Supreme Court Confirms that Strata Must Be Included on Owner’s Application for Building Permit in Relation to LCP Alterations

In Yestal v. New Westminster (City), 2012 BCSC 925, the strata corporation refused to give the owners permission for certain renovations to a solarium and bathroom installed on LCP. As a result, the owners’ application for a building permit was denied and the owners applied to the court for a judicial review. The petition to the court named only the City, and not the strata, as a respondent, so the strata brought this application to be joined as a party to the petition.

The court ordered that the strata be joined to the petition because the strata met the definition of an owner under the BC Building Code, which …” any person, firm or corporation controlling the property under consideration during that period of application…”. This case reinforces the conclusion that, when an owner applies for a building permit in relation to common property, the owner must satisfy the City that the owner has the strata’s consent to perform the work.

The case is interesting because it explores the “strange beast” that is common property and the distinction between common property and LCP under the Strata Property Act. Two common misconceptions about the common property are (a) that the strata corporation owns the common property, and (b) that owners have an increased ownership interest in LCP.

Common property, including LCP, is owned by all the owners as tenants in common in proportion their unit entitlement. The strata corporation does not own common property. The strata corporation is the owners’ representative for the purposes of managing the common property and, as a result, the strata corporation also typically controls the common property under the bylaws.

The strata lot owner’s right with respect to LCP is sometimes difficult to understand. The ownership interest in common property is split between a unit owner and her neighbors. The unit owner has the exclusive use of the LCP, but all owners are responsible for repair and maintenance. This is why the strata corporation must retain control over alterations to common property and LCP.

WHAT WE DO: We advise property managers and strata corporations on the wide range of strata governance issues. We draft bylaws and resolutions related alterations as well as alteration agreements that are designed to be binding on current and future owners. For more information about our strata law practice, please visit our website or contact Paul Mendes at 604-685-4894 or

Lesperance Mendes Lawyers
900 Howe St #550, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2M4
(604) 685-3567