How to handle strata documents

by Paul Cowhig, Advisor, Professional Standards

Since there has been much discussion of late on the topic of strata documents due to the rapid evolution of privacy law, it’s a good time to review the principles that guide a Realtor’s handling of strata documents, such as:

  • the process for obtaining strata documents
  • how a licensee is authorized to use or distribute strata documents
  • how to protect information contained in strata documents
  • when to stop sharing strata documents

Obtaining strata documents

Traditionally we have relied on the Real Estate Council of BC’s (RECBC’s) form, Authorization to Agent to Deliver Strata Documents, and BCREA’s Multiple Listing Contract to gain access to strata documents.

The authorization contained in the wording of the Multiple Listing Contract is much broader than that which is contained in the RECBC form. So, it is recommended that you rely on the Multiple Listing Contract.

In the Multiple Listing Contract, clause 1. B. (i) provides the authority to obtain property information from various sources and to share that information with other parties, including members of any real estate board.

Clause 11. A. then goes further to identify additional parties interested in the property, such as prospective buyers, agents of prospective buyers, appraisers, financial institutions, governments and governmental departments and agencies.

Distributing strata documents

Although the Strata Property Act does not contain any restrictions on how the documents are used once they are given to you, an individual strata corporation can, and may, impose restrictions of its own. This is because the strata documents such as minutes, budgets, financial statements, engineering reports and legal opinions belong to the strata corporation, not an individual owner.

So, despite the fact that your seller has given their permission to obtain and share information about their property through the Multiple Listing Contract, you will also need to understand and comply with any restrictions their particular strata corporation may have imposed.

In this day of increasing concern for privacy considerations, it will become much more common for strata corporations to impose restrictions. This makes sense when you consider all the private, personal information about individuals living in the strata property that is contained in strata documents.

There is a high likelihood your seller won’t know if their strata corporation has restrictions on sharing this information so it’s important for you to discuss this with them and determine what restrictions may exist. If there are restrictions, you will need the strata corporation’s written permission to access and distribute those documents.

Remember that simply being provided with strata documents does not grant you permission to distribute those documents in ways other than what the client is entitled to grant you.

Protecting information contained in strata documents

Strata documents can be posted on Paragon with the proper written authorization from the seller and if there are no restrictions imposed by the strata corporation.

In terms of best practice, I would hesitate before posting strata documents on any site where the general public can access them. Privacy law is a moving target and in light of the extent of personal information contained in some of them (particularly in the minutes), I believe there may be more to lose than gain from this.

Removing strata documentation

When the listing is sold or expires, the purpose for which you have those documents ends and they should be immediately removed from public view and access by those persons with whom you shared the documents, including on Paragon and in your own files. This means that even though it may be considered a time-saver to hold onto strata documents to use with a future listing or to share with a colleague who lists in that strata complex, this is in direct violation of privacy laws.

Much of this information has been taken directly from the RECBC’s Professional Standards Manual. We encourage you to refer to that manual as it is an invaluable source of information.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and any other topics that may be on your minds. Please contact me at