Condominium ownership is one of the most convenient and comfortable ways to own a property in Metro Vancouver. Part of the reason for this appeal lies in the structure of the strata corporation that helps manage the complex.
Without a strata in place, a condo complex would not be able to have its beautiful common areas and green spaces, nor would it be as likely to have luxurious amenities. Strata bylaws ensure that everyone is respectful to their neighbors while maintaining the value of units through diligent owner practices. Strata meetings also reduce the amount of upkeep work involved in the complex, splitting the cost and the decision-making responsibilities of condo owners evenly across the board.
Those interested in buying Richmond condos for sale as an investment or a personal property can read on to learn more about how strata corporations work, where HOA fees go to and the further benefits of a strata by reading on.
What Does a Strata Corporation Do?
In British Columbia, strata corporations are responsible for the general oversight, maintenance and strategic planning of group-based communities like condos and townhomes. Every property owner is a member of the strata, and they have a voice in critical issues any time a major decision must be made. They can also vote for representatives to their strata board and even possibly become a strata board member themselves.
The strata board is responsible for several incredibly important duties:
- Overseeing daily operations and documenting ongoing activities, including regular maintenance, construction, unit purchase activity, and any issues that arise
- Disbursing general funds for upkeep of common areas and other shared use facilities
- Helping guide a response to issues that arise within the complex, such as deciding how to handle glazing damage after a hail storm
- Maintaining and utilizing a reserve fund along with the strategic long-term planning that goes with it
- Establishing and administrating bylaws intended to preserve unit values and a pleasant living experience
- Handling disputes or violations of bylaw rules, often representing the condo community as a whole
What Are “Common Areas”?
Common areas refer to any part of the condominium complex that is shared. This category includes landscaping, main entry areas, equipment like elevators, main building elements like the roof and exterior glazing, facilities like game rooms and swimming pools, and many more areas.
Refer to your complex’s specific bylaws and organizational charter to see exactly what is considered a common area.
What Do My HOA Fees Go To?
Your HOA fees contribute to an overall pool of funds that provides several critical services. This general fund pays for regular maintenance of common areas and for services like security. Your HOA fees also contribute to a “reserve fund” that is used for larger projects and emergencies. For instance, if your building’s air conditioning needed an upgrade in seven years, the strata will assess this cost and prepare for it in advance.
Special assessments are sometimes needed during emergencies when the reserve fund cannot cover all costs, but these instances should be rare.
How Can I Learn More About Strata Corporations for Richmond Condos?
You can consult the specific bylaws and charter for the complex you intend to buy a unit in. You can also work alongside an experienced Richmond real estate agent such as myself to learn about typical scenarios and how to anticipate what strata management could be like.