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It's official: Stratas in BC can no longer ban rentals

A new regulation banning stratas from the ability to restrict homeowners from renting out their residential units is now in effect. Under the new leadership of BC Premier David Eby, the new legislation was proposed on Monday, November 21, and it was subsequently swiftly approved by the BC NDP majority.

The change in provincial legislation then went into effect on Thursday, November 24, which automatically and immediately overrides any strata bylaw that restricts rentals in their building.

This policy shift is part of the provincial government’s new multi-faceted approach to tackle housing affordability.

Based on the province’s data through the Speculation and Vacancy Tax, it is anticipated about 2,300 empty condominiums across BC cannot be rented out due to strata rules that prevent property owners from renting out their units.

It is also believed that the legislation change will open up the possibility for some condominium owners to rent out a room in their unit if they were given the opportunity to do so.

However, stratas can still ban the operation of short-term rentals — such as Airbnb — in their buildings. Existing provincial legislation permits stratas to enforce fines of up to $1,000 per day for short-term rentals that are not permitted under strata bylaws.

As of last week, only strata bylaws limiting residents to age 55 and over are allowed, with any strata age-restriction bylaw restricting ages to under 55 now invalid. Stratas can have bylaws that require one or more persons residing in the unit to have reached an age that is not less than 55 years. The provincial legislation allows any live-in caregiver, including caregivers under the age of 55.

Here's some more information on why the bill was proposed:

BC’s government introduced new legislation Monday to tackle the housing crisis under recently sworn-in Premier David Eby.

Among the proposed new rules is a prohibition on strata rules against renting, meant to free up 300,000 units in strata that forbid renting.

“It is simply unacceptable that in British Columbia someone is searching for a home to rent on Craigslist and can’t find one, while somebody who owns a condo is not permitted to rent to that individual,” Eby said.

Once the bill is approved in the legislature, it will become effective immediately — enabling all condo owners to rent their unit, regardless of former strata rules. In the case of problem renters, the new rules allow a strata corporation to issue an eviction notice in place of the landlord.

Stratas will still be able to restrict short-term rentals of less than 30 days.

“Every housing unit [should] be used to its maximum potential,” Eby said. “We need to bring those homes onto the market for British Columbians to rent.”

The Condominium Home Owner’s Association of BC wasn’t a fan of the new legislation, saying it could make quality of life worse for residents of condo buildings.

“The Strata Property Act does not permit a strata corporation to screen tenants. They are at the mercy of whoever landlords accept as tenants.” Tony Gioventu, CHOA executive director, said in a statement.

Eby also wants to end age-related strata rules, so that residents who have children won’t need to move due to stratas forbidding residents under 19. Seniors-only housing is the only exception, with stratas still allowed to limit buildings for people 55+.

In a second bill, Eby outlines rules for cities to issue reports on housing needs every five years which would include binding targets. If municipalities fail to meet their targets, the provincial government would have the power to step in and amend zoning bylaws or issue permits.

“Our housing supply is not keeping up,” Eby said, saying British Columbians aren’t able to achieve their vision of moving out from their parents’ house to rent, and one day buying a home.

The new housing rules are part of a proposed legislation package tabled Monday and will need approval from the legislature before they become law.

Absent from the legislation package are a proposed flipping tax and an amendment to allow secondary rental suites, which Eby mentioned during the NDP leadership race.

When asked about it during a news conference in Victoria, Eby said delivering on all promises takes time and he wanted to begin making progress by abolishing rental restrictions and introducing housing reports.

This article is courtesy of Daily Hive Vancouver

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