Frequently Asked Questions – and Answers

Below is a list of frequently asked questions about our company, Vancouver's leading strata property management company.  

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1 - Top FAQs: How do I get approval to make changes to my strata unit, e.g. hardwood flooring?

Most of the building bylaws require owners to seek Strata Council’s prior approval before commencement of the installation. Owners are also required to sign an indemnity agreement before approval is granted. For convenience, please fill out our fillable Application for Approval to Change Flooring form where it provides you step-by-step instructions to ensure the required information is submitted.
 
Your bylaws may also lay out all specifications such as the minimum rating of the underlay to be used.

1 - Top FAQs: How do I make my monthly strata fees payment?

There are 4 payment options available to our strata owners:
 
1) PRE-AUTHORIZED DEBIT PLAN (PAD)
This alternative is the most popular and over 70% of our clients are currently under this plan. It's convenient, efficient, secured, and ensures your monthly payments are made in a timely manner to avoid late payment fine and interest. Fill out and return your Strata PAD Agreement today!
 
 
2) CHEQUES
All cheques must be mailed or dropped off at our office.
 
Please make cheques payable to "Strata Plan (your strata plan #)".
E.g. "Strata Plan LMS 1234".
 
Post-dated cheques are recommended.
 
 
3) CASH
Cash payments must be made in person at our office.
 
 
4) TELEPHONE/ONLINE BANKING
Another fast, convenient, and effective way to make your payments. Besides internet access, what you need is your unique personal reference ID from us. For more details, please visit the Make A Payment tab of our website.

1 - Top FAQs: How do I request documents, Form B or Form F for a strata lot?

Strata Homeowners
FirstService Residential BC uses the eStrataHub electronic document delivery service. Click the link eStrataHub to use your credit card and request for strata documents. Please note that we only accept credit card payments.
 
Lawyers/Notaries/Realtors
FirstService Residential BC uses the eStrataHub electronic document delivery service via BC Online. Click the link BC Online to log in, select eStrataHub, and request for strata documents.

1 - Top FAQs: How do I schedule a move-in (e.g. booking an elevator)? Who should I call and is there a move-in/out fee?

The best way to start is to review your building bylaws for any move-in/out procedures. Pay attention to the following:
 
1) Booking procedure which usually requires advance notice;
2) Allowable Hours of move-ins/outs;
3) Who to contact for elevator booking;
4) Amount of move-in/out fee;
5) Any deposit required in advance of the move.

1 - Top FAQs: How do I sign up for pre-authorized debit (PAD) plan?

To sign up, please complete the Pre-authorized Debit Plan Agreement and submit it to our office along with a void cheque. Please fill in details of your savings account if you do not have a chequing account.

1 - Top FAQs: How does your rebranding impact my strata fee payments?

  1. Clients currently on our Pre-authorized Debit (PAD) Program
  • No action is required.  Please note you will see our new name, FirstService Residential, on your bank statement after July.
 
  1. Clients currently paying by Online Banking
  • We were advised by our financial institution that it may take up to ten (10) days for the lead banks to update our new name.  As a result, you may or may not find Crosby Property Management (Strata) under the Payee List after July 1.
  • If the FirstService Residential (Strata) name has not yet appeared on the Payee List, please continue to use Crosby as the Payee for your July payment.
  • Your personal online banking ID remains unchanged.
  • All existing recurring online payment schedule will have to be re-set up with your bank.
 
  1. Clients currently paying by Cheque
  • No action is required if you have previously submitted post-dated cheques to our office.
  • For future submission, please make your cheque payable to Strata Plan # (your strata plan #).   For example:  “Strata Plan LMS 1234”
 
We thank you for your attention to this matter and apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.  If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office. 

2 - All About Payments: How do I amend an existing PAD plan?

Please contact our Accounts Receivable department by email (ar.bc@fsresidential.com) or by fax (604.689.4829) with your amendment details at least ten (10) business days in advance of the next PAD withdrawal.

2 - All About Payments: How do I cancel my existing PAD plan?

