A number of British Columbia strata corporations are considering implementing 55-plus age restrictions, after the province blocked bans on condo rentals last year.
The amendment to the Strata Act, passed in November 2022, eliminated all rental restriction bylaws, except those banning short-term rentals, and all age restriction bylaws, except those for “seniors only” (55-plus) buildings.
The new rules apply to pre-2010 buildings. many of which are smaller self-managed strata corporations with fewer than 50 owners.
Tony Gioventu, executive director of the Condominium Home Owners Association, explained how the new rules play out in 55-plus buildings.
“The regulations and application of the exemptions are a bit complicated. An existing bylaw that requires occupants to be 55 and over applies to new owners/occupants/tenants who move into the building, but the strata property act overrides your limitations, and provides a number of circumstances where prescribed occupants under the regulations are exempt from the bylaw. The regulation establishes the requirement for a defined person that must reside in the strata lot, for the exemptions to apply. The term used is “a specified resident”.
If you already have an existing bylaw, or adopt a new 55-and-over age restriction bylaw, the specified person may be one of two parties. If they are over 55, the strata corporation must permit caregivers or support persons to reside with the person, and a child of the specified resident who is under 55, is also exempt from the bylaw. This basically qualifies adult children of residents over 55 as exempt. Any occupant over 55 who has a new spouse or marriage-like relationship with someone who is under 55 and resides with them is now exempt.
The second group is those persons age 19 or over who reside in the strata lot at the time a 55-and-over bylaw is adopted. Those residents and their families are exempt from the bylaw for the duration of their occupancy, including with a change in family status where they have expanded their family with more children, or the occupant over 19 has a new spouse or marriage-like relationship with a person who resides with them. Basically, a change in family status for the specified resident who was exempt from the bylaw is not affected by the age restriction bylaw. This only applies when a 55-and-over bylaw is adopted. If you adopted a 55-and-over bylaw last year and there was an owner/occupant/tenant in the strata lot at the time under 55, they are exempt from the bylaw. If they were over 19, any change in their family status is also exempt.
With the removal of the exemption provisions in the strata property act in November under Bill 44, the application of the human rights code in B.C. also now applies to age-restriction bylaws. Consideration must be given to family status and accommodation for persons occupying strata lots or who intend to occupy a strata lot,” according to Gioventu’s recent Condo Smart column in the Times Colonist.