Frequently Asked Questions

Find Answers to Some of the Most Commonly Asked Questions.

Take a look at our FAQs below to find answers to some of the questions that our clients most commonly ask our team. If you cannot find the answer you are looking for, please get in touch with us. We would love to help you!

Rental Management FAQ

A property manager is responsible for overseeing and managing real estate properties on behalf of property owners or real estate investors. Their primary objective is to ensure the efficient and profitable operation of these properties. Here are some of the key responsibilities and tasks that a property manager typically performs:

  1. Tenant Relations:
    • Finding and screening tenants
    • Handling tenant inquiries and concerns
    • Collecting rent and managing lease agreements
    • Enforcing lease terms and resolving disputes
  2. Property Maintenance:
    • Regular property inspections (optional, at cost)
    • Organizing repairs and maintenance
    • Managing contractors and service providers
    • Keeping the property in good condition
  3. Financial Management:
    • Advising rental rates
    • Assistance with budgeting and financial planning
    • Accounting and record-keeping

Paying property-related bills and expenses

  1. Marketing and Advertising:
    • Advertising vacant units
    • Attracting new tenants
    • Marketing the property to maximize occupancy
  2. Legal and Regulatory Compliance:
    • Staying updated on local, provincial, and federal housing laws
    • Handling eviction proceedings, if necessary
  3. Tenant Selection and Screening:
    • Screening prospective tenants through thorough background checks
    • Approving or rejecting tenant applications based on criteria set by the property owner
  4. Communication:
    • Maintaining open and effective communication with property owners and tenants
    • Keeping tenants informed about property policies and procedures, bylaws, and rules

Property managers play a crucial role in ensuring that real estate investments are well-maintained, profitable, and compliant with relevant regulations. They act as intermediaries between property owners and tenants, handling various aspects of property management to make the owner’s investment as hassle-free as possible. The specific responsibilities of a property manager may vary depending on the type of property (residential, commercial, industrial) and the owner’s requirements.

HomeLife Rental Managers conduct a thorough, in person, move-in, and move-out report with each new tenancy and document the entirety of the findings in a detailed report to protect the landlords investment and to ensure that any damages caused are addressed. HomeLife offers an additional inspection service that adheres to local municipal requirements to check for illegal activities and inspect the home for any potential issues. This is an additional service. Inquire with a HomeLife Rental Manager for more details.

The Residential Tenancy Board (RTB) in British Columbia, Canada, is a government agency that administers and enforces the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA). The RTB’s primary purpose is to regulate the relationship between landlords and tenants in residential rental properties, ensuring that both parties understand their rights and responsibilities and resolving disputes when they arise.

The key functions and responsibilities of the Residential Tenancy Board in BC include:

  1. Dispute Resolution: The RTB provides a platform for landlords and tenants to resolve disputes related to issues such as rent increases, eviction notices, repairs, and security deposits. They offer information, mediation, and formal dispute resolution services.
  2. Information and Education: The RTB offers information and resources to help landlords and tenants understand their rights and obligations under the Residential Tenancy Act. They publish guides, forms, and other educational materials.
  3. Enforcement: The RTB ensures that landlords and tenants adhere to the rules and regulations outlined in the RTA. They can issue orders and enforce compliance with those orders.
  4. Regulation of Rent Increases: The RTB oversees rent increases in accordance with the RTA, including the allowable percentage for annual rent increases and the process for seeking additional rent increases for specific reasons.
  5. Residential Tenancy Branch: The RTB operates the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB), which is the main point of contact for landlords and tenants. The RTB staff assists with inquiries, provides information, and accepts applications for dispute resolution.
  6. Adjudication of Disputes: The RTB conducts hearings to resolve disputes when mediation and negotiation fail. These hearings are typically presided over by an arbitrator who makes decisions based on the law and evidence presented.
  7. Regulation of Tenancy Agreements: The RTB ensures that standard tenancy agreements used in British Columbia comply with the law and do not contain unfair or illegal terms.

The Residential Tenancy Board plays a crucial role in promoting fair and transparent relationships between landlords and tenants in British Columbia’s rental housing market. It helps to protect the rights of both parties and provides a mechanism for addressing disputes and grievances in a systematic and legal manner.

Whether you manage your rental property on your own or hire HomeLife depends on various factors, including your experience, availability, and personal preferences. Here are some considerations to help you decide:

Pros of Managing Your Own Property:

  1. Cost Savings: Managing the property yourself can save you money on property management fees, which are typically a percentage of the rental income.
  2. Full Control: You have complete control over the property and can make decisions about tenant selection, rent amounts, and property maintenance.
  3. Direct Interaction: You have direct communication with your tenants, which can help you build a rapport and address issues more quickly.
  4. Knowledge and Experience: If you have experience in property management and are familiar with local tenancy laws and regulations, you may feel confident in handling the responsibilities.

Cons of Managing Your Own Property:

  1. Time-Consuming: Managing a rental property can be time-consuming, especially if you have multiple properties or a busy schedule.
  2. Legal Compliance: You must stay informed about and comply with BC’s tenancy laws, which can be complex and subject to change.
  3. Tenant Relations: Handling tenant disputes, maintenance requests, and rent collection can be challenging and may require conflict resolution skills.
  4. Property Maintenance: Organizing repairs and maintenance can be demanding, especially if you’re not located near the property.

Pros of Hiring a Property Management Company:

  1. Time Savings: HomeLife will handle all aspects of property management, freeing up your time for other activities.
  2. Expertise: Our professional property managers are knowledgeable about local laws and market trends, helping you avoid legal issues and maximize your rental income.
  3. Tenant Screening: They can perform thorough tenant screenings to reduce the risk of problem tenants.
  4. Maintenance Coordination: HomeLife property managers have established networks of contractors and can efficiently handle maintenance and repairs.
  5. Convenience: You can avoid the day-to-day responsibilities of property management and enjoy a more hands-off approach.

Cons of Hiring a Property Management Company:

  1. Cost: We charge fees, typically a percentage of the rental income, which reduces your profit margins.
  2. Reduced Control: You may have less control over tenant selection and property decisions.