Please contact our Accounts Receivable department by email (ar.bc@fsresidential.com) or by fax (604.689.4829) with your cancellation notification at least ten (10) business days in advance of the next PAD withdrawal.
 
For owners who sold their units, there is no need to provide any cancellation notice as our office will automatically cancel your PAD.
 
For convenience, a Pre-authorized Debit Cancellation Form is available for your use.

2 - All About Payments: How do I get my special levy paid by PAD?

Owners under our Pre-authorized Debit Plan for monthly strata fees payment can fill out the special levy PAD form which can be found attached to the AGM/SGM notices/minutes and submit to our office at least ten (10) business days in advance of the 1st of the following month.
 
For Owners who are not currently under our Pre-authorized Payment Plan, please contact our Accounts Receivable Department accordingly.

2 - All About Payments: How do I make my monthly strata fee payments?

There are 4 payment options available to our strata owners:
 
1) PRE-AUTHORIZED DEBIT PLAN (PAD)
This alternative is the most popular and over 70% of our clients are currently under this plan. It's convenient, efficient, secured, and ensures your monthly payments are made in a timely manner to avoid late payment fine and interest. Fill out and return your Strata PAD Agreement today!
 
 
2) CHEQUES
All cheques must be mailed or dropped off at our office.
 
Please make cheques payable to "Strata Plan (your strata plan #)".
E.g. "Strata Plan LMS 1234".
 
Post-dated cheques are recommended.
 
 
3) CASH
Cash payments must be made in person at our office.
 
 
4) TELEPHONE/ONLINE BANKING
Another fast, convenient, and effective way to make your payments. Besides internet access, what you need is your unique personal reference ID from us. For more details, please visit the Make A Payment tab of our website.

2 - All About Payments: How do I sign up for your pre-authorized debit (PAD) plan?

To sign up, please complete the Pre-authorized Debit Plan Agreement and submit it to our office along with a void cheque. Please fill in details of your savings account if you do not have a chequing account.

2 - All About Payments: How often are Statement of Accounts mailed to strata owners?

A Statement of Account is mailed in the 2nd month to owners who are in arrears and where fines were levied against the account.

2 - All About Payments: Will I get a receipt for strata fees the end of the year for tax purposes?

Your cancelled cheques or bank statements are good evidence for proof of payment; therefore, a receipt will not be issued.

2 - All About Payments: Will I get an invoice for my strata fees / special levy payment?

Strata Owners
As details of the strata fees and special levy payments can be found in your official documents such as AGM/SGM Minutes, no invoices will be issued for these payments. This environmentally friendly approach also saves Strata Corporations unnecessary expense on photocopying and postage.

3 - Strata Residents: Do I need insurance for my strata unit? I thought the strata fees cover insurance?

The type of insurance covered in your strata fees is the Strata Corporation’s policy that insures the fixed structure, permanently installed original fittings and fixtures, mechanical equipment and machinery, fire suppression systems and common assets.
 
Therefore, it is highly recommended that owners acquire insurance for their strata unit to cover for personal property, betterments and/or improvements, additional living expenses, loss of rental income (if the unit is for rental), and most importantly, the Strata Corporation’s deductible chargeback (e.g. water, fire) incurred in the event of a claim that originated from within an owner’s unit.
 
To ensure you acquire sufficient insurance for protection, we recommend that you provide your broker with a copy of your Strata Corporation’s “Summary of insurance” which can be found in your most current AGM Notice package when acquiring insurance for your strata unit.
 
Some insurers offer a homeowner policy that provides additional private coverage which is not covered under the Strata Corporation’s insurance policy. Owners may want to take advantage of it as it is beneficial to both the strata corporation and the strata owner knowing that the same insurer is there to look after their best interest.
 
Some insurers even offer a tenant policy that provides additional private coverage which is not covered under the homeowner's insurance policy.

3 - Strata Residents: How do I deal with an emergency?

In the event of an emergency which requires fire, police, and ambulance service, please call 911 before contacting our office.
 
