Kitsilano Condos: Strata Buildings!

17.07.2013

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Everything you need to know about Kitsilano Condos!

What is a Condo Strata?

Every condo or apartment in Kitsilano, Vancouver and elsewhere is a strata property. Since you share a roof, walls, front door, amenities and common space with the other owners in the building, you must be part of a strata. Legally, this means that you own a “lot” in the building, and share ownership of the common spaces with the other unit owners. Your portion of common ownership is typically determined by the percentage of total building square footage that you own.

Half duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, low rises condo buildings and high rise towers are all Strata complexes.

A Duplex in Kitsilano (notice the two address labels)

A Duplex in Kitsilano (notice the two address labels)

When you buy a Strata lot, you become part of that building’s Strata Corporation. Congrats! You now have a say in how the building is maintained, what the rules are and more.

There are many aspects to every Strata, including: how the corporation is run, structure of the finances, how often meetings occur, what is included in the strata fees, what ownership is entailed in each strata lot, and more. Continue following this blog because I will go through each of the details in time. If you have any questions before hand, please let me know!

For now, here is a quick list of definitions:

Title: This document details your ownership of the unit in the Strata.

Strata Corporation: The group of people, consisting of both strata lot owners and perhaps an outside strata management company (who have experience managing large buildings).

stratawest_strata_management_kitsilano

Stratawest: A Strata Management company in Vancouver.

Strata Council: A group of people that have been elected by the Strata Corporation to oversee the building. If you truly care about the health and management of the building, you should be on the Strata Council.

Council Meetings: The regular meetings held by the Strata Corporation. These meetings are where you learn about the happenings of the building – maintenance, rules, issues, etc. You also vote on everything from financials, to rules, to what colour carpet gets installed in the common hallways. Meetings are generally held every month (for large buildings) and less often for smaller, more easily managed, Stratas. There are also Annual General Meetings (AGM) where re-election of the strata council takes place, along with voting on larger issues related to the building. This is definitely a meeting you shouldn’t miss.

Common Property: The parts of the building that you have part ownership in, including: hallways, roof, garden, lobby, elevator, recreation areas (gym, pool, etc.), common patios, etc. Many condos and apartments in Kits have great rooftop patios that everyone in the building can enjoy (to take in those amazing mountain views).

Strata Fee: A monthly fee paid to the Strata Corporation used to pay for common bills, maintenance, and cleaning. When you’re buying a condo in Kits, we’ll tell you what’s included in the Strata Fees, this can be anything from management, gas, water, gardening, common facilities, etc.

Contingency Fund: A bank account managed by the Strata Council on behalf of the Strata Corporation. This account is used to pay for common bills, as well as any maintenance issues that may come up (for instance, if the building needs a new roof, new elevator, etc.).

Assessment: This is a request from the Strata Council for a certain amount of funds (could be anything from a couple hundred dollars to thousands of dollars) in order to pay for repairs to the building or unexpected maintenance (when there isn’t enough money in the contingency fund to cover this amount). Though you can’t prevent an assessment, you can buy into a condo that is well managed and has has a proper maintenance plan in place so these assessments aren’t surprising.

Check out our list of Best Condo Buildings in Kits for some of our recommendations for the best buildings.

For more information about Strata’s, including the laws surrounding ownership and management, please go to BC’s Strata Property Act.

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