review the findings and ask what will be done to address problems.
- Keep in mind BC’s leaky condo crisis, and find out whether there have been problems withwater, and whether it has been professionally remediated.
- Ask whether major maintenance work is required in the future (eg. replacing the roof, balconies, re-plumbing, etc.).
- Look into whether any legal action is in progress against the building or strata.
- Find out how much money is in the contingency reserve.
- Smoking can be an issue, so make sure you understand the rules and restrictions and how they will impact you and your enjoyment of your home.
- Seek the advice of experienced real estate and legal professionals before you invest in a strata home.
- Make an offer to purchase a property conditional upon your notary or lawyer’s approval.
**** A Canadian Certified Immigration Consultant, Certified Senior Advisor and a Notary Public in the City of Burnaby, Editha Corrales Nelson’s preferred areas of practice are Powers of Attorney, Wills Preparation, International Legal Documents, Name Changes, Affidavits, Letters of Invitation, Statutory Declarations, Drafting of Business Contracts and other notarial services. For an appointment, please call: 604-777-2757.
The following should not be construed as providing legal advice and information in this column is intended only as a general guide and should not be applied to specific circumstances without further consultation. For more information on the subject, contact Editha Corrales Nelson at 604-777-2757 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.