Beware bare-land strata costs
SLEEPING GIANT: Owners may be responsible for many services
Dear Condo Smarts: We bought a lovely singlefamily home in a quiet Fraser Valley neigbourhood 15 years ago.
Until this winter, we believed that living in a bareland strata was no different than owning a single-family home on a standard city lot.
The one difference was our community was gated and we had the use of a community clubhouse.
Now that our community is beginning to show its age, the real cost of living in a bareland unit has reared its head.
The heavy winter weather resulted in a number of water- and sewer-system failures in our complex. We wrongly believed that our sewer and storm-water discharge, like any other neighbourhood, was maintained by our local city.
Now, more than $250,000 later at $5,000 per home, we are suddenly aware of the costs and risks. Is it not the city’s responsibility to maintain our services? We pay taxes like everyone else! Dear Dee and Karl: A bare-land strata is no different from any other strata.
The strata is responsible for all common assets, common property and common insurance. Anything shown on the strata plan that is not part of a strata lot, including water lines, hydro, street lights, sewer systems, clubhouses, irrigation systems, roadways and sidewalks will all be the responsibility of the strata.
Many bare-land strata owners are not prepared for the cost of a water-main break, sewer-line failure or repaving roadways.
There are literally tens of thousands of bare-land units in the province. Their common property includes golf courses, marinas, orchards, farmlands, forests, ski areas, and other recreational facilities.
Bare-land developments are frequently model communities and can provide greater assets for lower costs shared by each unit, but the longterm costs may be high.
Once a service crosses the property line into the strata, the strata is responsible. Water services, fire fighting and waste disposal are also services often provided by rural strata corporations, but they incur both higher operating costs and liability.
Bare-land strata corporations need to consider both their future costs and their liability. Your liability insurance is also extremely important in a bare-land strata. Bylaws can regulate the use of property like any other strata. However, there is one important difference: The strata has no insurable interest or obligations for buildings not shown on the strata plan that are on strata lots. You must maintain and repair your own strata lot, including your buildings.
Bare-land costs are a sleeping giant for the unaware strata community. Education is a key component to strata success.
Contact our office for information regarding a one-day strata symposium April 21 at Robson Square.
Tony Gioventu is the executive director of the Condominium Home Owners Association (CHOA). Contact CHOA at 604-584-2462 or toll-free 1-877-353-2462, go to www.choa.bc.ca, fax 604515-9643, or e-mail email@example.com