Archive for March, 2018


Saturday, March 31st, 2018

Phone Safety Tips


Dear valued magicJack customer,

Now more than ever, criminals utilize phone calls in their ever-evolving strategies to take advantage of unsuspecting individuals. It’s important to arm yourself with the information needed to identify and protect yourself from phone scams.

To help keep you safe, magicJack will never request sensitive personal information like passwords, credit card numbers, or bank account information. We will not call or email you with requests to access your computer, and do not offer virus protection plans or 10-year calling plans. Visit our website at to review our current product and service offerings, as well as pricing. Suspicious activities by third parties representing themselves as magicJack can be reported to [email protected].

Continue reading for tips on how to avoid common phone scams, such as caller ID falsification, family or friend emergency scams, computer-related scams, and IRS impersonators.

Caller ID Falsification

Caller ID, while a helpful tool, should not be solely relied upon to identify incoming calls. Scammers can modify their caller ID to appear as any number they wish (real or non-existent), including phone numbers from individuals, companies, and even the government.

Family or Friend Emergency Scams

Scammers may call you pretending to be a family member or friend who is in a bad situation. They may present an urgent, distressing story involving things like an accident, travel issues, or even jail. They may request that you send money right away via a fast, untraceable method (like gift cards or wire transfer) – their goal is to get your money before you realize you have been scammed.

In these situations, it’s important to think calmly and with a level head. Ask the caller questions that only the person they report to be would know, and attempt to call them back on a known-good phone number. If you aren’t able to verify their identity, do not hesitate to reach out to others to validate their story.

Computer-Related Scams

You may receive phone calls claiming to be tech support from reputable companies (such as Microsoft or Apple) stating that you have a virus, or other computer-related issues. These callers often request information about or remote access to your computer under the guise of diagnosing or repairing the reported issue. Legitimate companies will typically never call you to report issues with your computer. Regardless of how convincing the caller sounds, if you receive this type of call, do not provide any information or access to your computer, and hang up.

Likewise, be wary of any emails or pop-up alerts with similar claims. Do not click on any links displayed, and before placing an outbound call to a phone number found in one of these notifications, perform a search on Google to verify its authenticity. Do not dial the number if the results are suspicious.

Never navigate to or enter information on websites these individuals direct you to visit. Doing so could result in loss of control of your computer, the installation of a virus, or your information being stolen.

IRS Impersonators

Callers identifying themselves as representatives from the IRS may claim that you need to make an urgent payment. Oftentimes these demands include threats of arrest and jailtime, or other severe penalties if you do not comply. These calls may appear to come from legitimate phone numbers, and the caller may appear to know some basic personal information about you (like your name and address).

It is important to be aware that even if you do owe money, the IRS will typically send you a bill prior to calling you. They won’t demand payment via any specific method (like gift cards or wire transfer), and they won’t ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone. They will always give you the opportunity to appeal the amount of money you owe, and they won’t threaten to involve law enforcement. You can contact the IRS regarding taxes owed by calling 800-829-1040.

The Links Residences 7979 152 Street Surrey 55 townhouses next to Guildford Golf and County Club by Infinity Properties

Saturday, March 31st, 2018

The Links Residences are a short drive, chip and putt away from Surrey?s Guildford Golf and Country Club

Michael Bernard
The Vancouver Sun

The Links Residences, Surrey

Project Address: 7979 152 St., Surrey

Project Scope: A collection of 55 three- and four-bedroom townhouses adjacent to Guildford Golf and Country Club. Homes range from 1,410 to 3,145 square feet. Located about 10 minutes by car to Guildford town centre shopping, 14 minutes to SkyTrain and 40 minutes drive to downtown Vancouver

Prices: $670,000 to $710,000 for three-bedroom, two-bath and powder room; $753,000 to $865,000 for three-bedroom, two-bath, two powder rooms; $910,000 to $1,055,000 for four-bedroom, two-bath, two powder rooms. Prices do not include GST

Developer: Infinity Properties

Architect: Atelier Pacific Architecture Inc.

Interior designer: Jill Bauer Design

Sales Centre: 7979 152 St., Surrey

Sales centre hours: noon — 5 p.m., Sat — Thurs

Sales phone: 604-670-7858


Occupancy: Beginning summer 2018

The Links Residences, located next door to Surrey’s Guildford Golf and Country Club, has been proving to be attractive to to families with kids. One downsizing couple has a son in Grade Six who is mad about golf, while another couple is looking to upsize because they’re tired of being “held hostage” when their two teenagers have their friends over.

Erica Enstrom said she and her partner don’t play golf, but are moving to a 2,900-square-foot townhome that overlooks the course’s 18th green because they want to stoke their son’s passion for the game.

“He has become quite fanatical in the last couple of years and goes golfing almost every day,” Enstrom said. “Being able to send him out without having to chauffeur him to a golf course is a pretty nice feature of The Links.”

Rita Michie and Michael Wilkie currently live in a fairly spacious three-bedroom townhouse with their 17-year-old son and 15-year-old daughter, but when the kids have their friends over, staying home is a challenge.

“They are teenagers and when they bring their friends over, we are kind of held hostage when they want to watch a move or run amok,” Michie joked. “We have to kind of leave.“

So when the opportunity came up to buy a three-bedroom 1,963-square-foot three-bedroom townhome with a family room, they jumped.

Steve Harder, a partner in Momentum Real Estate Group, the firm marketing The Links for Infinity Properties, said interest in the development has been very strong, with more than 220 groups looking through two presentation homes during the official opening weekend earlier this month.

