Frequently Asked Questions
Condominiums (or Strata’s) can be a convenient and economic form of housing; however, owners have some important responsibilities. The following is a brief overview of some of the more common questions new owners have when owning in a strata corporation.
Please keep in mind strata corporation’s bylaws can vary significantly. The following answers mainly reflect the Standard Bylaws prescribed to each strata under the Strata Property Act.
How do I pay my strata fees?
Strata fees can be paid in one of three ways:
- Pre-authorized payment – strata fees are directly withdrawn from your bank account on a monthly basis. Very easy, convenient and safe and can be cancelled at any time. When strata fees change the monthly PAP adjusts automatically. Download the attached form to sign up.
- Post dated cheques – provide a series of post dated cheques to our office and make sure to provide more when they run out.
- Pay monthly to our office by cash or cheque or mail us a cheque.
Unfortunately we don’t take credit card payments.
What do my strata fees pay for?
Each year you will receive a notice for the Annual General Meeting. In that notice will be the proposed budget. The budget determines your share of strata fees for your strata lot based on unit entitlement. Typical expenditures include garbage removal, insurance, strata management, repair and maintenance of common property, snow removal, utilities (gas, water, sewer, hydro) and a monthly contribution to the Contingency Reserve Fund (savings plan for major repairs).
How is my strata fee determined?
The Strata Property Act requires that strata fees be calculated in accordance with unit entitlement. Unit entitlement is your proportionate share as determined by the area of your strata lot vs. the total area of all strata lots. The area of all strata lots is indicated on the Strata Plan (every strata corporation must have a strata plan). For example:
Your strata lots unit entitlement: 108m2
All strata lots unit entitlement: 2100 m2
Annual budget: $90,000.00
Your monthly strata fee: 108/2100 x $90,000 /12months
I don’t feel like paying strata fees, besides they can’t make me pay.
Bad idea, this could end up costing a lot of money. The strata could register a lien against your strata lot, advise the mortgage company and request payment be added to your mortgage, levy fines against your strata lot or pursue a court ordered sale of your strata lot to recover outstanding strata fees. Further, strata fees, fines and special levies must all be paid up in order for you to sell your unit.
Can I go ahead and change the exterior of my unit?
The exterior of your strata lot is considered common property. Therefore it is controlled by the strata corporation through the strata council. Any changes to the exterior such as planting flowers, hanging signs or changing your front door must be approved in writing by the strata. Send a letter of request to the council giving as much detail of the requested change as possible including who will be doing the work, when will it take place and how will it be done. The strata council may require further information or conditions before granting permission.
How do I go about installing a satellite dish?
Complete the attached form and submit to CML Properties or a strata council member. Some strata’s require a damage deposit as a condition of permission.
Do I need permission from strata council to install an air-conditioner?
In most circumstances the answer is Yes, typically air-conditioning condensers are placed outside the unit or in a window which are both common property. Written approval from strata council must be obtained before installing an air-conditioner.
Do I need to carry any insurance for my unit?
The strata corporation is required to ensure all the buildings in a complex with the exception of a bare-land strata. The strata’s insurance policy will not cover personal belongings, contents such as TV’s, furniture etc, and betterments. Betterments are any improvements you make to your unit that was not part of original construction. We strongly advise all owners to speak to an insurance broker to find out what coverage you require.
Something outside my unit needs repair, what do I do?
Please advise your property manager or a strata council member.
I came home and my unit is flooded, now what?
Contact your property manager or someone on council immediately.
I lost my copy of the strata’s bylaws, where can I get a new set?
Call CML Properties office and request a set be mailed out or email email@example.com to request a copy. You can also go online to www.cmlproperties.ca and go to the strata login page. Enter your strata’s username and password and download a pdf. version of the bylaws.
Our neighbour is bothering me and my family, what can I do?
First try to solve the problem amicably with your neighbour. The vast majority of disputes can be settled in a courteous and reasonable manner without the involvement of the strata council. If that doesn’t work, carefully read the strata’s bylaws and identify and document the bylaw your neighbour is violating. Provide this information in writing with dates and times to the strata council or your property manager requesting assistance in remedying the contraventions. If no bylaw is being violated there is not much the strata council can do to help.
I just rented my unit, do I have to provide the strata with any details of the tenancy?
A Form K must be completed and submitted to the strata corporation. Download a copy here. Make sure before renting your unit that the strata doesn’t have a bylaw restricting the number of rentals in your complex or prohibiting rentals altogether.
Our family would like to buy a pet, no problem right?
Make sure you check your strata’s bylaws first! Some strata corporations do not allow pets of any kind and many others restrict owners to one dog or one cat.
What is the CRF (Contingency Reserve Fund)?
The CRF is a forced savings plan for each strata corporation required under the Strata Property Act. The CRF is typically used to fund unforeseen expenses or major projects such as a new roof, exterior painting, deck replacement, insurance deductibles etc. If the CRF does not meet the minimum standard under the SPA the strata is required to contribute at least 10% of last years operating expenses towards the CRF. Spending money from the CRF can only be done in emergency situations or a ¾ vote among owners at an Annual or Special General Meeting.
When I sell my unit, do I get my portion of the CRF back?
That would be nice, but the government says no. The Strata Property Act states that owners are not entitled to any of the CRF upon selling their unit.
Our strata needs to replace the roof and we do not have sufficient funds in our operating account or Contingency Reserve Fund, what is going to happen?
Typically the strata will need to approve a Special Levy. A Special Levy is a charge to each strata lot to pay a proportionate share of the expense typically based on unit entitlement.
I don’t like how this complex is run, how do I make some changes?
Go to the Annual General Meeting and let your name stand for strata council!