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Strata Council: Theft, Bullying and Unauthorized Decisions

Updated on January 9, 2017
Sylvia Leong profile image

With 20 years living in a strata condominium & 4 years on strata council (past), Sylvia is here to share her experiences & hear about yours!

Strata Council:  Theft, Bullying and Unauthorized Decisions
Strata Council: Theft, Bullying and Unauthorized Decisions | Source

Strata Councils: Theft, Bullying and Unauthorized Decisions

I’m the type of adult who still enjoys fairy tales. I believe that the truth will out! I believe that good will prevail over evil.

So, when I realized that the strata council running the building (housing my freshly purchased condo) was stealing money, bullying the residents, and making structurally detrimental choices, I joined the strata board. I saw myself as the reluctant hero - the good fairy who would save the building and give back the people’s freedom. I anticipated gratitude, happiness and exceptional community spirit.

All I did was lose my innocence.

Are you usually convinced that "your way" is the best way, regardless of what anyone else says?

Yes!!! Well then… strata council may be just the right place for you.

Strata councils are made up of volunteers. Many of these volunteers are exceptional people who give freely of their time & often give freely of their expertise.

But unfortunately, most the folks who are attracted to serving on this board are usually those with an agenda. Sometimes they use their position to make money. More often, they use their position to feed their dysfunctional control issues.

Stratified homes do not have czars, rulers, or bosses. This relationship is simply not necessary, nor can its recommendation be found anywhere in the Strata Property Act.
Stratified homes do not have czars, rulers, or bosses. This relationship is simply not necessary, nor can its recommendation be found anywhere in the Strata Property Act. | Source

Table of Contents

  1. Is Strata Council the Boss?
  2. What Are Strata Council’s Responsibilities?
  3. So Who Is The Boss?
  4. Can The Strata Council Members Bully The Residents?
  5. Can The Strata Council Members Steal Money?
  6. Submitting Expenses Through Petty Cash
  7. In Cahoots With the Contractor
  8. Borrowing Money From the Contingency Reserve Fund (CRF)
  9. Isn’t The Property Manager In Charge?
  10. Is It Possible To Bring A Strata Council To Justice?

1. Is Strata Council the Boss?

This is a horrible yet common misconception. Horrible for the residents, because no one needs boss in their own home. And the truth is, also horrible for the strata council.

Managing just a few people usually requires a business degree in human resources. The demands of managing many families (depending on the size of the building or complex) would be enough to conjure up images of straight jackets, padded rooms & little voices.

No, strata council is not the boss.

Surprised? It’s true. Stratified homes do not have czars, rulers, or bosses. This relationship is simply not necessary, nor can its recommendation be found anywhere in the Strata Property Act (SPA).

The council members are not a police force. A constable takes extensive training in many areas including human behavior, investigation and legal issues.

Prior to or preceding the election, a council member receives no training whatsoever.

Be careful! Do not hand them power that they may not be qualified to have.

The leadership duties involved in serving on the board is often confused for positions of authority.

“Serving” is the key word.

As for authority, the council can only act upon something that goes against the bylaws & even then, they must have a written complaint. The only time they are supposed to have any power at all, is during properly convened council meetings.

If you happen to witness something or have a complaint, please, do not tell a board member. Instead, email the property manager. She has no knowledge of the building’s politics & therefore can remain unbiased.

As well, by law, all correspondence that the property manager receives must be brought forth & addressed by the strata council. That’s why you pay big bucks to the property management company.

Which choice most closely describes your strata council?

See results
The only time the strata council is supposed to have any power at all, is during properly convened council meetings.
The only time the strata council is supposed to have any power at all, is during properly convened council meetings. | Source

2. What Are Strata Council’s Responsibilities?

They are intermediaries, representing the building and residents (through election and votes). They direct the property manager in all the matters of the strata corporation. Together they make decisions about:

  • The maintenance of the building (also known as the strata corporation).
  • Correspondence from owners (as delivered by the property manager).

Who’s the Boss? The Bylaws!
Who’s the Boss? The Bylaws! | Source

I have read & fully understand:

See results

3. So Who Is the Boss?

The bylaws. You know, that dry, authoritative literature that causes tension in your chest followed by unbidden notions of rebellion… or at least yawning followed by weighty eyelids.

Honestly it’s not that bad! Usually just a tiny stack of papers, approximately two millimeters thick, reader friendly and you can finish them, cover to cover, in approximately 15 minutes. Indulge yourself and reap the freedom that comes from knowledge.

From their adoption date, the bylaws are the guidelines that the owners (for the sake of harmony and for the welfare of the building) have chosen to follow.

It is the bylaws and the SPA that you must look to for guidance – not individual strata council members (who may have their own biases).

All the owners are the boss through an agreement called "the bylaws” passed in a ¾ vote.

Assuming you own one condo (and your account is in good standing) then you have one vote and you own a portion of your building.

