BC Government’s Rental Task Force Recommends Eliminating Rental Restrictions in Stratas

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A big change might be coming to every strata building in BC.

The Rental Task Force, established by the BC NDP government to improve security and fairness in rentals, has submitted a list of recommendations to ensure renters are protected and supported when it comes to their housing opportunities.

Most of the list applies to purpose built rentals buildings though there is one major change that will affect every condo or townhouse owner in the city.

They are recommending that stratas should be no longer allowed to prevent owners from renting their unit. Stratas will still be able to create rules regarding the length or a lease, but there would be no limit on the number of rentals allowed in any building.

I like this suggestion, though there are some ramifications. It gives all owners the chance to travel, move in with a partner or temporarily rent their space if needed without having to incur the cost of their mortgage while they aren’t there or without having to incur the cost of selling and then rebuying. Any original owners are allowed to rent their units and rental restrictions were technically removed from any building built after 2010 so this new recommendation would ensure the ability to rent is fair for everyone, not just certain owners. Many owners who support rental restrictions are worried that renters will degrade the quality of their building or not care about their neighbours, but to that I say that one bad apple doesn’t spoil the bunch. There are bad tenants out there but it’s far from the norm. Don’t expect every other owner in your building to immediately rent either. Most owners or potential buyers who look for units in buildings that allow rentals only want the security of being able to do so, but don’t technically plan on doing it.

There are other ramifications of this recommendation. The first is that owners won’t be able to hide behind “rental restrictions” as a reason why they didn’t rent out their unit so the vacancy tax or speculation tax would apply (I would hope the government would change the requirements to allow for situations where someone has tried to rent but couldn’t find a tenant). This may lead people to reconsider buying that second property which will reduce demand for certain types of real estate. Second, it would take away the value of some buildings that currently allow rentals without restrictions since they are no longer unique.

Apparently most, if not all, of the recommendations will be approved. Let’s see what happens when the decision is official.

For more information about the Rental Task Force recommendations, have a look at this article: