Common Property and Common Assets (22:V)
|This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by the Law Students' Legal Advice Program on July 24, 2023.|
A. Introduction to Common Property and Common Assets
Generally, property in a strata corporation that is not part of a strata lot is common property. Common property is a frequent source of disputes between strata lot owners and strata corporations, often over whether a strata owner has the right to use it or who is responsible for repairs or maintenance. Generally, the responsibility for repairs and maintenance are divided as follows: the strata corporation is responsible for the common property, while strata owners are responsible for their respective strata lots.
While common property is usually for the use and benefit of all the strata lot owners of a strata corporation, a strata corporation may grant short- or long-term exclusive use of common property or a common asset to a one or more owners. A strata corporation may also restrict access to common property areas where there are reasonable, operational reasons for doing so, such as mechanical rooms.
1. Definition and Use of Common Property
Section 1(1) of the SPA defines common property as follows:
- (a) that part of the land and buildings shown on a strata plan that is not part of a strata lot, and
- (b) pipes, wires, cables, chutes, ducts and other facilities for the passage or provision of water, sewage, drainage, gas, oil, electricity, telephone, radio, television, garbage, heating and cooling systems, or other similar services, if they are located
- (i) within a floor, wall or ceiling that forms a boundary
- (A) between a strata lot and another strata lot,
- (B) between a strata lot and the common property, or
- (C) between a strata lot or common property and another parcel of land, or
- (ii) wholly or partially within a strata lot, if they are capable of being and intended to be used in connection with the enjoyment of another strata lot or the common property.
- (i) within a floor, wall or ceiling that forms a boundary
a) “Not Part of a Strata Lot”
The areas of a strata plan that do not fall within a strata lot are automatically common property. This can include areas of the strata corporation that are not explicitly shown on the strata plan: see Chan v Owners, Strata Plan VR-151, 2010 BCSC 1725, where the court ruled that the airspace above a strata lot owner’s yard was common property.
Nevertheless, strata plan legends typically provide a way of designating common property areas, often using letters like “CP” or “C” on common spaces such as hallways, stairwells, elevators, and parking stalls. In a conventional strata plan, the land is common property.
In a bare land strata plan, the land itself is divided into strata lots. As a result, much of a building constructed on a strata lot, including even the exterior, are not considered common property. The common property would be limited to roads, sidewalks, and recreational facilities that do not fall within a strata lot. Underground services that service more than one strata lot would also be common property.
When a component of a system or service, such as water, mechanical, or electrical systems, is located on the common property, they are common property even if it only serves on strata lot: for instance, see Newman v The Owners, Strata Plan EPS 680, 2017 BCCRT 122. The location of these physical components is typically not marked on the strata plan, so it is necessary to refer to the original mechanical drawings.
Fixtures as Common Property
The SPA does not replace the common law relating to fixtures. Because the law considers fixtures to be part of the land, a strata lot owner who affixes their personal belongings onto the strata corporation’s common property may cause those belongings to become common property. However, if the object does not become a fixture, it remains a chattel, which remains as the strata lot owner’s personal property. The courts use a two-part test to determine whether an object is a fixture: see Royal Bank of Canada v Neilson (Trustee of), 43 BCLR (2d) 363, 1990 CanLII 1932 (BC CA).
Firstly, the court considers the object’s degree of attachment to the land or building. If an object stays in place by its own weight only, it is presumed to be a chattel unless it can be proven to be intended as part of the land. If the object has any amount of additional affixation to the land, it is presumed to be a fixture unless it can be proven to be intended to remain considered a chattel.
Secondly, the court considers the purpose of any affixation. If the affixation is for the better use of the land or building, the object is a fixture. If the affixation is for the better use of the object as itself, the object is a chattel.