Ultimately, the decision depends on your personal circumstances, level of expertise, and willingness to commit time and effort to manage your rental property. If you have the resources and prefer a more passive income approach, hiring HomeLife Advantage Realty Ltd would be a wise choice; however, if you are experienced and willing to invest the time, assume the responsibility and the risk. Managing the property yourself can be cost-effective and give you more control. Regardless of your choice, it’s essential to stay informed about BC’s tenancy laws and regulations to ensure compliance and protect your interests as a landlord.

Typically, HomeLife arranges a Property Management Agreement on a case-by-case basis, depending on the nature of your investment by way of a percentage of gross rent collected. Due to the many varying factors and the different types of rentals we manage (anything from a basement suite to entire buildings), a conversation with a HomeLife representative could answer this question.

All of HomeLife’s Rental Managers are kept up to date with the most recent market trends and provided with the most up-to-date data. This, coupled with our collective experience, places HomeLife in a unique position to be able to accurately and quickly price all rentals for quick occupancy. Would you like to know what your property would rent for? Contact Us for a professional evaluation.

Our highly skilled rental managers employ a meticulous process to find the right tenants for your house, ensuring compliance with BC’s rental laws throughout each step of advertising, screening, and placement.

  1. Advertising: We begin by crafting a compelling and legally compliant property listing. These listings must include all necessary information about the rental property, such as location, size, amenities, rental terms, and price. They ensure that any advertising materials do not contain discriminatory language or violate BC’s Human Rights Code, which prohibits discrimination based on factors such as race, gender, and family status. To reach a broad audience, rental managers may use a combination of online platforms, local classifieds, and traditional advertising methods.
  2. Tenant Inquiry and Application: As inquiries start rolling in, the rental manager promptly responds to potential tenants, answering questions and providing additional details about the property. To maintain fairness and transparency, they utilize standardized application forms that adhere to BC’s tenancy laws. These applications typically request information such as employment history, rental references, income verification, and personal references. Prospective tenants are also required to pay a non-refundable application fee, which helps cover the cost of screening.
  3. Tenant Screening: This is where we conduct a thorough tenant screening process to assess the suitability of potential applicants. We carefully review all submitted applications, checking for inconsistencies or red flags. BC’s tenancy laws allow property managers to perform background checks, including credit checks, to evaluate an applicant’s financial responsibility. Additionally, they contact previous landlords to verify rental history and speak with personal references to assess the applicant’s character and reliability. It is crucial that all screening criteria aligns with BC’s Human Rights Code and does not discriminate against protected groups.
  4. Legal Compliance: Throughout the screening process, your rental manager strictly adheres to BC’s tenancy laws, ensuring that all applicants are treated fairly and consistently. They also respect privacy laws by obtaining proper consent for background checks and securely storing applicants’ personal information. If an applicant is denied, the rental manager provides a written notice outlining the reasons for rejection, which is required by BC law.
  5. Tenant Placement: Once a suitable tenant is identified, the rental manager proceeds with the placement process. They prepare a legally compliant tenancy agreement, outlining all terms and conditions in accordance with BC’s Residential Tenancy Act. This includes rent amount, security deposit details, and any additional rules or agreements specific to the property. The tenant and landlord both sign the agreement, which is then legally binding.

By following this meticulous process, we have always found success in finding the right tenants while remaining fully compliant with BC’s rental laws and regulations. This approach minimizes the risk of legal issues and disputes and helps create a positive rental experience for both landlords and tenants.

If your tenants have caused an issue in your strata lot in British Columbia and you have been fined by the strata corporation, you should take the following steps to address the situation:

  1. Review Strata Bylaws and Rules: First, carefully review the strata corporation’s bylaws and rules to understand the specific regulations and guidelines that were violated. This will help you determine the basis for the fine and what actions need to be taken.
  2. Communicate with Tenants: Contact your tenants immediately to discuss the issue and inform them of the fine imposed by the strata corporation. Explain the nature of the violation and discuss their responsibility for rectifying the situation.
  3. Address the Issue: Work with your tenants to resolve the issue promptly. Depending on the nature of the problem, this may involve taking corrective action, making repairs, or rectifying the situation to comply with strata bylaws.
  4. Attend Strata Meetings: Attend strata council meetings or general meetings to address the issue with the strata council and other strata owners if necessary. Explain the actions you are taking to resolve the problem and seek their input or approval if required.
  5. Pay the Fine: If the strata corporation has already imposed a fine, make sure to pay it by the specified due date. Failure to pay fines can lead to further penalties, such as interest charges or legal action.
  6. Document the Process: Keep records of all communications, actions taken, and expenses related to addressing the issue and paying the fine. This documentation can be valuable if there are disputes or questions about the resolution process.
  7. Prevent Future Issues: Take steps to prevent similar issues from occurring in the future. This may involve setting clear expectations with your tenants, ensuring they are aware of strata bylaws and rules, and addressing any ongoing concerns or behaviours that could lead to violations.
  8. Seek Legal Advice: If the issue becomes complicated or contentious, consider consulting with a lawyer who specializes in strata law. They can provide guidance on how to navigate the situation and protect your rights and interests.

OR Hire a HomeLife expert to help with this whole process and prevent future problems.

