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Overview Of The Strata Property Act

In This Volume

Before 1966, the most common form of land tenure in British Columbia was fee simple ownership of a parcel of land defined by vertical boundaries. A lot included both the area measured on the ground and the space above it.

With the enactment of the Strata Titles Act, S.B.C. 1966, c. 46, the concept of fee simple ownership was extended to include land delineated by both vertical and horizontal boundaries. The effect of the legislation was to permit the subdivision of a parcel of land into strata lots, or the subdivision of part of a building, such as an apartment block, a townhouse, or a commercial development.

In addition to the portions of the land and the building that are registered in fee simple in the names of the individual owners, the Strata Property Act provides for the ownership and management of property that is common to the development, such as landscaped areas, driveways, parking, and common storage areas.

The Strata Property Act, S.B.C. 1998, c. 43, repealed and replaced the Condominium Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 64. The Strata Property Act came into force July 1, 2000 by B.C. Reg. 43/2000. References in this Manual to the Condominium Act are references to the Condominium Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 64, as repealed by s. 294 of the Strata Property Act.

GENERAL EFFECNT ON LAND TITLE PRACTICE

The requirements for the registration of strata plans are similar to the requirements for the registration of other subdivision plans. The strata plan must be prepared by a British Columbia land surveyor. The plan includes the boundaries of the land and the strata lots, the location of the buildings, if any, and the identification of the strata lots by numbers or letters.

The Act also provides a framework for

  1. setting out the duties and responsibilities of owner developers before and after the first conveyance of a strata lot,
  2. establishing a strata corporation to manage the development,
  3. allocating voting rights to each strata lot,
  4. electing owners to a strata council,
  5. establishing the requirements and procedures for general property matters,
  6. determining the amount that each owner contributes to the common expenses,
  7. establishing a Schedule of Standard Bylaws and authorizing the strata council to pass and enforce bylaws and rules,
  8. setting guidelines for legal proceedings and dispute resolution,
  9. depositing and registering strata plans,
  10. amending and amalgamating strata plans,
  11. amending Schedules of Unit Entitlement, and
  12. providing for the distribution of the assets of the strata corporation on cancellation of the strata plan and the winding up of the strata corporation.

A strata plan may be deposited in successive phases so that units in a development may be constructed at different times. A strata plan may also be registered against land leased from the governments of British Columbia or Canada, a municipality, regional district, or other public authority. In addition, a strata corporation may have sections for the purpose of representing the different interests of (1) owners of residential strata lots and owners of nonresidential strata lots; (2) owners of nonresidential strata lots, if they use their lots for significantly different purposes; or (3) owners of different types of residential strata lots.

REGULATIONS AND FORMS

Relevant provisions from the Strata Property Regulation, B.C. Reg. 43/2000, are referenced throughout the Act. The Strata Property Regulation is included in chapter 57 (Strata Property Regulations) in this Manual. Regulations made pursuant to the Land Title Act are cross-referenced following the relevant sections. The Land Title Act Regulation, B.C. Reg. 334/79, is included in chapter 32 (Land Title Act—Regulations and Director’s Directions) in this Manual.

The Director of Land Titles has approved and adopted directions for electronic land title forms and requirements for hardcopy land title transfer forms. These directions are set out in the E-filing Directions (available at ltsa.ca under “Practice Info”, “E-filing User Guides and Publications” and also reproduced in chapter 69 (Director’s Directions) of this Manual).

This document establishes the e-filing directions made by the Director under Part 10.1 of the Land Title Act. These directions replace the Director’s Requirements related to e-filing and reflect amendments to the Act. The document sets out the specific directions related to:

  1. directions for electronic forms;
  2. electronic signatures and certification by a designate;
  3. certification authority and subscriber;
  4. the Authorized Subscriber Register; and
  5. required e-filing.