For instance, in Young v The Owners, Strata Plan 111, 2022 BCCRT 793, the tribunal ruled that a chimney and deck installed on common property by a previous owner had become common property due to being a fixture. As a result, the strata corporation’s bylaw to make the subsequent owner responsible for their repair and maintenance was unenforceable due to the limitations from section 72 of the SPA on a strata corporation’s ability to make individual owners responsible for common property that is not limited common property.
b) “Pipes, Wires, Cables, Chutes, Ducts and Other Facilities”
“Within a Floor, Wall or Ceiling that Forms a Boundary”
When these components are found inside a wall that divides a strata lot from another strata lot, the common property, or another land parcel, the components are considered common property. This remains true even if the component in question only benefits one strata lot. The Civil Resolution Tribunal has found a number of such “well-embedded objects” to be common property:
- Shower diverters (Lorenz v The Owners, Strata Plan NW 2001, 2017 BCCRT 65);
- Shower mixing valves (Robinson v The Owners, Strata Plan NW 3308, 2019 BCCRT 238);
- Pressure reducing valves (Hufton v The Owners, Strata Plan NW 644, 2019 BCCRT 1096);
- Radiant heating system pipes in certain locations (Bindra v The Owners, Strata Plan EPS3829, 2021 BCCRT 1113);
- Toilet water supply line (Groven v The Owners, Strata Plan LMS 2460, 2022 BCCRT 1270);
- Dryer duct (Kill v The Owners, Strata Plan LMS2472, 2022 BCCRT 753).
In a bare land strata plan, the exterior walls of a building might lie entirely within the strata lot, so components found inside exterior walls may not necessarily meet this definition of common property.
“Wholly or Partially Within a Strata Lot”
If a component such as a pipe, wire, or cable is found entirely within a strata lot, it can still be common property if it is intended to and capable of being used for the benefit of another strata lot or the common property.
For instance, the court ruled in Fudge v Owners, Strata Plan NW2636, 2012 BCPC 409 that a drainage pipe located within the plaintiff’s lot was still considered common property, because the pipe was most properly seen as part of an integrated network of plumbing pipes intended to benefit all the lot owners as a whole, indivisible system.
Because these components are often closely integrated with systems servicing the strata complex, they are frequently found to be common property despite being located within a strata lot. See the following such examples:
- Hot water pipes (Taychuk v Owners, Strata Plan LMS 744, 2002 BCSC 1638);
- Drain pipes under a toilet (Perri v The Owners, Strata Plan KAS 3313, 2022 BCCRT 1257);
- Heat pumps whose operation had some degree of effect and reliance on heat pumps servicing other strata lots (Lin v The Owners, Strata Plan LMS 4071, 2020 BCCRT 690);
- Fan coil units connected to heat pumps found on common property (Bowie v The Owners, Strata Plan VIS 5766, 2020 BCCRT 733);
- Perimeter drainage in a yard that also benefits other strata lots and the common property (Chapel v The Owners, SP VIS 1517, 2017 BCCRT 5).
However, when such components are found to be not sufficiently integrated with the common property system, their location within the strata lot and servicing of only one strata lot renders them part of the strata lot. See the following such examples:
- Taps and sinks located entirely within the strata lot (Jaggard v The Owners, Strata Plan EPS1954, 2022 BCCRT 510);
- Hot water tanks (Sparacio v The Owners, Strata Plan LMS 4383, 2021 BCCRT 528);
- The drain pipe attached to a drain pipe that was common property (Sha v The Owners, Strata Plan NW 644, 2022 BCCRT 196);
- The water shut-off valve under a sink (The Owners, Strata Plan LMS 1880 v Harper, 2022 BCCRT 956).
In the case of a bare land strata plot, such systems are more likely to reside entirely within one strata lot and only serve that strata lot. This means that such components are less likely to be common property. For instance, see Beach et al v The Owners, Strata Plan KAS 722, 2018 BCCRT 2, Weideman v The Owners, Strata Plan K 495, 2022 BCCRT 140, and Punta Del Mar Estates Ltd. v The Owners, Strata Plan LMS 483, 2019 BCCRT 1020.
