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Strata 101 — A beginner's lesson

December 30, 2019  ​ 2 minute read

From what exactly it is to what you need to know before buying one, we have the info to help you start strata-gizing.

What is a strata?

  • In strata housing (apartment-style condos are the most common), people own their individual living spaces and together own the common property as a strata corporation.
  • As co-owners of the common property, strata owners also pay for shared expenses such as upkeep of a swimming pool, yard maintenance or snow removal.
  • In a freehold development, people own their individual living spaces, or their strata lots.
  • In a leasehold development, a landlord owns the strata lot and occupants act like long-term tenants. They’re registered on title, and are treated as owners under strata property law, which means they pay strata fees.

Know these things about stratas before you buy

  • Request that the strata corporation provide an Information Certificate, called “Form B.” This must be provided to you within a week of the request.
  • Form B must also have the following attachments:
    • Strata rules
    • Current budget
    • Rental Disclosure Statement (if one was filed)
    • most recent depreciation report
  • Review the monthly strata fees and compare them to other developments. Watch for user fees such as parking or insurance deductibles.
  • It’s always a good idea to review related documents with a legal professional, especially those for leasehold developments.
  • Don’t forget about insurance! Even though the strata corporation will have coverage, it doesn’t extend to you or your personal effects.

Resources - Vancouver Island Strata Owners Association (