You have every right to:

  • Use the building's amenities
  • Know how your money is being spent
  • Understand the decisions that are being made on your behalf

4. Can the Strata Council Members Bully the Residents?

Yes! Unfortunately, this happens quite often. Being on the board is a thankless job. It sucks up personal time and it doesn’t matter what decisions are made, many will complain.

Furthermore, council members have a front row seat to the ugliness of humanity. They are witnesses each and every time residents have disputes, violate the bylaws, and disrespect each other and common property. Over time, they can find this so frustrating that they lose faith in humanity altogether. Fining residents can become a way of venting. Even more so when if the strata council member(s) have control issues in the first place.

Although strata council is supposed to be a volunteer organization, some or all council members MAY steal money in order to subsidize their efforts.
Although strata council is supposed to be a volunteer organization, some or all council members MAY steal money in order to subsidize their efforts. | Source

5. Can the Strata Council Members Steal Money?

Although they are all supposed to be volunteers, some or all strata council members MAY steal money in order to subsidize their efforts.

If the amount is kept to a minimum, it usually doesn’t become a problem.

However, when people spend years sitting on the board, they become powerful in knowledge. This coupled with becoming jaded and arrogant could possibly spur them on to make bigger and bigger cash grabs.

6. Submitting Expenses Through Petty Cash

Not all businesses offer credit, even to a strata corporation. So sometimes a council member must purchase an item "out of pocket" to be used by the building. This means that for reimbursement, she must fill out & submit a petty cash form. However, unless stops & checks are in place, this can be easily abused.

Prevention: Once you’ve joined the board, set up your petty cash system so that:

  • Receipts must be submitted along with the petty cash reimbursement form
  • There must be the signatures of two board members other than the council member submitting the form

Real Life Example

Racine was elated one day to show Pam her new hand-held portable steam cleaner with the anteater nozzle. Apparently, it could clean anything, anywhere, especially those hard to reach places. And she only paid $60!

Racine is known for her history of impulse buying as a result of her fanatic attraction to gadgets that after only a few days, turns to boredom.

Months later, upon becoming treasurer, Pam received, in the mail, her first batch of photocopied (paid) invoices to sort through. Imagine her surprise to find a petty cash form, submitted by Racine, including that very hand-held portable steam cleaner. Racine must have gotten bored with it, so she’d decided to sell to the strata corporation – for a cost of $270.

In the grand scheme of things, this is a paltry amount. However, if someone is willing to steal a small sum of money, they’re definitely willing to steal a large sum.

7. In Cahoots With the Contractor

Have you ever noticed a council member who seems to have a great relationship with one or two trades-workers who frequent your building? Has she ever told you that by being so attentive she’s saving the building money?

How the scheme works:

  • A mechanical “emergency” occurs in the building & the council member bypasses the property manager & deals directly with a trades-worker of her choice.
  • The attending trades-worker processes an invoice for far more labour than he actually does. Overtime can be especially profitable.
  • The council member is on site to approve the work & therefore the invoice.
  • The property manager, on behalf of the strata corporation, cuts a cheque to the trades-worker.
  • The trades-worker cashes his cheque & keeps his share plus taxes.
  • The trades-worker meets the council member in a dark alley & hands over a brown paper bag with the council member's share, in cash.

Prevention: Difficult. Unless you’re willing to join the board & take over.

Real Life Example

The building has two identical hot-water tanks. One day while the other council members were at work, Racine replaced one of the hot-water tanks. Later, she explained that it had “burst” & she’d deemed it an emergency and had it replaced immediately.

She used a trades-worker who she was very friendly with. Although he was a plumber, he’d done many odd jobs around the building. She’d even had him up to her condo for lunch. Pam later found out that his invoice was $27 000 including parts and labour.

Just to put everything into perspective, the very next year the new council replaced the other hot-water tank at a cost of $3150 including parts & labour.

8. Borrowing Money From the Contingency Reserve Fund (CRF)

The CRF is a huge target as many strata corporations have more than they need sitting in this account & the money is not earmarked for anything. The SPA of British Columbia has a Law in place for this:

Expenditures from contingency reserve fund

96 The strata corporation must not spend money from the contingency reserve fund unless the expenditure is (b) first approved by a resolution passed by a ¾ vote at an annual or special general meeting, or authorized under section 98

Except that this Law allows abuse:

Unapproved expenditures

98 (3) The expenditure may be made out of the operating fund or contingency reserve fund if there are reasonable grounds to believe that an immediate expenditure is necessary to ensure safety or prevent significant loss or damage, whether physical or otherwise.

How the scheme works:

  • The same as the "In Cahoots With the Trades-worker" scheme, except the amount is so large that there isn’t enough money in either the operating fund (or a special levy fund) to pay the invoice.
  • The property manager sends a “Directive To Use Contingency Reserve Funds” form. In order to “borrow” money from the CRF without getting owner approval at a general meeting, this form must bear the signature of four council members. It effectively shifts the liability from the property manager to the board members.
  • The trades-worker receives & cashes his cheque. He keeps his share plus taxes.
  • The trades-worker meets the council member(s) in a dark alley & hands over a brown paper bag with their share, in cash.

