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Strata age restriction bylaws – BCREA Legally Speaking


Strata age restriction bylaws are alive and well.

BCREA

When providing any accommodation, service or facility customarily available to the public, the provincial Human Rights Code normally prohibits one person from discriminating against another because of the other person’s age or family status, unless there is a bona fide, reasonable justification.1 But, the Strata Property Act specifically permits a strata corporation to pass an age restriction bylaw.2 A strata corporation may enforce its age restriction bylaw against any resident, regardless whether he or she is an owner or a tenant. If a strata corporation passes a new bylaw restricting the age of persons who may reside in a strata lot, that bylaw, once registered at the Land Title Office, will not apply to any person residing there when the bylaw was passed and who continues to reside there.3

Whether acting as listing or buyer agent, the Real Estate Council of British Columbia expects a REALTOR® to review a strata corporation’s bylaws for restrictions, including age restrictions.4 One must never assume from signage or advertising alone that a strata corporation is age restricted. Conversely, one must never assume from the presence of children that they are permitted in a complex.

The Real Estate Council also warns against the common misconception that a developer or a strata council can waive the application of an age restriction bylaw. The wording of the bylaw is critical. A strata council has no power to exempt someone from an age restriction bylaw unless the particular bylaw expressly says so. In one recent case, the strata corporation’s bylaws restricted residency to persons who had reached 55 years of age.5 When an elderly owner died, her 46-year-old daughter inherited sole ownership of that owner’s strata lot. Apparently assuming that strata council could exempt her from the age restriction bylaw, the daughter wrote to strata council asking for permission to reside in the strata lot.

Since there was nothing in the bylaw giving strata council authority to excuse the daughter from the bylaw, strata council refused her request. The daughter then moved in anyway. The strata corporation successfully sued the daughter for a declaration that she was residing in her strata lot in violation of the age restriction bylaw. The strata corporation also obtained judgment against the daughter for a total of $13,400 in fines at $200 per week for her continuing bylaw breach.

If the wording of an age restriction bylaw permits strata council to exempt someone from the bylaw, strata council is never compelled to do so. In Drummond v. Strata Plan NW2654, the strata corporation’s bylaw restricted residency to persons over 19 years old, unless strata council gave specific written approval otherwise, with each approval to be considered on its own merits.6 After occupying a strata lot with her 13-year-old son, an owner asked strata council to exempt her son from the bylaw. When strata council refused, the owner sued the strata corporation, claiming significant unfairness. The court dismissed the owner’s claim. The strata corporation was reasonably justified in enforcing its bylaw. Just because the decision seemed unfair to the owner did not mean there was significant unfairness contrary to the Strata Property Act.

What if a resident in an age restricted complex gives birth to a baby? In Hallonquist v. Strata Plan NW307, the strata corporation’s bylaw prohibited children under 19 years of age from permanently residing in the complex.7 When the owner bought his strata lot, he knew about the age restriction. Roughly a year later, the owner’s wife gave birth to a baby. In an effort to comply with the bylaw, the owner listed his unit for sale, but was unable to sell it. The strata corporation imposed fines for breach of the bylaw and threatened a court application to remove the child from the complex. Eventually, the owner complained to the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal that the strata corporation discriminated against him on the basis of family status. The Tribunal dismissed his complaint, pointing out that the Strata Property Act allows the age restriction bylaw and the strata corporation must enforce it.

  1. Human Rights Code, RSBC 1996, c. 210, ss. 8 and 41(2).
  2. Strata Property Act, SBC 1998, c. 43, s. 123(1.1).
  3. Strata Property Act, s. 123(2).
  4. Real Estate Council of British Columbia, Professional Standards Manual, online: https://www.recbc.ca/psm/disclosure-of-restrictions-on-use/.
  5. The Owners, Strata Plan NWS3075 v. Stevens(13 July 2017), Vancouver S172207 (BCSC); 2018 BCSC 1784. See also Strata Plan NW3075 v. Stevens, 2018 BCPC 2.
  6. Drummond v. Strata Plan NW2654, 2004 BCSC 1405.
  7. Hallonquist v. Strata Plan NW307, 2014 BCHRT 117.

Copyright © British Columbia Real Estate Association



Strata must inform tenants of all bylaw changes


Owner must provide Form K to Strata

Tony Gioventu
The Province

Dear Tony:

 I have been a tenant since 2016 in a highrise in Vancouver. About one-third third of our building are rentals and none of the tenants has been elected to council. 

I received notice from council that l am in violation of the strata bylaws for using an electric barbecue on my balcony. I read the bylaws that were given to me by the owner of my unit at the time I rented, and they permitted only electric barbecues. 

I responded in writing, requesting the bylaw they were quoting as I have nothing in the bylaws provided by my landlord. The strata responded that it adopted new bylaws at the June 2018 annual meeting and the bylaw was amended prohibiting all outdoor cooking and it was my landlord’s responsibility to inform me of the bylaws.

