Victoria seminar demystifies strata bylaws

Everything You Need to Know About Strata Bylaws on June 28 in Victoria.

Owners of condominiums and townhouses (known as stratas in B.C.), make up nearly one quarter of property owners on Vancouver Island. And one often-misunderstood part of strata living involves bylaws.

To help enlighten the many strata owners in the area, the non-profit Vancouver Island Strata Owners Association will present the seminar Everything You Need to Know About Strata Bylaws, on June 28 in Victoria.

Most stratas have created their own bylaws but many strata owners forget that the “standard bylaws” of the B.C. Strata Property Act also apply to them unless their strata has amended them, said Sandy Wagner, president of VISOA.

Often, stratas try to save the expense of hiring a lawyer when writing or amending bylaws, but it is a small investment that could prevent a lengthy and costly legal battle in the future.

“A simple misplaced word can completely change the legal meaning of your bylaw,” said Wagner. “Saying ‘or’ when you mean ‘and’ could open up the strata to a lawsuit, if an owner is accused of breaching that poorly worded bylaw.”

In addition, a lawyer can check to make sure your bylaw is legally enforceable and doesn’t contravene the Strata Property Act or other legislation, she added.

To help strata councils and strata owners better understand creating and enforcing bylaws, VISOA has invited lawyer Justin Hanson to speak on the topic. Hanson, a highly regarded strata lawyer practicing on Vancouver Island, will clear up some of the most common questions.

“If your strata is working on updating your bylaws, this could save you from some mistakes,” Wagner said.

The seminar will also include a question and answer session.

The seminar runs from 1 to 4 p.m. on June 28 at the Comfort Inn, 3020 Blanshard St. Doors open at 12:15 p.m.

VISOA seminars are open to the general public as well as members. To pre-register, email seminars@visoa.bc.ca.