In the event of an emergency that threatens homeowner property or common areas, please call our 24 hour emergency number 604-683-8900.
 
Examples of a Homeowner Emergency:
- Elevator problem
- Parking gate or garage door problem
- Front door locking problem
- Flood problem such as water leaks
- Broken window
 
Note: Personal emergencies are not considered strata emergencies. Owners are responsible in dealing with their own personal emergencies.
 
For non-emergency response issues, please contact your Strata Manager during our regular office hours.
 
Examples of a Non-Emergency:
- Noise complaint
- Parking violation

3 - Strata Residents: How do I get a copy of a strata plan?

Our office does not provide copy of strata plans. You may order a copy of your building’s strata plan at the Land Title Office for a fee.

3 - Strata Residents: How do I get approval to make changes to my strata unit, e.g. hardwood flooring?

Most of the building bylaws require owners to seek Strata Council’s prior approval before commencement of the installation. Owners are also required to sign an indemnity agreement before approval is granted. For convenience, please fill out our fillable Application for Approval to Change Flooring form where it provides you step-by-step instructions to ensure the required information is submitted.
 
Your bylaws may also lay out all specifications such as the minimum rating of the underlay to be used.

3 - Strata Residents: How do I request documents, Form B or Form F for a strata lot?

Strata Homeowners
FirstService Residential BC uses the eStrataHub electronic document delivery service. Click the link eStrataHub to use your credit card and request for strata documents. Please note that we only accept credit card payments.
 
Lawyers/Notaries/Realtors
FirstService Residential BC uses the eStrataHub electronic document delivery service via BC Online. Click the link BC Online to log in, select eStrataHub, and request for strata documents.

3 - Strata Residents: How do I schedule a move-in (e.g. booking an elevator)? Who should I call and is there a move-in/out fee?

The best way to start is to review your building bylaws for any move-in/out procedures. Pay attention to the following:
 
1) Booking procedure which usually requires advance notice;
2) Allowable Hours of move-ins/outs;
3) Who to contact for elevator booking;
4) Amount of move-in/out fee;
5) Any deposit required in advance of the move.

3 - Strata Residents: I just bought my strata unit. What do I need to know about my building?

Welcome Package
Each new owner will be mailed a welcome package which contains valuable and important information and we urge you to keep it for references from time to time.
 
Bylaws and Rules
Within the welcome package is a copy of your building bylaws and rules. Be familiar with them to avoid violations which could result in unnecessary fines. Pay attention to the ones for move-in procedure/hours/fee, rental restrictions, pet restrictions, and alterations to a strata lot (A good example will be hardwood flooring replacement which seems to be very popular these days).
 
Strata Fees Payment Options
One of the most important things to remember after purchasing your unit is to ensure you contact our office to make arrangement to pay your monthly strata fees on time to avoid late payment penalties and fines. Within the package is a copy of our Pre-authorized Debit Agreement and our Online Banking Instruction Sheet for your reference. Please refer to our FAQ on “All About Payments FAQs” for more details on your payment options.
 
Move-in Procedures
The best way to start is to review your building bylaws for any move-in/out procedures. Pay attention to the following:
1) Booking procedure which usually requires advance notice;
2) Allowable Hours of move-ins/outs;
3) Who to contact for elevator booking;
4) Amount of move-in/out fee;
5) Any deposit required in advance of the move.

 
Insurance
You will find information on the insurance provider within the Package.
 
The type of insurance covered in your strata fees is the Strata Corporation’s policy that insures the fixed structure, permanently installed original fittings and fixtures, mechanical equipment and machinery, fire suppression systems and common assets.
 
Therefore, it is highly recommended that owners acquire insurance for their strata unit to cover for personal property, betterments and/or improvements, additional living expenses, loss of rental income (if the unit is for rental), and most importantly, the Strata Corporation’s deductible chargeback (e.g. water, fire) incurred in the event of a claim that originated from within an owner’s unit.
 
To ensure you acquire sufficient insurance for protection, we recommend that you provide your broker with a copy of your Strata Corporation’s “Summary of insurance” which can be found in your most current AGM Notice package when acquiring insurance for your strata unit.
 
