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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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#21 MarkoJ

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 08:53 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.


On most buildings I would recommend my client ask for 24 months of minutes. On 1990s buildings I would ask for the warranty/remediation package. On a 1990s buildings that have not had a remediation I would ask for all available engineering reports. If there is no engineering report available then you have to do a lot of investigating to do....this may including trying to get older minutes, talking to current and past care takers and or property managers, talking to the strata council members, etc.

Secondly, hire an inspector that will conduct moisture measurements throughout the unit on all exterior walls.

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#22 Bernard

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 08:59 AM

If bylaws are not registered they are not enforceable, but no one knows for sure if they have been registered or not. This means everyone will act as if the bylaws have been registered.

If I were buying a condo, I would require the owner to provide me with all reports on repairs and maintenance from the start and the full financial statements of the strata.

#23 MarkoJ

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 09:09 AM

If bylaws are not registered they are not enforceable, but no one knows for sure if they have been registered or not. This means everyone will act as if the bylaws have been registered.

If I were buying a condo, I would require the owner to provide me with all reports on repairs and maintenance from the start and the full financial statements of the strata.


Ideally yes. In real life the owner is typically not the original owner. The management company would have changed several times (sometimes the building manager knows little about the history) and so would have the strata council. Last year I remember trying to trace down a gentleman who was a care taker/maintenance guy for a building for 15 years to ask him a few questions and he basically said: "Screw you, I am now living in Kelowna, I don't have the time to give you any information."

Financial statements are easy to obtain.

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#24 Bernard

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 09:11 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.


I think if he had asked the previous owner for an Information Certificate, this would have shown all the liabilities of the unit.

It highlights to me the need to get to access of all the records of the strata before you buy your unit. The cost is small when compared potential downside. The cost is even smaller when you make sure the owner pays for it. As an aside, every owner of a condo unit should have their copies of all major records relating to the strata.

Ideally home inspectors should read the full set of records when inspecting a condo and give a report of what the records tell you. Having read through the records a number of times for people, it does not take long to go through a large set of records and find red flags or not

If the previous owner knew about the problem and did not disclose it, then your friend may have some right to protection from the costs. Honestly we are now in an area of land title and property issues I have never actually dealt with. I do not know what your right is if the previous owner knowingly did not disclose something. The fact the strata has records means the owner can not claim they knew nothing about some situation. Not reading the minutes and reports is not an excuse.

Your friend may or may not have a case to get the previous owner to pay for the repairs, but at this point your friend should contact a lawyer specializing in strata law.

#25 Bernard

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 09:19 AM

Ideally yes. In real life the owner is typically not the original owner. The management company would have changed several times (sometimes the building manager knows little about the history) and so would have the strata council. Last year I remember trying to trace down a gentleman who was a care taker/maintenance guy for a building for 15 years to ask him a few questions and he basically said: "Screw you, I am now living in Kelowna, I don't have the time to give you any information."

Financial statements are easy to obtain.


This is one of the reasons the strata has to keep all the records.

If a former management company has not ensured that all the records have been returned to the strata, there is likely a case of the management company to be liable for costs arising from this.

Not to crap on property management companies in general, but there are too many of them that are too lax when it comes to doing their part in maintaining the records of a strata. Few people raise enough issues often enough and consequently managers and stratas get lax in record keeping.

The work of strata councils, and the value of condos, means that hundreds of thousands of dollars are in play with people that have very little knowledge of proper governance and the legal liabilities associated with decisions made. Management companies are focused on looking after the buildings, it is not really their job to govern the strata.

#26 MarkoJ

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 09:19 AM

I think if he had asked the previous owner for an Information Certificate, this would have shown all the liabilities of the unit.


Hello Bernard, I will disagree that it would have shown on the Information Certificate - it most likely wouldn't have. This is an example of a Information Certificate -> http://www.condex.ca/forms/form-a2.pdf

Secondly, all lenders require an information certificate so I highly doubt one wasn't obtained unless Mike's friend paid all cash and had no subjects in regards to strata documentations.

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#27 Bernard

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 09:25 AM

Hello Bernard, I will disagree that it would have shown on the Information Certificate - it most likely wouldn't have. This is an example of a Information Certificate -> http://www.condex.ca/forms/form-a2.pdf

Secondly, all lenders require an information certificate so I highly doubt one wasn't obtained unless Mike's friend paid all cash and had no subjects in regards to strata documentations.


You are right, I was trying to remember if old engineering reports were required in a one or not. I was going by memory and I see I was not right.