Determining whether a component found inside a strata lot is part of an integrated whole system likely requires consulting an expert in that kind of system.
2. Designation of Limited Common Property
The strata corporation can designate common property as limited common property (“LCP”) for the exclusive use of one or more strata lot owners. This is different from the SPA section 76 procedure to grant short-term exclusive use of common property.
Section 1(1) of the SPA defines LCP as common property “designated for the exclusive use of the owners of one or more strata lots.” Because LCP is created by designation, common property that happens to be physically accessible to only a subset of strata lot owners does not automatically make it LCP: see The Owners, Strata Plan LMS 1162 v Triple P Enterprises Ltd., 2018 BCSC 1502 at paras 24 – 26 and Poole v Owners, Strata Plan VR 2506, 2004 BCSC 1613.
Section 73 of the SPA provides for four methods to designate limited common property:
- By the owner developer on the strata plan deposited in the Land Title Office;
- By the owner developer designating parking stalls as limited common property under section 258;
- By an amendment to the strata plan under section 257;
- By a resolution passed by a ¾ vote under section 74.
For instance, in a strata plan containing residential strata lots, non-residential strata lots, and sections, the strata plan may allocate LCP for all the strata lots of a section. One possible purpose might be to designate some parking as visitor parking, or to restrict owners of commercial strata lots from facilities only intended for owners of residential strata lots.
Because an LCP designation may be created by a ¾ vote resolution that does not amend the strata plan, it is necessary to consult both the strata plan and the common property record to determine whether a piece of common property is LCP.
As noted in Macdonald v The Owners, EPS 522, 2019 BCSC 876, a designation of limited common property is more permanent when created by a strata plan amendment as opposed to a resolution: a strata plan amendment can only be reversed by a unanimous vote, but section 75(2) of the SPA allows a limited common property designation created by section 74 to be reversed by another resolution passed by a ¾ vote.
3. Definition of Common Asset
A common asset is property that is held by or on behalf of the strata corporation. Like common property, the owners of the strata corporation collectively own the strata corporation’s common assets as tenants in common (SPA, s 66). From section 1(1) of the SPA, common assets may come in the following forms:
- Personal property;
- Land that is not shown on the strata plan;
- Land that is shown as a strata lot on the strata plan.
A somewhat common example of a common asset is a strata lot owned by a strata corporation as a caretaker’s suite or a guest suite for owners’ visitors. Common assets may also come in the form of rights of easements. Sometimes, a strata corporation might co-own a strata lot with another strata corporation, each strata corporation co-owning a share of the common asset. Examples of personal property common assets include equipment and websites owned by the strata corporation.
B. Responsibilities of the Strata Corporation
Whether through the owner developer or the strata council, the strata corporation has a duty to manage and maintain the common property and common assets for the benefit of all the owners (SPA, s 3). This includes:
- Repair and maintenance (SPA, s 72(1));
- Obtaining and maintaining insurance, including for common property, common assets, and buildings shown on the strata plan (SPA, s 149(1)).
If an owner developer enters the strata corporation into a long-term lease of common property or assets, the lease may be rendered void and unenforceable if a court finds that it benefits the owner developer to the detriment of present or future owners. However, such leases may also be upheld if the owner developer gave sufficient notice through the disclosure statement or the land title registry: see The Owners, Strata Plan VIS2968 v K.R.C. Enterprises Inc., 2007 BCSC 774.
Section 72(2)(a) of the SPA enables a strata corporation to pass a bylaw to make an owner responsible for limited common property that the owner has a right to use. However, a bylaw that purports to make an owner responsible for repair and maintenance of common property without a designation as limited common property is unenforceable: although section 72(2)(b) enables a bylaw to make an owner responsible for undesignated common property if identified in the SPR, no such regulation has passed as of July 11, 2023. On the other hand, a strata corporation may pass bylaws to make a section responsible for repairing and maintaining common property, as confirmed in Norenger Development (Canada) Inc. v Strata Plan NW 3271, 2018 BCSC 1690.
