Strata Alert: How the Strata Grinch Stole Christmas

Paul lawyers


“City strata, busy strata, dressed in holiday style.  In the air, there’s need to check the bylaws.”



Paul G. Mendes, Partner
Phone:  604-685-4894

My apologies to Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, the composers of “Silver Bells”, that ubiquitous staple of easy listening stations at this time of the year.  Trust me, you love hearing it now but wait a few more days.

If you are the Santa of your condo at this time of year, you may be making a list and checking it twice.  Make sure to check your strata bylaws while you are at it, especially if you don’t want to be on the strata council’s naughty list.

Your strata likely have bylaws that restrict live or fresh cut Christmas trees, or which prohibit dumping Christmas trees in the strata’s garbage bins.  If a few of your favorite things include brown paper packages tied up with strings, take note of any bylaws or rules regarding recycling.

Many strata corporation bylaws also prohibit the posting or hanging of items from balconies or in windows. Arguably these strata bylaws would apply to things like tinsel, inflatable snowmen, “ho ho ho signs”, and twinkle lights.  Some strata also have implicit bans on Christmas decorations visible from outside: check out what your bylaws say about items on balconies and items in windows.  Unless your Christmas decorations are restricted to white or off-white drapes or blinds, you may be trouble.

Less grinchy strata will permit decorations visible outside the strata lot, but will still restrict the time in which those decorations can be displayed. In most cases, the decorations must come down by a certain date in January.  If you celebrate Ukrainian Christmas, look out! Nothing ruins a Ukrainian Christmas dinner like cold cabbage rolls and a bylaw infraction notice.  If you are fined for celebrating Ukrainian Christmas, however, I look forward to reading about your human rights complaint on the Clark Wilson LLP website.

Happy holidays to you and your family and friends.  I wish you all a safe and fun holiday season, and all the best for 2016.

WHAT WE DO: Lesperance Mendes advises strata corporations and strata management brokerages on all aspects of strata governance, including bylaws, bylaw enforcement, strata fee collections, building warranties and employment matters.  To discuss your strata issue with one of our strata lawyers, please call Paul G. Mendes at 604-685-4894 or email me at

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