GET IN TOUCH
Please contact us for more information. Our email is monitored seven days a week and we will get back to you shortly.
B.C.’s new Housing Supply Act introduces measures to support specific communities in increasing their housing supply in response to the ongoing housing and rental crisis. The Act will impact buyers and renters, real estate agents and developers and those considering buying property in the future. Further, amendments to the Strata Property Act will work with policy introduced in the Housing Supply Act to improve the supply of rental and purchase homes in B.C. So what does this new legislation mean?
The new Housing Supply Act sets out ways the B.C. government can target specific communities facing the worst housing unavailability, set specific goals for that community to meet and support that community in actioning them. This policy provides support for communities facing high-demand and low-supply of rental properties in particular to make policy changes that suit their community’s specific needs while receiving support in achieving those goals form the Provincial government. It’s important to understand that, while Canadians all over B.C. and Canada are feeling the effects of the housing crisis, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to improving housing supply in every community. For example, a community may need significant development of new homes, but face environmental limitations on expansion of single-family homes sprawling outside of their city’s centre.
Under the Act, communities identified by the B.C. Housing Minister will have expanded powers to increase housing development and implement bylaws to improve housing supply. When the Minister identifies a target community under the Act, they will issue a housing target order which specifies housing targets, the metrics with which delivery on those targets will be measured, and a timeline for when these targets need to be achieved.
Amendments to the Strata Property Act ban rental-restrictions in strata managed property developments. Strata rules which prohibit renters from residing in a strata home are invalid and do not have to be followed. The updates stipulate that stratas maintain the power to ban short-term rentals (using services like Airbnb or VRBO to list your strata property for rent). Short term rentals in residential developments in high-demand communities like Vancouver put further pressure on the supply of rental properties, taking potential long-term rental homes effectively off the market for locals.
Another change introduced in the legislation is the banning of age-restrictions for those seeking to buy or rent a property in a strata community, except for the “over 55” rule allowed for strata communities catering to senior citizens. This change will hopefully reduce strata communities’ ability to create barriers or “red tape” for those seeking to buy and rent in their communities.
Owners should be aware that the ending of rental restrictions on strata properties across B.C. means that, if their strata property is unoccupied, it will now be subject to the B.C. Provincial speculation tax (empty home tax) at 0.5% of the property’s value. Note that this tax rate is variable, depending on the residential status of the homeowner. Owners in Vancouver can also be subject to the municipal Vancouver vacant home tax, at an annual rate of 3% of the home’s total value.
If you own a strata property that is unoccupied and unrented for 6 months of the year or more, or you’re unsure if your use of the property qualifies as unoccupied for the purposes of either the B.C. speculation tax or the Vancouver empty home tax, check out our article here.
The Housing Supply Act and amendments announced for the Strata Property Act aim to support renters in high-demand low-supply housing markets, like Vancouver, Victoria and their surrounding cities. There are a number of ways these new policies should help increase the supply of rentals in high-demand communities in B.C. over time:
These changes may offer some potential benefits for renters in terms of increased rental options and reduced age restrictions. However, the impact on rent prices and overall rental availability will depend on various factors, including how property owners, developers, and the market react to these legislative changes and tax policies.