In British Columbia, if you want to move back into your rental property while you have a tenant in place, you need to follow the legal procedures outlined in the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA). Here are the steps you should take:

  1. Review the Lease Agreement: First, review the lease agreement you have with your tenant. Check for any provisions regarding the termination of the tenancy or your right to move back into the property. If there is a fixed-term lease, you may need to wait until it expires or negotiate with your tenant to end the tenancy early.
  2. Provide Notice: If your lease is month-to-month or you have a valid reason to end the tenancy, you must provide your tenant with written notice of your intention to move back into the property. The notice must include the following:
    • Your name and contact information.
    • The address of the rental property.
    • The date on which you want the tenant to vacate (usually at least two full calendar months from the date of the notice).
    • A statement indicating that the notice is given under Section 49(3) of the RTA, which is the provision that allows you to move back in.
  3. Serve the Notice: Serve the notice to your tenant in one of the following ways:
    • Deliver it personally to the tenant or an adult member of the tenant’s household.
    • Send it by registered mail or courier to the tenant’s current address.
    • Leave it in a place where the tenant is likely to find it, along with a reasonable effort to inform the tenant of its location.
  4. Tenant’s Options: Your tenant has a few options upon receiving the notice:
    • They can choose to vacate the property by the specified date.
    • They can negotiate with you for a mutually agreeable move-out date.
    • If they disagree with the notice, they can dispute it through the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) within 15 days of receiving the notice.
  5. Mediation or Arbitration: If there is a dispute between you and your tenant regarding the notice, it may be resolved through mediation or arbitration with the RTB.
  6. Vacating the Property: Once the notice period has passed, and if your tenant does not dispute the notice or reach an agreement with you, they must vacate the property by the specified date.
  7. Property Reoccupation: After your tenant has vacated the property, you can move back in as the landlord.

It is crucial to follow the procedures outlined in the RTA and adhere to the notice periods and requirements specified. Failure to do so may result in legal complications. If you have any uncertainties or concerns about the process, it is advisable to consult with a legal professional or seek guidance from the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) for specific advice related to your situation.

HomeLife’s collections department and your rental manager will handle the late payment with focus and intent. It is important that the very specific rules be followed with respect to collections of late rent payments and late payments notices that may lead to either a successful payment or, in the worst case, an eviction. We will guide the owner through the entire process, and act upon their lawful instruction. We understand that things happen, have an open door policy and a compassionate ear, but we do work to protect our landlords investment and interest.

In British Columbia, rental arbitration is a dispute resolution process provided by the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) to help landlords and tenants resolve disagreements related to residential tenancies. It is an alternative to going to court and is designed to be a faster and more cost-effective way to settle disputes.

Here’s an overview of how rental arbitration works in BC:

  1. Application: Either the landlord or the tenant can apply for rental arbitration if they have a dispute that they cannot resolve through negotiation or mediation. Common issues that may be subject to arbitration include disputes over rent, repairs, maintenance, security deposits, and lease violations.
  2. Filing an Application: To initiate the arbitration process, the party seeking resolution must complete the appropriate application form provided by the RTB. The application should detail the nature of the dispute, the desired resolution, and any relevant evidence or documentation.
  3. Scheduling: Once the RTB receives the application, they will review it and schedule a hearing with an arbitrator. The hearing date and time are communicated to both the landlord and tenant.
  4. Arbitration Hearing: The arbitration hearing is conducted by an independent arbitrator appointed by the RTB. The arbitrator listens to both parties’ arguments, reviews evidence, and asks questions to understand the issues fully.
  5. Decision: After the hearing, the arbitrator issues a written decision outlining their findings and the resolution to the dispute. The decision is typically provided within a specific timeframe set by the RTB.
  6. Compliance: Both the landlord and tenant are legally obligated to comply with the arbitrator’s decision. If either party fails to follow the decision, the other party can apply to the RTB for an order of possession, which enforces the decision.
  7. Appeal: In some cases, either the landlord or tenant may disagree with the arbitrator’s decision. In such instances, they may have the option to apply for a review of the decision to the BC Supreme Court; however, the grounds for appeal are limited to errors of law or jurisdiction.

Rental arbitration in BC is designed to provide a fair and efficient means of resolving disputes between landlords and tenants. It is intended to save time and money compared to pursuing legal action in court. Parties involved in the arbitration process should be prepared to present their case, provide evidence, and participate in a respectful and cooperative manner during the proceedings. It is important to note that the decision of the arbitrator is legally binding and enforceable, so both parties are expected to comply with the outcome.

No. This is not a requirement in British Columbia, but at the request of a landlord, HomeLife will be happy to provide one to our clients.

As a landlord, you may have some liability exposure if someone gets injured on your rental property, but this liability is generally limited; however, it’s essential to understand the legal framework and take certain precautions to minimize your risk:

  • Tenant Responsibility: Generally, tenants are responsible for the maintenance and safety of any personal items, such as trampolines, they bring onto the rental property. As a landlord, you should ensure that the lease agreement clearly outlines the tenant’s responsibilities, including the proper installation, maintenance, and safe use of items, such as a trampoline in this example.
  • Property Inspection: Regularly inspect the property to ensure that it complies with safety regulations and that any tenant-owned items, like the trampoline, are properly maintained and safely set up. If you become aware of any safety concerns, address them promptly with the tenant.
  • Liability Insurance: As a landlord, you should have liability insurance coverage for your rental property. Liability insurance can help protect you in case someone is injured on the premises and decides to sue. Consult with an insurance professional to ensure you have appropriate coverage.
  • Consult with Legal Counsel: It’s advisable to consult with a legal professional who specializes in landlord-tenant law to review your lease agreement and provide guidance on liability issues related to tenant-owned items.
  • Consider Lease Provisions: In some cases, landlords may choose to include specific provisions in the lease agreement addressing the use of certain recreational equipment or even prohibiting it altogether; however, you should be aware that banning such things entirely may limit the pool of potential tenants.

