Condo Smarts: Bylaws must comply with rules of Strata Property Act


‘Our bylaws have been amended to permit more than one person in a strata lot to be elected to council. However, this isn’t fair, leaving two people in control of our strata corporation and no decision-making at council meetings.’

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Dear Tony:

We have two strata council members who have controlled everything for the past 10 years. The husband has always been the president and his wife the treasurer. They are dedicated to our building and have done an amazing amount of work. Still, recently, the president has been making a number of significant decisions, including bylaw enforcement, without calling a council meeting. There are five of us, so he would have been outvoted in each situation. Our bylaws have been amended to permit more than one person in a strata lot to be elected to council. However, this isn’t fair, leaving two people in control of our strata corporation and no decision-making at council meetings.

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How do you recommend we put a stop to this?

— Sandra V., Kelowna

Dear Sandra:

A fundamental principle of bylaws adopted by a strata corporation is that they must comply with the Strata Property Act, the Regulations, the BC Human Rights Code and any other enactment of the law.

Your bylaw that permits more than one person in a strata lot to be elected to council does not comply with the Act. “If a strata lot is owned by more than one person, only one owner of the strata lot may be a council member at any one time with respect to that strata lot .” The exception to this provision is small strata corporations of two to three units, where all owners are on council.

The best solution for strata councils feeling they are being bullied into decisions or ignored is to convene council meetings. Any council member can call a council meeting.

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Create an agenda of items requiring decisions and formalize the process. Then, vote and record the results of the votes.

A majority vote at council meetings differs from an Annual or Special General Meeting. It is a majority of those persons present at a council meeting. If four or five council members attend, it is three votes to pass a majority.

The positions of president, vice president, treasurer and secretary are also determined by majority vote. This is important as the president, or vice president has an additional vote if there is a tie. Who you elect as president has the additional ballot.

No council member has any special authority unless, by majority vote, the strata corporation has delegated that authority. A council member cannot be delegated the authority to enforce bylaws.

If an owner or tenant requests a hearing, you must convene a council meeting, conduct the hearing, and the council then determines the outcome and notifies the owner or tenant within seven days of the hearing. Read your bylaws before you make decisions.

Tony Gioventu is executive director of the Condominium Home Owners Association. Email [email protected]  

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