It may be possible for an owner to be responsible for repairing common property that they have altered, to the extent that the damage is attributable to the owner’s modifications rather than general wear, tear, and deterioration over time: see Elahi v Owners, Strata Plan VR 1023, 2011 BCSC 1665 at para 55.
C. Responsibilities of Strata Lot Owners
The responsibility of strata lot owners towards common property and common assets can vary depending on the strata corporation’s bylaws. The Standard Bylaws contain a number of provisions relating to owners’ responsibility for common property and common assets, but these provisions would not apply to any strata corporation that has amended them out.
Section 130 of the SPA makes owners and tenants responsible for contraventions of bylaws or rules, including those by visitors they have invited. Under Standard Bylaw 3, owners, their tenants, occupants, or visitors must not do any of the following regarding strata lots, common property, or common assets:
- Cause a nuisance or hazard to another person;
- Cause unreasonable noise;
- Unreasonably interfere with the rights of other persons to use and enjoy the common property, common assets or another strata lot;
- Do anything illegal;
- Contradict the express or implied purpose of a strata lot or common property;
- Cause damage greater than reasonable wear and tear to any property that is the responsibility of the strata corporation;
- Exceed the prescribed number of pets or leave animals unsecured on common property.
Standard Bylaw 6 requires owners to obtain the strata corporation’s written approval before making any alteration to any common property. This is best conducted through a resolution of the strata council that is recorded in the strata council meeting minutes, along with any terms and conditions. Typically, an unauthorized alteration to common property or common assets would be a violation of the strata corporation’s bylaws, meaning that the responsible owner may be subject to the strata corporation’s enforcement measures such as fines. The strata may also remove the alteration and charge the cost of doing so to the owner.
Standard Bylaw 8 makes the strata corporation responsible for repairs and maintenance of limited common property if the repair or maintenance occurs less than once per year, or if the repair or maintenance occurs on certain exterior structural elements. Generally speaking, this means that owners are only responsible for regularly occurring repairs or maintenance of interior limited common property.
D. Ownership of Common Property
1. Nature of Common Property Ownership
Each strata lot owner owns the common property and common assets of the strata corporation as a tenant in common, proportionate to their unit entitlement (SPA, s 66). To determine a strata lot’s share of the common ownership, its unit entitlement is divided by the sum of all unit entitlements in the strata corporation. The strata corporation retains control over use and maintenance of the common property and common assets.
Because a strata corporation must manage common property for the benefit of the owners as a whole, it cannot make any guarantees to strata lot purchasers about exclusive use of common property, other than through designations of limited common property: see Hill v Strata Plan NW 2477 (Owners), 2 BCAC 289, 1991 CanLII 529 (BC CA).
Residents have a reasonable expectation of privacy in areas of the common property that would normally only be accessed for repair or maintenance purposes. As a result, pursuant to section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a search warrant is typically required for police investigations in such areas: see R v DiPalma, 2008 BCCA 342. In contrast, for areas of the common property where it is expected that visitors might be admitted, such as hallways and secured parking lots, the expectation of privacy may not exist: see R v Hugh, 2014 BCSC 1426.
When a strata lot owner sells their strata lot, their share of the common property is automatically transferred to the new owner due to section 66 of the SPA: see Christian v Calvano, 2014 BCSC 2392.
E. Boundaries of Common Property
1. Strata Lot Boundaries
Section 1(1) of the SPA defines common property as “that part of the land and buildings shown on a strata plan that is not part of a strata lot.” This may raise questions of the boundaries of a strata lot with respect to adjacent building components that are not shown on the strata plan.
Section 68 of the SPA provides that unless the strata plan shows otherwise, the boundary between a strata lot and another strata lot, the common property, or another land parcel is the midpoint of the structural portion of the dividing wall, floor, or ceiling. In the absence of a dividing wall, floor, or ceiling, the boundary is defined by the strata plan.
