Part of being a resident within a strata corporation involves fulfilling responsibilities to the community—maintaining your property, paying assessments, and, maybe most importantly, following the bylaws and rules. While every strata corporation is unique and has its own set of guidelines, there are some regulations that are necessary to maintain structure in all communities. Read on to learn five of the most common bylaws and rules, what they cover, and why they have staying power.
Why Many Strata Corporations Adopt These Five Bylaws & Rules
To some homeowners, strata bylaws and rules may seem prohibitive, but they’re there for a good reason. Strata corporations set the most essential guidelines based on a combination of their governing documents and applicable municipal and provincial laws. In addition to securing your financial home investment, these five strata bylaws and rules are designed to:
- Preserve the aesthetics of an area. Bylaws and rules guarantee the look and feel of a community remain desirable.
- Protect and enhance home values. Maintenance standards ensure that a neighbourhood is appealing to prospective buyers and homes stay structurally and visually sound for decades.
- Enforce the community’s rules and bylaws. Rules and bylaws are legally binding documents that outline the rights and responsibilities of the strata corporation, council members, and homeowners. Community guidelines often act as an extension of these regulations, emphasizing their most important aspects, while also establishing additional provisions.
- Maintain the property of the association. Certain guidelines help maintain community property, including the structures, landscape, and amenities so that all members can enjoy the place they call home.
The Five Most Common Strata Bylaws & Rules
A community’s specific set of bylaws and rules is determined by a variety of factors. While size, location, and other attributes differentiate communities across the country, you’ll generally find these five standard guidelines everywhere:
- Unit alterations. Bylaws may limit homeowners on the improvements or modifications they can make to their property.
- Holiday and lawn decoration restrictions. Communities may require residents to put up and take down holiday decorations within a window of time or restrict garden gnomes and signs on front lawns.
- Noise complaint policies. Policy limits may pertain to music at parties, construction, stomping, and even barking dogs.
- Exterior home maintenance. Keeping lawns, gardens, fences, and trees in tip-top shape benefits the overall community. Residents may be required to keep their grass under a particular height or limit the number of trees in the front of the house.
- Home occupancy limits. This is often controlled for safety reasons. For example, in an active adult community, occupancy limits help to ensure that potential emergency evacuations from properties go smoothly for older residents.
Why These Bylaws & Rules Maintain Popularity Long-Term
When you purchase a home that’s part of a strata corporation, you automatically become a member of the strata community. You sign forms, agree to abide by the governing documents, and pay assessments. You, as a homeowner, have certain duties to the community, and in return, expect the strata to deliver on its promise to protect your home’s value and sustain a comfortable living environment.
One of the best ways for the community’s leadership to meet those expectations is by enacting and maintaining clearly defined bylaws and rules. What gives these five common strata bylaws and rules staying power is that they’re transparent, easy to follow, and ultimately benefit everyone in the community.
Options for Changing Strata Bylaws & Rules
Rules are designed to do good for the community and enhance the strata lifestyle. However, it’s possible that some bylaws and rules in your governing documents may seem ambiguous or vague. If that’s the case, call on your strata's council to reexamine the bylaws and rules. By speaking up and working with them, you’re demonstrating good stewardship and positioning the community for success.
To be most effective, know what rule or bylaw you’d like to change and present your proposed amendment with informed confidence. Proposed bylaws and rules should be reasonable, enforceable, and related to something that the association has authority over—protecting and enhancing property values. The goal is to get council members to share your vision and work strategically to enact positive change.