The Money is Never Paid Back to the CRF

  • The property manager won’t bother to “make” the council pay back this money (remember, they are “off the hook”).
  • Because owners are not sent monthly CRF balances, they never know money is missing until the end of the year (if they even bother to look at the statement).
  • If the council does get caught, then they simply do what they have done many times in the past - they say an “emergency” had to be dealt with immediately. Then they can use the residents' future maintenance fees to pay back the CRF.

Prevention: Again, very difficult. Unless you’re willing to join the board & take over.

Real Life Example

The strata corporation was sitting on a special levy of hundreds of thousands of dollars for a specific project and a construction company was hired.

One day, Pam sees an email from the property manager with an attachment: a “Directive To Use Contingency Reserve Funds” form for $24 000.00. Being new to strata living and the board, Pam didn’t understand & so inquired.

Racine informed Pam that the special levy fund & the maintenance account from the operating fund had been exhausted due to arising complications with the project. Racine had deemed the situation an emergency because if the construction company wasn’t paid in a timely manner, they could place a lien on the building. Pam couldn’t argue.

Months later, upon becoming treasurer, although Pam searched, she could never find the entry stating that this money had been paid back to the CRF. She also found out:

  • The construction company was hired without any competitive quotes.
  • There was never a written contract with the construction company, hence no warranty.
  • A construction permit was never issued by city hall.
  • Although Pam knew that Racine was friendly with the construction company’s workers, she never realized until much later, that one of the supervisors was actually Racine’s boyfriend.

The strata council has the power to hire & fire the property management company. In order to keep their job & make as much money as possible, it’s in the property manager’s best interest to keep the strata council happy.
The strata council has the power to hire & fire the property management company. In order to keep their job & make as much money as possible, it’s in the property manager’s best interest to keep the strata council happy. | Source

How have strata council members stolen from your strata corporation?

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9. Isn’t The Property Manager In Charge?

No. The board has the power to hire & fire the property management company (with a 3/4 vote that is easy to pass). In order to keep their job & make as much money as possible, it’s in the property manager’s best interest to keep the strata council happy.

Property managers are overworked, do not receive much gratitude, but can make a significant amount of money. They are paid “per door”. Let’s take a look at three different property managers, each one responsible for 1000 doors & therefore, each one earns the same paycheque:

These Property Managers Take Home The Same Paycheque

Property Manager
Strata Corporations
Suites per Strata
Betsy has an easy job!
1000 suites over three strata corporations
300, 350, 350
Maria does more than twice the work
1000 suites over seven strata corporations
230, 150, 150, 150, 150, 85, 85
Ellen is ready for the funny farm!
1000 suites over twelve strata corporations
100, 100, 100, 100, 75, 75, 75, 75, 70, 70, 80, 80

Remember, each strata corporation has:

  • One strata council to deal with
  • 6 – 12 council meetings to attend
  • An annual general meeting to run
  • Possible special general meetings to run.

The more strata corporations a property manager is responsible for, the more difficult and time-consuming the job becomes. The larger strata corporations are more lucrative and thus attract the better and more experienced property managers.

Thus, if the harried property manager becomes aware that one of her strata boards are planning something that is a violation of the bylaws or SPA, she'll simply email them a warning regarding the legalities. Thus, she and her company are “off the hook” and can save time by simply looking the other way. This allows strata councils to do whatever they please.

So, yes, you can bring a council member to justice. Through gargantuan effort that takes up your time, patience, sanity & possibly your finances without any direct benefit to you.
So, yes, you can bring a council member to justice. Through gargantuan effort that takes up your time, patience, sanity & possibly your finances without any direct benefit to you. | Source

10. Is It Possible to Bring a Strata Council to Justice?

Surprisingly enough, the following SPA law protects strata council members. It’s the subjectivity of this law that makes it difficult to prove negligence and theft:

Council member’s standard of care:

31 In exercising the powers and performing the duties of the strata corporation, each council member must

(a) act honestly and in good faith with a view to the best interests of the strata corporation, and

(b) exercise the care, diligence and skill of a reasonably prudent person in comparable circumstances

Furthermore, you cannot count on the overworked property manager to:

  • Prevent theft
  • Bring a board member to justice
  • Pursue full recovery of stolen money

That would be time consuming and costly - no property manager will do it!

To pursue justice, there’s got to be proof. So, if you’re as sure as Pam is, you could probably prove theft with a forensic audit. However, forensic audits are expensive & unless you want to use your personal funds, you’ll need a ¾ vote at a general meeting to launch the strata corporation into a lawsuit. That could mean a special levy. So first, you’ll have to convince your neighbours.

Furthermore, courts don’t look favourably upon strata corporations going after an individual, especial a volunteer who has donated her time. So, even if she is found guilty, the penalty would be minimal.

So, yes, you can bring a council member to justice. Through gargantuan effort that takes up your time, patience, sanity and possibly your finances without any direct benefit to you.

