There are many different forms of housing available in the Nanaimo area, from luxurious waterfront mansions to mobile homes – with literally something to satisfy every taste, need or budget. One of the most common and sought after properties, especially for those just entering the home market is the city’s assortment of townhomes and condominiums.
Typically clustered in either a designed neighborhood or even in a single building, townhomes and condominiums can often be viewed as something akin to a self-contained neighborhood or community. This community analogy can also be extended to the form of local government employed in the form of its local Strata Council.
Sometimes thought of as among the smallest forms of democratic government, a strata council (sometimes called a section executive) is an elected body normally composed of townhome or condominium owners of the community who are charged with looking after the collective interests of its neighborhood / community.
Strata councils are usually elected each year, normally at the community’s annual general meeting (AGM). There could be exceptions to this as each strata corporation (the administration of which is the prime duty of the council) creates its own bylaws and regulations. The strata bylaws will determine the number of persons on the strata council, but typically this legal entity numbers between three and seven members.
The strata council has numerous roles and responsibilities as it functions as the elected executive body for the strata corporation. In many cases the strata council will decide to hire a strata manager to perform some or many of the functions of the strata council. Council members must be made aware that if a strata manager has been provided with certain delegated powers the council is still ultimately responsible for ensuring that its obligations under the provincial Strata Property Act are being fulfilled.
A standard list of the functions and responsibilities of a strata council could include but are not limited to the following functions:
- Calling and conducting general meetings
- Preparing the budget and financial statements
- Collecting strata fees and other money owed to the strata corporation
- Obtaining adequate strata corporation insurance
- Paying strata corporation bills
- Enforcing the bylaws and rules
- Exempting the application of rental restriction bylaws for individual owners based on hardship
- Making themselves accessible by providing a telephone number or some other method of contact
- Entering into strata corporation contracts and supervising the performance of duties under those contracts
- Hiring and supervising employees of the strata corporation
- Keeping a list of the names of owners and tenants, and similar documents
- Keeping all strata corporation records including depreciation reports or materials related to depreciation reports
- Making records available for inspection and copying for the owners for a charge of not more than 25 cents per page
- Completing “Form B: Information Certificates” and “Form F: Certificates of Payment “
- Directing investments and expenditures
- Approving strata lot alterations
- Granting owners and tenants short term exclusive use of common property
Regardless of the complexity or its simplicity a Strata Council in its role as the administrative body of a Strata Corporation is a vitally important part of life in a strata community. If you’re a home owner in a development with a strata council why not check it out for yourself? Perhaps it will inspire you to run for council at the next AGM.