Strata corporations (“stratas”) are legal entities with all the powers of natural persons at full capacity. They’re often created to divide buildings and/or parcels of land into individually owned pieces, while the common land and amenities are owned together. Stratas have certain responsibilities under the Strata Property Act and Regulations, including being responsible for common expenses and disclosing Rules and Bylaws which apply to occupiers. Stratas also have the power to provide Bylaws for the management and use of the lots, including prohibiting occupants under certain ages.
Age is not a protected ground of discrimination under the Human Rights Code in the context of property purchases, but race and gender, among other factors, are included. Stratas have the power to disallow would-be owners who are not of a certain age. The Human Rights Code gives broader protection covering age-based discrimination to tenants, as opposed to owners. Stratas may only require that tenants be at least 55 years of age. They cannot require, for example, that tenants be at least 19 years of age, but the strata could require that owners be at least 19 years of age. Individuals who resided within the strata before the time that an age restriction bylaw was passed are considered ‘grandfathered’ in and may continue residing despite the new provision.
Age-based requirements can occasionally make it challenging for young families to find housing for purchase, but the Condominium Homeowners Association of BC reported that buildings with 19-plus age restrictions represented only a small portion of the overall market. Affordable and accessible housing is a developing area and age-based provisions may undergo further legislative reform in the future.