Sunday, October 17

Condo Smarts: Who receives the reimbursement of the special rate?

A special tax must be accounted for separately and is not part of the operating budget or contingency reserve fund.

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Dear Tony:

What happens when funds remain from a special tax?


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I sold my unit six months ago and the council informed me, and it was published in the minutes, that the balance in the excise fund for the roof was less than $ 5,000.

The result was that no one was going to receive more than $ 300 and the strata were going to vote at the AGM to simply deposit this in the contingency.

That was good. My neighbor told me yesterday that the balance was actually $ 35,000. The council had spent $ 30,000 of the fund on another project and didn’t tell anyone, and now the corporation is in deep conflict.

When an owner sells and there is a refund of a special tax, who is entitled to the refund?

– Carrie V., New Westminster

Dear Carrie,

Special levies are often mismanaged and misreported by strata corporations.


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A special rate must be accounted for separately. It is not part of the operating budget or contingency reserve fund. Any interest earned during the lien becomes part of that fund.

As long as the lien is active and maintains a balance, the strata corporation must include a financial report as part of the annual general meeting finances that shows the beginning balance, income, expense details, and ending balances.

If a strata council uses the funds for other purposes, it opens the door to a variety of disputes.

Owners, 20 percent, have the opportunity to demand a special general meeting to correct finances.

If there is $ 30,000 left in the contingency that could be allocated by a three-quarter vote to cover the expense that was misapplied, the excise tax funds could be reimbursed to the owners.


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No matter what you do, the money has been spent and the owners end up paying out of one fund or another. Homeowners may want to file a claim against council members if the funds spent were unreasonable. The problem that the city council’s action has created are the three sales that have occurred since the minutes came out, citing the wrong number of the surplus and without revealing how the funds were spent. Now the strata corporation is exposed to a number of potential claims.

If the project is complete and any owner is entitled to a refund of more than $ 100, the balance must be refunded to all owners.

The strata corporation cannot reallocate the surplus to the operation as income, contingency fund or other special tax fund. When a strata lot is sold, an owner essentially discharges their connection to the strata corporation and is no longer the beneficiary of the rebates. A refund is paid to the owner on the title at the time the refund is due. This also applies to the new special liens, as they are not exposed to any additional or new liens once they are sold. If an owner is relying on a refund, they may want to wait until the account is complete before selling.


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The agreement is with the buyer, not with the strata corporation. Talk to your agent and attorney about a buyer agreement on the proceeds of a refund and your obligation to transfer that amount if it is issued.

Under normal circumstances, as a former owner and seller, you would have no claim against the strata corporation; however, you may be able to prove that the misinformation provided by the corporation led to a decision that resulted in your inability to collect your share of the refund.

If you knew the correct amount, you may have been able to postpone your listing and sale to a later date. It could be a claim before the Civil Resolution Court for the time you were still an owner.

Tony Gioventu is Executive Director of the Condominium Owners Association. Send an email to [email protected]



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