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Strata Council: Theft, Bullying and Unauthorized Decisions

With 23 years experience in strata living, Sylvia amassed a group to topple a rogue council, then spent 4 years on council herself.

Strata Council: Theft, Bullying and Unauthorized Decisions

Strata Council: Theft, Bullying and Unauthorized Decisions

Are you convinced 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.

A strata council is a group of volunteers. Many are exceptional people who freely give their time (and sometimes expertise). Unfortunately, most of the folks who are attracted to serving on this board are usually those with an agenda. Unfortunately, they often use their position to soothe their dysfunctional control issues.

Do Strata Council Members Bully the Residents?

Yes! Unfortunately, bullying happens often. Being on the strata board is a thankless job, sucking up personal time. Regardless of the decisions made, the complaints never end.

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, this can become so frustrating, these volunteers lose faith in humanity. Unpleasant situations arising repeatedly exacerbates their already dysfunctional control issues. Fining residents can become a way of venting.

Is Strata Council the Boss?

A horrible yet common misconception! Horrible for the residents, because no one needs a boss in their own home. And the truth: 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) are enough to conjure up images of straight jackets, padded rooms and little voices.

No, strata council is not the boss. Surprised? Don’t be. Stratified homes do not have czars, rulers, or bosses. This relationship is simply not necessary, nor can its recommendation be found anywhere in British Columbia’s Strata Property Act (SPA).

A police constable takes extensive training in many areas including: human behaviour, investigation and legal issues. Council members receive no training whatsoever. Be careful! Do not hand them power that they may not be qualified to have. Leadership duties involved in serving on the board are 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, do not tell a board member. Instead, email the property manager who is not privy to building’s politics and can therefore remain unbiased. By law, the property manager must bring forth all correspondence to the strata council. That’s why you pay big bucks to the property management company.

If your building doesn’t have a property manager, at least put your complaint in writing. An email trail is so important because how your complaint will escalate, is anybody’s guess.

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Council members receive no training whatsoever. Be careful! Do not hand them power that they may not be qualified to have.

Stratified homes do not have czars, rulers, or bosses. This relationship is simply not necessary, nor can its recommendation be found anywhere in British Columbia’s 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 British Columbia’s Strata Property Act.

What Are Strata Council’s Responsibilities?

Board members are intermediaries who represent the building and residents (through elections 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).

So, Who Is the Boss?

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

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! Just a tiny stack of papers, approximately 2 millimetres thin, 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).

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

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

So, How Do you Handle a Strata Council Bully?

Every building has one—so it seems. You need to stand up to the bully, yet not the way you think, not the way you would a schoolyard bully.

You know that couple on the fifteenth floor who insists on having loud parties every now and again. Your strata council bully is all over that. Or that guy who lets his dog poop in the common hallway. Yup, the strata council bully is his worst nightmare. Or that car in the garage that’s forever leaking oil onto the concrete. Your strata council bully is sending that owner fines, over and over.

Don’t rip the silver lining. Make use of these aggressive attributes by letting the bully do his/her job. Until it comes to irrational bullying. Then, armed with full knowledge of your bylaws and strata property act, you finesse the situation.

You say:

“You know how much I appreciate everything you do for our building, but this goes against strata property act section (?), subsection (?). My concern is that it’s against the law. Is it possible to try such-and-such instead?”

Confront the bully compassionately with knowledge. Approach it in a way that allows the bully to save face. Watch him/her back down and go merrily on his/her way to bully that woman living beneath you with the immensely annoying wind-chimes—twelve of them!

You'll never go wrong with due diligence. Give yourself an edge and place yourself in a superior position by thoroughly reading and understanding both:

  • Your strata corporation's bylaws
  • British Columbia’s Strata Property Act (SPA)
  • If you live outside of British Columbia, check the property laws in your area.
Stand up to the bully—but not the way you think. Confront the bully compassionately with knowledge so s/he saves face. Allow your strata bully to do his/her job keeping order. It’s preferable to chaos.

Stand up to the bully—but not the way you think. Confront the bully compassionately with knowledge so s/he saves face. Allow your strata bully to do his/her job keeping order. It’s preferable to chaos.

More Information on Strata Council Difficulties

Do you Have an Individual Question or Concern?

Strata difficulties are so numerous, I can no longer discuss individual concerns. Your best bet for help with strata issues is to join the Facebook page entitled, Strata Council: Theft, Bullying & Unauthorized Decisions.

