Changing the Strata Property Act for the Benefit of BC Home Owners

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Dear honourable Selina Robinson,

We would like to take this opportunity to extend our heartfelt thanks and gratitude to you for your kind and effective attention to the well-being of the homeowners of British Colombia. We would like to quote a line from Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan for this petition. "The needs of the many, outweighs the needs of the one".

The petition we bring forth to your respected attention is the problematic situation that many of the strata buildings all across British Columbia all too common face - where a member(s) of a strata council is imposing control by "harvesting proxies" without respect for residents’ viewpoints and have a majority share of the votes to possibly favour their position or intent.

As an example, a Vancouver strata building recently held their AGM, and it was revealed that one strata council member collected more than 30+ proxies by purposely seeking out and "harvesting" them to garner those votes to favour the objectives of the council member has in mind or wish to accomplish. The techniques used every year by this one member is to have employees such as concierge -whose main task is to look after the building- to go door to door to the residents to ask for proxies on behalf of this member, to have himself and other council members re-elected and pass any resolution they see fit. 

In the above case, there were many people unaware and a lot of the residents with limited English skills may have not been fully aware of the ramifications while signing the simple proxy paper with no necessary information on it, which were collected from them by the concierge. We will never know what were the conversations between the proxy harvester and the residents, or how forthright they were about the situations and why the council member wanted their votes in the first place, by from an optical point-of-view, it is absolutely unprofessional.

While we are aware that the Strata Property Act current states that there is no provision to limit the number of the proxies that people can get to vote on their behalf, this unlimited number of proactively proxy vote gathering is highly suspect and does not look after the condo-owners' best interest.

The limitless harvesting of proxies has caused many complications for the residents in many of the strata buildings in B.C., and this unfair strategy, in many buildings, has resulted in PROXY WARS between the homeowners seeking justice and their current council members. There are many articles published by lawyers and bloggers in this regard and scores of comments by hundreds of homeowners can be found on social media looking for a solution to this serious problem. The only remedy thus far is for a homeowner, is to lodging a formal complaint, which is costly, time-consuming, and bureaucratic, and the only "winners" in this situation are the legal professionals. This can cause plenty of stress, especially to those that simply wish to enjoy and call their space; their home and free from politics and possibly, underground transactions not reported or unaware by residents of that strata building behind the scenes.

With this petition, we would like to propose the following changes and hopefully make it to the Strata Property Act to avoid conflicts-of-interest and collusions:

1. Strictly prohibit the use of proactively harvesting proxies by a council member who is running for the Strata Corporation Council so that the member would not have the majority votes on the council.

2. Prohibit and limit the number of proxies held by an individual attending the AGM & SGM to one so that the proxy holder does not have the majority votes on the council.

3. Regulate that strata corporation proxies should be of explicit and specific nature and not of general type, where the proxy holder can only vote on any motion UNLESS SPECIFIED IN THE PROXY ITSELF THAT THE OWNER WILL have their vote on that matter. In other words, the Proxy holder should only be the vote messenger and not the "Voter" on the motion. Also, if there are new motions that are voted on during the meetings, the proxy holder CANNOT VOTE on such situation without proxy providers' written consent that would clearly state which way they voted on the new issue brought up in the meeting. This avoids the bias that the proxy holder has to vote for or against a motion. Otherwise, the proxies can be open to abuse. A detailed specific proxy eliminates and/or lessens the chance for abuse and is more objective and fair to all residents. 

4. Regulate that each proxy provider must submit a copy of his/her ID card along with the proxy, which contains their photo and signature, and/or to simply issue an affidavit to his/her proxy collector or to attach a notarized specific/general proxy to whom they are wishing to give their proxy to instructing them on how to use the proxy. This is to prevent any fraud and forgery on providing fake proxies by an attendee at an AGM/SGM.

5. Regulate that a proper proxy certification process to take place by a lawyer hired by the council and not the strata management and that the proxies provided by proxy holders to get collected and archived by the council/strata-management and to be available to the homeowners for any possible future investigations upon their request with two weeks of receiving the request.

Dear honourable Robinson, in the lack of any solution for this chronic problem, we rely on you as the prestigious Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing in British Columbia and your immediate action on making the above changes in the Strata Property Act.

We count on you, Hon. Robinson, as the only distinguished personality who can take action on this petition for the best interest of all the condo-owners in British Columbia. 

Best,
Mira Nassiri,
Human Rights Activist

Kevin Kavakeb, 
Real Estate Agent