- Vancouver; British Columbia
Strata or condominium property creates multiple privately owned lots or units within an association of owners. Dissolving strata property involves winding-up the association and terminating the private interests. As a result, the non-consensual dissolution of strata property involves the taking of property from those owners who oppose dissolution. The owners of individual lots become co-owners of the land formerly within the association, but the non-consenting owners have their property interests in separate lots taken from them. Beginning with the observation that non-consensual dissolution of strata property results in a taking of property, this article analyzes British Columbia’s move to facilitate non-consensual dissolution by lowering the required threshold in a dissolution vote from unanimous consent to 80 percent of owners. A supermajority of owners within strata property may now impose dissolution on a dissenting minority. The dissolution provisions in British Columbia’s Strata Property Act require court confirmation of dissolution votes and indicate that courts must consider “the best interests of the owners”, and the probability and extent of “significant unfairness” or “significant confusion and uncertainty” when determining whether or not to confirm a dissolution vote. The article predicts how courts will interpret these provisions, and it suggests how they should. It concludes by insisting that the courts recognize they will be making important decisions about the character of property when they rule in contested strata property dissolution cases, and that these decisions will have a significant impact on cities, particularly those, such as Vancouver, where strata property is increasingly prominent as a legal architecture of ownership.