Strata Bylaws BC:
What You Need to Know When Buying a Condo or Townhome
Written By: Mariko Baerg, REALTOR of Bridgewell Real Estate Group
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Like everything, condo living has its pros and cons – one of them is there are restrictions, which are outlined in the bylaws.
This blog goes through what you will typically see in the bylaws, and the restrictions you can expect.
You share a lot of things with the residents of the building, from the entrance to the amenity room to the elevator to the balconies so it’s important to know how your common space can be used.
We’ve created a blog post of the dark side of condo living and the complaints we hear the most, along with the bylaws you should be aware of.
Condos, whether they are high rise or low rise, will typically have restrictions on the number of pets you can keep, the type of pets you can keep, and the weight and height of pets allowed in the building. The common number of pets allowed is 2, and the common weight allowed is no heavier than 30 pounds and no higher than your waist. Some stratas will allow both dogs and cats, while some will not allow dogs.
Typically they won’t allow any “vicious animals” and will have a description of what they determine vicious. If you have a pet that does not meet those requirements, then you may have a tough time finding a condo. However, presale or newly built condos (last 2 years) typically do not have any size, weight, or number restrictions for pets. We once had a client that had to sell her house because they were trying to get her to kick her dog out. So, if your dog is an avid barker (mine sure is) then the strata and neighbours may complain which could cause issues in the future.
Residents are not allowed to park in the visitor parking stalls. So if only one parking stall is included and you think you’ll be able to get away with parking in the visitors area forever, don’t bet on it. You’ll likely be fined and towed after 24-48 hours, and watched moving forward. You may be able to be added to a wait list for available parking moving forward, and rent it out for anywhere between $10 to $75 per month depending on the location of the building.
People and Parties:
This is probably the number one complaint of condo living, and it’s not always necessarily parties, but just noisy neighbours in general. If you’re in a low-rise wood frame building then you may hear everything from kids running around upstairs to someone talking on the phone. Late night parties past quiet hours (usually 11PM), people fighting, and young children bouncing on beds and couches are all too common. Concrete buildings are known for better sound-proofing.
While you do need to expect some noise when living in a condo, if these issues are frequent and disrespectful then as per the condo bylaws you can complain to the strata council. Alternatively, if you are on the other side of things and are the ones likely to make the noise, then a ground level unit in a condo may be more appropriate, or a concrete building.
When we read through the strata minutes for a property, we often see complaints from residents about people smoking on their balconies. (and not just cigarettes…) Keep in mind that the balcony area is a common property, meaning it is shared by all of the residents even if it is attached to your unit, and that the strata does regulate what can be done on those balconies. If you are a smoker, be aware that you’ll need to step outside the building to smoke if you’re living in a condo building.
Like pet restrictions, rentals are often also restricted in strata properties. If it is a presale or a newer building they may have not modified the bylaws yet, which means rentals could be completely unrestricted. Typically if they are restricted, it will be either a number or percentage of units in the building that can be rented. This is important to consider as owner-occupied buildings are typically more well-kept and quieter.
Alternatively, if you are an investor you’ll want to pay close attention to the bylaws to see if you can rent in the building to ensure that you are not wasting your time.
So there you have it! Those are the most common strata bylaw topics that are asked about when purchasing. If you are thinking of purchasing a strata property, then give us a call at 604-765-0376 for help. It’s important that you have a realtor that is well versed in the ins and outs of strata properties, as they are different than a detached home. If you prefer text: 604-319-0200. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org today.
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