Accordingly, the inside of a wall is not inherently common property, although components found inside boundary walls are likely common property.
The boundaries of strata lots on bare land strata plans must be delineated with reference to survey markers, as approved by the Surveyor General.
2. Windows, Doors, and Skylights
Windows, doors, and skylights may be situated on top of a strata lot boundary, raising potential questions about ownership and responsibility. A door seemingly attached to a strata lot may nevertheless be common property due to being situated on the exterior side of the strata lot boundary in the midpoint of the wall: see Aminolashrafi v The Owners, Strata Plan BCS152, 2022 BCCRT 695 at para 15.
If Standard Bylaw 8 is still in effect for a strata corporation, such building components are the responsibility of the strata corporation in all situations. Otherwise, the strata corporation may pass an alternative bylaw charging it with responsibility for windows, doors, and skylights that are part of a strata lot, as permitted by section 72(3) of the SPA.
The CRT has found windows, doors, and skylights that straddle strata lot boundaries to be common property: see for instance Seymour et al v The Owners, Strata Plan VR2697, 2018 BCCRT 227 at para 25. This makes any bylaw making individual owners responsible for their repair and maintenance unenforceable due to section 72(2)(b) of the SPA.
F. Implied Easements
Section 77 of the SPA require owners to give the strata corporation reasonable access to common property in order to perform its duties, such as the duty to repair limited common property whose responsibility still rests on the strata corporation as per its bylaws. This is largely relevant for situations where common property is only accessible through a strata lot, such as a limited common property balcony accessible only through one strata lot.
What constitutes “reasonable access” depends on the bylaws. In Standard Bylaw 7, 48 hours’ notice of a valid reason for entry requires an owner, tenant, occupant, or visitor to grant the strata corporation access to property that is under the responsibility of the strata corporation. If the owner continues to refuse access, the strata corporation may apply for a court or CRT order to obtain access.
In Poole v Owners, Strata Plan VR 2506, 2004 BCSC 1613, the court upheld that an owner with authorized access to limited common property has a similar right to refuse unreasonable access by the strata corporation to common property.
G. Various Uses of Common Property
The following all affect how a particular piece of common property may be used in a strata corporation:
- The strata plan;
- The bylaws and rules;
- The location of the common property;
- The strata corporation’s duty to manage and maintain common property and assets for the benefit of the owners;
- The owner developer’s disclosure statement.
1. Recreational Facilities
Many strata developments have recreational facilities for the owners’ use. They are typically subject to rules that may, for instance, govern hours of operation or usage by guests. Recreational facilities may be common property, limited common property, another strata lot, or even a common asset on another land parcel.
When a recreational facility is intended the be used and accessed by more than one strata corporation, there may be easements granting mutual access to the facility. These easements must be registered to be enforceable, and once registered, they continue to bind future owners until removed.
2. The Roof
Roofs are common property, unless designated as limited common property on the strata plan for the benefit of all strata lots of a section. As common property, roofs are the responsibility of the strata corporation; as limited common property, the roof is the responsibility of its assigned section.
3. Gardens and Back Yards
A garden or back yard adjacent to a strata lot is common property, unless designated on the strata plan as limited common property or part of the adjacent strata lot. The air space above a yard that is part of a strata lot is common property: Chan v Owners, Strata Plan VR-151, 2010 BCSC 1725.
Unless exclusive use is granted under section 76 of the SPA, the owner of the strata lot beside a common property garden or yard is not entitled to exclusive use. As with all other common property, alterations to a common property garden or yard requires the approval of the strata corporation. Therefore, it is advisable for a strata lot owner to ascertain whether a garden or yard is part of their strata lot or the common property before proceeding with alterations.
H. Alterations to Common Property
Under the Standard Bylaws, a strata lot owner cannot alter any common property or assets without the strata corporation’s prior written permission. In contrast, the strata corporation is only limited by sections 71, 96, 97, and 98 of the SPA in its ability to alter common property.