Some insurers offer a homeowner policy that provides additional private coverage which is not covered under the Strata Corporation’s insurance policy. Owners may want to take advantage of it as it is beneficial to both the strata corporation and the strata owner knowing that the same insurer is there to look after their best interest.
 
Some insurers even offer a tenant policy that provides additional private coverage which is not covered under the homeowner's insurance policy.
 
Renovation
Most of the building bylaws require owners to seek Strata Council’s prior approval before commencement of the installation. Owners are also required to sign an indemnity agreement before approval is granted. For convenience, please fill out our fillable Application for Approval to Change Flooring form where it provides you step-by-step instructions to ensure the required information is submitted.
 
Your bylaws may also lay out all specifications such as the minimum rating of the underlay to be used.
 
Rental
If you plan to rent out your unit, please refer to our FAQ on:
“I want to rent out my strata unit. What do I need to know?”
 
The best way to start is to review your building bylaws to ensure there is no rental restriction in place that may affect your eligibility to rent. If there is one, you may be required to write to your Strata Council (and send to our office) to get permission to rent. If the limit has been reached, you will be notified and may be placed on a waiting list.
 
If you are eligible to rent, ensure you proceed to check for the following and communicate the same with your potential tenant:
1) Any pet restriction bylaw that limits the type and number of pets your tenant may have;
2) Any move-in/out procedures bylaw (also see our “move-in” FAQ).
3) Ensure a Form K is completed by you and your tenant within two weeks of renting. Please note a new Form K is required when tenancy changes.
 
Ensure your tenant is given a copy of the building bylaws and rules to be abided by, as owners are responsible for any fines that resulted from their tenant’s, employee’s, or guest’s violation of any bylaws/rules or damages to the common areas during the move-in/out or at any other time.
 
Ensure your tenant understands the importance of acquiring their own personal insurance for their own protection.
 
FirstService Residential’s Website - FAQs
Our FAQs section offers helpful questions and answers that are commonly asked by our new and existing owners. For any inquiry that is not covered in this section, please contact your Strata Manager. Inquiries that relate to your strata fee payment or account, please ask to speak to our Accounts Receivable when contacting our office.
 
FirstService Residentials’s Website – Forms
There are different forms under the Forms section for your easy use and references.

3 - Strata Residents: I moved into a brand new strata corporation a couple of months ago. I have noticed that there are deficiencies inside my suite which need to be corrected. Who do I report these deficiencies to?

Unless a deficiency occurring inside the suite is an emergency, owners are responsible for reporting in suite deficiencies directly to the developer in writing, as the property management company is unable to do so on an owner’s behalf. A Service Request Form contained in your Homeowner’s Manual provided by the developer should be filled out with reasonable detail of the deficiencies and sent to the developer within the first 12 months of the suite being occupied. It is recommended that an owner should keep a copy of the Service Request Form sent to the developer for their own records.

3 - Strata Residents: I recently purchased my new suite from a previous owner who had only owned the suite for a couple of months when the building was first occupied. Am I still able to report my in suite deficiencies even though I did not purchase

Yes. The building warranty on the suite remains in effect and is transferable to any subsequent owners for the first 12 months following the time the first owner took possession of the suite. Original installations by the developer should also come with a product warranty which is transferable, such as appliances and plumbing fixtures. The Homeowner’s Manual provided by the developer should contain additional product warranty information associated with the installations inside your suite.

3 - Strata Residents: I want to rent out my strata unit. What do I need to know?

The best way to start is to review your building bylaws to ensure there is no rental restriction in place that may affect your eligibility to rent. If there is one, you may be required to write to your Strata Council (and send to FirstService Residential’s office) to get permission to rent. If the limit has been reached, you will be notified and may be placed on a waiting list.
 
If you are eligible to rent, ensure you proceed to check for the following and communicate the same with your potential tenant:
1) Any pet restriction bylaw that limits the type and number of pets your tenant may have;
2) Any move-in/out procedures bylaw (also see our “move-in” FAQ).
3) Ensure a Form K is completed by you and your tenant within two weeks of renting. Please note a new Form K is required when tenancy changes.
 
