Strata council dealing with secret renters
If you live in an older building, or are looking at buying into one, take a close look at such things as depreciation reports to see if the strata has planned for current and future repairs. (TONY GIOVENTU FOR 24 HOURS)
Dear Tony: Our strata corporation has a bylaw that limits rentals in our 108-unit building to five at any given time. We currently have the five rented, with four on the waiting list, and 13 other exemptions.
An owner requested permission, or rather informed us, he was going to have someone move into his unit. We advised that to rent the unit, he would be required make an application to the strata, get on the waiting list, and wait until a vacancy was available, otherwise we would be potentially fining him if he violated the bylaws.
He told us it was a friend just staying there with no furniture move and not renting.
So how do we enforce this?
We did find a rental posting on a website for this unit about three weeks ago.
— Margot H., Burnaby
Dear Margot: In any potential bylaw infraction, it is imperative that your strata closely follow the requirements of the Act.
When the strata council has a complaint about the alleged tenants, they are obliged to write a letter to the landlord and owner of the strata lot first.
In the letter, you point out the particulars of the complaint. It is also valuable to remind them of the bylaw relating to the alleged infraction. That owner/landlord is then entitled to respond in writing to council or request a hearing to dispute the claim. At that time, once the council has gathered the evidence, they will then determine whether an infraction has occurred, and if so, proceed with the options of fining or, more severely, the options of court enforcement of the bylaws.
Your decisions regarding the enforcement should also be recorded in the minutes of the council meetings as they impact the strata lot and provide instructions to a council member, strata manager or legal counsel regarding enforcement actions.
Staying off the radar screen and renting furnished units to people is not an option and is still a rental. If they have an exemption, it is their obligation to provide evidence of the exemption. For all tenants, including exemptions, the landlord is still required to provide and file a signed Form K, Notice of Tenant’s responsibilities with the strata corporation within two weeks of renting all or part of a residential strata lot.