In British Columbia, tenants are generally allowed to sublease their rental unit; however, it must be with the landlord’s written consent and they must obtain written permission from the landlord before doing so. The Residential Tenancy Act (RTA) sets out the rules and requirements for subletting in the province. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Tenant’s Right to Sublet: Under the RTA, a tenant has the right to sublet their rental unit, subject to the following conditions:
    • The tenant must obtain written consent from the landlord before subletting.
    • The tenant must use the landlord’s standard subletting application form, which is provided by the landlord or available from the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB).
    • The landlord must not unreasonably withhold consent to sublet.
  2. Landlord’s Consent:
    • The landlord has 14 days to respond to the tenant’s request for subletting in writing.
    • If the landlord refuses the request, they must provide written reasons for the refusal.
    • The landlord can only refuse the request if there are reasonable grounds to do so. Common reasons for refusal may include concerns about the proposed subtenant’s ability to pay rent or meet the terms of the lease.
  3. Tenant’s Responsibility:
    • If the landlord grants permission for subletting, the tenant remains responsible for the tenancy, including paying rent and complying with the terms of the lease.
    • The tenant can only charge the subtenant a rent that is equal to or less than the rent they are currently paying to the landlord.
  4. Sublet Agreement:
    • The tenant and subtenant must enter into a written sublet agreement that complies with the RTA.
    • The sublet agreement should clearly outline the terms and conditions of the sublet, including rent, responsibilities, and the duration of the sublet.
  5. Landlord’s Right to End the Sublet:
    • The landlord has the right to end the sublet for reasons specified in the RTA, such as unpaid rent or violations of the lease agreement.
    • If the sublet is ended, the original tenant remains responsible for the tenancy.

It’s essential for both landlords and tenants to follow the rules and procedures outlined in the RTA regarding subletting. If a tenant sublets the rental unit without obtaining the landlord’s consent, it could be considered a breach of the lease agreement and may have legal consequences. Similarly, landlords should be aware of their rights and obligations when it comes to subletting to ensure that their interests are protected.

Landlords are subject to the Human Rights Code, which prohibits discrimination on various grounds, including family status and the presence of pets. As a landlord, you have the right to select tenants based on their suitability for your rental unit, but you must do so within the boundaries of the law. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Family Status: You cannot discriminate against prospective tenants based on family status, which includes having children. Refusing to rent to tenants with children or establishing a “no children” policy is considered discrimination and is illegal in BC.
  • Pet Policies: While you may have preferences regarding pets in your rental unit, you cannot have a blanket policy that prohibits all pets. The BC Residential Tenancy Act (RTA) allows tenants to have pets unless the landlord’s property is subject to a strata bylaw or covenant that prohibits them. You can, however, establish specific rules and agreements regarding pets, such as requiring pet deposits or setting restrictions on the type or size of pets.
  • Tenant Selection: To select tenants, consider factors such as their rental history, creditworthiness, employment stability, and references. You can also have conversations with prospective tenants to assess their suitability for your rental property; however, these assessments should not be based on discriminatory criteria.
  • Fair and Legal Screening: Ensure that your tenant screening process is fair and legal. Do not ask questions related to family status or other prohibited grounds for discrimination during the application process.
  • Proper Documentation: When you find suitable tenants, provide them with a clear and comprehensive lease agreement that outlines all the terms and conditions of the rental, including any specific rules related to pets or any other important aspects of the tenancy.
  • Pet Agreements: If you choose to allow pets with specific conditions, consider including a separate pet agreement that outlines the rules and expectations for pet ownership on your property. This can help you address issues related to pet damage, noise, and cleanliness.

It’s crucial to balance your preferences as a landlord with the legal requirements in British Columbia. Discriminating against tenants based on family status or having a blanket “no pets” policy can lead to legal issues and potential penalties. Instead, focus on finding responsible and suitable tenants through a legal and non-discriminatory tenant selection process while establishing reasonable guidelines for pets if necessary. Consulting with a legal professional or understanding BC’s tenancy laws in detail can help you navigate these matters effectively.

No. As a landlord, you are able to negotiate these items; however, with respect to the scenario where a tenant does not pay the utilities it can be troublesome, especially if there is a cost-sharing arrangement and this, again, would be a scenario best discussed with one of HomeLIfe’s rental managers.

For general information, if your tenant fails to pay their utility bills, such as electricity, gas, or water, it can create various issues, both for the tenant and for you as the landlord. Here’s what typically happens in such a situation:

  1. Tenant’s Responsibility:
    • In most rental agreements, tenants are responsible for paying their utility bills unless the lease specifies otherwise.
    • If the tenant fails to pay their utility bills, they may face disconnection of services (e.g. electricity or water) by the utility providers.
  2. Potential Consequences for the Tenant:
    • Utility providers may send notices to the tenant regarding unpaid bills and potential service disconnection.
    • If the tenant continues to neglect their utility bills, their services may be shut off. Reconnecting these services often requires payment of outstanding balances, reconnection fees, and compliance with the utility company’s requirements.
  3. Landlord’s Role:
    • As a landlord, you are generally not directly responsible for your tenant’s utility bills, but unpaid utility bills can indirectly affect you.
    • If a utility bill remains unpaid and leads to a service disruption, it can negatively impact the habitability of the rental property and potentially result in a breach of the lease agreement.
  4. Lease Agreement:
    • It’s advisable to include clear language in your lease agreement specifying the tenant’s responsibility for paying utility bills and any consequences for non-payment.
    • You may also want to include provisions for late payment fees or penalties if utility bills are not paid on time.
  5. Communication:
    • If you become aware that your tenant is not paying their utility bills, you can communicate with them to understand the situation better and encourage compliance with the lease terms.
    • Encourage your tenant to contact the utility providers to address the outstanding balances and avoid disconnection.
  6. Potential Eviction:
    • In extreme cases, where the non-payment of utility bills or other lease violations severely affects the habitability of the property, you may have grounds to start eviction proceedings based on the breach of the lease agreement.
  7. Mitigating Future Issues:
    • To prevent future issues with utility bill non-payment, you can consider including clauses in the lease agreement that require tenants to provide proof of utility account setup in their name before moving in.
    • Regularly monitoring the payment of utility bills may also help prevent issues from escalating.

In this scenario, there are many variables, such as pre-paid rent scenarios and abandonment. It would be best to give the office a call and ask to speak to one of our rental managers, as there is no one-size-fits-all scenario here.

