DOES YOUR STRATA COUNCIL (not) ALLOW HOME EXCHANGES ?

Recent media publicity about Strata property owners’ concerns regarding RENTAL regulations, has prompted queries from some of our Canadian members. They report that their own Strata bylaws and rules do not specifically mention home exchanges, and wonder if the common RENTAL regulations apply to home exchanging.

First, we recommend that they consult their particular provincial Strata / Condominium Property Act.
Example : Strata Property Act for B.C.
Example : Renting your Condo under Quebec’s Law – Canada
Example : Guide pratique de la copropriété

We direct their concerns and questions to their own Strata Council, where they should seek a clear distinction between the two transactions : rentals which involve monetary remuneration (i.e., payment) versus the type of home exchanges that HomeLink International provides, which are totally free, i.e., there is no payment by the guests to the owners for the temporary accommodation.

If they request our advice about proposing that their Council review, and possibly amend, their particular bylaws in order to address home exchanging, we can only share the experiences and recommendations that we’ve collected from other Canadian members over the years.

One of our seasoned members has recently concluded discussions with his Strata Council, and persuaded them to allow home exchanges. First, he asked us for any reports we’ve received over the years from members about Strata bylaws. He then submitted his own report to his Council, recounting his numerous exchanges, the exemplary members he has met, and the measures he took to ensure successful secure arrangements. His Council has now amended their bylaws to permit home exchanges with several conditions:
– Rentals are prohibited
– Advance notification to be submitted to the Council in writing …
– Including basic details about the exchange partners and dates of their stay.

Another member reports that, while there is a limit on the number of rental units, there is nothing in his bylaws that outright prohibits home exchanges or house sitting. There are some constraints, however, including a bylaw which relates to non-rental occupation of a strata unit. Owners who intend to be away from their strata unit for a period in excess of fifteen consecutive days and who wish to allow someone else to occupy (not rent) their place during their absence, must notify the Council in writing giving the names of the occupants. When the home exchange period is to be less than fifteen days, it is the owner’s prerogative to notify the Council. However, in all cases including the case of visitors, the strata bylaws require that non-owners and non-tenants must be accompanied by an owner when they use the common facilities, e.g. the clubhouse, swimming pools, etc. unless approved by the Council. Hence such approval needs to be sought but to date, no such approval has been denied. This member’s strata also has some restrictions on occupation of a strata unit by persons younger than a certain age unless approved by the Council. In addition, a strata unit cannot be occupied by someone who is neither an owner nor a tenant for more than six months unless approved by the Council. To date, none of these provisions has been a problem but strata owners need to check their strata bylaws in order to ensure compliance with all of them.

We continue to invite reports from members about YOUR Strata regulations as they pertain to home exchanging. With your permission we will be pleased to add your ‘anonymous’ report here, for the benefit of others.

THANK YOU.

Jack Graber
Director, HomeLink Canada
Past-President (Ret), HomeLink International (Brussels)
Email : admin @ homelink.ca