Ensure your tenant is given a copy of the building bylaws and rules to be abided by, as owners are responsible for any fines that resulted from their tenant’s, employee’s, or guest’s violation of any bylaws/rules or damages to the common areas during the move-in/out or at any other time.
 
Ensure your tenant understands the importance of acquiring their own personal insurance for their own protection.
 
Please also refer to our FAQ on "Do I need insurance for my strata unit? I thought the strata fees cover insurance?"

3 - Strata Residents: Shortly after I moved into my new suite I filed with the developer’s office my Service Request Form in my Homeowner’s Manual with a list of my in suite deficiencies. But to date, the developer has not scheduled an appointment

At the time a brand new suite is occupied, a building warranty comes into effect for the first 12 months of that particular suite which covers defects in labour and materials, along with contraventions of the building code. Rather than returning to attend to in suite deficiencies several times throughout the first year, a developer will most likely choose to wait until the 12 month warranty period for the suite has expired, thereby correcting the reported deficiencies within one or two site visits to your suite.

4 - Prospective Strata Clients: Can you assist us in dealing with building warranty issues?

Yes, our strata agents are well versed in the new home warranty program requirements and we also have a warranty coordinator on staff who can assist when necessary.

4 - Prospective Strata Clients: Can you assist us with difficult legal issues?

Yes, we have established a legal Retainer Program with the law firm, Clark Wilson LLP, who are well known with their expertise in legal matters affecting strata corporations and the Strata Property Act.

4 - Prospective Strata Clients: Can you assist us with long term capital planning and a building maintenance plan?

Yes, we work together with council and the qualified professional company to develop a capital planning program with reports to assist council with their long term capital planning and maintenance requirements.

4 - Prospective Strata Clients: Can you assist us with the facilitation and overseeing of a major building project?

Yes, we can provide administration and accounting services relating to the project at an additional fee.

4 - Prospective Strata Clients: Do you provide emergency services outside of regular business hours?

FirstService Residential provides emergency services 24 hours 7 days a week to all owners and residents. All emergency call reports are reviewed by senior management.

4 - Prospective Strata Clients: How many projects do each of your strata agents manage?

Strata agents at FirstService Residential administer a portfolio of between 8-12 buildings, depending on the location, size, complexity, and the services provided. Strata agents at FirstService Residential are paid a competitive salary and are not paid commission. This practice allows the Strata agents to properly service the needs of the building, owners, and residents in a structured and organized approach.

4 - Prospective Strata Clients: How often are the financial statements prepared and delivered to your clients?

Comprehensive financial statements including a Balance Sheet and an Income Statement are provided to each council member by the 15th business day of each month.

4 - Prospective Strata Clients: What procedures do you have in place to protect our trust funds?

FirstService Residential BC is licensed and bonded. All accounting functions are overseen by five (5) Certified General Accountants. Due to our size and the volume of businesses that we have, we are able to segregate duties among the accounting staff and provide better internal controls and protection for our clients’ trust funds. All our trust accounts are being audited annually by Ernst & Young, LLP, one of the "big four" Chartered Accountant firms in Canada.

4 - Prospective Strata Clients: What type of projects do you manage?

FirstService Residential BC manages strata corporations with residential and commercial sections (mixed use), commercial strata corporations, industrial park strata corporations, stratified hotels, and complicated phased Strata Corporations that include air space parcels, cost sharing, and shared amenities.

4 - Prospective Strata Clients: Who do I contact for more information about your services?

Please fill out our Request for Proposal and submit it online to our office. Someone will be in contact with you in due course. Thank you

4 - Prospective Strata Clients: Will you take on projects that are only a few months old?

Yes, we have the expertise and understanding in the transition period between the developer and the strata corporation and can provide the council with guidance in dealing with accounting issues such as budgeting, fee collections, reconciliation of developer’s expenses, and the complexity of multi-phase development.