BC Strata Property Act - New Regulations

On November 21, 2022, Bill 44 was introduced in the BC Legislature. The Building and Strata Statutes Amendment Act, 2022 proposed changes to the Strata Property Act regarding rental and age restriction bylaws, and I want to talk about how that affects you as a seller and you as a buyer, also you as a homeowner and as a strata concil member. 

Some of you right now are saying, what’s strata?  Before we get into this discussion any more, I should define strata - it simply means condo.  Most every other province in Canada says condo and condominium, in fact BC is the only jurisdiction in all of North America to say strata. For whatever reason, B.C.follows the example of the Australian state of New South Wales. In 1961 New South Wales was the first jurisdiction to introduce strata (condo) legislation.  Strange but true. 

The changes we are talking about today refer to rental restrictions in condos and age restrictions. 

First of all, let’s talk about the rental restrictions.  As of November 24, 2022, no Rental Restrictions are allowed anymore in strata buildings, stratas can no longer have rental restriction bylaws and any that do exist, and there are a lot of them, are no longer valid. 

Saying that, Short-term rental strata bylaws are allowed and therefore limits can be placed on short-term Air bnb or vrbo type weeks and nightly and other short term rentals.

That means The strata corporation would not be able to screen tenants, establish screening criteria, require the approval of tenants,or anything like that - Period.

That is the first change - no more rental restrictions. 

The second change I’m going to talk about the age restriction change. All age restrictions in strata properties, with the exception of 55 plus, are kaput.  On the same date,  November 24, 2022, any strata age-restriction bylaw restricting ages to less than age 55 is invalid. 19 plus?  nope.  45 plus?  no way.  50 plus?  uh uh.  The only restrictions allowed, as I just said, are age-restriction bylaws that require one or more persons residing in the strata lot to have reached an age that is not less than 55 years. The legislation also allows any live-in caregiver, including caregivers under the age of 55, to live in a strata unit with a 55+ age restriction bylaw. Once again, these changes apply regardless of existing strata bylaws.

So let’s look at these changes and consider the ramifications. The idea obviously of these changes is to free up more housing for families looking to buy or rent, to help alleviate some of the current BC housing crisis.  For example, now all these units in 19 plus condos are available for a younger family say with a baby or a young child that before November 24th weren’t allowed to buy, or rent, and are now allowed to buy, in that building.  That young family now has more choice than they did before of what and where to purchase.  This same family is now also potentially allowed to rent in a strata  property that before these new regulations may have had bylaws stating a rental restriction, maybe the bylaw for the development stated that all rentals had to be for minimum of a year. Or maybe the number of units allowed to be rented at any given time was limited to say 3 or 5 units at a time or something like that.  Or maybe the bylaws simply stated no rentals, period.  Now that can’t happen, so poof, more inventory available for the younger folks potentially with families or just plain younger couples to buy or rent.  So for you if you’re a buyer, and you’re younger, this is a good thing for you. More choice, more options is always good. If you’re say 45-50 and you want to live in a  condo with no kids, maybe you really value your peace and quiet, not so good for you as that simply won’t exist for you anymore in BC.  A house is probably the call for you or maybe a mobile home in an age restricted park because mobile home parks in most cases aren’t governed by the strata property act.  Or when one of you turns 55, then you can purchase in one of these 55 plus properties.

That is the buyer perspective.  Let’s now look at some different perspectives.  For sellers in these formerly age and/or rental restricted properties, well…. now there is more competition out there for your unit that you’re selling however there is also a larger assortment of buyers.  So maybe it will turn out to be good for you as well. 

Who this really benefits though, I think, is the investor.  Now investors can buy in these now non age restricted buildings and they can rent to whomever they want, making purchasing strata properties in BC much more attractive to these investors who likely will buy up more properties to rent out.  Ok, so then that’s good right, making more rentals available?  Well - the answer is ‘maybe’.  Let’s look at the scenario where an investor starts buying out all these units and renting them out at high rental rates, which isn’t really helping the renters, and it’s also making more competition and taking away buying opportunities from those families trying to buy and own.  Maybe - just maybe - it’s going to keep those folks who are trying to get out of the rental market, in the rental market as if investors flock to the opportunity to purchase, and buy these places, the prices of those now non-age restricted and non-rental restricted properties are going to increase.  Potentially making the current problem worse and defeating the purpose. 

Now let’s look at those homeowners who already live in these properties.  You bought this condo because you figured you didn’t have to worry about excessive noise in the unit above you because the family with 3 kids weren’t allowed to buy there.  Now you potentially have that possibility, and those folks may be owners, or they may be tenants.  Ever try to get a tenant out of a property in BC?  It’s not so easy. 

Let’s look at those who are on the strata council and who’s job, volunteer job I might add, is to collect fees, paying bills and enforcing the bylaws.  Any strata Council member would agree that by and large if something goes wrong in the building, it’s much easier to deal with the owner occupier than the landlord.  I don’t think the line ups to be on the strata councils are that long in the first place, now I think they are going to get even shorter if these volunteer positions get too much harder.

Hopefully the desired effect happens and there will be more opportunities for younger folks to get into the housing market by making a purchase in a  now non age or rental restricted building, or by having more properties come up for rent to choose from at more affordable prices.

Be sure to watch our next video on the new BC Home Buyer Cooling off Period for an explanation of more recent changes in the real estate industry in British Columbia

If you are looking to buy or sell Vernon real estate reach out to our Vernon Salt Fowler team and "Just Add Salt". 


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