Information for Real Estate Consumers on COVID-19 - Strata Owners

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During this pandemic, many strata management companies are under significant pressure in working to maintain services and are implementing enhanced hygiene measures to prevent transmission of COVID-19 and protect the safety of residents in the strata corporations they manage.  

RECBC recommends that strata managers prioritize the health and safety needs of strata residents. For residents in strata buildings, this may mean that non-urgent matters will be lower priority, and your strata management company may request that you use email or telephone to communicate with them, rather than in-person communication. 

We ask all British Columbia strata owners to have patience as strata management companies focus on protecting health and safety. We recognize the additional pressures on strata managers during this crisis, and we will continue to work with brokerages to help ensure continuity of service in these challenging times.  

COVID-19 Resource for Strata Owners

During this time, strata owners may want to take extra precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the virus. Use these resources to help manage risks related to COVID-19.

COVID-19 Information for Strata Owners

RECBC’s recommendations for managing challenges and preventing spread of the virus in stratas.


 
  • How can we hold an Annual General Meeting (AGM) or Special General Meeting (SGM) when there is a restriction on large gatherings?

    The Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General has issued an order under the Emergency Program Act  — will open in a new tab enabling all strata corporations to conduct electronic meetings (including Annual and Special General Meetings) during the provincial state of emergency. Strata councils already have the flexibility to hold strata council meetings electronically.

    This order applies to all strata corporations whether or not they already have a bylaw allowing electronic meetings.

    The ability to hold meetings using telephone conference calls or an online application, such as Skype or Zoom, helps strata corporations hold general meetings in accordance with the Provincial Health Officer’s order against gatherings of larger than 50 people and helps keep people safe during the pandemic.

    While restricted proxy meetings are a good option, the strata council may choose the best means for their strata, as long as it allows everybody to communicate with each other during the meeting. If an online meeting platform is chosen, alternatives for owners without a computer could include allowing some people to attend in person or by telephone, or to participate by proxy.

    The Province’s strata housing website has COVID-19 webpages  — will open in a new tab with information for strata councils, owners, residents and stakeholders on cleaning, physical distancing, other precautions, paying strata fees and holding meetings.

    Republished with permission from the Office of Housing and Construction Standards (OHCS)  — will open in a new tab Housing Policy Branch

  • My neighbour is not feeling well who must ensure the common areas are sanitized?

    The agreement your strata council entered into with the strata management company would outline the provisions for common area cleaning. If you are concerned about the common area you should speak to your strata council. Your strata council may wish to get advice about sanitization from health and safety professionals as this would be outside of the strata manager’s area of expertise.

  • How do I pay my strata fees?

    Some strata owners have asked whether there will be financial aid to assist with payment of strata fees. At this time, there has been no announcement of government relief for strata fees.  

    It is important to remember that your strata fees cover all areas of your strata corporation outside of your unit.  A sudden drop in funding, should people withhold payment, could cause significant disruption in: 

    • Cleaning and sanitizing common areas 

    • Utilities such as water, electricity, gas 

    • Provision of strata management services  

    • Payment of strata insurance premiums 

    At this time, all strata owners are expected to continue to make payments of strata fees in accordance with the terms of the Strata Property Act and their strata’s bylaws. 

    Strata owners are strongly encouraged to utilize online payment methods to pay balances on their account. Many strata managers are sending owners reminders for how to set up a pre-authorized debit program or other online banking options. 

  • What if there is further disruption to services?

    Strata managers are expected to communicate clearly and transparently with their clients about their operations and service levels as this crisis continues. Respectful communications are critical to ensuring continuity of service and managing expectations. 

    Strata councils and residents should consider documenting and sharing information on how their property systems function and the measures to take to continue operations in case of emergencies. 

  • How do I access strata management services?

    Strata managers must follow government directives to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Staff members may be working remotely or self-isolating. This may mean that non-essential services will take longer than normal, as strata managers must continue to prioritize health and safety issues for strata corporations. 

    As many strata management brokerages are forced to limit access to their offices, strata owners may receive requests to help facilitate access to buildings for services and maintenance if there is not already a contact person on site.  

Other Resources 

For additional information and resources for strata owners across British Columbia, visit the Condominium Home Owners Association of BC website at www.choa.bc.ca  — will open in a new tab, the Vancouver Island Strata Owners Association at www.visoa.bc.ca, and the provincial government’s strata housing website at www.gov.bc.ca/strata.