#28 MarkoJ

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 09:35 AM

You are right, I was trying to remember if old engineering reports were required in a one or not. I was going by memory and I see I was not right.


Hmmmm...You make an excellent point. Why are they not required? You would think with the 1990s fiasco that would be mandatory checkbox on the Information Certificate.

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#29 Bernard

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 10:02 AM

Hmmmm...You make an excellent point. Why are they not required? You would think with the 1990s fiasco that would be mandatory checkbox on the Information Certificate.


They are not required because they are not in the act? I assume that is it.

I wish is that there was a standardized governance and mandatory training for members of strata councils. Most people really do not understand that they are effectively the governing body for a multi-million dollar corporation in which their liability is not limited

I also wish that it was a legal requirement that property management companies and stratas could not share lawyers or that property managers could have anything to do with legal opinions for stratas

#30 jklymak

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 04:22 PM

I wish is that there was a standardized governance and mandatory training for members of strata councils. Most people really do not understand that they are effectively the governing body for a multi-million dollar corporation in which their liability is not limited


The standard bylaws limit the liability of council members pretty substantially. You'd have trouble filling council otherwise.

#31 Bernard

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 02:16 PM

The standard bylaws limit the liability of council members pretty substantially. You'd have trouble filling council otherwise.


I did not mean personal liability, I meant the liability as owners of the whole building. Bad decisions by a strata council can cost owners a fortune. As you see in standard bylaw 22(2), as an owner you are liable for any judgement against the strata. I see no limitation mentioned, though I am beyond my personal knowledge of how far your liability goes as an owner.

Also the clause in the standard bylaws protecting strata council members is very limited protection in my opinion. Given the quality of governance on strata councils, acting in good faith could be called into question.

Many stratas are seriously in a legal grey area because of the ongoing weak governance. It really should be mandatory to get some board training.

#32 sebberry

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 02:28 PM

It really should be mandatory to get some board training.


Or at the very least not show up to council meetings with your knitting project like a couple of our previous council members did...

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#33 Mike K.

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 09:19 AM

Are strata councillors reimbursed for their time?

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#34 MarkoJ

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 09:53 AM

Are strata councillors reimbursed for their time?


I wish.

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#35 Mike K.

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 09:55 AM

Interesting. Perhaps they ought to be, and then councillors ought to take responsibility for their decisions. Major decisions should be voted on by all homeowners with all votes recorded.

There has to be a better system than the fairly lame one loosely toying with people's homes and making decisions that can have severe financial implications on all owners.

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#36 sebberry

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 12:16 PM

Interesting. Perhaps they ought to be, and then councillors ought to take responsibility for their decisions. Major decisions should be voted on by all homeowners with all votes recorded.

There has to be a better system than the fairly lame one loosely toying with people's homes and making decisions that can have severe financial implications on all owners.


We have a resident in my building - he's an engineer. He barked and barked until the residents finally caved in and opted to paint the building.

Big expenses do require 3/4 support from homeowners.

It is a thick stucco siding, built in 82. $30,000 later and the building looks the same as it did before.

We didn't have any engineering firm look at the building to tell us if it needed to be painted for protection and we still don't know if it was even necessary.

Meanwhile our carpets are all still stained and our walls all bashed up...

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#37 Bernard

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 03:01 PM

Are strata councillors reimbursed for their time?


This is up to the strata, there is no reason you can not pay your strata council as long as you get the bylaw passed.

The problem seems to be that most people that own a strata unit have never served on any board before for anything and most have no interest in serving on the strata council. This means way too many strata councils are full of busybodies that know nothing about good governance.

#38 sebberry

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 03:21 PM

This means way too many strata councils are full of busybodies that know nothing about good governance.


Case in point: Our "stitch-n-b!itch" club.

"We know the building is looking old and grotty, but we really need to deal with Mr. Smith's carpenter cutting wood in the parking lot. We can't have any of that here! How's that toque coming along? Oh no, that's a sock you're knitting".

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#39 MarkoJ

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 02:21 PM

The Form B (Information Certificate) has been revised to improve disclosure:

- By January 1, 2014, strata corporations will be required to provide additional information to prospective purchasers on parking and storage allocated to the strata lot.

- As well, by March 1, 2012, strata corporations must attach: copies of strata corporation's rules; the current budget; the developer’s Rental Disclosure Statement, if any; and the most recent depreciation report. With the exception of the depreciation report, none of these requirements are new.

Looks like Engineering Report is still not mandatory.

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#40 Mike K.

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 03:36 PM

Thank you for the update, Marko.

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