Your best bet is prevention, through being involved. Furthermore, you'll never go wrong with due diligence. Knowledge is power! Give yourself an edge and place yourself in a superior position by thoroughly reading and understanding both:

  • Your strata corporation's bylaws
  • The Strata Property Act (SPA)

Otherwise...

As you can see, property management and the S.P.A. are not enough to protect strata owners from a corrupt strata council. Here is a Facebook forum where you can find mutual support and advice!

Please go to the Facebook community page to comment. This enables all page members to offer help! Thanks.

© 2010 Sylvia Leong

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    • profile image

      Ken Wilton 6 years ago

      Having served on a strata council and in dealing with them as an owner I know the frustrations from both sides. Sylvia, you put it very well.

    • Sylvia Leong profile image
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      Sylvia Leong 6 years ago from North Vancouver (Canada)

      Thank you, Ken.

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      NORM 6 years ago

      SYLVIA YOU ARE A BEAUTIFUL PERSON. THANK YOU FOR THIS.

    • Sylvia Leong profile image
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      Sylvia Leong 6 years ago from North Vancouver (Canada)

      You're very welcome, Norm. It seems as though you are in a situation where you needed this information. Glad I could help!

    • profile image

      Strata Property Sidney 6 years ago

      Your post on truth about strata council members is really a tremendous piece of writing. Thanks for sharing us your information and let everyone know the truth.

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      Vivian 3 years ago

      Where I live there are 18 units. 3 or 4 'long-timers' (15-20+ yrs) who are on Strata Council and will never leave. Other unit owners won't bother to vote them out. Yes, for power-trippers who like running other people's lives, Strata Council is the place. All that "What we say goes". If an issue comes up that the hadn't thought of (somone's grandchild coming to stay) they'll draw up a by-law to prohibit it.

      My advice to everyone: Unless you are a mental child who can only function following someone else's orders, NEVER buy a condo.

    • Sylvia Leong profile image
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      Sylvia Leong 2 years ago from North Vancouver (Canada)

      Thank you for you comment Vivian. Yes, this seems to be the way that many stratas are run. Can you get a group of owners behind you? This is what we did. We took over the council for three years. The old council is now back in "power" but they are more subdued.

      As well, a new bylaw has to be approved in by a 3/4 vote before it is "active". Furthermore, bylaws cannot be in contradiction to human rights.

    • profile image

      dev 2 years ago

      Hii there I am going through a difficult phase..my kids usually do run in the hallway, but once they did and one of the resident complained about it..so v got written memo for this.. We gave answer for the memo..but I think we could not comvience her can you please guide what are our rights as an owner of the condo

    • Sylvia Leong profile image
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      Sylvia Leong 2 years ago from North Vancouver (Canada)

      Thank you for your comment dev.

      I cannot be sure of the law in your area. It’s probably similar to ours. As per my city bylaws & strata bylaws, it is my responsibility to ensure that noise does not escape my suite.

      I do all my writing & the administrative work for our business from my condo. I would have difficulty concentrating with the noise of children running up & down the hallway outside my front door.

      It was your choice to have children. It is your responsibility to provide them with a place to run, jump, play & shout without interrupting the lives of your neighbours. Successful condo living requires quiet, respectful residents.

      Is a different living situation possible for your family? If not, perhaps a daily trip to a neighbourhood park where your children can spend several hours getting exercise & burning off their energy.

    • profile image

      BonnieLD 2 years ago

      Is is possible to ask for a Special Resolution at an AGM to request Council members (who will never leave to step down) to step down permanently after say 3 - 5 yrs.

    • Sylvia Leong profile image
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      Sylvia Leong 2 years ago from North Vancouver (Canada)

      Hi BonnieLD,

      The problem is that the strata council is in control of the agenda for the AGM. I’m assuming they wouldn’t allow a resolution that kicks them off council? As well, other owners would have to be willing to step up & fill those empty council seats.

      In our building, we had a corrupt strata council that had been “in power” for over 10 years. Finally, we’d had enough & a large group of us got together & over the course of 4 meetings planned a “revolution” to take place at the AGM. We blind-sided them. They never saw it coming!

      Having been on council with them for a year, I was able to gather the proof (emails & invoices) we needed. Then during the AGM each of us took our turn standing up & confronting the council with a course of action they’d taken (many were illegal). We pretty much embarrassed them into stepping down & not stepping back up. Then seven of us stepped up & filled the empty council seats. Not only was our “revolution” a lot of fun, it was also incredibly gratifying.

      Perhaps you & your group can do something like this? Good luck!

    • profile image

      Cassiegracie 2 years ago

      Sylvia

      It is so sad that in reality in BC the Government has done such a poor job in oversight on the SPA and actually promote and protect criminal Strata Council members. We are in a Strata and the bullying, stealing, misappropriation of funds refusal to follow the SPA is so out of control it is not funny. We are proceeding with legal and pray that they will be brought to justice. Please do not support the statement they are volunteers they are not when they steal and not follow the SPA on purpose. CHOA also is not what you think they are Tony can not handle his staff to ensure they know what they are doing. Our next step us to go to social media and share their names and the companies they work for .

