Strata Council Meetings.
The following provisions dealing with strata council meetings are set out in the Standard Bylaws:
- at the first meeting of the new strata council, members must elect from amongst themselves the following: a president; a vice-president; a treasurer; and a secretary.
- a member can hold more than one office, so long as it is not both president and vice-president;
- any strata council member can call a strata council meeting by giving other members at least one week's notice specifying the reason for the meeting; or by giving less than one week's notice if? the strata council members agree; or ?the meeting is required to deal with an emergency situation, and strata council members either consent in advance of the meeting, or are unavailable to provide consent after reasonable attempts to contact them.
- an owner can requisition a strata council meeting to have a hearing, and the purpose of the hearing must be specified in a written application. A meeting requisitioned for a hearing must be held within a month;
- minutes of strata council meetings need to be taken and the strata council must inform owners of the minutes of all strata council meetings within two weeks of the meeting;
- at the outset of a strata council meeting, members should determine if the required quorum under the bylaws is met;
- strata council members can attend a strata council meeting by electronic means, so long as all members (or participants) can communicate with one another;
- decisions at strata council meetings are made by a majority vote of strata council members;
- owners may attend strata council meetings as observers only, but they may not attend portions of meetings related to bylaw enforcement proceedings; rental restriction bylaw exemption hearings; and matters where a person's privacy would be unreasonably interfered with.
How the Notice Period runs.
Under the Interpretation Act, if the reference to time includes phrases such as "clear" days or weeks, or "at least" in reference to days or weeks, the time must be calculated by excluding the first day and the last day of the period. Another way of thinking about the days that must be excluded is to think that nothing can happen on those days. Thus, when calculating the number of days within the one week notice period for calling a strata council meeting, the day the notice is given cannot be counted as one of the days. The strata council meeting cannot take place on the last day of the notice period. It can only take place on any of the days following the last day of the notice period.
The Strata Council Member's Standard of Care.
In exercising the powers and performing the duties of the strata corporation, each council member must act honestly and in good faith with a view to the best interests of the strata corporation, and exercise the care, diligence and skill of a reasonably prudent person in comparable circumstances. The Standard Bylaws provide that strata council members are not personally liable for anything they do or do not do in the course of acting as a strata council member, so long as they are acting honestly and in good faith. However, strata council members will still be liable for judgments against the strata corporation in their capacity as owner. The strata corporation can obtain errors and omissions insurance to insure strata council members for any liability resulting from mistakes incurred while acting as a strata council member. However, before obtaining such insurance, the strata corporation may wish to amend the Standard Bylaws, in order to remove the bylaw which limits the personal liability of strata council members.
Conflict of Interest.
Strata council members must ensure that they refrain from acting in their capacity as strata council member if their personal interests conflict with those of the strata corporation. Strata council members must:
- disclose any personal interest they have in a contract or transaction under consideration by the strata corporation;
- refrain from voting on that matter at strata council meetings;
- leave strata council meetings when that matter is being discussed; and
- not participate in bylaw contravention decisions if they are the alleged bylaw or rule offender, unless all owners sit on council.
Specific Duties of the Strata Council.
The specific duties of the strata council include the following:
- keeping a list of the names of owners and tenants, and similar documents;
- paying strata corporation bills;
- making themselves accessible by providing a telephone number or some other method of contact;
- entering into strata corporation contracts and supervising the performance of duties under those contracts;
- hiring and supervising employees of the strata corporation;
- keeping all strata corporation records;
- making records available for inspection and copying for the owners for a charge of not more than 25 cents per page;
- calling and conducting general meetings;
- completing "Information Certificates" (Form B) and "Certificates of Payment" (Form F);
- preparing the budget and financial statements;
- directing investments and expenditures;
- collecting strata fees and other money owed to the strata corporation;
- enforcing the bylaws and rules;
- obtaining adequate strata corporation insurance;
- approving strata lot alterations;
- granting owners and tenants short term exclusive use of common property; and
- exempting the application of rental restriction bylaws for individual owners based on hardship.
Not Enough People to Sit on the Strata Council?
If no eligible person or not enough eligible people in a strata corporation are willing to sit on the strata council, then the strata corporation, or an owner, tenant, mortgagee or other person having an interest in a strata lot, may apply to the Supreme Court for the appointment of an administrator to exercise the powers and perform the duties of the strata corporation. The court may appoint an administrator if, in the court's opinion, the appointment of an administrator is in the best interests of the strata corporation. This may resUlt in the administrator taking on the responsibilities of the strata council, but it may also eliminate or interfere with the normal democratic functioning of the strata corporation and the rights of owners under the Act. In particular, the court may:
- appoint the administrator for an indefinite or set period;
- set the administrator's remuneration (which will be paid by the owners as a strata corporation expense);
- order that the administrator exercise or perform some or all of the powers and duties of the strata corporation; and
- relieve the strata corporation of some or all of its powers and duties.