If you’re new to condo ownership or are buying a presale, strata councils might be a bit of a mystery to you. In this article, we’ll look at some frequently asked questions to ensure you’re primed to participate in strata council-related activities as a condo owner.
What is a strata council?
The “strata corporation” is the governing body of a shared building, living space, or community. In Vancouver, they’re most often associated with condo buildings or townhome complexes that are comprised of many owners. The “strata council” is responsible for the strata corporation and, in turn, how the strata is managed. The council is made up of owners who are elected by their fellow owners.
What does a strata council do?
With a condo, for example, they oversee the building, its management, and all associated aspects such as maintenance and upkeep of amenities. This can include collecting strata fees, holding meetings, preparing and approving the building’s budget and financial statements. Setting up insurance, paying bills, and enforcing rules and bylaws. The council will also hire strata employees, such as building managers, cleaners, security, and maintenance workers, to look after the building and its residents daily.
Are there different strata council roles?
Like with corporate businesses, depending on the size of your strata, building, and facilities, there can be several different council roles. There can be a President and a supporting Vice President. They oversee and delegate to the council and can make quick independent decisions in emergencies where the full council can’t coordinate. There’s usually a Treasurer that looks after the strata’s financial statements and budgets. Often someone takes the role of Secretary who takes notes during meetings and is the contact for anyone needing details from a meeting. Some councils also form various committees under them, to help with various aspects of the strata. Examples include a Landscaping Committee, Social Committee, or Parking Committee.
Who is eligible to sit on the strata council?
New and existing owners are eligible to run for council, assuming they’re in good standing with the strata itself, such as not having unpaid fees. If a property has multiple owners, only one owner can sit on the council. In certain situations, family members who are not registered owners can sit on the council on behalf of their owner relative.
How does a strata council election work?
Most commonly, a strata will have an annual general meeting, where the council members are voted for to serve a one-year term. Owners will need to vote at the meeting or if they can’t attend, they usually can vote ahead of time or via a proxy (another owner they give permission to cast their vote). Also, under certain conditions, an owner can assign their right to vote to a tenant.
For a more in-depth guide to taking part in a strata council, check out this guide from Tribe Mgmt. If you’re planning to buy a presale or first condo, visit our article “How strata fees work for your pre-sale purchase”.
By MLA Contributor Simon Gerard