We're getting close to a thousand members, many who are helpful, knowledgeable, and incredible people. To ward off bullying, the page is set to "private" so only members can see the posts.

Click on the link above and answer all four questions. Moderators will add you to the page, and you can get help with your concerns. Thank you and good luck!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: We have been verbally harassed as well as harassed in writing by Council, plus we’ve had very personal items put on public display by the President of the Council. Are there legal avenues we can and should pursue to end this harassment? We no longer feel safe in our home.

Answer: Strata difficulties are so numerous, I can no longer answer individual questions. Your best bet for help with strata issues is to join the Facebook page titled Strata Council: Theft, Bullying & Unauthorized Decisions. 

There are over 700 members who are incredibly helpful.The page is set to "private" so only members can see the posts. 

Click on the link below, answer ALL the questions and I'll add you to the page.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/836969139727823/

Question: Are owners allowed to have input into updating the Strata Council bylaws?

Answer: Strata difficulties are so numerous, I can no longer answer individual questions. Your best bet for help with strata issues is to join the Facebook page entitled, Strata Council: Theft, Bullying & Unauthorized Decisions. 

There are over 500 members who are incredibly helpful. The page is set to "private" so only members can see the posts. 

Click on the link below, answer ALL the questions and I'll add you to the page.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/836969139727823/

Question: Does asking for an administrator be appointed reduce property values?

Answer: Strata difficulties are so numerous, I can no longer answer individual questions. Your best bet for help with strata issues is to join the Facebook page entitled, Strata Council: Theft, Bullying & Unauthorized Decisions. 

There are over 360 members who are incredibly helpful. The page is set to "private" so only members can see the posts. 

Click on the link below, answer ALL the questions and I'll add you to the page.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/836969139727823/

Question: When one council member makes decisions or takes action outside approval by the council as a whole, can their censure be taken? My thought is that the council would need to be in a majority agreement in any actions taken on behalf of the owners at large.

Answer: Strata difficulties are so numerous, I can no longer discuss individual concerns. Your best bet for help with strata issues is to join the Facebook page entitled, Strata Council: Theft, Bullying & Unauthorized Decisions.

We're getting close to a thousand members, many of who are helpful, knowledgeable, and incredible people. To ward off bullying, the page is set to "private" so only members can see the posts.

Click on the link below, you MUST ANSWER ALL FOUR questions, I'll add you to the page, and you can get the best answers to your concerns.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/836969139727823/

Thank you and good luck!

© 2010 Sylvia Leong

Comments

Kaz on June 20, 2020:

No Strata meeting in several years

Small Strata Self run monopolized

Crooks unfortunately no one aware or cares

Sylvia Leong (author) from North Vancouver, Canada on December 13, 2019:

Strata difficulties are so numerous, I can no longer answer individual questions. Your best bet for help with strata issues is to join the Facebook page entitled, Strata Council: Theft, Bullying & Unauthorized Decisions.

There are over 360 members who are incredibly helpful.The page is set to "private" so only members can see the posts.

Click on the link below, answer ALL the questions and I'll add you to the page.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/836969139727823/

Thanks,

Sylvia

Dan on March 13, 2019:

What if your property manager is corrupt along with the corrupt council acting like she is an owner, and seems to run the meetings.

Robert Dixion on June 10, 2018:

there is some really good information here - however some of the comments show people are reacting and jumping to conclusions - the fact is that owners may obtain copies of the bank reconciliations which include the bank statements - also the invoices and general ledger - Owners may create a bylaw that includes the distribution of the monthly financial statements - changing out a hot water tank is not an emergency - ready the definition in the act - to spend money from the CRF you must have proper approval which can be 50% + 1 if the repair is in the depreciation report - if not it requires a 3/4 vote resolution - also owners should obtain and review the information with an accountant who can properly explain the financial position of the strata corporation - then if there is real concerns and questions - put them in writing to council - if they do not respond - then file a claim through CRT- also the owners should demand an audit be conducted each year and a copy go to each owner - be vigilant but be fair and make sure you have the facts before you make accusations - also allow your name to run to serve on council and if elected - spend the time required to understand the history of the complex and how it has operated - the contractor may be long term and actually providing good value to the strata so there is no need to go out for quotes always - and lawyers are necessary - you need to work with facts - not emotion and rumors