Housing: Strata and Co-Op Councils

British Columbia has the mixed blessing of being a favoured destination for many international migrants and investors. While this is overall a very positive thing for our economy, one result is that affordable housing has become scarce.

We believe that part of the problem is the fact that ownership of a strata property, which may the the only sort of property which a prospective homeowner can afford, is increasingly viewed as undesirable, and the only way to resolve the affordable housing issue is to recognize and fix the issues with the current strata laws.


Full Transparency of all Strata-Related Transactions Made by Decision Makers

Any person or entity that has any influence over any purchases in a co-op or strata corporation will be obligated to disclose any payments, gifts or gratuities that they receive. These would be the payments, gifts or gratuities, that can be viewed as directly or indirectly associated with a Co-op/Strata purchase or project.

This disclosure, if provided sufficient legal backing, should help prevent strata council members from lining their own pockets at the expense of the property owners.


Full Transparency with Contracts and Bids

When a contract in the amount of $3000.00 or more is considered for the co-op/Strata, unless deemed an emergency, it must go out to an open bid. All the co-op/strata members in the corporation, plus three suppliers, must have a minimum of 30 days written notice to reply to, make comments, or bid on a contract. Any bid by an owner or a contact of an owner must be considered and allowed to be in the bid process

When a bid has been closed and decided upon, there must be a written report to all the bidders and co-op/strata members with full disclosure of all the bidders names, bid amounts and why each bidder was considered or not considered.


Full Transparency with Co-op/Strata Meetings

Any Co-op/Strata member should have full rights to be at any Co-op/Strata Council meeting as an "Observer".  As an "Observer" means the member does not have the right to comment unless ask by council. While a strata council may make reasonable restrictions on electronic recording equipment, there should be no restriction on note-taking on the part of the observer.


Full Accountability for Depreciation Reports and Inspection Companies

While there are currently a number of trade associations and industry-run boards for building inspectors, few of them seem to be able to force their members to adhere to standards, and building inspectors do not have to be members of these associations, or even properly accredited. We believe that given the value associated with buildings, one or several of these industry-run associations should be formally recognized by the Provincial Government. These associations would then be responsible for the behaviour of their members. The province should also require that, in order to practice as a home inspector, one must be a member of one of these recognized associations. This would give the association the power to bar inspectors or inspection companies from continuing in business if they were in receipt of sufficient complaints.

Term Limits for Co-op/Strata Council Members

In Co-op/Strata Corporations that consist of over 70 units, there should be a 5 consecutive year time limit for a board council member and 2 consecutive year time limit for an executive council board member. This will limit the creation of unassailable power blocs within the strata council.