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Effective bylaws require a great deal of legal know-how

Establishing effective and enforceable restrictions requires legal expertise

Tony Gioventu
The Province

Published: May 25, 201

Dear Tony: We are at war with our strata council. Ever since we became owners in 2015, it has continued to harass us over a parking debacle. 

We obtained a Form B Info Certificate and were advised we had been allocated two parking spaces. Immediately upon moving, we were told the second space did not exist. Since then, we have been parking our second car in a visitor spot with what we assumed was the consent of council as there was no complaint. 

Two weeks ago, we received notice of a violation of the strata bylaws and fines going back to April 1 for unauthorized parking. They are fining us $50 every day for a continuing contravention under their bylaws. That makes our parking for the second car more than our mortgage and strata fees.

We asked for a hearing with council and its response was: “We removed hearings from our bylaws, move the car, or just keep paying.”

Is this legal? 

Marjorie W.

Dear Marjorie: You have a number of issues that you need to address.

Because the strata has refused your request for a hearing, my first recommendation is to start a claim with the Civil Resolution Tribunal and challenge the problems with the Form B, the fines and the non-compliance with the Strata Property Act and Regulations. 

I have seen a number of recent bylaw amendments surface that do not comply with the act and are likely unenforceable. 

It takes a great deal of legal and procedural knowledge to effectively write bylaws. Many strata corporations have either borrowed other strata bylaws or written their own.  I am yet to come across any owner or council member who has competently written bylaws for their strata.

The maximum frequency that is permitted under the Strata Property Act Regulations for an ongoing contravention of bylaws or rules is only once every seven days. The maximum fines are $200 per violation of a bylaw or rule, or $500 for violation of a rental bylaw.

Before a strata corporation imposes a fine or penalty, it must notify the tenant and/or owner of the particulars of the complaint and entitle that person an opportunity to respond in writing or have a hearing with council. Hearings are not part of the standard bylaws any longer and are a mandatory requirement under the act. 

Common violations of home-grown bylaws usually affect property use or obligation. In addition to fines and hearings, strata corporations frequently adopt amendments that are unenforceable. They try to incorrectly change property designations within the bylaws from common property to limited common property, so they can download the obligation to maintain and repair doors and windows on to owners, or they try to claim any type of rental applies to the maximum number permitted in the bylaws, or they will adopt one bylaw that permits one activity while prohibiting the activity in another bylaw.

Bylaws may have a profound impact on a strata community. Talk to your lawyer before you adopt any amendments.  To start a tribunal claim go to http://www.civilresolutionbc.ca 

© 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.

The Ridge at Burke Mountain 1425 Strawline Hill Street Coquitlam 49 single famly homes by Foxridge Homes

The Ridge?s soaring, spacious design won a Georgie for best single-family detached home

Mary Frances Hill
The Province

The Ridge at Burke Mountain

Where:  1425 Strawline Hill St., Coquitlam

What: 49 single-family homes near well-developed trail systems, many municipal amenities, stores and restaurants at Coquitlam Centre, David Lam campus of Douglas College, and with access to the newly launched Evergreen SkyTrain line.

Residence Sizes and Prices: Three or four bedrooms; total square footage from 3,400 to 3,800 square feet, from $1.59 million, including GST

Developer and builder: Foxridge Homes, a Qualico company

Sales centre: 1425 Strawline Hill St., Coquitlam

Hours: Noon — 5 p.m., daily

For Shannon Haerdi, the key to the interior design and décor of grand single-family homes lies in playing to the residences’ architectural strengths. At The Ridge at Burke Mountain, Foxridge Homes’ community in Coquitlam, the source of that strength is obvious: it can be found in the show home’s 17-by-16-foot open-concept living room with three banks of stacked windows rising to an 18-foot-high ceiling.

“The selling features of this house, such as the oversized windows, glass railing and over-height ceilings in the great room, made our design work easy,” says Haerdi, the principal of First Impressions Design.

 “The natural light and open concept of this home allowed us to capture elegance and functionality all in one.”

Burke Mountain is an attractive place to make a life. It’s a booming family community set among natural surroundings and near a new library, city hall and recreation facilities, so Haerdi sys she pictured a “young emerging family” settling into the homes. She stuck to neutral shades, but focused on keeping it lively with touches of rose quartz and serenity blue.

“This house is definitely not a boring beige home,” she says of the show home.

 “We added [those] pops of colour to the mostly neutral furnishings and that anchored all of the textures and tones in the home. The rose quartz has a calming effect that draws you into the space, captures your senses and makes you want to linger in the room a little longer.”

And while spacious rooms do impress visitors, homeowners eventually focus on smaller details. Buyers of large homes like these prefer the convenience of laundry areas and mudrooms, and treasure the opportunity to live clutter free with plenty of storage space, she says.
“Clients do love window seats, as well as built-in storage solutions in mudrooms and laundry areas,” Haerdi says. “We try to think of a vast array of buyers when we are designing these homes as every client is unique, but they all want beautiful, yet functional living spaces.”

Haerdi says it’s a special treat to work with Foxridge on this project. Qualico Developments Inc., Foxridge Homes’ parent company, celebrated The Ridge at Burke Mountain’s Georgie Award for Best Single Family Detached Home over 2,300 square feet under $750,000. Haerdi says First Impressions Designs savours both the teamwork and the creative independence she gets with Foxridge Homes.

