What's a non-conforming strata? What you need to know to avoid headaches
If you’ve heard the term “non-conforming strata” before, there’s something you should know: There’s no such thing, according to the Condominium Home Owners’ Association (CHOA).
Typically, this term is used to describe strata properties with less than five units.
However, a strata is legally defined as any property where a group of owners own their individual strata lots and together own the common property and common assets. There’s no special status for stratas under a certain unit threshold.
Many duplex, triplex, and four-plex owners try to manage their properties without formal meetings, bylaws, and strata fees. This makes their lots non-compliant with the Strata Property Act.
While technically legal, this arrangement can cause significant headaches.
Working outside the Strata Property Act
It’s in the best interest of the home owners to comply with the act – even if it’s a duplex or a triplex. Informal agreements can lead to messy legal situations.
Two Kelowna home owners learned this the hard way earlier this year. Since 2011, the neighbours shared maintenance costs as they came up. However, a surprise maintenance cost came up with no clear way to determine who was responsible for what costs.
The owners were also surprised to learn their duplex, like all duplexes in BC, were governed by the Strata Property Act.
This situation led to a three-year legal battle that ended in lost time, expensive court bills, and high-tension conflict.