While it may be convenient to use a consolidated set of bylaws, especially when there have been numerous, piecemeal revisions to the bylaws over the years, relying on a consolidated set of bylaws can create serious issues. Further issues can be caused when a strata corporation files a consolidated set of bylaws in the Land Title Office (the “LTO”). A strata corporation should only distribute the filed, legal version of the bylaws to its owners.
Using a consolidated version carries the risk that an error was made when making the consolidated version. By using the filed version, there can be no confusion as to what are the actual bylaws of a strata corporation.
With respect to filing a consolidated set of bylaws in the LTO, a strata corporation was recently censured by the Civil Resolution Tribunal (the “CRT”) for doing so. In the case of Fournier v The Owners, Strata Plan LMS 768, 2017 CRTBC 11, amongst other things, the owner (Fournier) sued the strata corporation for filing of consolidated bylaws in the LTO.
The strata corporation had filed bylaws in the LTO in 1996. Those bylaws were partially overridden by the Schedule of Standard Bylaws when the Strata Property Act was enacted in 2000. After that, one bylaw resolution was added and filed in the LTO in 2004. In February 2016, the strata corporation then filed a consolidated set of bylaws.
However, at the 2016 meeting, the owners only voted on a single bylaw: they did not vote to consolidate the bylaws.
The CRT found that the strata corporation clearly should not have filed the consolidated set of bylaws in the LTO. The main issue was that the 1996 bylaws were different from the Schedule of Standard Bylaws. Therefore, it was incorrect of the strata corporation to consolidate only the Standard Bylaws with the 2004 and 2016 resolutions.
Ultimately, the CRT found that consolidated bylaws were improperly filed with the LTO, as the consolidated bylaws had not been approved as required by section 128 of the SPA. The strata corporation was ordered to refile its 1996 bylaws and the 2016 amendment.
While the strata corporation in the case of Fournier was only ordered to refile its previous bylaws, the strata corporation avoided further, costly mistakes. When using and filing a consolidated set of bylaws, the strata corporation not only risks censure by the CRT and forced filing of previous bylaws (incurring CRT fees and further LTO filing fees), the strata corporation runs the risk of enforcing invalid bylaws. By attempting to use invalid bylaws, the strata corporation can have numerous fines that are noncollectable because they were using the wrong set of bylaws.
Drafting bylaws and the filing of bylaws can have serious implications for strata corporations and strata corporations should rely on qualified individuals to provide the necessary advice and drafting expertise. I offer bylaw review and drafting services. If you would like to receive a free quote for a bylaw review, please contact me at email@example.com or 250-762-6111 and I would be happy to review your bylaws and advise the cost to redraft them and whether they should be redrafted.