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Condo Smarts: Unless exempted, strata has duty to submit depreciation report
Tony Gioventu is executive director of the Condominium Home Owners' Association. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Photograph by: Jon Murray , PNG
Dear Tony: We attended an information meeting last week and the issue about draft depreciation reports came up. The advice that was given indicated that a depreciation report received by a strata council was not a valid report and considered a draft until the strata council had approved the report.
The problem we are having with our council is that the report had been received in November and is allegedly still in draft form.
How long is the strata council permitted to hold the report? We are concerned that just because the council doesn’t like the information in the report, it can perpetually hold the report as long as it wishes, but we, the owners, have already paid for this report.
Don’t we have a right to access the information? Our strata has delayed the report for 11 months.
— A concerned strata owner
To all strata owners, council and managers: The Strata Property Act & Regulations do not refer to, or use the term draft report in the legislation. Up until Dec. 13, 2013, the report had not become fully mandatory, so strata corporations had some comfort in reviewing and disclosing their reports. However, if your strata corporation has not exempted the requirement for a depreciation report by three-quarters vote and is sitting on a report, it is not disclosing to potential buyers or owners on request, the strata council and corporation are increasing their chances of litigation and not in compliance with the sct.
If there is a condition in the report that would result in a potential buyer, insurer or other interested party from proceeding with a transaction with an owner or the strata corporation, the risks increase.
The Strata Property Act, Section 35, which defines records that must be maintained by the strata and available on request, was specifically amended last year to include a line that identified “n. 1 any depreciation reports obtained by the strata corporation under section 94 of the act, and n. 2 any reports obtained by the strata respecting repair or maintenance of major item in the strata including without limitation, engineer’s reports, risk management reports, sanitation reports, and reports respecting items for which the information is required for a depreciation report.”
In addition to this provision, an owner or their agent may also request any correspondence under the same section, sent or received by the strata corporation and council.
It is essential for strata councils to maintain a working relationship with their deprecation planner as the process is being completed to ensure accuracy of documents and information. The strata council needs to review the document for accuracy and interpretation of the strata plan and bylaws.
Strata corporations with Sections, Air Space Parcel Agreements, need to closely review the report to ensure the proper information is being disclosed. There have already been a number of complaints relating to strata councils deeming reports are only in draft form for months on end, and sellers finding their sales collapsing without the information.
If the strata corporation receives a valid request under Section 35 of the act, it seriously needs to assess whether it will avoid providing information, and the consequences.
If a vendor/buyer request copies of correspondence relating to deprecation reports, and any of the related documents and reports, and the strata corporation chooses to deem a report a draft and not release, you are setting the wheels in motion that may jeopardize a sale or result in a claim for losses or defects that were not disclosed.
The decision is solely that of council, not the manager or the consultant. If in doubt, get legal or technical advice before you create a risk for your strata corporation.
There was a small, but significant change to the Strata Property Act last week that strata corporations need to be aware of. Under Bill 12, expenses from the contingency fund will now be majority vote if the amount is to obtain funds for a deprecation report, or an expense is related to a repair or maintenance recommended in the most current deprecation report.
This is a significant change in that those strata corporations that have obtained a depreciation report, will now require only a majority vote for the recommended costs from the contingency reserve fund as they arise.
Tony Gioventu is executive director of the Condominium Home Owners’ Association. Email email@example.com
What is your excuse?
Alicia Follmar keeps running, no matter what.
Blood can paint an indelible portrait, as Alicia Follmar learned last spring. The Stanford runner was just over a lap into the first leg of the distance medley at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia when she was tripped accidentally from behind. She fell hard, and six or seven runners appeared to go straight over her.
What happened next was captured in unforgettable photos: Follmar got up quickly and regained her stride, while long streams of blood flowed down her face and neck. She had been spiked in the forehead, showed nasty abrasions up and down her right side and generally looked liked someone running in the Freddy Krueger Invitational.
As she powered her way from 10th to third over the remaining two laps, she ran into Internet-lauded fame. There's far more to the two-event All-American than that one race, but no pictures of her are anywhere near as memorable.
“I wouldn't say it was as bad as it looks . . . . I can't say it really hurt, there was so much adrenaline,” says Follmar, now a senior. “There was a feeling that I had in my head—like a sensation in my head—so I felt my head with my hand and looked at it, and there was blood on it. At that point, I was already running. I kind of panicked, but I still kept running.” Stanford finished third.
All the best clichés—dedication, determination, tenacity—can be justified by that performance alone. But Follmar, a human biology major who is applying to dental schools, is intent on overachieving throughout her last year of running at Stanford. She was the women's champion in the opening cross-country meet, the August 30 USF Invitational, serving immediate public notice that she has “big goals” for every event in which she competes. She hasn't made a checklist of objectives that span the cross-country, indoor and outdoor seasons because, basically, she wants to do it all.
“I don't really know what I want,” she says, thinking out loud. “I want to be All-American. I want [Stanford] to win a national championship again in cross-country. I just want to be one of the best in the nation.” Stanford has taken the title three years in a row.
Whatever Follmar accomplishes, it will be rooted in a fortitude that became conspicuous during high school in Saratoga, Calif. She was a sophomore when well-known Saratoga High track coach Marshall Clark collapsed and died at practice.
Clark, an assistant coach at Stanford from 1968 to 1978, was renowned for his leadership, and his impact on Follmar turned out to be profound and poignant. Debbie Follmar, Alicia's mother, remembers how shaken her daughter was by Clark's death. “She got on her cell phone,” she recalls, “and she was crying hysterically. I finally made out that Marshall had died, and I couldn't believe it. Then I started crying, too.”
Six years later, Alicia Follmar remains conscious of how powerfully she was influenced by Clark's life and death. “I'm not crying about it at night anymore and stuff like that. But it's still, you know, on my mind. . . . It's kind of nice to be able to run in his memory a little bit.”
After Clark died, says Follmar, the Saratoga High runners looked to each other for emotional support, and she found a strength and self-confidence that seemed almost new to her personality. Today, it is those qualities that define her in the minds of others.
“Committed is the word,” says Edrick Floreal, Stanford's director of track and field. “There's a level of commitment that goes toward her team and Stanford that is unparalleled.”
Follmar, 5-foot-10 with a big back kick, has run since she was very young, sometimes with her mother, who has logged six miles a day for 35 years. Alicia was a state champ in the 1,600 meters as a high schooler; at Stanford, she won All-America status in the indoor mile and distance medley relay as a junior.
If everything clicks, Follmar may have people talking about numerous athletic moments besides the Penn Relays exploits. The problem, though, is how rich in detail that one blood-streaked day is.
Consider this: one of her three older brothers is a plastic surgeon who was at the race. The family is still talking about how much he would have preferred to stitch up his sister's spike wound instead of its being done by the podiatrist on duty. There's also the dramatic residue. One lap of merely running, then two laps of courage.
“As much as I was unhappy that she got hurt,” says Floreal, “I was pleased that people could see what Alicia Follmar is like.”