What are the Changes to the Strata Property Act?
On November 21 Bill 44 was introduced into the BC legislature which proposed changes to the Strata Property Act regarding rental and age restriction bylaws, electronic meetings, and more.
Today I am going to go over the changes that were proposed through the bill and what the implications are for strata corps, owners and also for buyers.
Here are the main points with respect to the Rental Restrictions:
No rental restriction bylaws would be allowed in any strata corporations in BC.
A developer would no longer be required to issue Rental Disclosure Statements and a strata would no longer be required to keep those records.
(Existing wording unchanged) The strata corporation would not be able to screen tenants, establish screening criteria, require the approval of tenants, require the insertion of terms in tenancy agreements or otherwise restrict the rental of a strata lot.
Ok so what does that all mean?
Basically there will no longer be any rental restrictions in strata buildings in BC. There are buildings here in Kelowna that restrict the number of units that can be used as rental units. That all goes away with this amendment to the act.
There was some concern that there would have been changes to how AirBnB’s are allowed to operate in the province, but so far there have been no changes to that. AirBnB’s will remain at the discretion of the strata corp and its owners.
In terms of the rental disclosure, right now it is required to disclose how many rental units exist in the building or development you are looking to purchase in.
That also goes away.
Why is it important as a buyer?
Well if you are buying into a development that you plan on living in, you may want to know how many units are owner occupied.
This is why the left the provision in for strat corps to be required to track all of this information, for example a list of names of owners, tenants and landlords needs to be kept and available upon request.
Now that said, just because they aren’t required to disclose it doesn’t mean that they don’t have to, you can ask for the disclosure at which point they will have to give you that information.
The last point there I think is pretty self explanatory…strata corps won’t be able to screen tenants.
Big Changes to Age Restrictions in Condos in BC
Ok the other big changes have to do with age restrictions and they are as follows:
Age restriction bylaws would be allowed for any ages 55 or greater.
No other age restriction bylaws would be allowed.
The age restriction would not apply to a caregiver who resides in the strata lot for the purpose of providing care to another person who resides in the strata lot and is dependent on caregivers for continuing assistance or direction because of disability, illness, or frailty.
Right now there are developments in Kelowna that have restrictions on age of 19 years or older, strata corps will no longer be allowed to put up this restriction or any other age restriction with the exception of 55+.
The last point there has to do with say a person that is a caregiver and is younger than 55+ but is caring for someone that is 55 years or older.
All of that said, this pertains to occupancy and NOT ownership.
Meaning, if you are 29 and want to purchase a condo unit in a building that is 55+ and then rent that unit out to someone that is 55 years of age or older, that is within the rules.
The last rule changes are much less headline grabbing but important all the same and they are:
All strata corps would be able to hold annual and special general meetings by telephone or other electronic means without a bylaw
Issues with voting cards and secret ballots at electronic general meetings would be resolved by:
The electronic means must enable the chair of the meeting to identify whether a person attending by electronic means is an eligible voter.
There would be no requirement to issue a voting card to an eligible voter attending an annual or special general meeting by electronic means.
An eligible voter attending an annual or special general meeting by electronic means would not be entitled or required to vote by secret ballot.
So like I said, not sexy but important, as of today if you wanted to hold an AGM or special meeting over Zoom it would have to be in the bylaws of the corporation, which would mean quorum of 75% and a vote to take place at the AGM to change the bylaw if it isn’t already in there.
This can take years to accomplish so the BC government has removed that requirement.
Some big changes are on the horizon.
I think the changes to the rental restrictions and the age restrictions are pretty self explanatory when it comes to the why.
Will This do Anything to Solve the Housing Shortage in BC?
The BC government claims it wants to open up more units that would be available for housing.
The estimation is that there are some 300,000 units in the province that have some kind of rental restriction on them.
In another example of why the government does what it does, the lifting of these restrictions are only on buildings that were built 2010 or prior.
So I guess the big question is this, with 300,000 new units now available for rent, will this be enough to push the price of rentals down and make it a little more affordable for renters?
Or will this change in the legislation open the door for investors to increase their portfolios, further increasing the competition for these units and potentially driving prices up.
My feeling is if there were over double the amount of units under current restrictions, the supply just might outpace the demand.
I’m not 100% certain that this is going to have the desired effect that the new premier of BC is looking for.
If you are looking to purchase a condo in the Kelowna area, then we should talk. I have over 15 years of selling condos and have taken courses to increase my knowledge base that only benefits my clients.
If you are interested in the conversation, then give me a call at 778-716-7527 or send me an email to email@example.com.