Living in a strata is a fact of life for many in the Lower Mainland and especially in Vancouver if home ownership is to be achievable. There are many benefits to strata life while at the same time some perils to watch out for. Below is a list in no particular order of things to be aware of in a strata living situation:
Strata corporations may have bylaws that lean towards fascist in some respects. Examples might be whether or not you can barbecue on “your” balcony or if pets need to be leashed in common areas. A client of mine quickly amassed fines of several hundreds of dollars when her tenants left some empty boxes in the underground parking space. In extreme cases, strata unit owners can be compelled to sell their property if they break strata rules over time without any effort to alter their rule-breaking ways.
Self-determination (or lack thereof)
Important decisions like whether or not to undertake major repairs to a strata building will be decided on through a majority vote by strata members. That is, the strata members that bother to attend the AGM or SGM either in person or by proxy. I’ve seen important votes decided by less than 10% of the owners of a particular building because so many couldn’t be bothered to show up.
Just because you own a strata property does not guarantee that your neighbors will be quiet and neighborly. There seems to be a misconception that only tenants tend to be noisy and difficult to live next to. I know of many stories of strata owners that are nearly as bad or worse. Also, if you own in a strata and you end up not getting along with your adjacent neighbour it’s certainly not easy or inexpensive to move away as compared to a more mobile tenant choosing to move away.
I welcome questions you have about selling or buying.
Feel free to comment here or contact me directly.