Neither the strata corporation nor the landlord provided any bylaw updates. How is it possible for tenants to comply with new bylaws if they don’t know about them?

Terri M.

Dear Terri:

When an owner rents their strata lot, they must provide a completed Form K notice of tenant’s responsibilities to the strata corporation. Both the landlord and the tenant must sign the form.

The landlord’s obligation is to ensure that all current bylaws and rules of the strata corporation at the time the form is signed are attached to the form and provided to the tenant. While the form acknowledges that the tenant must comply with any changed bylaws and rules, the duty to inform the tenants of any changes of new rules or bylaws falls on the shoulders of the strata corporation.

Under the Strata Property Act, the strata corporation must inform owners and tenants of any amendment to the bylaws as soon as feasible after the amendment is approved. Unfortunately, many strata corporations and managers assume the owners will inform their tenants or that the notice of a general meeting and the minutes that follow will be sufficient. This is not formal notice in the same manner as a general meeting, but applies the general communication format your strata corporation employs, provided every tenant and owner has access to the information.

Best practice: if your strata corporation has adopted new bylaws or ratified new rules, as soon as feasible have them posted to a website where everyone has access or post them in public areas where residents will see notices, and send out a written copy advising of the new bylaws or rules. The minutes of the meeting may be an acceptable form of notice; however, attach the new ratified rules or approved bylaws so they are clearly identified. 

To ensure you have given notice of enforceable bylaws, within a week of your meeting confirm the new bylaws have been filed in the Land Title Registry before you send the minutes or notice of new bylaws. We have identified many circumstances where bylaws were adopted and never filed. Bylaws are only enforceable once they are filed in the registry. Notice of bylaw amendments after an amendment has been approved, but not filed, is required as there may be bylaws that have exemptions created for age restrictions, pet bylaws or rental restrictions, and these exemptions apply when the bylaw is approved, not when it is filed, so timing is everything.

Don’t forget if you are a landlord and renting your unit to a family member, or qualify under any of the rental exemptions, you must still provide a completed Form K to the strata corporation.

© 2019 Postmedia Network Inc.



Soleil 178 homes at 1588 Johnston Road White Rock by RDG Management


Residents of Soleil will be but steps from hundreds of shops and services

Simon Briault
The Province

Soleil

What: 178 homes in a 26-storey tower

Where: 1588 Johnston Road, White Rock

Residence size and prices: One-, two- and three-bedroom homes ranging from 638 to 1,795 square feet; prices range from $449,900 to $2,199,900

Developer: RDG Management

Sales centre: 1588 Johnston Road, White Rock

Sales phone: 604-379-3022

For many buyers of new condos, location is everything. Soleil, a new residential tower planned for the centre of White Rock, does not disappoint on that front.

The building will stand right across the street from Semiahmoo Mall and residents will be within a few minutes walk of more than 300 hundred shops and services.

It’s a location that’s already proving popular with buyers, according to Craig Anderson, marketing and sales director at Magnum Projects, which is handling the sales and marketing for Soleil.

“This is the best-value ocean view in the Lower Mainland,” Anderson said. “At the same time, it’s an authentically urban location with everything you need right on your doorstep. When you compare these ocean views against North or West Vancouver, there’s a bunch of value here and you’re not compromising on convenience or finishes either.”

The 26-storey tower will stand at the corner of Johnston Road and North Bluff Road, right in the heart of White Rock’s downtown core, and feature 25,000 square feet of office and retail space and an 8,000-square-foot amenity space. Located on one level of the building and incorporating both indoor and outdoor space, the facilities will include two guest suites, a yoga room, a sauna, a steam room, a gym, indoor and outdoor lounges, an entertainment kitchen, a terrace, a hot tub, a children’s play area and two fire pits.

“We’ve never been in a condo before so it will be totally new for us,” said Jeff Whitford, who has bought one of the homes at Soleil. “We live in White Rock right now so we get this big view already and we didn’t want to give it up. Then we saw what the 20th floor in Soleil would look like and we thought, hey, this looks like our house. It’s the same view and we get Mount Baker thrown in as well.”

Homes feature engineered wood flooring in entries, kitchens, living rooms, dining rooms and dens. Kitchens have polished stone countertops, under-counter garbage and recycling systems and full-sized Bosch stainless steel appliance packages, including stainless steel drawer microwaves. Bathrooms feature soaker tubs, frameless glass showers and large-format wall and floor tiles.

For Whitford, who has been living in White Rock for more than a decade, the location of Soleil in the centre of the city was a big factor in his decision to buy.

“I think we got a lot of a value for what we paid per square foot for our new condo compared to anywhere else,” he said. “We love the location too. We’ll be able to walk across the street and go to Brown’s, go to Starbucks, get some great sushi, go shopping or go to the liquor store. It’s all right there. It’s a two-minute walk to everything. It’s awesome.”

© 2019 Postmedia Network Inc.