If your tenant has moved out without giving proper notice and your rental property is now vacant, you have several options to consider. Here’s are some basic guidelines (again, consulting a professional is advised):

  • Confirm the Tenant’s Departure: Before taking any action, make sure that the tenant has indeed moved out. Visit the property and check for signs of vacancy, such as an empty unit and the return of keys. Ensure that you have evidence to support your claim that the tenant has abandoned the property.
  • Secure the Property: Take steps to secure the vacant property to prevent unauthorized access and potential damage. Change the locks, if necessary, and ensure that all windows and doors are properly locked and secured.
  • Document the Condition: Conduct a thorough inspection of the rental unit to document its condition. Take photographs and make notes of any damage or issues that may have been caused by the tenant. This documentation may be useful if there are disputes over damages or unpaid rent.
  • Contact the Tenant: Attempt to contact the tenant to confirm their intentions. Send written notices or make phone calls to inquire about the reasons for their departure and whether they intend to return.
  • Mitigate Damages: As a landlord, you have a duty to mitigate damages. In the event of a vacant rental unit, you should make reasonable efforts to re-rent the property as quickly as possible to minimize financial losses.
  • Advertise for New Tenants: Start advertising the rental property to attract new tenants. Use various advertising platforms, such as online listings, real estate websites, and local classifieds, to reach potential renters.
  • Re-Renting: Once you find new tenants, conduct a thorough screening process to select qualified renters. Ensure that you follow all legal requirements for tenant screening, including checking references and verifying income.
  • Deduct Unpaid Rent: If your previous tenant left without paying rent owed, you may be able to deduct unpaid rent from their security deposit or pursue legal action to recover the outstanding amount. Be sure to adhere to BC’s residential tenancy laws when handling security deposits and unpaid rent.
  • Review Lease Agreement: Review the lease agreement you had with the previous tenant to see if it includes any clauses or terms related to abandonment or early termination. This may provide guidance on how to handle the situation.
  • Consult Legal Advice: If you encounter any challenges or have questions about your rights and responsibilities as a landlord in this situation, it’s advisable to consult with a legal professional or contact the Residential Tenancy Board.

Strata Management FAQ

A strata manager in British Columbia plays a crucial role in managing and overseeing the operations of strata corporations, which are responsible for maintaining and administering common property and shared assets in condominiums, townhouses, and other multi-unit developments. These professionals serve as intermediaries between strata councils and owners, facilitating efficient and compliant property management. Strata managers handle various responsibilities, including financial management, administrative tasks, and regulatory compliance. They assist in budget preparation, collect strata fees, and oversee financial transactions while ensuring transparency and accountability. Strata managers also coordinate routine maintenance, repairs, and contract services for common property, addressing owners’ concerns and maintaining records of strata meetings and decisions. Additionally, they provide expertise on strata legislation, bylaws, and regulations, helping strata councils make informed decisions and navigate legal and governance matters. Overall, a strata manager plays a pivotal role in maintaining harmonious living environments and enhancing the value and functionality of strata properties in British Columbia.

We have a wide range of experience. HomeLife has one of the largest Strata Management teams in BC with varied levels of tenure and training. We currently employe staff that are actively enrolled in the licensing course, some who have recently completed it, and many with 25+ years in the industry and all levels of expertise inbetween. One thing common amongst all our staff is that there is no end to the education and training that is provided by HomeLife as we strive to always be ahead of any learning curves, to be relevant and to be growing.

With the varied level of experience in our management team and the large number of staff that we employ, our managers are in the fortunate position to not be overwhelmed with a porfolio that they can not manage. Our senior management team works closely with all of our Strata Managers and Assistants to ensure that communication is always a top priority and that a balanced portfolio is managed. Currently, we have managers with as little as three buildings and others with 15 plus, however, these numbers are difficult to make relevant sense due to each building coming with different door counts and demands. We will ensure that you will not be placed with a Manager that does not have the time for you, that is our number one priority.

HomeLife has many varied departments and positions that are all tailored to give the best experience to our clients possible. We have accounts receivable, accounts payable, bookkeeping, collections and forms departments and many other positions that compliment each other to ensure that we all work together as a team, understanding that no one role outshines another. We are all part of a system that works for our clients. If you are interested in more details about the positions at HomeLife, please check out our “Career Opportunities” tab.

In British Columbia, the Strata Property Act is governed and enforced by several entities and authorities, each with its own role and responsibilities in regulating strata properties and ensuring compliance with the law:

  1. The British Columbia Ministry of Attorney General:
    • The Ministry of Attorney General oversees and administers the Strata Property Act, as well as other related legislation. The ministry may enact changes to strata legislation and regulations as needed.
  2. The Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT):
    • The CRT is an independent, online dispute resolution body established to resolve strata and other civil disputes in British Columbia. The CRT handles various strata-related disputes, such as those involving bylaws, fines, property maintenance, and other issues. It provides an accessible and cost-effective alternative to court proceedings for resolving strata disputes.
  3. The Real Estate Council of British Columbia:
    • The Real Estate Council of BC regulates real estate professionals, including strata property managers, real estate agents, and brokers. Strata property managers in BC must be licensed and adhere to the council’s rules and regulations.
  4. The Strata Property Agents of British Columbia (SPABC):
    • SPABC is a professional association that represents strata property management companies and professionals in British Columbia. While it does not govern or enforce the Strata Property Act, it plays a role in setting industry standards, promoting best practices, and advocating for the interests of strata managers.

  5. Strata Councils:
    • Strata councils are elected by strata lot owners within a strata corporation and are responsible for the day-to-day management and decision-making related to the strata property. They play a critical role in enforcing bylaws and rules within the strata community.

Although it is impossible to price a development for services without having all the details, some do find HomeLife’s charges to be on the upper end of the industry.  We are not the go-to company for “cheap management”.  It is our philosophy to be the best, to provide the best and to work with people who share a similar vision.  While we do believe we remain competitive, we are not a discount brokerage.  HomeLife has many value-added services that, when considered, will make the pricing feel like a value to clients who like to be valued.  Our PowerStrata Portal option and TELUS partnership are two examples of this.

While the Strata Property Act is silent in this matter, and only requires an Annual General Meeting, with items that require action and Council decisions throughout the year, we recommend a minimum of three meetings in all our Agency Agreements but, ultimately, it is up to the Councils to Decide this.

