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Our strata corporation has a minimum of 30 days for any rentals. Otherwise, they will be deemed short-term rentals and subject to fines and penalties. We now find there are a number of units in the building that have been rented for the summer to the end of August, and there are all sorts of problems with noise, security and parking. One person has rented three of the units for 90 days, so we suspect it’s someone using them for Airbnb and skipping past our bylaws.
How do we fix this problem?
Our bylaw is the same as the City of Vancouver, but that does not seem to have any effect.
— James M.
Strata corporations must exercise care in the adoption of bylaws that set conditions or restrictions and do not necessarily reflect the definitions of the Strata Property Act or Regulations.
We often have the impression that by adding limitations or restrictions we may be creating a stronger or more enforceable bylaw with fewer exemptions.
If we look at decisions in the courts or the Civil Resolution Tribunal in B.C., we discover this is the opposite effect. The definition of a short-term accommodation in the Regulations or the Act does not use the term short or set any period of limitations. They define the purpose of use as the definition of short-term accommodations: “a bylaw that prohibits or limits the use of all or part of a residential strata lot for remuneration as vacation, travel or temporary accommodation.”
To date, there is no specified time period in a decision from the courts or the tribunal; however, municipal bylaws set time periods for the purpose of their bylaw enforcement. Both the definition of a short-term accommodation and time periods consistent with local government bylaws as a minimum condition within your bylaws may be a better solution to address both frequent short-term use and persons attempting to bypass the application of the regulations.
A similar condition also exists in bylaws that apply to damages, insurance deductibles and claims. An insurance bylaw is recommended for strata corporations to ensure everyone is aware of their personal insurance obligations and the likelihood that they will be responsible for a deductible if they are found responsible for a claim.
Strata corporations often feel the need to impose a condition of “neglect” to make owners liable for claims; however, the test that is applied and proven is much higher and may disqualify the simple actions of owners who were not managing their property or assets in a manner that resulted in claims.
Bylaws often seem to have little potential impact to councils, but when a claim of a $100,000 deductible or $10,000 of short-term accommodation fines are in dispute, a well drafted bylaw will be critical for a successful outcome.
Tony Gioventu is executive director of the Condominium Home Owners Association. Email [email protected].
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