Hardcopy Land Title Forms (DR 04-11) (available at ltsa.ca)

Sets out the approved hardcopy forms for an application under the Land Title Act and the requirements for completing those forms

Completion Instructions for electronic land title forms are set out in the

  • the Land Title Electronic Forms Guidebook, 6th ed. (CLEBC, 2013), commonly cited as the “Green Book”;
  • Land Title Web Filing Form Practice Guides;
  • Directions for Completing EFS Forms; and
  • EFS User’s Guide;

the latter three of which are at ltsa.ca under “Practice Info”, “E-filing User Guides and Publications”.

Completion Instructions for hardcopy transfer forms (available at ltsa.ca)

Sets out requirements for completing hardcopy transfer forms

Forms under the Strata Property Act are also referenced throughout the Act. The material in chapter 58 (Strata Property Forms) in this Manual includes the forms prescribed under the Strata Property Regulation, B.C. Reg. 43/2000. The Director of Land Titles has designated certain documents and forms under the Strata Property Act for electronic filing. These supporting documents are identified in this chapter.

This Manual also includes an index for the strata property material in chapter 59 (Strata Property Index) in this Manual.

SURVEY AND PLAN RULES

The Survey and Plan Rules apply with respect to surveys and strata plans. The rules are made by the Association of British Columbia Land Surveyors and approved and ordered by the Surveyor General. The rules are available at www.abcls.ca. Note that these rules are revised frequently and readers should refer to the ABCLS website for the most up-to-date version.

The Director of Land Titles has e-filing directions for electronic plans and plan applications set out in the Electronic Land Title Plan and Plan Application Requirements, published at ltsa.ca under “Practice Info”, “E-filing User Guides and Publications”.

CROSS REFERENCES AND OTHER SOURCES OF INFORMATION

In addition to this Manual, the following materials are available on the Strata Property Act:

  • British Columbia Strata Property Practice Manual (CLEBC, 2008–)
  • Smythe and Vogt, McCarthy Tétrault’s Annotated British Columbia Strata Property Act (Canada Law Book, 2002–)
  • Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate web page: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/organizational-structure/ministries-organizations/central-government-agencies/office-of-the-superintendent-of-real-estate (scroll down to “Strata property” and click on “Learn more about Strata Housing”)
  • Strata Property Act (CLEBC, May 2000) (materials prepared for the Continuing Legal Education seminar, The New Strata Property Act, held in Vancouver, B.C., on May 11, 2000)
  • Strata Property—2004 Update (CLEBC, 2004)
  • Strata Property—2002 Update (CLEBC, 2002)
  • Strata Property—2011 Update (CLEBC, 2011)
  • Strata Property—2013 Update (CLEBC, 2013)
  • Strata Property—2015 Update (CLEBC, 2015)
  • Strata Property—2017 Update (CLEBC, 2017)
  • Strata Property—2019 Update (CLEBC, 2019)
  • The most recent course materials from the Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia are available on CLE Online, which can be accessed at www.cle.bc.ca.

The following materials are available on the Condominium Act:

  • Burns and McLellan, Condominium: The Law and Administration in Ontario (Carswell, 1981)
  • Condominium Law (CLEBC, 1989)
  • Di Castri, Registration of Title to Land, vol. 1, chap. 6, paras. 162 to 193
  • Fairweather and Ramsay, Condominium Law & Practice in British Columbia (CLEBC, 1996)
  • Loeb, Condominium Law and Administration, 2nd ed. (Carswell, 1989)
  • Pavlich, Condominium Law in British Columbia (Butterworths, 1983)

CASE LAW

Constitutionality

The following case, decided under the Condominium Act, confirms that the constitutionality of the Act is not in question.

The constitutionality of the Condominium Act cannot be questioned as it falls squarely within the property and civil rights jurisdiction of the province under s. 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867 (Landmark Monterey Condominium Council v. Como (1984), 9 Admin. L.R. 269 (B.C. Co. Ct.)).

General Caution

The case law in this chapter has been selected where it assists in informing land title practice. The case law coverage is not complete, and readers interested in other strata property matters are encouraged to use original reports or other reference materials.