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 BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes following provincial reopening announcement

Recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

HMCS Corner Brook returned to Victoria’s waters for the first time since 2015 on June 10. (Courtesy of the Royal Canadian Navy)
WATCH: Navy surveillance submarine returning to Victoria waters

HMCS Corner Brook one of first submarines to receive new communications systems

(Black Press Media file photo)
Copper piping missing, as suspect found with tools in Oak Bay commercial block

Police briefs include missing dinghy, speed stop turned impaired, wallet swiped from unlocked car

A new multi-family residential project at the corner of Hillside Avenue and Cook Street will feature nine below market-priced units aimed at middle-income, first-time homebuyers, through a partnership between BC Housing and the developer. (Courtesy City of Victoria)
Middle-income first time homebuyers gain access to nine homes in Victoria

BC Housing partners with development community to create affordable purchases

The District of Saanich has pinpointed funding requests to Oak Bay and Victoria to help offset the purchase price of the Kings Park greenspace and keep the property intact. (Courtesy District of Saanich)
Saanich requests funding help from neighbours to preserve Kings Road green space

District hopes Victoria and Oak Bay will join them in protecting urban green space

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Neighbours on edge of Nanaimo city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials watching U.K.’s Delta variant struggles, ‘may need to slow’ plan going forward

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Most Read