How to find a solid strata property
Before buying a strata property, here are several evaluation measures to consider.
Review strata council minutes
Obtain copies of strata council minutes for the past year or more, along with:
- financial statements
- annual general meeting or special meeting minutes
- depreciation report
- any engineering reports that may have been completed.
Look for past problems, previous repairs, special assessments, legal cases and upcoming expenditures.
Also look for bylaws including rental, pets, and smoking or any other significant restrictions or local rules.
Ensure a maintenance program is in place
Read strata council minutes, engineering reports and the strata depreciation report and speak with the property manager to determine whether the building has a solid preventative maintenance program in place.
Check contingency fund
Under the Strata Property Act and regulations, a portion of strata owners’ monthly maintenance fees must go into a contingency reserve fund to pay for extraordinary repairs, such as a new roof or repairs to leaks. Currently, the minimum is 25 per cent of the strata's operating fund.
It’s important to determine whether the building has a substantial contingency fund to cover any upcoming expenses.
Check deprecation report
BC's Strata Property Act requires that stratas with five or more strata lots (units) must have a depreciation report.
However, strata corporations may waive the legal requirement to have a depreciation report, or defer updating one, by passing an annual three-quarter vote.
Review the Property Disclosure Statement - Strata Title Properties
Sellers are encouraged to complete this form, which is a checklist to assist in disclosing concerns about the property's condition. Buyer should review it for any defects or potential problems and also to determine if parking stalls and storage lockers are attached to the unit and owned or are limited common property.
Investigate the warranty program and builder background
Whether the strata is new or resale, your REALTOR® can find out what type of warranty the building carries, noting the limits and duration of coverage. They may also be able to help find background information about the builder/developer of the project.
Consult a professional home inspector
You may consider hiring an accredited home inspection professional (one who is licensed carries errors and omissions insurance) to inspect the condition of the suite, common areas, and the overall building structure.