Proposed strata changes potential ‘windfall’ for condo owners, developers

 

New rules would make it easier for strata committees to allow for redevelopment

 
 
 
 
Proposed changes to make it easier for condo owners to terminate their strata corporation will benefit people living in older buildings, according to a strata property lawyer.
 

Proposed changes to make it easier for condo owners to terminate their strata corporation will benefit people living in older buildings, according to a strata property lawyer.

Photograph by: brian morton, VANCOUVER SUN

More on This Story

 

Proposed changes to make it easier for condo owners to terminate their strata corporation will benefit people living in older deteriorating buildings, according to a strata property lawyer.

It’s also a potential windfall for developers.

“It’s a windfall for developers because it provides them with all kinds of potential land development in choice areas,” Patrick Williams said of the proposed changes, which are based on recommendations by the B.C. Law Institute. Williams is a partner at Clark Wilson and chairman of the strata property law project committee at the law institute.

“But, it’s also a windfall for the stratas because the stratas won’t take less than some kind of increased value and the courts aren’t probably going to grant the order unless the owners have got the best price possible.”

Williams was responding to proposed changes to the Strata Property Act to allow strata corporation members to terminate the corporation with an 80 per cent vote. A unanimous vote is now needed, making it difficult to wind up a corporation in cases where a building is at the end of its life cycle or where strata members want to sell their property for redevelopment.

In announcing the proposed changes, the provincial government said they are widely supported by landlord and tenant groups and condominium owners’ associations.

Tony Gioventu, executive director of the Condominium Home Owners’ Association, said in a statement that the proposed changes are a “welcome change for condo owners in B.C. who are struggling with aging buildings that are now imposing extremely high costs for renewals, and are prevented from considering redevelopment offers because they cannot obtain a unanimous vote of the strata.”

He said a unanimous vote is virtually impossible in most stratas.

“The provisions for an 80 per cent vote that requires the approval of the courts will ensure that the minority interests are still protected and the liquidation is beneficial for the strata as a collective, not just a focused interest group.”

According to Williams, strata buildings have existed since 1966, with many predating them as conversions.

“A lot of these buildings are three- and four-storey wood frame walk-ups and they’ve deteriorated significantly. Often the cost (of remediating or maintaining them) is significantly more than the increase in the value as the result of doing it.

“We’re finding, especially with those ones near the SkyTrain stations, for example, that if these people agreed to cancel their strata plan and sell it to a developer, the developer can take it from four storeys to 20 storeys. The municipalities are happy with that, because it increases taxes.”

Williams said the legislation could affect hundreds of buildings. “Anecdotally, we’ve had all kinds of calls from people in the last year asking to do this and we’ve told them it’s so difficult to do because you need a unanimous resolution.”

However, he noted, even with an 80 per cent vote, a court order is still required.

“For example, if you have 83 per cent in favour and you live there and you’re against it. Then you have the ability to go into court and say this is significantly unfair to me. If you can persuade the court, the court will not order the cancellation even though there’s an 80 per cent vote.”

Williams, who expects the legislation to be passed within two months, said it would apply to all sizes of buildings. “It could be four (condos) or 104, or 1,004.”

bmorton@vancouversun.com

 
 
 
Font:
 
 
 
 
Proposed changes to make it easier for condo owners to terminate their strata corporation will benefit people living in older buildings, according to a strata property lawyer.
 

Proposed changes to make it easier for condo owners to terminate their strata corporation will benefit people living in older buildings, according to a strata property lawyer.

Photograph by: brian morton, VANCOUVER SUN

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles and blog posts. We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, and please keep your comments relevant and respectful. If you encounter a comment that is abusive, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box to report spam or abuse. We are using Facebook commenting. Visit our FAQ page for more information.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Your voice