Following the recent B.C. election, I was contacted by an upset owner who was ordered by the strata manager to remove an election sign from her property because it violated the bylaws.
Faced with the prospect of a fine up to $200 the offending sign was removed, however, the owner wanted to know if that was allowed.
In fact, it was the council and strata manager who had violated the owner’s rights in violation of the B.C. Elections Act and the Canada Elections Act. The wording in each act is similar and applies to all elections at all levels of government.
The provincial legislation states: “228.1 (1) A landlord or person acting on a landlord’s behalf must not prohibit a tenant from displaying election advertising posters on the premises to which the tenant’s tenancy agreement relates.
“(2) A strata corporation or any agent of a strata corporation must not prohibit the owner or tenant of a strata unit from displaying election advertising posters on the premises of his or her unit.
“(3) Despite subsections (1) and (2), a landlord, a person, a strata corporation or an agent referred to in that subsection may:
“(a) set reasonable conditions relating to the size or type of election advertising posters that may be displayed on the premises, and
“(b) prohibit the display of election advertising posters in common areas of the building in which the premises are found.”
In this case the owner lived in a bare land strata and had the sign posted on her lawn.
Owners should check the strata plan to ensure that the sign is indeed located on private property and not common property.
Many owners in a bare land strata are not aware of their property boundaries, often assuming that they extend to the roadway. This is not always the case.
When a bare land plan is registered with the Land Titles Office it only shows an outline of the property and not the building.
To ensure compliance and avoid aggravation check the strata plan before posting an election sign.
Similarly, residents in an apartment style strata are allowed to display election signs on private property as long as they comply with any rules or bylaws that contain certain allowable restrictions.
While rules and bylaws are paramount to the good governance of a strata corporation, they cannot override other legislation such as the Elections Act, Human Rights Code and the Personal Information Protection Act to name just a few.
If your strata is self-managed feel free to contact me to discuss this or any other column.
Strata Scene is intended for general information purposes only.
Gunnar Forsstrom is a licensed Strata Manager with Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty.
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