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How far back must a seller or strata council provide minutes and/or access to engineering reports?


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#1 Mike K.

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 06:38 PM

When buying a strata unit, is the strata council obliged to provide strata council minutes (plus any reports, such as engineering reports) to a potential buyer going back a certain number of years, plus additional years should the buyer request for them to be disclosed, or is it up to the seller to provide these materials and if so, how far back are they legally obliged to disclose to potential buyers the minutes?

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#2 spanky123

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 07:19 PM

When buying a strata unit, is the strata council obliged to provide strata council minutes (plus any reports, such as engineering reports) to a potential buyer going back a certain number of years, plus additional years should the buyer request for them to be disclosed, or is it up to the seller to provide these materials and if so, how far back are they legally obliged to disclose to potential buyers the minutes?


I think that generally you can go to the strata manager and they have records dating back at least a couple of years. They may charge you a fee for copying or faxing them though.

#3 concorde

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 08:37 PM

The seller must include as part of their disclosure any issues or problems about the building including any findings from engineering reports, etc. For example, if someone was to sell their condo and didn't disclose it was a leaky condo and it was known to them or the strata, you can sue for your damages.

It is also within your right to request copies of reports and strata council minutes

#4 MarkoJ

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 09:52 PM

When buying a strata unit, is the strata council obliged to provide strata council minutes (plus any reports, such as engineering reports) to a potential buyer going back a certain number of years, plus additional years should the buyer request for them to be disclosed, or is it up to the seller to provide these materials and if so, how far back are they legally obliged to disclose to potential buyers the minutes?


When writing offers on strata units you ask the seller, through the seller's brokerage, at the seller's expense to provide council minutes. Typically you (buyer) ask for the last 24 months (there is no specific legal obligation that I am aware off) including 2 AGMs (Annual General Meetings) and any special meetings. If I am suspicious of something I'll recommend to my buyer to ask for 36 months instead of 24. You also ask the seller to provide any available building envelope building inspection reports and engineer reports and all relevant documents. If the building doesn't have any reports and it was built in the 1990s you might want to do further investigation.

The seller gets the documenation typically via his or her REALTOR® who obtains it from the strata.

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#5 MarkoJ

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 09:55 PM

I think that generally you can go to the strata manager and they have records dating back at least a couple of years. They may charge you a fee for copying or faxing them though.


As the seller you can, as the buyer you wouldn't be able to do this. I know as a REALTOR® I always require an "Authorization to Agent to Obtain Strata Documentation," from the seller before I can obtain documents from the strata.

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#6 MarkoJ

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 09:56 PM

The seller must include as part of their disclosure any issues or problems about the building including any findings from engineering reports, etc. For example, if someone was to sell their condo and didn't disclose it was a leaky condo and it was known to them or the strata, you can sue for your damages.

It is also within your right to request copies of reports and strata council minutes


Unfortunately, my experience has been that a lot of sellers do not take great care in filling our property disclosure forms (PDS), also if the unit is a rental the seller will typically cross out the PDS and write in "never lived in."

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#7 Mike K.

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 08:10 AM

Thanks for the response. How far back can you demand the minutes? The strata council should, theoretically, maintain minutes from the onset of the strata council, no?

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#8 Sparky

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 08:53 AM

^ When we changed property managers, the previous company dropped off all the records...old invoices, minutes, etc.

If I remember correctly, they went back about 7 years.

#9 MarkoJ

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 10:08 AM

Thanks for the response. How far back can you demand the minutes? The strata council should, theoretically, maintain minutes from the onset of the strata council, no?


7 years I believe; however, the strata may have minutes going further back.

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#10 Bernard

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 06:26 PM

Minutes are not like financial records, they are ongoing. If you have a motion to not allow rentals, that set of minutes have to be available for people to see and confirm the motion exists.

A strata should keep copies of all minutes and AGMs for as long as the strata exists.

If a strata were to dispose of early minutes and no longer have copies to prove a motion was passed, then you could suddenly have pets, do unlimited rentals etc if no record exists saying you can not do it.

#11 jklymak

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 06:40 PM

^ You register your strata bylaws with the land registry after your AGM.

#12 spanky123

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 06:41 PM

As the seller you can, as the buyer you wouldn't be able to do this. I know as a REALTOR® I always require an "Authorization to Agent to Obtain Strata Documentation," from the seller before I can obtain documents from the strata.


If you have a purchase agreement you can get the minutes, you don't have to be a Realtor. The seller can always get them as well at any time.

#13 Bernard

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 07:02 PM

^ You register your strata bylaws with the land registry after your AGM.


You would be surprised at how often this step does not get done quickly or never gets done.

#14 Bernard

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 07:39 PM

Let me throw some more detail in here.

I just checked the act to be certain I had it right, and a strata does have to keep all the minutes. Only when the strata ceases to exist can the minutes be discarded. A strata must also keep financial records forever as well, including all bank statements and cancelled cheques. The records must also contain copies of legal actions that have any connection with the strata and any legal opinion ever obtained by the strata. And any report ever to do with repair or maintenance of major items of the strata.

