On October 8, 2015, the BC Legislative Assembly introduced a
Bill that could significantly expedite the redevelopment of aging
strata properties in the Province. Bill-40 includes proposed amendments to a
variety of statutes, including the Residential Tenancy
Act, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Act, and the
Oil and Gas Activities Act. For developers, strata
lot owners and strata corporations, however, the most significant
aspect of the Bill concerns the Strata Property Act, and the voting
threshold that must be met in in order to dissolve a strata
As the law stands now, terminating a strata corporation is
difficult, requiring either a unanimous vote or a court order. The
unanimity requirement allows individual owners to prevent a sale of
the building and land even when a majority of the strata lot owners
wish to sell the strata development to a developer or redevelop the
As background, Bill-40 was developed in response to a report published by the BC Law Institute,
which recommended changing the procedure for terminating a strata
corporation. The report noted that habitable land in the Lower
Mainland is becoming scarce, and public policies are increasingly
favouring densification. As such, the report urged the
government to make amendments that would facilitate the dissolution
of strata corporations, in order to give way to more efficient uses
of land that have the potential to be rezoned and redeveloped.
If passed, Bill-40 would make dissolving a strata corporation
easier by eliminating the requirement for a unanimous vote and
replacing it with an 80% voting threshold.
As much as the Bill facilitates the dissolution of strata
corporations, it also introduces various safeguards for owners and
other interested parties. Firstly, if a strata corporation decides
to call a meeting to vote on winding up, the corporation must give
all owners at least 8 weeks' notice of the meeting.
Secondly, owners who have assigned their voting rights to
mortgagees retain their right to vote on a dissolution resolution.
Lastly, after having passed a dissolution resolution, the strata
corporation must apply to the BC Supreme Court to have the
resolution confirmed. At this point, the strata corporation
must deliver notice to all interested parties, who are then
entitled to be heard by the Court. If the Court determines
that the order is not in the collective best interests of the
owners, or that it would be unfair to a minority of owners or
charge holders, it can refuse to confirm the resolution.
As of October 8, 2015, Bill-40 underwent first reading and, as
such, has yet to be scrutinized by any committees. We will be
keeping a close eye on Bill-40 as the amendments to the Strata
Property Act could have a significant impact on strata lot
owners and strata corporations, and make residential land available
for redevelopment by developers. Developers should take note of
aging strata developments, stratas with a damaged building or a
building that requires extensive repairs, or stratas sitting atop
land that has appreciated greatly in value. Developers may
even now be able to persuade stratas located in key redevelopment
zones to sell their building.
Russell v. Township of Georgian Bay provides a useful reminder of the fact that while municipal officials sometimes appear to hold all of the cards in disputes with home owners, that is not always the case.
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