What is a Strata?
If you live in an apartment, the chances are that you have heard the word “strata” many times. You might even be part of your strata council. But for those who are not, what a strata actually is and what it does can be confusing.
The role of a strata corporation
Simply put, a strata is a group of individual owners that are a part of a whole. The whole is a separate legal entity, that is looked at as an individual. Under the strata agreement owners own their individual strata lots (ie an apartment) while together owning the communal property and assets as a strata corporation. In terms of housing, a strata is a group of owners who all own their own housing unit, or strata lot in a shared space, such as a complex or building.
The Strata Property Act
The Strata Property Act is a legislative document that is used to govern all stratas. It covers key information about how stratas need to be organized, and run, including rules about records, contracts, meetings, voting, property, finances, bylaws, insurance and more. The Strata council follows the Strata Property Act in terms of what should and should not be done and is the standard document that strata councils should default to if their own strata corporation does not have specific amendments in their own bylaws.
A strata council, therefore, is made up of members who all live in individual units, and all use the joint areas, such as the lobby, sparkling lot, and other shared spaces like pools and other shared spaces.
Strata council members
The members of a strata council are key members of the strata community. Strata council members ensure that the property is properly managed, give the management company direction with day-to-day operations, and play a critical governing role in how the strata manage the overall strata corporation.
The role of a council member
The short answer is that the role of a strata council member covers a lot. From participating in meetings to reviewing financial statements to staying on top of maintenance requirements to looking at the year ahead in terms of budgets, bylaws and what is in the best interest of the overall property and tenants. Some council members may have specific duties and help with common property needs and challenges.
The strata council consits a council president, vice president, treasurer, secretary, privacy officer, and general council members. The strata council plays a huge role in how the building is managed and is responsible for ensuring tasks like landscaping, waste management, electrical, and other needs are properly managed. During a council meeting, members vote on motions and decisions. Depending on the strata corporation’s bylaws, some motions will need a majority vote, while some may need only a percentage of votes to pass.
Strata council meetings
The first council meeting of the year is generally the annual general meeting. The annual general meeting needs to happen no later than two months after the strata corporation’s fiscal year-end.
A special general meeting can occur throughout the fiscal year to discuss specific topics at hand. These meetings are called at the discretion of the strata council.
The strata property act does not set a specific number of meetings for strata councils. However, many strata councils will have regular meetings, as decided by the strata council members by vote.
Strata Council's best interests
The best interests of strata council members should benefit the strata corporation and its properties as a whole. The strata council is a managing body that is responsible for the annual budget, and the strata’s financial health. It is important for strata council members to act honestly and in good faith. A reasonably prudent person can help strata corporations create a positive impact.
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