REBGV launches home listings site


Realtylink makes home buyers knowledgeable

Steve Randall
Mortgage Broker News

The Real estate Board of Greater Vancouver has launches a new home listings site on its Realtylink.org platform.

The board has worked with Quebec firm Centris to create the modern listings portal with enhanced search and filtering capabilities.

It allows users to create a profile for saving searches, which can be listed as a list, gallery, or on a map. It shows MLS listings for homes in the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, and northern regions of BC.

“We designed the new Realtylink to help make home buyers more knowledgeable about the homes available for sale around our province,” says Brad Scott, REBGV CEO. “It’s a powerful tool based on proven technology. We’ll continue to work with our Centris partner to add features and data to improve and grow the site over time.”

The tech that drives the site means users will get the latest listings, as it updates every 20 minutes with data from the Greater Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Chilliwack, BC Northern, and Vancouver Island real estate boards.

The site also allows users to explore a home’s location through embedded Google Maps options and assess a home’s proximity to amenities through the Walk Score® rating feature.

Copyright © 2019 Key Media



Mixed reactions to budget housing measures


No changes to stress test in budget

Steve Randall
Mortgage Broker News

The federal budget included certain measures aimed at helping the Canadian housing market but there was no change to the mortgage stress test.

The government did announce help for first-time buyers though and that has been generally welcomed.

A $1.25 billion fund administered by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) over three years will provide 5% of the cost of an existing home and 10% of the price of a new home through what amounts to an interest-free loan to be repaid when the property is sold. The money would go to first-time home buyers applying for insured mortgages subject to certain conditions.

Dr Sherry Cooper, chief economist for Dominion Lending Centres, said it was a bold move although said she was awaiting clear details of how repayment would take place.

She also noted that, along with an increase in the tax-free withdrawal from RRSPs to $35,000 (from the previous $10,000) under the federal Home Buyers’ Plan, the measures focus on the demand side of housing not the badly-needed supply of affordable housing.

Builders urge swift implementation
The Canadian Home Builders’ Association is optimistic that supply will be helped by the budget measures.

“The new First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, which introduces shared equity mortgages for qualified first-time buyers, will make a difference if it meets the estimates government officials are suggesting: helping 100,000 Canadians achieve home ownership in the next three years. That impact would be similar to what CHBA’s proposed reintroduction of 30-year insured mortgages for first-time home buyers would achieve,” said CHBA CEO Kevin Lee. “This incentive cannot come soon enough, as many markets are very challenged right now. We hope the government will move very quickly to make it a reality.”

But Lee also urged the government to reconsider the mortgage stress test.

“Current restrictions on mortgage access mean that many millennials and new Canadians are seeing homeownership slipping away, and in many markets the economic impacts are substantial.”

Another form of debt
Not everyone is as positive about the first-time buyer mortgage plan.

RBC chief economist Craig Wright told the CBC that it was a “solution looking for a problem.”

And David MacDonald, senior economist for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives warned that it’s just another form of debt that will need to be repaid.



Demand for commercial real estate declines in 2018


CRE demand in the Lower Mainland weakened in 2018

other

The commercial real estate market in the Lower Mainland saw fewer sales and lower dollar volumes in 2018 compared to recent years.

There were 2,266 commercial real estate sales in the Lower Mainland in 2018, a 13.6 per cent decrease from 2,624 sales in 2017, according to data from Commercial Edge, a commercial real estate system operated by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).

The total dollar value of commercial real estate sales in the Lower Mainland reached $15.622 billion in 2018, a 5.2 per cent decrease from $16.483 billion in 2017.

“Demand in the Lower Mainland’s commercial real estate market changed pace in 2018,” said Ashley Smith, REBGV president. “While dollar volumes remained up near the highs we’ve experienced in recent years, we’ve seen reduced demand in line with slower economic growth and rising interest rates.”

2018 activity by category

Land: There were 861 commercial land sales in 2018, which is a 20 per cent decrease from the 1,076 land sales in 2017. The dollar value of land sales was $8.281 billion in 2018, an 8 per cent decrease from $9 billion in 2017.

Office and Retail: There were 815 office and retail sales in the Lower Mainland in 2018, which is down 9.2 per cent from the 898 sales in 2017. The dollar value of office and retail sales was $4.647 billion in 2018, a 2.8 per cent decrease from $4.781 billion in 2017.

Industrial: There were 489 industrial land sales in the Lower Mainland in 2018, which is down 7.7 per cent from the 530 sales in 2017. The dollar value of industrial sales was $1.441 billion in 2018, an 11.7 per cent increase from $1.290 billion in 2017.

Multi-Family: There were 101 multi-family land sales in the Lower Mainland in 2018, which is down 15.8 per cent from 120 sales in 2017. The dollar value of multi-family sales was $1.253 billion in 2018, a 11.2 per cent decrease from $1.411 billion in 2017.

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© 2018 Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver