The applicability of a bylaw restricting the rental of strata property is an area of law which requires the interpretation the Strata Property Act and the Strata Property Regulations.
Generally, a strata corporation may impose bylaws which limit the number of rentals which are permitted in the building. The enforceability of those bylaws (assuming they are properly enacted by the strata council) on owners who wish to rent is the subject of this blog entry.
A. Sometimes Rental Restrictions DO NOT apply to the FIRST BUYER. A owner who has purchased a strata lot from a developer will not be subject to rental restrictions if:
- a “FORM J” has been filed which has permitted the developer to rent the strata unit purchased by the owner; and,
- the time period specified in the “FORM J” has not expired.
A common misconception in the industry is that all “first owners” have an exemption from Rental Restriction Bylaws, this is simply not true. Buyers and Realtors should ensure they obtain a copy of the filed Form J.
B. Rental Restriction Bylaws do not apply immediately if a unit is currently rented at the time the bylaw is passed. If the previously rented unit is VACANT when the bylaw comes into force then, the application of the bylaw to that unit is delayed for ONE YEAR. If the previously rented unit is OCCUPIED when the bylaw comes into force then, the bylaw applies ONE YEAR AFTER the occupying tenant moves out.
The key point here is that upon passage of the bylaw, the rental restriction WILL apply to the owner’s rented unit; it is simply a matter of time. This piece of legislation is simply a mechanism to ensure that tenants will not find themselves “on the street”, but it does little to protect the interest of owners. I strongly advise owners, who are facing a proposed bylaw restricting rentals to rally other owners to their cause prior to the meeting on the issue. Once the bylaw is enacted, you may have no choice but to eventually sell your property.