    • Sylvia Leong profile image
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      Sylvia Leong 2 years ago from North Vancouver (Canada)

      Cassiegracie, I hear you loud & clear! The residents in our strata in the past (& possibly the present) have experienced the same sort of bullying, stealing, misappropriation of funds & refusal to follow the SPA from our strata council.

      People need to believe that this is going on!

      I have also heard that same information regarding CHOA. Something needs to change!

      The very best of luck with your "next step"! Please check back & let us know the outcome.

    • profile image

      Cassiegracie 2 years ago

      Sylvia I just wanted to let you know that we are making progress in holding the Council members accountable. Our lawyer has made them some what follow the SPA for Special Levies. Better than nothing Our next step is to report the Lawyer on Council to the BC law association, and the business owners on council report them on social media and expose how they bully a 83 year old lady as she holds them accountable for their misappropriate of funds.

    • Sylvia Leong profile image
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      Sylvia Leong 2 years ago from North Vancouver (Canada)

      Thanks for checking in Cassiegracie! Congratulations on the progress you're making with your strata council.

      I'm wondering how your lawyer made your strata council follow the SPA for special levies? Did he send them a letter? Did a you & a bunch of your neighbours pool your money to pay for the lawyer?

      How have the council members been bullying you?

      Sorry for all the questions, but I'm so curious. And I can't wait to find out how the next step goes.

    • profile image

      Cassiegracie 2 years ago

      Well low and behold the Strata Council indicated that they would return the unspent funds from the special levy after the lawyer letter, however we are still yet to see the funds. Truly these individuals are criminals. They were taken to task informing how not returning the excess funds is misappropriation of funds in the eyes of the law and must be returned pursuant to sec 108 of the SPA. Not sure if we are going to see the funds. Bullying Attacking an 83 year old for feeding birds , calling an owner while the owner is alone while her husband away fat cow bitch breaking her planter in the night and calling her a bitch, issuing fines for non existing bylaws and making up bylaws, ignoring alteration agreement approval from previous councils. Denial of a drug and brothel house (the rented unit had to be stripped down to the two by fours) phoning and calling defiant bitch. Disallowing property on common property yet they can It does go on and on. No worries about questions will keep you posted. By the way thanks for caring!

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      Egghead16 2 years ago

      We're being harassed weekly by our council- phony trumped up bylaw complaints, chargebacks for some inspectors who came to do their yearly inspection of common areas, and we get the bill- why us you ask? We want council to follow the SPA and our own bylaws and rules not to mention municipal laws, but they don't and won't, so when we submit spa35/36 requests, they ignore us, and when we as questions about financials and unsubstantiated expense reimbursements, they punish us my sending us threatening letters, not to mention libelling us in the minutes time and again. How do we win against their extortion? Why do we have to pay our condo fees towards their over $4000 in legal advice against us, when we haven't done anything wrong, except we disagree with their mantra of live and let live, and we respect bylaws and rules. We can't even move if we wanted to because we're mentioned so often in the minutes any prospective buyer would lowball us, as we obvious would want out. Why should we have to pay thousands to fight this insanity when we seriously have done nothing illegal, immoral or unethical? We'd be the best neighbours anyone could want- we stick to ourselves, no kids, no pets, no parties, no smoking, use our own entrance. Seems we're punished for not following along like sheep and for having different viewpoints. How can we stop the madness? Help!

    • profile image

      Cassiegracie 2 years ago

      We have the same complaints as Egghead16 as many other good citizens do as well and our concern is that the Provincial Government has made such a mess of the Strata Property Act there is nothing a law abiding citizen can do. It is criminal and supported by the Provincial Government. The newly formed Tribunal will likely prove to be another Government mess but it is a wait and see process. We did get our Special Levy excess funds returned. We are continuing with legal action which you all know will be a long and drawn out process. We will be making a Facebook group for those owners being subjected to this harassment and non compliance and lack of disclosure in hopes of providing some support

    • profile image

      Egghead16 2 years ago

      Cassiegracie- Please let us know when you are starting the facebook page. We would love to be involved. Things are terrible and no one is accountable. Something has to be done, and we are with you- this is a BIG MESS!

    • Sylvia Leong profile image
      Author

      Sylvia Leong 2 years ago from North Vancouver (Canada)

      Cassiegracie & Egghead16, thank you so much for sharing! It sounds like both of your strata councils need to be taken to task. Where are your property managers in all this? Do they have absolutely nothing to say?

      It’s exactly as Egghead16 says, “no one is accountable” & that is the crux of the problem.

      Egghead16, I noticed you have written proof of harassment in the form of threatening letters & libel in the minutes. I can’t help but wonder if you can use that somehow?

      Cassiegracie, congratulations on the return of your Special Levy excess funds!

