Few words in Real Estate elicit the kind of response you get when you utter the term “strata”. Dread, fear, confusion, suspicion, you name it.
When dealing with building stratas such as condos and townhouses, many of those concerns may be warranted and should spawn a healthy level of skepticism and due diligence on the part of the Buyer and their Realtor.
Building Stratas vs. Bare Land Stratas
A strata development can be buildings or land, divided into separate units, called strata lots. This allows for individual ownership of a strata lot. All the strata lot owners together own the common property as a strata corporation. The strata corporation is, in law, an artificial person that can do everything of a legal nature that a real person can do. For example, a strata corporation may buy goods or services, sue or be sued.
Traditional stratas divide buildings into strata lots that are individually owned, commonly seen among condos and townhouses. A bare land strata, on the other hand, divides land, usually hosting; detached homes, mobile homes, and recreational sites, etc.
In the case of a bare land strata, the strata corporation will likely have no interest in each strata lot owner’s buildings unless these buildings are referenced on the strata plan. The strata corporation may have interest in (and thus be responsible for) common property and facilities such as roadways, clubhouses, recreational facilities and above ground and underground services.
Bare Land Stratas
The term “bare land” very much describes what a buyer is purchasing.
You are purchasing a bare lot, with no buildings shown on that strata lot.
They usually host detached homes, mobile homes, recreation sites or commercial or industrial property, but they may also include other configurations such as attached homes such as duplexes, or attached patio homes. Before you make any assumptions about any type of strata property, it is essential that you first review the filed strata plan in the Land Title Registry.
The term “bare-land strata” should appear on almost every bare-land strata plan, with a few exceptions.
The plan indicates that you, the purchaser or owner, have an interest in the bare lot. Any buildings constructed on that lot that are not shown on the strata plan are not the responsibility or interest of the strata corporation. THat is to say they are not common or limited property.
The other condition that is frequently imposed on a bare-land strata is a building scheme. The building scheme is generally registered and will show up as a charge on title. The building scheme sets out the limitations and definitions of what type of development and construction is permitted on the building sites.
You Can’t Tell by Looking
You can’t tell by looking whether a building or development is strata-titled. A single family home in a bare land strata development (“strata subdivision”) can look identical to the single family home across the street which is not in a strata corporation.
It’s not the size or type of buildings that makes a strata corporation; instead, it’s the legal nature of it. If the development is legally created by a strata plan, it’s a strata corporation. A strata corporation is created when a developer files a strata plan at the Land Title Office. Sometimes these types of properties are referred to as “strata-titled”.
Its all about the Strata Plan
A strata plan is a document which, by the deposit at a Land Title Office, identifies land which is subdivided into 2 or more strata lots. The strata lots created by this strata plan deposit may, subject to the Strata Property Act, be dealt with in the same way as any land registered in a land title office.
The strata plan should be clearly labelled as a bare land. The bare land strata plan will not usually show the outlines of houses located on individual strata lots, although it will show the outlines of buildings that are common property such as a clubhouse. If individual houses are shown, it may not be a bare land strata and the house exteriors may be common property for which the strata corporation is responsible. In this situation, the strata corporation should get legal advice from a knowledgeable strata lawyer.
The Bare Land Strata Regulations provide that there must be easements registered to ensure that the strata corporation has the right to enter strata lots in order to install, repair, maintain or replace any common property pipes or lines that may be laid on or under a strata lot.
Get Legal Advice to Be Sure
The information on this website about strata housing is provided for the user’s convenience as a basic starting point; it is not a substitute for getting legal advice.