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A Breakdown of Strata Governing Documents

Every strata corporation is governed by a distinct set of documents that define its authority. In short, these documents detail what homeowners and council members can and cannot do.

Unless you're highly adept at deciphering legalese, the language in your governing documents can be confusing. However, since everyone in the community has a stake in ensuring the governing documents are maintained, it's crucial to understand them and their purpose. Read on to learn everything you need to know about governing documents, how they affect you, and more.

What are governing documents?

Governing documents are, in essence, the constitution, bylaws, and rules that explain how a Strata Corporation is governed. They establish how the Strata Corporation is run and set expectations for residents and the community.

What's included in the governing documents?

Although the terminology varies by location, the governing documents typically include the following:


These documents state where the community and its various structures are located. It displays the precise location of units, lots, common areas, and limited common areas.


Strata corporations are often non-profit organizations, so they must have the incorporation—disclosure statements filed with the land title offices. These documents bring the corporation into existence and define its basic purpose.


Bylaws are a legally binding document, formally set out for the operation and day-to-day management of the strata corporation. In the bylaws, you'll find information about the specific powers and duties of the strata corporation, strata council and the management company. Bylaws are also setting out the meeting requirements, voting rights and council elections procedures.  


The rules are set out in an internal document that spells out the community's general regulations regarding using common property, on site amenities, parking rules, on site restrictions, etc.  

How do governing documents affect me?

Governing documents are legally binding, and when you purchase a home in a strata corporation, you agree to abide by them. If you fail to abide by your strata bylaws, rules, and expectations, it can lead to consequences for the community as a whole. Council members are tasked with upholding them, and residents are responsible for complying with them.

Where can I find my governing documents?

Your strata’s governing documents should be provided to you at the time of closing the sale, but you can also obtain them by any one of the following methods:

Community website or app. Many stratas make their governing documents and necessary forms available electronically.

Public record. Because most governing documents must be filed with one or more governmental entities, many documents are public records and can be accessed through your local government and land title offices.

Management company. Your professional management company is a great resource, too. They are typically able to provide a set of documents or offer direction on how to do so.

Council members. If your council members have made themselves available to you, reach out and inquire about obtaining governing documents.

Amending Your Strata Corporation’s Governing Documents

It's often residents who are the first to point out inconsistencies in their governing documents. Outdated rules and bylaws, ambiguous or missing information, and vague rights are all reasons to talk to your strata council. These important documents can be changed and/or updated by passing the required votes at general meetings.