Bill 44 - Strata Statutes Amendments

Shawn Smith
Strata Law

The Province has introduced legislation which, if passed, will result in significant changes for many strata corporations. The legislation addresses three things:

1. The ability to hold electronic (virtual) meetings without the need for a bylaw authorizing such meetings;

2. An abolishment of the ability of strata corporations to prohibit or limit the rental of strata lots;

3. The prohibition of age restriction bylaws except where based on 55 years of age;

Amendments to sections 45 and 49 of the Strata Property Act (SPA) will permit strata corporations to hold electronic (virtual) meetings provided certain criteria are met. A bylaw authorizing participation by electronic means is no longer necessary. Strata corporations which have such a bylaw will need to review it against the final version of the legislation to ensure compliance.

Perhaps the most significant change will be the abolishment of all rental restrictions and prohibitions. A strata corporation which has such a bylaw will simply be unable to enforce it. Every owner will now be able to rent their strata lot. The prohibition against screening tenants or establishing criteria which a tenant must meet will remain, meaning that strata corporations will have no ability to regulate who may be a tenant.

Tenants will be required to comply with the bylaws and the Province has promised changes to the residential tenancy regime to allow strata corporations to employ the eviction provisions of s.138 of the SPA. Should the amendments pass, strata corporations should ensure their bylaws in fact refer to tenants, lest they be exempt from having to comply with them.

The rental bylaw changes will not affect the ability of strata corporations to restrict license arrangements such as short term travel accommodation use. Such restrictions will continue.

Lastly, strata corporations will no longer be able to create “adult only” buildings. The only acceptable age bylaw will be one where residents must be 55 or older. The current draft legislation contains no grandfathering or transition language. It would appear that any strata corporation which has an age bylaw which uses an age other than 55 will simply be unable to enforce that bylaw.

Once the final version of the legislation is approved strata corporations with age and rental bylaws should seek legal advice with respect to how the changes impact them. For now, simply stay tuned.

This article is intended for information purposes only and should not be taken as the provision of legal advice. Shawn M. Smith is lawyer whose practice focuses on strata property law. He frequently writes and lectures for strata associations. He is a partner with the law firm of Cleveland Doan LLP and can be reached at (604)536-5002 or shawn@clevelanddoan.com. He can be followed on Twitter @stratashawn.