February 17, 2023
What Is A Strata?
While this seems like a simple question, the reality is quite complex. We’ll start with a review of the basics surrounding Strata properties.
What Is It?
A STRATA PROPERTY is comprised of a group of individual lots or units, owned by different individuals, which together form part of a larger entity (the Corporation). Each Strata Lot is owned by an individual, along with a portion of the common area or other common property and assets of the Corporation.
A STRATA CORPORATION is formed when a developer registers a Strata Plan at the Land Title’s Office. The Strata Plan details the number of individual Strata Lots, or units, as well as the common property shared with each unit, in a ratio established by the Unit Entitlement of each Strata Lot.
UNIT ENTITLEMENT determines how much of the common property is owned by each Strata Lot based on the size of their unit, or other determining factors. In some Strata’s, the Unit Entitlement may be the same for every Strata Lot. Unit Entitlement is listed on the Strata Plan which should be reviewed before purchasing the Strata Lot as it can affect your financial obligations if/when a Special Assessment is levied.
Types Of Stratas
For a lot of people, Strata brings to mind an apartment style home but in reality, there are a variety of different Strata Properties as follows:
Apartment style homes are a really common type of Strata property. Usually contained within a building with a number of other units, they all share the hallways, elevators, lobbies, and possibly parking structures. These types of buildings may have shared heating systems (boilers), plumbing, and electrical components although each unit maintains control over its own environment. Items such as roof replacement or boiler replacement are handled by the Strata Corporation and are not the responsibility of the individual Strata Lot owners, although each owner bears their portion of the cost of the replacement.
Townhomes are usually rowhouses or duplex-style homes but can also be freestanding single-family homes. Townhomes shares gardens, parking, and other common space but may have their own essential utility services including furnaces and hot water tanks. Roof replacement is usually the purview of the Strata Corporation to ensure consistency, with the costs borne by each Strata Lot based on the Unit Entitlement. Additionally, a lot of townhome complexes are gated, providing an extra level of security coming from the “owner only” access to the property.
Bare Land Stratas
This is just as it sounds. Generally, the Strata Corporation is responsible only for the land and the individual Strata Lot owner is responsible for the building or structures on the land. In this scenario, each Strata Lot owner maintains their home, inside and out, and pays for items such as roof replacement directly. Bare land Strata’s are far less common and harder to come by than other types of Strata’s.
Living in a Strata property has a definite upside. The Strata Corporation takes on the repairs and maintenance of the common property and assets while the Strata Lot owner is only responsible for maintaining the inside of the Strata Unit (except in Bare Land Strata’s).
The ability to lock your door and go on vacation without worrying about who will mow the lawn or shovel the snow is an added bonus, giving the Strata Lot owner peace of mind while away.
The added bonus of the home being in a secure apartment building, or gated community, can make everyone feel safe and secure, day or night.
If you’re considering purchasing a Strata unit, contact One Flat Fee and we’ll be happy to assist with your search.