More B.C. residents are ending up in residential strata units with the growth in multifamily condo buildings.

More B.C. residents are ending up in residential strata units with the growth in multifamily condo buildings.

Top 10 tips for strata home buyers

B.C. notaries offer essential advice to avoid future strata trouble before signing on the dotted line

More than 1.5 million B.C. residents live in residential stratas – more than a third of the province’s population – but the rules imposed by strata councils can be a dangerous minefield for new buyers.

With that in mind, the Society of Notaries of B.C. has issued a top 10 list of essential tips for potential strata unit buyers to consider:

1. Carefully read through the strata’s bylaws and find out if any new bylaws are being proposed at an upcoming Annual General Meeting or Special General Meeting.

2. Parking can be contentious, so find out if the parking stalls are owned by the strata lot, or are limited common property with the right to exclusive use that can be assigned to the buyer by the seller, or are common property whose use can be re-assigned by the strata council upon sale.

3. 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.

4. Keep in mind B.C.’s leaky condo crisis, and discover whether there have been previous problems with water ingression in the building envelope, and whether it has been professionally remediated.

5. Ask whether major maintenance work is required in the future (eg. replacing the roof, balconies, re-plumbing, etc.).

6. Look into whether any legal action against the building or strata is in progress.

7. Find out how much money is in the contingency reserve.

8. Smoking can be an issue, so look into what you could do about an adjacent owner smoking on his or her patio or balcony.

9. Seek the advice of experienced real estate and legal professionals before you invest in a strata home.

10. Make an offer to purchase a property conditional upon your notary or lawyer’s approval.

Delta-based notary and society president John Eastwood said strata councils are “local mini-governments” that administer the Strata Property Act and the strata’s own set of rules.

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 B.C. home buyers.

“But, like any major purchase, it’s important buyers ensure they really understand the rules and regulations specific to each strata property,” added David Watts, a notary in downtown Vancouver.

The bylaws can include restrictions on age, pets, rentals, and other factors intended to benefit all owners, but they also impose limitations on the owners’ use of their property, Eastwood says.

“In some cases, the bylaws are updated every few years, which may introduce further, unexpected restrictions.”

Just Posted

The Arrowsmith Search and Rescue Society has outgrown its home at the Coombs-Hilliers Fire Department and will soon move to its new operations hall at the Qualicum Beach Airport. (PQB News file photo)
The Qualicum Beach Farmers Market is one of the organizations approved for a grant-in-aid by the Town of Qualicum Beach. (PQB News file photo)
COVID-19: Town of Qualicum Beach awards $80K in relief funds to community groups

Pandemic has put a financial strain on many organizations

The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Whiskey Creek gas station destroyed by fire after camper van explosion

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read