1. Alterations by the Strata Corporation
Sections 96 to 98 of the SPA enumerate spending restrictions on a strata corporation in the course of altering common property.
The main restriction on a strata corporation’s authority to alter common property is section 71 of the SPA: significant changes in the use or appearance of common property or common assets require ¾ approval of the strata lot owners. This includes limited common property: see BOWIE v The Owners, Strata Plan VR1122, 2019 BCCRT 1342. If there are reasonable grounds to believe that immediate change is necessary to ensure safety or prevent significant loss or damage, only the strata council acting for the strata corporation is required to approve the change.
To determine whether a proposed change is “significant,” the court listed the following factors in Foley v The Owners, Strata Plan VR 387, 2014 BCSC 1333 at para 19:
- Whether the change is visible to residents or the general public;
- Whether the change affects the use or enjoyment of any strata lots;
- Whether the change caused any direct interference or disruption to use;
- Whether the change impacted the marketability or value of the strata lot;
- The number and types of strata lots in the strata corporation;
- Past precedent from the strata corporation’s prior governance.
The following are examples of alterations that have been ruled to not be a significant change requiring approval of the owners:
- Planting shrubbery (Reid v Strata Plan LMS 2503 (Owners), 2001 BCSC 1578);
- Trimming hedges (Muscardin v The Owners, Strata Plan LMS3758, 2022 BCCRT 912);
- Changing storage lockers from wood to wire (Kaminski v The Owners, Strata Plan K 577, 2021 BCCRT 1246).
In contrast, the following alterations have been found to be significant:
- Removing windows (Basran v The Owners, Strata Plan NW 1868, 2020 BCCRT 573);
- Changing carpet to carpet tiles (Porcheron et al v The Owners, Strata Plan KAS 2716, 2018 BCCRT 161);
- Changing the paint colour of the exterior trim (Solvberg v The Owners, Strata LMS 753, 2018 BCCRT 309).
2. Alteration by Owners
Under the Standard Bylaws, owners must receive prior written consent of the strata corporation before making any alterations to common property, including limited common property or common assets. Significant changes must be approved by ¾ of the strata lot owners, regardless of the bylaws of the strata corporation.
The strata council or the strata lot owners (in the case of a significant change) may reject a proposed alteration to common property, although it is possible for such a rejection to be struck down as a “significantly unfair act” under section 164 of the SPA. For instance, a section 164 claim might arise if a strata council rejects an alteration despite approving similar alterations in the past.
Owners should ensure to obtain all required municipal permits and approvals before proceeding with alterations; failure to do so can lead to problems. For instance, in Kaufmann v Strata Corporation, Strata Plan 770, 2008 BCSC 863, an alteration was approved by the strata corporation but later found to violate the building’s zoning. The court refused to order the strata corporation to apply for the necessary rezoning to accommodate the alteration, on the grounds that such an undertaking would be unduly burdensome for the strata corporation.
3. Previously Approved Alterations
Repairs and maintenance to common property may sometimes require the removal of previously approved alterations. An owner must re-apply for permission to reinstall the removed alteration, and cannot assume a right to reinstall the alteration due to approval of its previous installation (Baker v The owners, Strata Plan NW3304, 2002 BCSC 1559).
However, before a strata corporation commences such repairs, it must consider the possibility of proceeding without removing the previously approved alteration; failure to do so may cause the removal to constitute a significantly unfair act (The Owners, Strata Plan VR 663 v Murphy, 2012 BCSC 1294).
4. Indemnity Agreements Related to Alterations
A strata corporation is permitted to require a strata lot owner to assume responsibility for any expenses arising from alterations of common property. For the purposes of owner or tenant insurance policies, such an indemnity agreement should list the items and amounts to be covered.
Under section 59(3)(c) of the SPA, the Information Certificate that a strata corporation issues must disclose these indemnity agreements. If a strata corporation fails to make this disclosure to a strata lot purchaser, the new owner could be exempt from the indemnity agreement due to not being a party to the original agreement: see Nguyen v The Owners, Strata Plan Vr 97, 2022 BCCRT 260.