      The open Facebook page is a tremendous idea! It’s a perfect place for a forum. Please share the link & I will place it at the bottom of this article & highlight it in order steer those folks who need support toward it.

      Thank you!!!

    • profile image

      Cassiegracie 24 months ago

      Thank you Sylvia, I wanted to let you know that I'm getting to setting up Facebook. I've been consumed with Osoyoos and trying to protect my 83 year old Mom. As an example Kelly Stephens a realtor out of Calgary has a unit in the complex and my Mom the 83 year old ask how she was and Kelly Stephens says "non of your G-- D--- Business" so I think you can under stand I'm focused on keeping her safe. There is a very large group of them that have formed a gang. I've contacted the MLA Linda Larson she has directed to justice minister as well as the Tribunal. I would not touch the Tribunal as there is a lawyer on the newly appointed tribunal that supports the bullies. All be it he does not realize as he has been led to by omission but he did take $3200.00 for one letter and he miss quotes the Strata act and he also submitted without prejudice . I simply can not believe the corruptness of the Strata System in BC.

    • Sylvia Leong profile image
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      Sylvia Leong 24 months ago from North Vancouver (Canada)

      Cassiegracie,

      Seems like you have your hands full! It's way more important to protect your Mom than start the facebook page.

      Why don't I start the Facebook page & add you on as an administrator & we can administrate it as a team?

      What were you thinking as the page name? Perhaps something close to the name of this article as it seems to draw so much attention via google? How do you feel about this?

    • profile image

      Cassiegracie 24 months ago

      Sylvia

      Thank you so much for suggesting and offering to start the Facebook page. I'm really excited because I truly think we can all make a positive difference by having a place for people to go to join be part of the group and not feel alone and receive support.

      Certainly the name you use at the top of this article truly says it all. That's how I found you and I must say Thank goodness, I found your article and the comments from your readers.

      Thanks again Sylvia. Look forward to receiving notification of the Facebook page and also making a positive impact in people's lives.

    • Sylvia Leong profile image
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      Sylvia Leong 24 months ago from North Vancouver (Canada)

      Hi Cassiegracie & Egghead16, the Facebook group page is set up! The link is at the end of the article above. Please join at your convenience.

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      Egghead16 24 months ago

      Sylvia Leong: Thanks for setting up the facebook page- will go there right after this posting- our property manager is useless- property managers, as you know work in tandem with council- whenever we asked for SPA35/36 items, we were ignored- the manager only does was council tells them- but then council blames management, and management blames council. I was actually on council for a brief period a couple of years back- elected in absentia and made treasurer, which was fine, but when I brought up REAL issues- double payments, no GST numbers, hiring suspect contractors etc, our president and his posse decided that was enough, and called an SGM to have be booted off- already filled in their elite group of 'friends' in this small strata on how terrible I was, so they got the required vote and I was gone. Incidentally, the president is now also the treasurer, so good luck EVER getting a financial receipt or question answered! We have a lawyer as they just had another SGM, this time to vote on money out of the CRF to fund a lawyer- but their resolution was not a section 171 resolution, but they tried to kick out my husband and our lawyer anyhow- ended the meeting, so this is not over. A member of council actually threatened my husband as he stormed out- you seriously wouldn't believe what goes on here. I guess we should have gone to games night and sang kumbaya and not bothered with the bylaws rules or even provincial laws or municipal bylaws as we wouldn't have been targeted I am sure had we gone along like cattle to the slaughter! but this is still ongoing- causing us stress and it disturbing to meet NEW owners, who JUST moved in and who say terrible things to us because of what they have heard from council- as they have never even met us! Oh, and our property manager, when I questioned him at my ONE council meeting as a council member, on a questionable SGM resolution, when I asked him to advise US(council) on the SPA(I know is, no one else does), he refused to answer and said "I'm Switzerland". It's awful- I would NEVER recommend to anyone to ever buy into a condo!

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      Dave Josh 20 months ago

      is there a law regarding AGM voting but inserting other items to the voting?

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      Author

      Sylvia Leong 20 months ago from North Vancouver (Canada)

      Hi Dave Josh,

      I assume that you're asking if other resolutions can be inserted during the AGM to be voted upon? The answer is no. As per the SPA section 45, each owner must be given 2 weeks notice of the annual or special general meeting including a description & the proposed wording of any resolution requiring a 3/4 vote or unanimous vote. Here is a copy of the actual section:

      Strata Property Act of British Columbia

      Notice requirements for annual or special general meeting.

      45 (1) The strata corporation must give at least 2 weeks' written notice of an annual or special general meeting to all of the following:

      (a) every owner, whether or not a notice must also be sent to the owner's mortgagee or tenant;

      (b) every mortgagee who has given the strata corporation a Mortgagee's Request for Notification under section 60;

      (c) every tenant who has been assigned a landlord's right to vote under section 147 or 148, if the strata corporation has received notice of the assignment.

      (2) A person who has a right to be notified under this section may, in writing, waive the right and may, in writing, revoke a waiver.