“We carefully select all the finishes with the builder to suit each show home and then we are left to our creative devices to create an amazing space that buyers will hopefully fall in love with as much as we do.”

© 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.

Bank of Canada makes interest rate announcement


The Bank of Canada is sticking with its trendsetting interest rate of 0.5 per cent, saying uncertainties continue to overshadow the economy’s stronger-than-expected start to the year.

In explaining its decision Wednesday to hold the rate, the central bank once again highlighted weak wage growth and the softening rate for underlying inflation as examples the economy still has room for improvement.

The bank’s scheduled rate announcement comes after it raised its 2017 growth projection last month following a surprisingly healthy start to the year in areas such as employment, consumer spending and the housing markets. In Wednesday’s statement, the bank added better business investment numbers to the list.

“Recent economic data have been encouraging,” the bank said.

“Consumer spending and the housing sector continue to be robust on the back of an improving labour market, and these are becoming more broadly based across regions.”

The bank’s statement, however, also predicted that the “very strong growth” over the first three months of the year will be followed by some moderation in the second quarter, even though at the same time it expects the U.S. economy to rebound.

Analysts had widely predicted governor Stephen Poloz to keep the rate locked at its very low level of 0.5 per cent, as significant unknowns underlined by the bank in the past continue to swirl around the U.S. agenda on trade and taxation.

“The uncertainties outlined in the April (monetary policy report) continue to cloud the global and Canadian outlooks,” said the bank, without making any specific mentions this time about the potential policy path of Canada’s largest trading partner.

With no monetary policy report released Wednesday, observers will scrutinize the commentary in the bank’s one-page statement for clues about its thinking on the trajectory of the economy.

The bank’s statement also said while recent government policy measures on real estate have contributed to more sustainable outlooks for household debt, the rules have yet to have a substantial cooling effect on hot housing markets.

On core inflation, the bank noted that recent readings for its three measures, which reduce the influence of some more volatile consumer items like gasoline, have stayed below its ideal target of two per cent. That signals the entire economy has yet to catch up to the recent momentum.

Copyright © 2017 Key Media Pty Ltd

We?re missing something on housing affordability says new report

Steve Randall

Housing affordability requires a broader approach and new thinking according to a new report.

The Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis says that there is no ‘silver bullet’ solution for housing affordability and those who suggest there is either “have an agenda” or do not understand the complexity of the issues.

The report tackles thinking such as affordability simple being about the high price of homes and notes that if wages were rising as fast as home prices in Toronto, the city would rank as relatively cheap when compared against similar cities around the world.

It also challenges views on supply, noting that new starts have doubled in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area over the past decade and housing stock per capital has remained steady for 25 years.

One of the key components that the report highlights is the proportion of homeowners that are in the wrong size home.

It says that around 70 per cent of Ontarians are in homes that are either too large or too small with older Canadians most likely to have surplus space while younger owners are lacking the living space they need.

With limited ability to downsize, seniors are stuck in oversized homes which would benefit younger buyers if they became available.
Therefore, building homes that in the ‘missing middle’ should be a policy decision.

Copyright © 2017 Key Media Pty Ltd

Securities panel fines real estate developer Brendan Schouw $125,000 for fraud

Mortgage Broker News

A British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) levied on Thursday a $125,000 fine on a Vancouver real estate developer for fraud. He was also directed to pay a disgorgement order of $74,612.

Earlier this year, a BSBC panel found that Brendan Schouw spent nearly $75,000 of an investor’s money on his personal mortgage payments and his property management business.

In November 2009, Schouw convinced one investor to spend $1m in Hornby Residences for a Vancouver real estate project. Schouw is the sole director of Hornby, a B.C. company. He promised the investor that all of the funds would be used for the real estate project.

The investor received an investment certificate promising 18% simple interest per year. After depositing the $1m into Hornby’s bank account, Schouw redirected approximately $75,000 for his own use, said the panel.

Both Schouw and Hornby have been ordered to cease trading in, and are permanently prohibited from purchasing, any securities or exchange contracts. They were also banned from becoming or acting as a registrant or promoter, acting in a management or consultative capacity in connection with activities in the securities market, and engaging in investor relations activities.

The panel ordered Schouw to resign any position that he holds as a director or officer of any issuer. He has also been permanently prohibited from becoming or acting as a director or officer of any issuer or registrant.

Copyright © 2017 Key Media

Sales of new high-rise homes double 10-year average in GTA

Steve Randall

Sales of new homes in the Greater Toronto Area gained 24 per cent year-over-year in the first four months of 2017 as the number of high-rise sales surged.

Data from the Altus Group shows that there were 17,977 sales of which 4,878 were low rise homes (down 34 per cent from a year earlier and 14 per cent below the 10-year average) while sales of new high-rise homes reached 13,099, an 85 per cent year-over-year rise and 102 per cent above the 10-year average.

Breaking out the figures for April, the trend isn’t slowing. There were 4,480 new home sales in the month, 25 per cent above the 10-year average and 7 per cent up from a year earlier.

Of those, 1,415 were low-rise, a drop of 39 per cent year-over-year and 21 below the 10-year average. High-rise meanwhile jumped 61 per cent to 3,265 sales, 67 per cent above the 10-year average.

Copyright © 2017 Key Media Pty Ltd