I. Duty to Repair
The classification of property as part of a strata lot, common property, or limited common property will determine whether the strata corporation or the strata owners have the duty to repair it.
1. Repair of Common Property
From section 72 of the SPA, the strata corporation must repair and maintain common property and common assets. Bylaws may make the strata corporation responsible for the repair and maintenance of specified portions of a strata lot. Bylaws may also make an owner responsible for the repair and maintenance of the following:
- Limited common property that the owner has a right to use;
- Common property other than limited common property, but only as identified in the SPR and subject to prescribed restrictions.
As of July 11, 2023, no regulation has been passed to give effect to section 72(2)(b). Therefore, a bylaw purporting to make an owner responsible for common property is unenforceable. Strata corporations nevertheless sometimes enter into an agreement with an owner for that owner to be responsible for the expenses of repairing and maintaining alterations to common property, under the grounds that this responsibility would not be imposed by bylaw; it is an open question as for whether this practice is permitted by the SPA.
The standard of a strata corporation’s section 72 duties is reasonableness, not perfection: see Weir v Owners, Strata Plan NW 17, 2010 BCSC 784. This means that a strata corporation is not limited to the “best” solution to a repair situation. Their duty to act in the interests of the owners does not reach as far as a fiduciary duty (Petersen v Proline Management Ltd., 2007 BCSC 790), and a strata corporation that acts reasonably does not become liable for claims of negligence caused by defective repairs (Wright v The Owners, Strata Plan #205, [1996 BCJ No 381 (QL), 1996 CanLII 2460 (BC SC)]). Because a strata council is made up of volunteers who are not expected to have expertise in building maintenance and repair, the strata council is entitled to rely on the advice of its contractors and other professionals: see Dolnik v The Owners, Strata Plan LMS 1350, 2023 BCSC 113 at para 69.
In some situations, a strata corporation’s failure to satisfy its duty to repair can constitute a significantly unfair act under section 164 of the SPA. However, failing to reasonably repair and maintain common property is not automatically significantly unfair: see Jobanputra v The Owners, Strata Plan VR 911, 2023 BCCRT 602.
J. Bylaws and Rules on Common Property and Common Assets
Any Standard Bylaw does not apply to a strata corporation that has amended it out.
1. Schedule of Standard Bylaws
Under Standard Bylaw 2(2), an owner who has the use of limited common property is by default responsible for its repair and maintenance, except as provided in other bylaws.
Under Standard Bylaw 8(c), the strata corporation is responsible for repairs and maintenance of limited common property that occur less frequently than once a year, as well as all repairs and maintenance of a variety of exterior building elements.
2. Repair and Maintenance by Owner
The conjunction of Standard Bylaws 2(2) and 8(c) make an owner responsible for frequently occurring repairs and maintenance of limited common property elements. Standard Bylaw 3(2) may make an owner responsible for repairs to any damage to the strata corporation’s common property and common assets that they, a tenant, an occupant, or a visitor caused.
K. Granting Short-term, Exclusive Use of Common Property
For common property that is not designated as limited common property, section 76 of the SPA enables the strata corporation to grant exclusive use to an owner or tenant. This permission can be made subject to conditions. Generally, this permission should be made in writing and recorded in strata council meeting minutes.
Permission for short-term exclusive use of common property can last for a maximum of one year. Afterwards, the strata corporation may choose to renew that permission, possibly with a different period or set of conditions. Short-term exclusive use of common property may be revoked by the strata corporation providing reasonable notice to the owner or tenant enjoying exclusive use, as long as doing so is not significantly unfair.
The most common use of section 76 is to assign owners to parking stalls that are common property. Another possible use of section 76 is common property that is only accessible through one strata lot, such as some yards or patios. Section 76 enables the strata corporation to regulate the area’s use differently across time.
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