New Changes To Strata Laws Benefit Owners, Buyers and Renters In B.C.

This news release came out from the Ministry of Housing and Social Development September 21, 2009. Do you think these changes will affect the sale of strata real estate in Kamloops?

Changes to the Strata Property Act will create more rental housing and improve the dispute resolution process for strata owners and strata corporations, Housing and Social Development Minister Rich Coleman announced today.

“These amendments will help owners and buyers protect their hard-earned investments,” said Coleman. “As well, in new strata developments, owners, tenants and buyers will have greater flexibility to rent a strata unit, creating more rental units, which we know are in demand in our tight housing market here in British Columbia.”

The proposals will mean that new strata corporations cannot change rules about rental units that impact the rights of owners and purchasers or the marketability of the units. Owners will be able to continue to rent their units until the date the rental period originally disclosed by the developer expires. Existing strata owners will not be affected by the change.

“We support legislative amendments that will result in more rental units coming onto the market,” said Martha Lewis, executive director of the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre. “It is upsetting to have condo units sitting empty at a time when many people are searching for appropriate housing. The sooner the amendments come into effect, the better.”

The proposed changes will allow disputes to be heard in Small Claims Court, rather than the B.C. Supreme Court. Strata corporations and strata owners will also be able to use arbitration or mediation rather than going to court. Strata corporations will have to provide audited financial statements and obtain depreciation reports to help them prepare for future repairs or upgrades. Owners and potential buyers will be able to access these reports.

The amendments also confirm that strata corporations can set age restriction bylaws to create adult and seniors’ communities, under both the Strata Property Act and the BC Human Rights Code.

The Strata Property Act provides a framework for the creation and operation of strata developments in British Columbia and sets out the guidelines under which strata corporations must operate. Amendments were previously introduced earlier in 2009.

Seumas Gordon: Media Relations Officer,  Ministry of Housing and Social Development Phone: 250 387-6490