On July 28, 2016, amendments to the Strata Property Act (the “Act”) included in the Natural Gas Development Statutes Amendment Act, 2015 came into force, revising the requirements under the Act for authorizing the winding up of a strata corporation and cancellation of a strata plan. These changes create new opportunities for the redevelopment of aging strata housing stock in British Columbia.
The amendments to the Act lower the voting threshold to approve the voluntary winding up of a strata corporation and cancelation of a strata plan from a unanimous vote of all members of the strata corporation to 80 percent of eligible strata corporation voters (not just those who show up to a meeting). New procedural provisions require that once a resolution authorizing a strata’s termination is approved by at least 80 percent of eligible strata corporation voters, strata corporations with five units or more must apply to the BC Supreme Court to approve the winding up and cancellation. If a strata plan has fewer than five strata lots, it does not have to apply to the BC Supreme Court for a confirmation order, as long as all registered chargeholders give their written consent for the strata’s termination. If a strata corporation applies for court approval under the Act, it does not require the consent of registered chargeholders to cancel a strata plan; however, the strata corporation must serve the petition commencing the court application on all registered chargeholders in addition to all the owners of the strata corporation.
If the court confirms a strata corporation’s winding up resolution and the registrar appointed under the Land Title Act determines that the procedural requirements have been met, the registrar’s order will vest the land shown on the strata plan and other property of the strata corporation in either the owners, as tenants in common, or in the liquidator (if one has been appointed), depending on the strata’s chosen procedure.
The new amendments to the Act allow strata corporations to engage in “strata end of life planning” with a greater measure of flexibility and increase developers’ opportunities to access valuable under-utilized land. Despite this new framework, strata termination will almost certainly remain a challenging process and strata corporations and developers should seek assistance navigating the requirements under the Act.