      (3) The notice of the annual or special general meeting must include a description of the matters that will be voted on at the meeting, including the proposed wording of any resolution requiring a 3/4 vote or unanimous vote.

      (4) If the meeting is an annual general meeting, the notice must include the budget and financial statement referred to in section 103.

      (5) A vote at an annual or special general meeting may proceed despite the lack of notice as required by this section, if all persons entitled to receive notice waive, in writing, their right to notice.

      (6) If 2 or more persons share one vote with respect to a strata lot, all of them must consent to the waiver of notice under subsection (5).

      I'd like to invite you to join our Facebook page. It's a great place to ask questions! It's called: Strata Council: Theft, Bullying & Unauthorized Decisions.

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      Anne 20 months ago

      What do you in the case of a neighbour who constantly makes complaints about noise from your apartment, when you all you have done is walk quietly across the floor.

      I do not have pets or children, I do not play loud music, in fact I rarely play music at all. I have my tv on about once every three weeks. I only use appliances after 7.00am or before 10.00pm. Neither I, nor my guests ever stomp around my home. I'm extremely quiet and walk around in bare feet or socks and yet I have someone below me who complains a LOT about noise coming from my place. He is very aggressive towards me. The floor is hardwood laminate and I have a rug on the floor in the living room area. Thanks.

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      Karen 20 months ago

      Oh thank you for your amazing article

      I don't know if people post good things I would hope...

      Unfortunately, mine is not!

      I am an individual that admires regs and believe they are meant to be purposeful

      Many people spent hours formulating bylaws that best reflected their conmunities.

      We have a pretty basic bylaw that should serve its' purpose,

      I am, kindly put in the bad books of our strata council and the atmosphere is nothing less than toxic

      I email them often... To begin with it was mainly private issues involving my unit only , they are not keen on people who rock the boat, and I do

      It escalated to the point of no seeable solution

      Some of the bylaws are ignored completely and it doesn't help that some of the council members are the individuals in contravention

      It has reached the point when a friend and neighbor was approached and interpreted that befriending me could create issues for them with council

      It is u fortunate there is no recourse in dealing with councils that refuse to deL with bylaw infractions

      The strata property manager unfortunately is not willing to call the council or advise them on the bylaw contraventions

      It is a clique and if you are willing to sit with council on their happy hour you are on easy street when it comes to private requests, ie granting of renting units, private tree removal, etc.

      Coming from a regulatory background , CAO and city planner it bothers me there seem to be different rules for different individuals

      As I do contract work and travel all around the province I recently requested permission to have a roimate that could live in while I was away and look after my cat if I was in places where it was not feasible to take him

      I do not take my stuff with me so I was not trying to pull a fast one and really get a renter

      In my work terms I return home as often as possible

      I was told that the rental pool was full and I would have to go on a waiting list, I didn't want to rent it out, I nust wanted to have someone in the unit looking after my things while away

      I was told by friends I. Here that I shouldn't have complained so much and it would have been granted immediately

      I didn't realize that having a roomate actually constitutes a tenancy agreement that translates into renting.

      What is surprising is that at one time they granted it no questions asked

      It is their way of flexing their power over owners that don't behave

      I love my neighborhood and do not want to be forced out because they have managed to convince people I am a complainer

      Having worked for municipal councils for years and 99% were comprised of hard working people with strong ethics and integrity

      It is eye opening that this council does not like any criticism and views it as a challenge

      I recently attended a meeting and asked if I could record it as sometimes I found the minutes didn't reflect the discussions correctly

      They refused, I said most city council meetings are now video taped and broadcast reflecting transparency and residents could see who supported and did not support the issues raised.

      I told them that made me suspicious and was told I was being paranoid. As I thought the minutes were recorded leaving out important facts,

      It took an email from our local CHOA representative stating they must provide hard copies of documents upon request

      I had been told by our strata manager that she had emailed me once and that was the end of it

      It took 4 emails from me and one from the CHOA rep to finally get the paper copies requested

      She was likely embarrassed by that and didn't go well in our relationship

      Since then any emails I send must wait for the next council meeting to be addressed

      Most people in here have given up and when their emails aren't answered they just stop emailing them

      I know I am a thorn in their side however, I just don't have it in me to give in

      How can we as individuals forge change so that councils must administer their bylaws and treat all with the same degree of equality?

      In this province we seem to have agencies that protect and champion all kinds of what could be litigious issues but don't need to go that far

      It will be a struggle but I am determined to continue and not join the ranks of those far too intimidated to pursue their issues

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      Egghead16 17 months ago

      With regards to Dave Josh question and your answer- wouldn't that be moot, if there were at least 3/4 present in person or with proxy? I mean, couldn't they just add, say , a new bylaw for instance (3/4 vote) at the AGM itself, if they had over 3/4 of the owners there? No need for it to be on the agenda because it wouldn't have changed anything at that point, know what I mean?

