Here are seven strata terms you should know.

One third of BC residents live in a strata home, whether it’s a condo, townhouse, or multi-plex unit.

Strata homes are usually more affordable than their single-family counterparts. They can also lessen the burdens of home ownership, with strata residents sharing responsibilities for things like maintenance, snow shoveling, and security. And while these homes tend to be smaller, they may also have access to amenities like a pool or gym. 

If you’re looking to own a strata home, make sure you’re familiar with related terminology. Here’s a guide to some of those terms.


In a strata development, the parts created for individual ownership are called “strata lots.” Informally, these lots are referred to as a “strata unit” or a “condominium.” The rest of the development consists of common property. Strata housing can include: condos, townhouses, and multiplexes.

Strata corporation

Strata owners own their individual strata lots and together own the common property as a strata corporation.

Strata council

The law recognizes the need for an executive body to carry out the duties of the strata corporation and to oversee the corporation’s affairs between general meetings of the eligible voters. This executive body is called the strata council. It’s effectively a board of directors.

The strata council’s role is to:

  • act as the managing body for the strata corporation,
  • make daily decisions that enable the strata corporation to operate smoothly, and
  • enforce bylaws and rules.

Maintenance fee

To pay for shared common expenses such as insurance, gardening, cleaning, snow removal, and repair and maintenance, strata owners must pay maintenance fees on a regular basis - usually each month. 

Special levies

In addition to strata fees, sometimes owners will be required to pay extra for matters affecting the strata corporation, including the repair and maintenance of common property and assets like replacing the roof or upgrading an elevator. Special levies aren’t part of the operating budget and need to be voted on and approved by the owners.

Contingency fund

There are two funds in a strata corporation: the operating fund, which is for common expenses that occur once a year or more often; and the contingency reserve fund for common expenses that usually occur less than once a year or are unexpected.

Depreciation report

A depreciation report identifies the common property, common assets and those parts of a strata lot the strata corporation by bylaw must repair and maintain. The depreciation report will determine:  

  • What assets a strata corporation owns - an inventory 
  • The assets’ conditions - evaluation  
  • When items need to be replaced - the anticipated maintenance, repair and replacement
  • How much money the strata corporation currently has - contingency reserve report
  • What it’s likely to cost for future replacement - a description of the factors and assumptions in projecting costs  
  • How the strata corporation can pay for the costs - three cash‐flow funding models projecting 30-year replacement periods


No comments

Post Your Comment:

Michael Geller, a contributor to the Vancouver Courier re: real estate/housing issues, always has a clear and calm view of the situation.

Six False Creek affordable housing lots still empty after three decades: Vancouver Sun front page story March 10, 2018

While I didn't write this story, I feel partially responsible for it.
     During the recent debate about the forthcoming North-east False Creek development, much was made of the city's promise to include significant affordable housing. This prompted me to comment that this was a noble goal, but before getting too excited about these units, what about the 6 empty social housing parcels lying fallow along the North Shore of False Creek?
     I knew about these parcels because I was given a tour of them by Concord Pacific during the 2008 municipal election. Furthermore, I was involved as an expert witness in a lawsuit over them a few years ago. Following my comments, Lori Cuthbert contacted me. I happily put her in touch with Cameron Gray, who was the City's Housing Director, and while not directly involved in the acquisition of these sites, knew why they remained undeveloped.
     I told Lori that I thought it was outrageous that these sites remained undeveloped, not as a criticism of Concord Pacific, but rather of the city, province and feds who could have come up with a strategy to see these parcels developed with affordable housing, even in the absence of deep government subsidies. Enough said.
The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB.