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BC Bill 44: Building and Strata Statutes Amendment Act (2022)

On Friday, November 18, David Eby was sworn in as British Columbia’s 37th Premier.

He has made it clear that he will be taking measures to tackle the housing and affordability crisis in BC.

The approach so far is focused on two main topics:

– Strata restrictions

– Housing initiatives/targets for individual municipalities

The housing targets have yet to be determined, scheduled for mid-Spring of 2023, so this blog post will focus on Bill 44, which has already been passed.

Bill 44

The intent behind Bill 44: Building and Strata Statutes Amendment Act, 2022 is to increase the number of rentals available in BC. It aims to do this by removing the ability to have certain age and rental restrictions in strata communities:

Age restrictions – only 55+ age restrictions are permitted (no 19+ only, etc.)

Rental restrictions – removed ability to have rental restrictions except for short term rentals may still be restricted, i.e. AirBnbs.

How effective will this be?

The goal is to help reduce the vacancy rate by now allowing these units to be rented; however, in many cases units are more likely vacant because the owners want to keep them for their own periodic stays, rather than due to rental restrictions.

There is also a possibility that this has an adverse effect on prices. Previously, units with rental restrictions were typically priced lower. If units are now being brought to the open market without rental restrictions, an increase in demand and interest of investors could drive up condo prices.

BC Vacancy Tax

Something else to take note of is that up until now, the BC Vacancy Tax allowed an exemption if the vacant unit was subject to a rental restriction. Now that this is gone, Canadian citizens with vacant properties will be hit with a 2% vacancy tax (with very few exemptions), while non-Canadian citizens will be hit by 5%. Will this be enough incentive for owners of vacant units to rent or sell? Time will tell.

We are always happy to have a more detailed conversation regarding your goals and questions. Call or text Alex at 1-250-634-2141, or email [email protected].

Thank you for being here,

Alex Hughes* and Ricki-Lee Jewell, Victoria, BC Real Estate Agents

*Personal Real Estate Corporation

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