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When thinking about “strata properties”, most real estate buyers think of condos. However, in British Columbia strata property is not limited to condos; it can encompass detached and semi-detached houses and even bare land (“Bare Land Stratas”). Real estate professionals should be aware of the defining characteristics of Bare Land Stratas so that they can inform prospective buyers as to the nature of Bare Land Strata properties, and the consequences of owning such a property.
Bare Land Stratas may appear at first glance like any standard freehold property. These real estate developments generally look no different from ordinary subdivisions, with multiple pieces of property, each containing single family dwellings, and roads passing through the subdivision. Indeed, one of the major differences between a Bare Land Strata and the typical condo-style strata is that the strata plans identify the individual strata units by their horizontal measurements and not by reference to walls or floors.
It is critically important however for real estate professionals to identify Bare Land Strata property, because these are strata properties governed by strata bylaws. These bylaws may contain restrictions on the owners’ ability to use the property as they prefer, and are subject to changes voted upon by the members of the Bare Land Strata. Owning in such a development means that many of the rules governing your use of your property are set not by City Hall, but rather by your neighbours.
In addition, there may be strata minutes available for review by prospective buyers, strata fees payable by owners on a monthly or annual basis, common properties over which all strata owners have a right of access, etc. These sorts of issues may materially impact the prospective buyers’ decision whether or not to purchase in the Bare Land Strata.
How can real estate professionals identify a Bare Land Strata? Land Title searches will identify a particular property as a strata lot. Having identified the unit, you can then retrieve the strata plan which will identify the full Bare Land Strata. At that point, the real estate professional would be well advised to contact the strata council to retrieve all bylaws, minutes, obtain the Form F and Form B, and retrieve all the strata information necessary to help prospective buyers make an informed decision of whether or not to purchase in the Bare Land Strata.
This discussion of Bare Land Stratas under the Strata Property Act is intended only as a brief introduction to the subject. Should you have any questions or concerns with respect to this or any other aspect of real estate law, please contact Brendan Piovesan of Mullin DeMeo at (250) 477-3327.

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