Strata Bylaws and Rules
A strata corporation must have bylaws that govern the administration, control, management, maintenance and use of the strata lots and common property in the strata corporation. A strata corporation operates under the Standard Bylaws, as per the Strata Property Act, unless it has adopted its own bylaws or amended the Standard Bylaws.
If a strata corporation has sections, the strata corporation’s bylaws apply to the sections unless the sections have amended the bylaws. Sections can only amend bylaws that solely relate to the section(s).
Bylaws may be amended by the strata corporation (or a section) with a resolution passed by a ¾ vote at either an annual or special general meeting. At least two weeks notice must have been given of the resolution, including the proposed wording of the bylaw(s). Wording of the proposed bylaw(s) may be changed at the meeting as long as it does not ‘substantially’ change the meaning of the bylaw. Any proposed amendment must be approved by ¾ vote at the meeting.
Bylaws or rules are deemed unenforceable if they contravene the Strata Property Act, Regulations to the Act, Human Rights Code, or any other enactment or law. Bylaws cannot modify or destroy an easement created under section 69 of the Act, or prohibit the right of an owner to sell, lease, or mortgage the strata lot.
Age restriction bylaws are also acceptable, as are rental restriction bylaws, as long as they do not contravene the ‘Rental Disclosure Statement’ filed by the developer (if applicable), or restrict rental to a family member or a rental in the case of hardship. Typically rental restriction bylaws restrict the number of units allowed to be rented and the length of time of the rental.
Maximum fines are set out in the regulations to the Act and are presently $200.00 for a bylaw offence, $500.00 for a rental restriction bylaw and $50.00 for a rule offence.
A strata corporation may create bylaws that stipulate the frequency of a fine being imposed for a continuing contravention of a bylaw.
Rules can be made at anytime by the strata council, as long as they are in a written document that can be photocopied, and owners and tenants are notified of the rules as soon as is feasible. A rule must be ratified at a general meeting by a majority vote. If not ratified it ceases to have effect following the first annual general meeting after the rule was made.
When creating new bylaws strata councils are encouraged to seek professional legal advice.