New B.C. rules boost minimum strata corporations must put aside for contingencies

Click to play video: 'B.C. makes it mandatory for stratas to put 10 per cent of fees into contingency fund'
B.C. makes it mandatory for stratas to put 10 per cent of fees into contingency fund
B.C. is once again making changes to strata corporations and forcing them to put at least 10 per cent of all fees into a contingency fund. The Housing Minister Ravi Khalon says this is to protect homeowners. But the issue of sky-rocketing insurance premiums has yet to be addressed by the province. – Jan 25, 2023

The B.C. government is making changes to the regulations governing how much money strata corporations must contribute to reserve funds.

Strata corporations in B.C. are required to maintain a contingency reserve fund to cover expenses such as maintenance work and emergencies.

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Under the changes, stratas will now have to contribute at least 10 per cent of their annual operating budget expenses every year, up from five per cent. The changes take effect in November.

In a media release, Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon said the majority of strata corporations were already contributing, but the changes remained necessary.


Click to play video: 'B.C. increasing minimum strata contingency reserve fund contributions'
B.C. increasing minimum strata contingency reserve fund contributions

“A small number of strata corporations that are underfunding their contingency funds and putting owners at risk of surprise fee hikes and higher insurance costs,” he said.

“While the vast majority of strata corporations are already meeting these requirements, we’re ensuring that those outliers are taking steps to protect themselves.”

Condominium Homeowners Association executive director Tony Gioventu said the changes address a “hangover” from old legislation, and acknowledged that B.C.’s aging stock of condos will need more reserves going forward.

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“Here’s the problem — as buildings age, components start to accelerate to break down quicker, and we need more money in the reserves,” he said.

“The problem with not having sufficient contributions or sufficient budgets is you will find you are going to have a lot more special levies, and with communities that don’t want increased strata fees, it’s harder and harder to approve special levies, repairs get deferred, and so people end up spending actually a lot more money than if they’d actually planned their renewals.”

Click to play video: 'B.C. strata insurance report does little to quash fears over rising rates'
B.C. strata insurance report does little to quash fears over rising rates

Gioventu said the old regulations were confusing to many strata corporations, 99 per cent of whom were already contributing at least 10 per cent.

The changes announced Tuesday will also require developers to contribute at least 10 per cent of operating expenses to a new building’s interim budget.

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The province said the move will prevent developers from advertising “unrealistically low” strata fees to would-be buyers and cut down on unexpected strata fee hikes in the building’s early years.

An additional change, which will take effect on April 1, will require strata corporations to detail their insurance coverage on a document known as the Form B Information Certificate.

Gioventu said the change will allow buyers to get a good look at the building’s insurance history, including claims and deductibles, which will allow them to better understand future costs and maintenance history.

There are an estimated 34,000 strata corporations representing about one million units across B.C.

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