Special strata levies gone bad
Dear Tony: What happens when a Strata Corporation passes a resolution for a special levy that has a serious error? Our Strata Corporation passed a special levy for repairs and upgrades to our elevator, and everyone was required to pay $500, but our strata fees are not all equal, so how can the assessment for the elevator be the same?
We also had a dispute at the meeting over the type of vote that was needed because the resolution did not indicate the voting requirement.
Now we have several owners who are not paying their special levies.
— Devon W., North Vancouver
Dear Devon: The Strata Property Act very nicely sets out the requirements for special levies under section 108.
Unless a strata corporation has passed a unanimous vote to adjust the allocation of common expenses or a common expense, and the properly ratified unanimous resolution along with the proper forms are filed in the Land Title registry, all common expenses are based on unit entitlement.
When we review your schedule of unit entitlement and apply the special levy total amount, contribution allocations range from $333.49 to $1,157.14.
It is easy to understand why some owners are unwilling to pay when they are being unfairly overcharged for their share of the cost.
There is also a problem with the resolution because it does not establish a due date for the payments. It simply states the amount may be paid over five months — but starting when and for what amounts each month?
The easiest remedy is for the Strata Corporation to give notice of a special general meeting, issue a correctly worded three-quarters vote resolution, along with the correct payment schedule and correct the payments received.
If your strata corporation has not been using unit entitlement for other common expenses, this will have to be remedied as well.
Here is a simple example that identifies the type of resolution, amount, purpose and due date: “The owners, strata plan ABC 1234, by three-quarters vote resolution approve a special levy in the total amount of $0,000.00 for the purpose of the elevator upgrades identified in the engineering report. The levy is based on the attached schedule of unit entitlement, and due (specific date) or (the strata may identify a payment schedule such as the following dates and amount for each payment).”
It is always prudent to get a lawyer to write your three-quarters vote resolutions to avoid the very problems that you are experiencing.
Between additional meeting costs and delays resulting in increased costs, it would have been much less expensive for the strata to have sought legal counsel in the first place.
Tony Gioventu, Executive Director
Condominium Home Owners' Association (CHOA)