An Annual General Meeting (AGM) of a strata corporation is a crucial event where owners come together to address various matters related to the management and governance of their strata corporation. 

Here’s what typically happens at an AGM:

  1. Review of Financial Statements: The meeting usually begins with a review of the strata corporation’s financial statements. Owners will get a chance to see the income and expenses, as well as the financial health of the corporation.
  1. Approval of Budget: Owners will vote on the annual budget for the strata corporation, which outlines anticipated income and expenses for the upcoming year.
  1. Election of the Strata Council: If it’s an election year, owners will vote for members of the strata council (also known as the strata council board). The strata council is responsible for making decisions on behalf of the strata corporation.
  1. Bylaw Amendments: Proposed amendments to strata bylaws may be discussed and voted on during the AGM. Changes to bylaws often require a special majority vote.
  1. Voting on Resolutions: Any resolutions or special matters that require the approval of the owners will be discussed and voted upon. Some issues may require a special majority vote to pass.
  1. Other Business: Any other business or topics that the owners wish to discuss may be addressed during the meeting.

It’s important to note that the specific agenda and procedures may vary from one strata corporation to another, as they are outlined in the strata’s bylaws and may be influenced by the needs and priorities of the individual strata community.

Owners, as required by the Strata Property Act, are given advance notice of the AGM, along with the agenda and any proposed resolutions, to ensure they have an opportunity to prepare and participate in the decision-making process and, if unable to attend, appoint a proxy.

A special levy in a strata corporation is a one-time, additional fee or assessment imposed on owners of strata properties, typically to cover unexpected or significant expenses that exceed the available funds in the strata corporation’s budget. This levy is usually required when unforeseen repairs, maintenance, or capital projects are necessary, such as replacing a roof, repairing structural damage, or addressing emergency situations. Owners are required to contribute their share of the special levy based on their unit entitlement or another agreed-upon allocation method, and the funds collected are used exclusively for the specified purpose, helping the strata corporation address urgent financial needs while maintaining the overall financial stability of the community.

Strata bylaws are enforced through a combination of internal processes and legal means, with the strata council and the strata management company playing key roles. Owners and residents are initially encouraged to voluntarily comply with the bylaws, fostering a harmonious living environment. In cases of non-compliance, complaints can be submitted to the strata council, which acts as the governing body of the strata corporation. The strata council may mediate disputes informally, issue warnings, or apply penalties as outlined in the bylaws. Strata management companies, acting at the lawful instruction of their councils, assist in this enforcement process. In more serious or persistent cases of non-compliance, the strata corporation may resort to legal action through the British Columbia Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) or the courts, seeking court orders or injunctions. Overall, the strata council retains ultimate responsibility for ensuring the enforcement of strata bylaws within the community.

Strata fees are determined based on several factors and are typically established through a detailed budgeting process. The strata fees cover various expenses related to the maintenance, operation, and management of the common property and the strata corporation as a whole.

Here’s an overview of how strata fees are determined and what they typically include:

  1. Budgeting Process: The strata council, in collaboration with a property manager (if applicable), prepares an annual budget. This budget outlines all the anticipated expenses for the upcoming fiscal year, including routine maintenance, utilities, insurance, administrative costs, and any contingency funds for unexpected repairs or projects.
  1. Unit Entitlement:Strata fees are usually allocated to owners based on their unit entitlement, which is determined by the size and features of their strata lot relative to the entire complex. Owners with larger units or more significant interests in the common property will generally pay higher strata fees.
  1. Expense Categories:Strata fees are divided into different categories, including:
    • Common Expenses: These cover routine maintenance and operating costs for common areas, such as landscaping, snow removal, cleaning, and lighting.
    • Utilities: Fees for shared utilities like water, sewer, and garbage collection may be included in strata fees or billed separately.
    • Insurance: Strata fees typically include insurance coverage for common property and liability insurance. Owners are usually responsible for insuring their individual units and contents.
    • Reserve Fund: A portion of strata fees is allocated to the strata’s contingency reserve fund, which is used for major repairs, replacements, or upgrades to the common property and building systems.
    • Management Fees: If the strata corporation employs a property management company, their fees may be part of the strata fees.
    • Administrative Costs: Fees for administrative tasks, such as bookkeeping, legal advice, and meetings, may also be included.
  1. Annual General Meeting (AGM): The proposed budget, which includes the anticipated strata fees, is presented to owners at the AGM for approval. Owners have the opportunity to review and vote on the budget.
  1. Special Levies:In addition to regular strata fees, special levies may be imposed to cover unexpected or significant expenses that are not adequately funded through the regular budget. Special levies are typically allocated based on unit entitlement as well.
  1. Payment Schedule:Strata fees are usually paid monthly, quarterly, or annually, depending on the strata corporation’s bylaws.

It’s important for strata owners to review the budget and understand what is covered by their strata fees. Additionally, owners should participate in the AGM and have a say in the budgeting process to ensure transparency and effective financial management within the strata corporation.

If you want to renovate your strata unit, you typically need approval from the strata corporation or strata council. Strata corporations have bylaws in place that regulate renovations and alterations to individual strata units. The specific requirements and approval process can vary from one strata corporation to another, so it’s essential to review your strata’s bylaws and follow these general steps:

  1. Review Strata Bylaws: Start by thoroughly reviewing your strata corporation’s bylaws and rules. These documents will outline the procedures and requirements for obtaining approval for renovations. Pay particular attention to sections related to alterations, renovations, and the responsibilities of owners.
  1. Contact the Strata Council or Strata Manager:Reach out to the strata council or our office to inquire about the renovation approval process. They can provide you with the necessary forms and information on how to proceed.
  1. Submit Renovation Proposal:Prepare a detailed renovation proposal that includes plans, specifications, timelines, and any other relevant information. Ensure that your proposed renovations comply with strata bylaws, municipal building codes, and other legal requirements.
  1. Obtain Approval:Submit your renovation proposal  for review. The council will assess your proposal to ensure it complies with the bylaws and does not negatively impact the common property or the rights of other owners. Approval may be granted, denied, or subject to certain conditions or restrictions.
  1. Follow Strata Corporation Requirements:If your renovation is approved, you must adhere to any conditions or requirements outlined by the strata corporation. This may include obtaining necessary permits, providing proof of insurance, and notifying neighbours of construction schedules.
  1. Engage Qualified Professionals:Many strata corporations require that renovations be performed by qualified professionals to ensure compliance with safety and quality standards.
  1. Completion and Inspection:After completing your renovations, inform the strata council or strata manager. They may require an inspection to ensure that the work has been done in accordance with the approved plans and that there are no issues.