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      The lawyer 6 months ago

      The answer is easy. Pass a bylaw at the AGM or SGM

      The owners restrict all the powers of the council and direct the powers of the council to the owners. THIS BYLAW COMES INTO AFFECT IMMEDIATELY IF PASSED AT AN AGM OR SGM.

      You must ensure that you mention the following ... We, the owners, will take responsibility for any and all lawsuits that may be brought upon us for breaking any laws. We the owners will not hold you responsible for passing this bylaw.

      If your strata is democratic and the person required to tally the votes will do this, this is allowed

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      The Lawyer 6 months ago

      Based on my understanding, the following will bring back democracy and stop corruption. Unfortunately, all the owners will get sued since that is how corporations work

      We, the Strata Corporation's owners, understand that we can be sued for breaking the laws of the land and the bylaws. We, the owner of this Strata Corporation waive our right to sue you for passing the following bylaws.

      Auto-triggered Proposed Bylaws

      1. In the event a bylaw gets passed outside an AGM or SGM, that bylaw is voided, the Strata Corporation revokes all powers to the council, converts all the council's voting shares to non-voting shares, and an Emergency SGM or AGM will be triggered immediately

      In the event this bylaw gets repealed, an Emergency SGM or AGM will be triggered immediately. The repeal is nullified and the bylaw passed cannot be put into force. Furthermore, the Strata Corporation revokes all powers given to the current Council and converts the council's voting shares to non-voting shares immediately

      Bylaws (majority vote)

      2. The Strata Corporation revokes all powers given to the Council during this AGM or SGM and directs them to the owners immediately.

      The Strata Corporation converts the council's voting shares to non-voting shares immediately

      This bylaw expires at the end of this AGM or SGM

      Auto in-force bylaws

      3. In the event an AGM or SGM starts, the Strata Corporation revokes the council's powers and converts the council's voting shares to non-voting shares immediately. The Strata Corporation directs these powers to the owners not on the council immediately.

      Fundamental Bylaws

      Fundamental Bylaw

      If the Strata Corporation and/or owners revoke(s) all powers to the council, this includes all people the council has transferred powers to. This comes into force immediately

      Fundamental Bylaw

      Any council member or owner that attempts to pass or passes a bylaw to change, repleal or replace a fundamental bylaw outside of an AGM or SGM is blacklisted immediately. The strata corporation revokes all powers given to the council and/or owner(s) immediately. That bylaw, if passed outside and AGM or SGM, is nullified and cannot be put into force immediately

      Fundamental Bylaw

      In the event an AGM or SGM starts, the owners and the council can with a 3/4 vote, nullify the Fundamental Bylaw (Accept responsibility) for the duration of this AGM or SGM immediately

      Fundamental Bylaw

      In the event an AGM or SGM starts, the owners can, with a majority vote, revoke all powers given to the council. This comes into affect immediately.

      Fundamental Bylaw (Accept responsiblity)

      We, the Strata Corporation's owners, understand that we can be sued for breaking the laws of the land and the bylaws. We, the owner(s) of this Strata Corporation waive our right to sue you for passing the following bylaws immediately

      Fundamental Bylaw

      If anyone asks who found this loophole, we did. We found the problem and are working for a perfect solution.

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      Jonathan Deak 6 months ago

      The Lawyer, you make this very complicated.

      Why don't you just pass a bylaw

      This can be solved if the law states that the property manager and/or property management company must be hired and fired at an AGM or SGM. Any or all council member(s) who violates this bylaw must resign immediately.

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      The Simpleton 6 months ago

      Your city has a mayor. That mayor is a member of council. The council has departments.

      The council members hold AGMs and SGMs. They post meeting minutes.

      If you want to fix the strata, look to your cities organizational chart.

      Do not overload your council/board members. Let the departments help them out. Give them the tools to work. Any electronic or Internet means to communicate.

      If the owners are happy, why would they sue if you broken every law.

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      John Doe 5 months ago

      The other thing that needs to be done is to ensure nobody on council violates the laws.

      A bylaw will be passed that says this.

      Any council member who knowingly breaks any laws in the Strata Act must resign immediately

      http://www.timescolonist.com/news/b-c/richmond-str...

      The owners above passed a bylaw to hold meetings in Mandarin only. This was removed by the courts. It is back in again. Therefore, laws can be broken since the owners accept responsibility for being sued.

      Council can do the same.

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      StrataLife 5 months ago

      https://stratasolutionsblog.wordpress.com/

      There are many things that can be done in a strata. The Strata Property Act is open to many options.

      I have looked over the laws and the standard bylaws and give possible bylaw changes to allow for every owner to have a happier strata life.

      Sylvia, thank you for being my main inspiration. If it was not for you, I would not have created a blog with solutions. I would vent online without knowing what can be done.

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      stratafied 4 months ago

      yeppers

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      snarfy 6 weeks ago

      hi sylvia learned alot from this thanks :)

      i have a question im an owner of a condo, is there a time limit to report something that happened 2yrs ago? to counsil and homeowners act or where else i could report something bad that happen regarding counsils conduct ?

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