Each strata has to keep a lot of records and has to keep them forever.

Also only the bylaws have to be submitted to the land title office, not the rules. The rules apply only to common property and common assets.

Few people check with the land title office to see what bylaws are actually registered. Everyone assumes that of it passes at an AGM, the bylaw has been submitted. This is a weakness of the system as there are no checks and balances to make sure it is done and no easy way for anyone to know that it has been done.

The strata can charge a maximum of 25 cents per paged copied of the records, but if you only want to read them and do not want a copy, they can not charge a fee. They have to be made available to be read by the owner or owner's agent within 1 or 2 weeks, depending on which records you want access to.

As a purchaser of a strata unit, you are entitled to an Information Certificate, which is a document that covers much of what you need to know about the strata. You do not need the permission of anyone to request it. The Information Certificate is a binding document on the strata and the unit owner with respect to monies owed.

#15 jklymak

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 10:12 PM

You would be surprised at how often this step does not get done quickly or never gets done.


Then they are not enforceable under the Strata Act...

#16 MarkoJ

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 11:26 PM

Minutes are not like financial records, they are ongoing. If you have a motion to not allow rentals, that set of minutes have to be available for people to see and confirm the motion exists.

A strata should keep copies of all minutes and AGMs for as long as the strata exists.

If a strata were to dispose of early minutes and no longer have copies to prove a motion was passed, then you could suddenly have pets, do unlimited rentals etc if no record exists saying you can not do it.


I stand corrected, you are right; however, I wonder if you would actually be able to obtain minutes going back 10 years in reality? The furtest my clients have ever looked back is 36 months.

Subsection (1) noted below is minutes plus a few other things. No time frame is given.

2) The strata corporation must retain copies of all of the following:

(a) the records referred to in subsection (1);
(b) the registered strata plan and any strata plan amendments as obtained from the land title office;
© this Act and the regulations;
(d) the bylaws and rules;
(e) resolutions that deal with changes to common property, including the designation of limited common property;
(f) waivers and consents under section 41, 44 or 45;
(g) written contracts to which the strata corporation is a party;
(h) any decision of an arbitrator or judge in a proceeding in which the strata corporation was a party, and any legal opinions obtained by the strata corporation;
(i) the budget and financial statement for the current year and for previous years;
(j) income tax returns, if any;
(k) correspondence sent or received by the strata corporation and council;
(l) bank statements, cancelled cheques and certificates of deposit;
(m) Information Certificates issued under section 59;
(n) the records and documents referred to in section 20 or 23 obtained by the strata corporation;
(n.1) any depreciation reports obtained by the strata corporation under section 94;
(n.2) any reports obtained by the strata corporation respecting repair or maintenance of major items in the strata corporation, including, without limitation, engineers’ reports, risk management reports, sanitation reports and reports respecting any items for which information is, under section 94, required to be contained in a depreciation report;
(o) any other records required by the regulations.

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#17 MarkoJ

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 11:32 PM

If you have a purchase agreement you can get the minutes, you don't have to be a Realtor. The seller can always get them as well at any time.


You are correct - with a purchase agreement you can request the Information Certificate; however, you cannot without one.

What I was trying to say is you can't pull an information certificate as an interested buyer in a property - my understanding is that you need a purchase agreement.

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#18 MarkoJ

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 11:35 PM

As a purchaser of a strata unit, you are entitled to an Information Certificate, which is a document that covers much of what you need to know about the strata. You do not need the permission of anyone to request it. The Information Certificate is a binding document on the strata and the unit owner with respect to monies owed.


With an accepted offer (purchase agreement) you have implied permission. To the best of my knowledge a random person cannot pull an Information Certificate?

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#19 MarkoJ

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 06:53 AM

If a strata were to dispose of early minutes and no longer have copies to prove a motion was passed, then you could suddenly have pets, do unlimited rentals etc if no record exists saying you can not do it.


I would hope such things would come up if you pulled the strata plan general index at BC land title. This is what I typically do.

I've never heard of asking for minutes dating back to let's say the 1980s or 1990s to verify an amendment of a bylaw; however, not to say that isn't what someone might want to do.

As you noted sometimes amendments to bylaws do not get registered at land registry; however, the bylaws being provided by the strata corporation should be up to date.

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#20 Mike K.

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 08:21 AM

The reason why I posed this question is because an acquaintance of mine was recently handed his share of a leaky condo repair bill that amounts to tens of thousands of dollars. He bought some three years ago and was not aware of any pending envelope issues, but the strata maintains that minutes going back over a decade contained references to engineering reports which hinted at the possibility of having to undergo leaky condo repairs if less costlier repairs done at the time of the report did not hold over the long term.

Problem is, those minutes were from the late 1990's and had not been provided to my acquaintance by the seller, his agent, or the strata council. In fact he was not even made aware of the engineering reports and the potential for future costly remediation.

This is a situation that I'm sure many condo buyers have found themselves in, partially because of the lack of access to older minutes and engineering reports, and partially because of a lot of strata council's agendas to push back costly repairs as far into the future as possible.
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