Excerpt from the Official Report of
DEBATES OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

(Hansard)


April 2, 2014

Questions on the Strata Act

S. Simpson: I have a few questions on the Strata Act section. I don't know if the minister wanted to swap up a few staff, and then we'll deal with that. I've got a handful of questions.

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S. Simpson: Section 41. Could the minister just explain, substantively, what the change means, the changing of some of the wording around "purchaser" and that, and what the purpose of that change is?

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S. Simpson: Just so I understand, so that I get this clear in my head…. I am a purchaser, but the moment that I've completed the purchase, then I become the owner. That changes somehow the legal definition, and this is intended to correct that so that if I've gone through this purchase process, the lien responsibilities fell into the time period of a previous owner that had the lien. Then this would allow me, even though I became the owner now, to have some relief here, potentially, based on this. Is that roughly correct?

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S. Simpson: I'm glad the minister is clear on it now, and I think I get it. I'm a purchaser. I have a holdback. If I know there's a lien, I may pay that right into the courts so that they can deal with it as a portion of the purchase payment, the purchase — or, if there's a lien against the owners, uphold it in some other way, a holdback in some other way.

Just so I understand, because this is kind of an interesting question: this new language, then, will allow…. I'm assuming it will correct that problem so that when I go and I make that purchase now, this new language, the lawyers will tell us, now allows me to deal with paying off the lien when I've made the purchase — that whereas it wasn't allowed because of a court ruling previously, this now allows me to do that and doesn't complicate my life any more than it already is?

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S. Simpson: Just a quick question. My assumption is that the language change here just allows that in fact there could be contributions required a number of times during a year. It just allows more flexibility for the strata council to be able to require those funds from strata members without being bound to just once a year?

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S. Simpson: Section 43 also, I think, references and gets into those depreciation reports and how those funds get used and how you can expend contingency reserve funds and the obligations to get authorization for doing that. Essentially, what this section does, and the minister can correct this….

It says that if it's related either to getting agreement to purchase a depreciation report and getting somebody to come in and do it for you or to deal with the results of that report — and I'll ask a couple of questions about that in a minute — then you can do that with 50-percent-plus-one vote based on this, whereas currently it takes a three-quarters vote. That's what these subsections (A)(I) and (II) achieve?

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S. Simpson: I think this has good support in the sector, to allow this for those things that have been identified through some clear analysis. I know one of the issues here that has been raised, and I'm sure the minister has probably had this correspondence in some way from the Vancouver Island Strata Owners Association, who support this decision….

The comment that they've made is that a depreciation report…. It's a question of what constitutes a recommendation in the report, because the legislation says it needs to be recommended, versus they have asked to say that it needs to be identified.

Their argument would be that the depreciation report is a recommendation in its entirety. When it is given to you with the ten things or the five things that need to be addressed or are problems in your strata — when you get that report, and if they identify those things — it becomes, then, a question of: is it an issue being identified or is it a recommendation? I know they had made some requests around moving that to "identified" from "recommended."

My question to the minister would be: has the minister thought about that? I suspect that they probably…. I know this organization well enough to know they're not shy, and I'm sure that they've approached the ministry. How would he respond to this recommendation — the suggestion that they've made for language?

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S. Simpson: I agree. I think the depreciation reports are an excellent idea. They do help to plan, and they do provide members with information. Quite frankly, they solidify, if not improve, the value of the asset, potentially. I know if I'm a potential condo buyer out there, I'm going to be much more interested in looking at condos that have had depreciation reports done, where I can read that report and have some understanding of what I'm purchasing, versus those that have chosen not to do depreciation reports, where I'm not sure exactly what I'm buying. I think it's a good thing for a whole bunch of reasons, and I'm certainly supportive of that.

Maybe this question…. I'll ask the minister to indulge the question, because it relates, but it certainly is not specific, necessarily. Is there thinking around this in terms of the depreciation reports — because they're going to become an incredibly valuable and important tool for strata councils — to be clear about what the structure of those reports need to look like or some oversight of that so you know that people are buying something that has real value when they buy a report? Just a question as to whether the minister has thought about that. This is a pretty important piece of business — these reports.

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S. Simpson: Just a question around that, to the comment the minister made. I'm not as up on my stratas as the minister is. The obligation, the compulsory nature of the depreciation reports. Is there a number under X amount of units where that is not compulsory, and then over that, everybody has got to do it?

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S. Simpson: Section 44 seems a lot like section 41 in terms of the change of the language. Could the minister tell me whether this language change around this…? Is this a comparable situation to what was explained in 41? Or is it something different? And if so, what?

http://www.leg.bc.ca/hansard/40th2nd/20140402pm-Hansard-v9n8.htm

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