Something you must know about Strata Rental Bylaw
How to address the issue of rental restriction: To be considered at the AGM, there are two paths or options as follows:
Request that Council consider this topic as an official 3/4 vote for Bylaw amendment as part of the Agenda of the AGM; or
Seek minimum 20% of the strata lots support to be listed in the agenda as an official 3/4 vote resolution for Bylaw amendment.
How to restrict rental: The Strata Property Act grants the right to a strata corporation to amend its Bylaws by (1) limiting numbers or percentage of rental units; or (2) limiting the length of time the residential strata lots may be rented. However, this limitation would not affect the family member's living, hardship or rental allowed by Form J - the Rental Disclosure Statement filed by the Home Owner Developer.
Exception to Rental Bylaw – Family Members: A strata lot can be rented to some family members even if rentals are not allowed under a rental restrict bylaw. Family members allowed to rent are defined by Strata Property Regulation 8.1:
a spouse of the owner: a spouse of the owner includes an individual who has lived with the owner for a period of at least two years at the relevant time, in a marriage-like relationship
a parent or child of the owner
a parent or child of the spouse of the owner
A rental to a family member creates an assignment of the owner’s powers and duties under the Strata Property Act, regulations, bylaws and rules.
Is Rent an issue: Some owners may argue that they do not collect rent from the person living in the strata lot; thus, it is not rental. However, in terms of strata rental, it is not an issue if rent is involved in. As long as the registered owner does not reside in the strata lot, it would be considered as "a rental strata lot".
Rental Procedure: A bylaw that limits the number of strata lots that can be rented must also set out the procedure to be followed in administering the limit.
Exception to Rental Bylaw – Hardship: A strata lot may still be rented despite a rental restriction bylaw, if the owner has demonstrated hardship. An owner may apply to the strata corporation for an exemption from a rental restriction bylaw on the grounds that the bylaw causes hardship to the owner (neither the Strata Property Act nor the regulations define hardship, although there have been some court rulings on the meaning).
An application for the hardship exemption must:
be made in writing
state the reason why the owner thinks an exemption should be made; and
indicate whether the owner wishes a hearing. The Regulation states that a hearing means “an opportunity to be heard in person at a council meeting.”
When a hardship application has been made, the strata council must:
Hear the owner or owner’s agent within four weeks of the date of the application, if the owner requests a hearing
Give its decision in writing to the owner within one week of the hearing
Give its decision in writing within two weeks after the owner applied for the exemption if no hearing is held or requested
If the strata council fails to provide its decision within the time specified, or fails to hold a hearing within four weeks after the date the application is given to the strata corporation, the exemption is allowed, and the owner would be permitted to rent the strata lot.
An exemption granted by the strata corporation may be for a limited time. The strata corporation must not unreasonably refuse to grant an exemption.
Form J - the Rental Disclosure Statement: There are two circumstances:
(1) if it was filed on or before December 31, 2009 as the circumstance of your strata, a lot remains eligible as a rental lot regardless of rental restriction bylaws until either: the lot is sold or transferred by the first purchaser (original owner) or the date set out on the Form J expires, whichever occurs first.
(2) For “Form J: Rental Disclosure Statements” filed on or after January 1, 2010, the owner-developer can now designate that a strata lot can be rented to a date specified on the Form J. For these strata lots, a strata lot eligible as a rental remains designated as eligible until the date the rental period expires. The strata lot is not affected by any subsequent rental restriction bylaws until the rental period date on the Form J expires. This means the right to rent a strata lot can continue from one purchaser to the next as long as the rental period on the Form J remains unexpired. This provision only applies to "Form J: Rental Disclosure Statements" filed on or after January 1, 2010.
Violations: If the strata lot owner has rented despite being subject to a rental restriction bylaw:
The strata council can proceed to fine the strata lot owner as long as the maximum amount of the fine is set out in the bylaws. (The maximum amount that can be set out in a bylaw for a breach of a rental restriction bylaw is $500).
The bylaws may provide that a fine will be re-assessed for a continuing breach to a maximum frequency of every seven days (i.e. weekly)
The Strata Property Act specifically provides that the tenant is not in contravention of the bylaw and
The Strata Property Act provides the tenant with the right to end the tenancy agreement within ninety days of learning of the breach of the bylaw by the strata lot owner – the landlord must pay the tenant’s reasonable moving expenses to a maximum of one month’s rent if the tenant ends the tenancy agreement within ninety days of learning of the breach.