Get legal advice on refund

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

Tony Gioventu

Dear Condo Smarts: Our strata building had major renovations over the past three years, and the project is just coming to an end.

I am moving back east and selling my unit, but the strata council has told everyone we have a refund of about seven per cent coming because of interest earned on our money during construction, rebates, and coming under budget. My closing date is in mid-April, but the refunds won’t be settled until June 1. I advised council that I would be selling and notified it to send the refund to my new address. It has advised that it does not have the authority to refund me the money once I have sold the unit. So how do I get the refund?

— Mark, Saanich

Dear Mark: When a refund comes due, that refund is payable to the owner of the strata lot. The owner is defined as the person who is on title at the time the refund is due.

As is similar to the payment of a special levy, if your sale is completed before the refund from a special levy becomes due, the obligation or benefit is transferred to the owner at the time of the due date. The resolution that first approved the special levy three years ago may have identified the owners or the process differently, so it would be important to review the original resolution, as well; however, this is more common with a lawsuit where the individual parties may be named as opposed to the strata corporation. Vendors who are wanting to secure their rights to a refund need to seek legal advice on the contractual agreement for sale and the enforceability of such an agreement.

Tony Gioventu is executive director of the Condominium Home Owners’ Association. Send questions to him at [email protected]

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