Strata Property Law Project: 2016 year-end update
December 21, 2016
BY Kevin Zakreski
2016 saw significant progress made on BCLI’s Strata Property Law Project—Phase Two. One major publication was released, the Consultation Paper on Complex Stratas (PDF). The project committee also made noteworthy progress on its examination of selected governance, common-property, and land-title issues. Three new members joined the project committee. BCLI received two visits from international scholars studying aspects of strata-property law. On the legislative front, recommendations from the committee’s 2015 Report on Terminating a Strata (PDF) were brought into force in July.
Consultation Paper on Complex Stratas
Complex stratas raise many difficult issues concerning sharing of common expenses, control of common property, and governance. The committee’s work in this area has focussed on three devices in the Strata Property Act that may be used to manage these issues: sections, which are effectively mini-strata corporations; types, which allow for allocation of operating expenses based on the use or architectural characteristics of strata corporations; and phases, which allow for the development of a complex strata gradually, in segments.
In August 2016, the committee published its Consultation Paper on Complex Stratas (PDF). The consultation paper traced the development of sections, types, and phases in British Columbia strata-property law and examined some alternative systems for managing complex stratas found elsewhere in Canada and in Australia.
The consultation paper provided the first comprehensive law-reform treatment of sections, types, and phases since the 1970s. The committee considered some bold, sweeping reforms for each of the three topics. But in the end it decided that a more modest, incremental approach to reforming the law is better suited for British Columbia. The full consultation paper made 68 tentative recommendations for reform. The committee also followed the practice established for the Consultation Paper on Terminating a Strata (PDF) of issuing a shorter summary consultation (MS Word), with just three highlighted proposals, as a means to stimulate response from a broader range of the public.
The public consultation is still open, until 15 January 2017. For more information on the consultation and how to give your feedback, please visit the project webpage.
Progress on governance, common-property, and land-title issues
While the public consultation for complex stratas was underway, the committee moved on to the next subject on its work plan: selected governance, common-property, and land-title issues. It has begun by considering how the Strata Property Act governs strata-corporation bylaws and rules, a topic which has been the subject of three committee meetings. To date, the committee has made 15 tentative recommendations to address this topic’s issues for reform.
New members join the project committee
The committee welcomed three new members in 2016. Alex Longson joined in July, Susan Mercer joined in September, and Ian Holt joined in October. The committee also said farewell to three original committee members in 2016: Larry Buttress, Stan Rule, and Judith Matheson. The committee thanks Larry, Stan, and Judith for their counsel, support, and hard work on behalf of the project and wishes them well on their future endeavours.
Short biographies of all past and current committee members are available on the project webpage (PDF).
Visits from international scholars
Apart from BCLI’s project, 2016 was a busy year for strata-property law. The year brought an opportunity for BCLI to learn about reform efforts in New South Wales and New Zealand, as scholars from those jurisdictions visited BCLI’s offices.
In February, BCLI received a visit from Dr. Hazel Easthope, senior research fellow of the City Futures Research Centre, University of New South Wales. In June, Prof. Elizabeth Toomey of the School of Law, University of Canterbury visited BCLI to discuss legal issues that may arise for strata properties in the aftermath of a natural disaster.
New legislation on terminating a strata
The Report on Terminating a Strata (PDF) was published in February 2015. The committee’s recommendations in that report were taken up in the fall 2015 legislative session in Bill 40, the Natural Gas Development Statutes Amendment Act, 2015. Bill 40’s provisions on terminating a strata were brought into force on 28 July 2016.
A look ahead to 2017
2017 promises to be a busy year for the project, with plans to continue monitoring the public consultation on complex stratas and compiling its responses, publish a report on complex stratas, and continue making progress on governance, common-property, and land-title issues.
Statistics on project publications and engagement
Here are some noteworthy numbers for the project in 2016:
- Number of publications: one, the Consultation Paper on Complex Stratas (PDF)
- Number of supporting documents issued: 3, a summary consultation (MS Word), a backgrounder on the consultation paper (PDF), and a media release announcing the opening of the consultation period (PDF)
- Number of BCLI blog posts about the project and strata-property law: 75
- Number of presentations and articles mentioning the project: 4
- Number of committee meetings held: 11
- Number of tentative recommendations made by the committee: 19
- Number of pageviews for project webpage: 2175
Thanks to our supporters
The Strata Property Law Project—Phase Two has been made possible by support from nine funding organizations. Support from the bulk of these organizations is reviewed from year-to-year. BCLI thanks the following organizations for continuing to support the project in 2016.