A strata or strata development is a way of subdividing and owning portions of land and buildings on that subdivision.
A Strata Corporation is created and shaped when a developer registers a strata plan of the subdivided land/buildings with the British Columbia Land Title and Survey Authority.
A strata corporation has all of the powers of a natural person who has full capacity. This means it can sue others, be sued by others, enter into contracts with others, and hire employees.
Strata Lot is the area that an owner owns in a Strata plan. In British Columbia, the boundary of a strata lot is established by Section 68 of the Strata Property Act. Common property is all areas on the strata plan that are not part of the strata lot.
Each strata lot is a separate parcel of land, with its own legal description and its own title. It can be sold or transferred independently of the other lots in the strata corporation.
Common property is shared ownership by all strata lot owners in proportion to their unit entitlement. Strata lot owners have equal right to use common property which include:
• Septic fields
Limited Common Property:
Limited common property is either indicated on the strata plan through a ¾ vote at an annual general meeting (AGM) by the strata lot owners or by the developer. LCP (limited common property) has a restriction on who can use it.
Some examples of limited common property can include:
• The stairwell that leads to separate units either above or below the main floor
• A deck/balcony outside the condominium which can be accessed by only one unit
• A roof area that is only accessible by the penthouse suite
• Elevators, gyms, pools, internal hallways, and parking
Apartment strata lots are what is typically considered condominiums. They are usually single floor units that are separated from the neighboring strata lots by walls, floors, and or ceilings. They are strata lots located in multiple storey buildings, like low rises or towers, and have a layout similar to a rental apartment.
A townhouse strata lot is arranged in a row. These townhouse strata lots usually have a separate entrance for each strata unit. These units have a common wall sharing with the neighboring unit but not usually floors and or ceilings are shared.
Non-residential strata lots are any strata lots that are zoned for commercial, industrial, or agricultural purposes and are designated as non-residential strata lots in the strata plan.
Detached houses are single-family homes that are not physically attached to other strata lots on building strata lots. Although the homes are shown on the building strata plan, but, a single-family home located on a bare land strata lot will not be shown on the bare land strata plan.
Detached House on a Bare Land Strata Lot
Similar to subdivision plan, strata lots are defined by their horizontal measurements and not by reference to walls or floors. They are not shown on the bare land strata plan.
A detached house on a bare land strata plan differs from a building strata plan because a detached house or other building located on the bare land strata is entirely owned by the strata lot owner including the outside wall.
Duplex, Triplex or Quadplex
Duplex, triplex, and or quadplex refer to any strata plan of four or less strata lots. They are sharing either common walls and a common roof or some type of notional attachment like a trellis.
The most common type of ownership is the freehold/fee simple, In a freehold strata development:
1. The developer subdivides the property into strata lots and common property by depositing the strata plan with the Land Titles Survey Authority
2. The Registrar of Land Titles registers the developer as the registered owner in fee simple of each of the newly-created strata lots
3. The developer may then sell the developer’s fee simple title to the buyer of each strata lot
4. The buyer acquires fee simple title to his/her strata lot
In a leasehold strata development:
1. The developer initially leases the land from the federal, provincial, or municipal government or some other public authority
2. The developer leases the land under a document called a “ground lease” which sets out the terms and conditions under which the developer has leased the property
3. The developer constructs the strata corporation’s physical infrastructure, be it a building or a serviced subdivision
4. The developer then registers the strata plan over the land that is subject to the ground lease, and the public authority that owns the land is the “leasehold landlord”
5. The developer then issues subleases over the leasehold strata lot
6. Title remains in the name of the leasehold landlord
7. The buyer, when purchasing a strata lot, registers their interest as a “leasehold tenant” and in effect takes an assignment of the developer’s leasehold interest, as a tenant, under the strata lot lease with the leasehold landlord
8. The buyer is buying the right to exclusive possession of the strata lot for the balance of the term remaining under the lease
9. With each passing year, the term remaining diminishes
10. Leasehold properties are financed differently - they cannot be mortgaged
Other Leaseholds that are NOT Strata Developments
Housing co-ops are usually apartment buildings owned by a business corporation. When a purchaser buys into the
co-op, the buyer is buying shares of the corporation and receives a long-term lease of one of the apartments. Co-ops are not governed by the Strata Property Act which is quite different than any strata run property regulation.
The Strata Property Act does not apply to "Reserves" as defined in the “Indian Act”.
Only the following First Nations or First Nation entities may be leasehold landlords under the Strata Property Act:
• A Nisga'a Village or Nisga'a Nation
• Tsawwassen First Nation
• Maa-nulth First Nations
• Tla'amin Nation
• Sechelt Indian Band
• Musqueam Block F Land Ltd.