It’s important to note that failing to obtain the necessary approvals for renovations can result in penalties, the requirement to restore the unit to its previous state, or legal action by the strata corporation. Therefore, it’s crucial to follow the proper approval process and communicate with the strata council throughout your renovation project.

The responsibility for repairs to your strata unit in the event of a water leak or fire depends on several factors, including the specific circumstances, the strata corporation’s bylaws, and the Strata Property Act. Generally, the following principles apply:

  1. Insurance Coverage: In cases of damage to your strata unit caused by water leaks or fires originating from another unit, the first source of coverage is typically the strata corporation’s insurance policy. Strata corporations are required to have insurance coverage for common property and common assets, including coverage for certain types of damage to individual strata lots. This insurance is intended to cover the cost of repairing common property and the standard unit fixtures within each strata lot.
  1. Strata Lot Coverage: The responsibility for repairs within your strata lot may vary depending on your strata corporation’s bylaws and the specific insurance coverage in place. In some cases, your strata’s bylaws may specify that owners are responsible for insuring their strata lots, which would include personal contents, fixtures, and improvements beyond the standard unit features.
  1. Deductibles: In the event of a claim, strata insurance policies may have deductibles, which are the amounts that owners must pay before insurance coverage kicks in. If the damage to your strata unit exceeds the deductible, the strata corporation’s insurance should cover the repair costs.
  1. Owner’s Responsibility: If the damage is the result of negligence or intentional actions by an owner or resident in another strata lot, that owner may be personally responsible for the costs associated with the damage. In such cases, the strata corporation may pursue legal action or insurance subrogation to recover these costs.
  1. Bylaws and Agreements: It is essential to review your strata corporation’s bylaws and any specific agreements in place regarding insurance responsibilities and repair obligations. These documents may provide further clarity on who is responsible for what.

To navigate the specific circumstances of damage caused, it is advisable to consult with the strata council, your strata manager, and potentially legal professionals who specialize in strata property law. Understanding the insurance coverage, the strata bylaws, and your rights and responsibilities as an owner is crucial to ensuring a clear and fair resolution to any damage-related issues.

Inform the Strata Manager, in writing, via email or, preferable, PowerStrata to advise of the concern/complaint. Be very specific regarding the details, how it has affected you and what your anticipated outcome would ideally be. Ensure to document times, to provide as much information as possible to limit the follow up. In the subject line of your email, always include your strata lot and strata plan number. In the email, please ensure to add your best and preferred contact information to assist with timely responses.

Yes, the legislation has been updated to permit rentals in Condo’s, Townhome’s, Detached homes on a bareland Strata lit, for rental periods of at least 30 days. The Strata can still require a Form K to be signed by the incoming Tenants and the Bylaws must all be adhered to.

Failing to pay your strata fees can have several consequences, as outlined in the Strata Property Act and your strata corporation’s bylaws. Here are some of the potential outcomes if you don’t pay your strata fees:

  1. Late Payment Penalties: Strata corporations often impose late payment penalties or interest charges on overdue strata fees. These penalties are typically outlined in your strata corporation’s bylaws and can accrue over time, making the outstanding amount even higher.
  1. Denial of Services:Strata corporations may deny certain services or amenities to owners who are in arrears with their strata fees. These services might include access to common facilities, such as gyms or swimming pools, or the use of shared resources.
  1. Legal Action:If you continue to be in arrears for an extended period, the strata corporation can take legal action against you. This may include filing a lien on your strata lot, which can eventually lead to the sale of your unit to recover the outstanding fees and legal costs.
  1. Non-Voting Rights:Some strata bylaws may suspend your voting rights at strata meetings if you are in arrears with your strata fees. This means you won’t be able to participate in decisions affecting the strata corporation until the outstanding fees are paid.
  1. Collection Agencies:Strata corporations may engage collection agencies to recover overdue strata fees. These agencies can contact you and attempt to collect the debt on behalf of the strata corporation.
  1. Foreclosure:In extreme cases where owners consistently fail to pay strata fees, the strata corporation may apply to the court for an order of foreclosure. This can result in the sale of your strata lot to cover the unpaid fees, legal costs, and any other expenses related to the foreclosure process.

It’s crucial to address any issues related to unpaid strata fees promptly and communicate with the strata council and HomeLife to work out a resolution plan if you are facing financial difficulties. Ignoring your obligations can lead to additional fees, legal complications, and potential loss of your property. It’s advisable to seek legal advice if you find yourself in a situation where you are unable to pay your strata fees to understand your rights and responsibilities under British Columbia’s strata laws.

Absolutely not. HomeLife Advantage Realty Ltd has a very strict policy on this and our employee agreements are specific to this. In no circumstances is a Strata Manager to receive any referrals or additional compensation outside is what is agreed upon in the Agency Agreement with the Strata Council. We operate with transparency and place our clients best interests first.

A strata depreciation report, also known as a reserve fund study or contingency reserve fund study in some jurisdictions, is a comprehensive financial planning document created for strata corporations or Homeowner associations/corporations.

The primary aim of a strata depreciation report is to assess the long-term financial needs of a strata corporation and establish a plan for funding major repairs, replacements, and maintenance of common property and assets. It typically includes a thorough evaluation of the condition and expected lifespan of shared property components, cost estimates for future repairs, recommendations for reserve fund contributions to cover these expenses, and strategies for funding future maintenance and capital projects.

