On December 12, 2013, amendments to section 173 of B.C.’s Strata Property Act, SBC 1998, c 43, came into force that allow strata corporations with majority support to apply to the BC Supreme Court to require strata owners to pay for certain repairs.
Prior to the amendment, strata corporations required a ¾ vote in favour to impose a special levy to raise money for needed repairs to common property. This could result in deadlock and delay when owner opinion was divided, exacerbating damage and unsafe conditions.
On application by a strata corporation within 90 days of it receiving at least 50% support for such a levy, a court can now issue an order to proceed with maintenance or repair of common property or assets that is “necessary to ensure safety or to prevent significant loss or damage, whether physical or otherwise” (s. 173(2)). The strata corporation may then proceed with the special levy as if the resolution had been passed under section 108(2)(a).
The amended provision, which previously provided only for the remedies listed under subsection (1), now reads as follows:
Other court remedies
173(1) On application by the strata corporation, the Supreme Court may do one or more of the following:
- order an owner, tenant or other person to perform a duty he or she is required to perform under this Act, the bylaws or the rules;
- order an owner, tenant or other person to stop contravening this Act, the regulations, the bylaws or the rules;
- make any other orders it considers necessary to give effect to an order under paragraph (a) or (b).
- If, under section 108 (2) (a),
- a resolution is proposed to approve a special levy to raise money for the maintenance or repair of common property or common assets that is necessary to ensure safety or to prevent significant loss or damage, whether physical or otherwise, and
- the number of votes cast in favour of the resolution is more than 1/2 of the votes cast on the resolution but less than the 3/4 vote required under section 108 (2) (a),
the strata corporation may apply to the Supreme Court, on such notice as the court may require, for an order under subsection (4) of this section.
- An application under subsection (2) must be made within 90 days after the vote referred to in that subsection.
- On an application under subsection (2), the court may approve the resolution and, in that event, the strata corporation may proceed as if the resolution had been passed under section 108 (2) (a).
The amendment offers an important new recourse for strata corporations facing difficulty gaining sufficient support for special levies to fund urgently needed repairs.