There has been confusion in the industry whether a strata’s rental restriction bylaw can also prevent an owner from having a roommate in their strata lot. In the industry one view has always been that the Strata Property Act only allows a strata to prevent the rental of an entire strata lot and has no effect on roommates.
A recent case from the CRT has provided clarification of this issue: Wong v Section 1 of the Owners, Strata Plan NW 2320, 2017 BCCRT 25. In this case, the strata had a bylaw that stated:
“The number of strata lots . . . that may be leased at any one time is limited to NONE”
Wong had a roommate and the strata fined her for breaching the rental restriction bylaw. The owner sued the strata in the CRT claiming that she was permitted to have a roommate regardless of the bylaw. The owner was not successful in her claim.
The CRT found that roommates fell within the definition of ‘tenant’ within the SPA which is defined as a person who “rents all or part of a strata lot”. The CRT found that the bylaw restricted all rentals, including roommates because of the definition of tenant in the SPA. As a result of the bylaw, the owner was not permitted to have any roommates or other tenants (except for proper exemptions such as hardship under the SPA).
The $500 fine against the owner was not reversed and her claim for lost rental revenue was dismissed.