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Condo Smarts: Inform or Notice, what's the difference?

There are two different types of notification of meetings required under the Strata Property Act: "notice" and "inform."

Dear Tony: Our strata council is being harassed by an owner who insists that we have to give notice of council meetings to owners, and it requires the notice period of seven days plus the notice period required by the act. If we did this every month for council meetings, the cost of the notice to owners and the time period requirements would not make it feasible for council to hold meetings as required.

Is there a solution we could consider that could make this easier? Could we simply post a monthly schedule and then add meetings if necessary? Would a bylaw amendment make this simpler?

Jenny W., Saanich

Dear Jenny: There are two different types of notification of meetings required under the Strata Property Act: "notice" and "inform."

For annual and special general meetings, notice is a formal requirement that requires the agenda and contents of resolutions be included and a specific time period and method of notice. Except for resolutions that require an 80 per cent vote for a wind up, the notice period for a general meeting is 14 days, plus four days notice allowance required by the Act, and the addition of the day of delivery and receipt under the Interpretation Act. This requires notice of general meetings to be 20 days.

Under the Standard Bylaws of the Act, council members may call for a council meeting by giving notice to the other council members, specifying the purpose of the meeting.

Notice to council members in this form is seven days plus four days notice and two days delivery, for 13 days notice requirement for council meetings. Council members can agree to an earlier period if they all agree, or an emergency arises.

Notification of the owners to attend a council meetings as observers standard bylaws is as follows: “The council must inform owners about a council meeting as soon as feasible after the meeting has been called.” The term “notice” is specifically not used in this context and there is no requirement for a notice period or delivery period to be added.

This provides strata council with flexibility and eliminates the costly need for formal notice to be issued at the cost of the corporation.

Many strata councils will post the next meeting date in their minutes posted to a website, or in the mail room or club house areas. There is no time requirement, other than “as soon as feasible.”

With more than 32,000 strata corporations across the province, there is also the potential of 32,000 variations in bylaws. Look closely at your bylaws to determine if the term for notification of council meetings is “notice” or “inform” as one requires a notice period, the other does not.

Tony Gioventu is executive director of the Condominium Home Owners Association of B.C.