These reports are prepared by qualified professionals like engineers or building consultants and are essential for helping strata corporations make informed financial decisions and ensure the ongoing financial sustainability and safety of their properties. The depreciation reports are a mandatory requirement.

Brothers, Mike and Brian Browne are equal partners in HomeLife Advantage Realty Ltd and the Advantage Realty Ltd (in the Cedarbrook development) and are both Directors. The HomeLife name is a franchise.

Mike and Brian own 50% of HomeLife advantage Realty (Central Valley) Ltd with partners, Jeff Inglis and Matt Thiessen which offers all the same services from the Abbotsford location.

Rental FAQ

We don’t actively look for rentals for you, but we do have a rental page that is updated daily with our current list of available properties. You can also stop by our office to get a physical copy of our rental list, which is updated and printed every Thursday.

First, register on our website. Once that’s done, simply go to our rentals page and click “Rent Me Today” on whichever rental you’re interested in!

We have paper applications at the office that can be filled out in person and handed in.

Fill out your application to the best of your ability. If certain areas on your application don’t apply, leave them blank.

We require non-family personal references on our applications.

A manager will contact you once your application is approved.

We can’t accept deposits until a Tenancy Agreement is signed.

We accept:

  • Debit
  • Exact cash (we don’t carry change in the office)
  • Money orders
  • Personal cheques (only accepted on or before the 1st of the month)
  • E-transfer
  • Auto-withdrawal

Strata FAQ

We accept:

  • Exact cash (as we don’t carry change in the office)
  • Cheques
  • Money orders
  • Automatic withdrawal
  • E-transfer

Your cheques should be made payable to your strata corporation’s name or strata plan number.

Come into the office to fill out our automatic withdrawal form. You need to bring a void cheque or the appropriate information sheet from your bank in order to complete the form. You can also phone the office to ask for the automatic withdrawal form to be emailed to you. If you get it emailed, you can mail it or scan it once it’s filled out.

Please note: automatic withdrawal forms have to be in 5 business days before the end of the month (by noon the latest). If they’re later than that, they won’t take effect until the following month.

You can:

  • Mail in a cheque
  • Come into the office with a cheque
  • Come into the office with exact cash
  • Specify on the automatic withdrawal form that you would like a one-time double payment to come out the following month (sign beside where you specify)
  • Send an e-transfer

We only require that your cheque has your correct name and banking information.

We don’t accept debit or credit cards for strata payments—we deal with trust accounts for strata corporations.

Your manager gets to know your independent strata intimately. When they’re sick or on vacation, we have support staff and senior managers who are always available to answer your questions; however, there may be things that your assigned manager may have to handle when they are back to the office. In the meantime, we will be able to respond to emergencies, general inquiries, and still conduct the day-to-day activities required of a management company.

Our request forms are listed on our website and can be filled out online. Once finished, your request form can be emailed to the respective agent in our forms department which will be listed at the bottom of the document.

For strata documents, we accept:

  • Exact cash
  • Cheque
  • Money orders
  • Debit or credit cards

Glossary of Terms

Rental Glossary

Tenancy Agreement

A tenancy agreement is a contract between a tenant and their landlord. It outlines:

  • Tenant rights
  • Landlord rights
  • Occupancy term
  • Rent amount

Condition Report

A “walk-through” is conducted prior to tenancy to confirm the condition of the home when the tenant moves in to assist with the eventual move out by ensuring there has been no damage caused by the tenant, or that any pre-existing damage was noted at the time of initial tenancy.

The report should be filled out right before the tenant first moves into the property.

For example: if there’s a big scratch on one of the walls before the tenant moves in, that’s not the tenant’s responsibility. Their damage deposit can’t be used to fix the scratch, and the damage gets put on the conditioning report.

Strata Glossary

Strata Property Act

The legal framework that all strata corporations and strata owners must follow in BC. This framework is affected by judicial decisions from court cases and other legislation.

Capital Planning

A budget put in place for annual maintenance, such as:

  • Roof replacement
  • Elevator repairs
  • Painting

Contingency Fund

A fund set aside for emergency needs, such as water or fire damage.

Agency Agreement

An agency agreement is a document that the strata corporation and property management company both need to sign. It gives a general outline of the services that are going to be provided and the length of the contract. It also includes the disbursements and management fees.


The proposal is a document that is unique to each strata corporation (or board of directors). It outlines the services you’ll receive and breaks down the fees. It also covers HomeLife’s terms and conditions and company history.

Strata Fees

Collective fees divided between all strata owners. These fees are approved annually by owner votes. The fees cover all common expenses, such as:

  • Strata budget
  • Contingency fund
  • Capital planning

Depreciation Reports

A report which helps the strata corporation plan and pay for any maintenance of the development’s common property, such as:

  • Roof replacement
  • Painting
  • Parking lot repairs

Budget Shortfall

If the budget goes over its specified amount, a special levy is put in place to fund the difference—which all owners must add to their existing strata fees.

Form B

Form B is an informational form that covers a number of details regarding the home/strata lot. It’s typically requested during the sale of a home. Some examples of what’s in this form are:

  • Strata fees
  • Outstanding fees
  • Liens
  • Special levies
  • Amendments to bylaws
  • Strata lot number

Form F

Form F is a form that’s required during the sale of a home. It formally states that there are no outstanding fees on that unit and that the homeowner is in good standing with the strata corporation or homeowners corporation.

Form K

Form K is a form that must be signed by the renter of a unit in a strata development. It confirms the tenant has received a copy of the corporation’s bylaws and agrees to abide by them.

Common Property

Common property is all land and building areas that aren’t a part of a particular strata unit, such as:

  • Roof
  • Parking lot
  • Elevator
  • Hallways
  • Stairwells

Employee Bonding

An agreement put in place that protects the strata against theft or damage by a hired worker (e.g. a contractor). If the worker causes damage to the strata development, they have to pay for the repairs.

Strata Trust Account

A bank account kept strictly for all strata funds (which means the account is legally under the name ‘Strata Corporation’).

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