The setting is a big draw. In addition to being next to the golf course, the attractive Tudor-style and Craftsman design townhomes are dispersed over a large site at different elevations. The development covers a total 7.85 acres with close to half of that dedicated to protected green space and parkland. Each home comes with its own side-by-side garage space for two cars.

All the homes have a fully landscaped grassy backyard, large enough to provide some outdoor space, but small enough not to pose a maintenance burden, Harder said. All homes also come with rear patios and/or sundecks.

 “With sizes ranging from 1,400 square feet right up to 3,145 square feet, we’re getting very different buyers,” said Harder, adding it makes for a more diversified community. “I hesitate to use the expression ‘something for everyone’ but we are getting close to offering that to the market.”

Enstrom said her family is downsizing from a sprawling 3,800-square-foot single-family home backing on to a ravine in New Westminster. Their decision to leave it is one based on lifestyle.

“As a family of three, we don’t need 3,800 square feet, but as my son enters his teenage years, he will like to hang out with his friends. We also need a space for guests and I need a home office, so there are all these variables. What we don’t need the upkeep of a single-family home that needs a new furnace or a new roof or the windows replaced, etc.

“I think for us this is about choosing a certain lifestyle. I’m in my mid 40s and I’m certainly not my parents’ generation. They spent their weekends working on the house. We want to spend our weekends going out for dinner or watching our son play golf or going away.”

Inside the homes, the finishings are typical of the higher quality that Infinity incorporated into its early projects at the Heritage and Belmont developments in Langley. There is laminate wide-plank flooring throughout the main floor, quartz countertops throughout the entire home, and oversized porcelain tile in all of the bathrooms. There is some customization available as well with hardwood floors, herringbone tile kitchen backsplashes, Shaker-style fireplace cabinets and rubber floors available for the basement storage rooms.

Kitchens are equipped with Whirlpool appliances, including a stainless steel gas range, fridge and dishwasher, a Venmar stainless steel chimney-style hood fan, and a Panasonic microwave. All homes come with a Whirlpool front-loading washer and dryer. Upgrades to KitchenAid appliances are offered. The homes also have 36-inch Napoleon brand natural gas fireplaces.

Ensuite bathrooms have undermount double-vanity sinks, polished chrome Moen shower heads, bathtub and sink faucets, and standard frameless glass showers.

Some homes come with a finished basement, including a bedroom and bathroom. Other options include a sink and beverage centre, a laundry room with quartz countertops, and upper cabinetry. All homes are equipped with an American Standard gas furnace, a 50-gallon hot water tank, a roughed-in central vacuum, and gas barbecue connections. Other options include Nuheat infloor heating and thermostat in ensuites, air conditioning and a Sonos speaker system.

To sweeten the deal for buyers, the golf course next door is also offering a $1,500 membership that provides unlimited golf Monday to Friday and anytime afternoon on weekends for every family member in the household (up to four people) and discounts on food and merchandise.

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.

Backlash keeps blistering B.C. government

Thursday, March 29th, 2018

Speculation Tax not workable

Linda Givetash
Mortgage Broker News

When Rick Smith’s son decided to move from Yukon to Victoria for college he bought him a condominium to avoid high rents, but a new provincial tax means the property may turn out to be more of a financial burden than anticipated.

“Our contribution to his future is to put a roof over his head during his studies,” Smith said Wednesday. “This bloody tax is pushing us against the wall.”

Finance Minister Carole James released details of what the government is calling a speculation tax on Monday that predominantly affects properties owned by non-B.C. residents.

James said the tax is intended to improve housing affordability in areas where the need is most acute, while exempting rural cabins and vacation homes.

Areas covered by the tax include Metro Vancouver, Kelowna, West Kelowna, Nanaimo-Lantzville, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Mission and the Capital Regional District around Victoria on southern Vancouver Island, excluding the Gulf Islands and Juan de Fuca.

Canadians living outside B.C. who own a property in these areas will be subject to a one per cent tax based on the assessed value, while foreign owners will pay two per cent. Owners of properties living outside the province can avoid the tax by renting them out.

Smith bought the condo last October with the intention that his son Kristian would live there for at least five years while studying at Camosun College.

He said many northern students pursue studies in other provinces, and his son preferred the bachelor of business administration program in B.C.

But the one per cent tax will add about $400 per month to the $2,300 he is already spending on the mortgage and condo fees.

“That is a real stretch for us,” he said.

Smith said they’ll likely have to sell, but that will be a financial hit too because of the transfer tax and penalties for breaking his fixed mortgage agreement.

Selling would also put his son back into the expensive and competitive rental market.

Smith said he’s already suggested his son consider switching to another college in a more affordable city such as Calgary, Edmonton or Winnipeg.

“I think his preference, unless he can’t afford it, is to stay in B.C. ? He’s really keen on putting his roots down there,” he said, adding it’s ironic if the tax intended to improve affordability for young professionals is the trigger that forces his son to leave.

The Smiths aren’t alone in grappling with the implications of the tax.

Bryant Stooks and his family say they will likely have to give up the beloved summer home on Vancouver Island they’ve had for more than two decades.

Stooks is retired and lives full time in Phoenix, Ariz., but spends four to five months at his North Saanich home every year. He bought the property not as a financial investment but because while visiting the area on vacation with his wife, “we just fell in love with it.”

He said communities stand to lose if people like himself, who couldn’t afford a tax hike, have to leave.

“We spend money on food, restaurants, entertainment, we bring up friends. There is a large contribution to the Canadian economy,” he said.

They participate in the local community, too, supporting fundraisers for the local hospital and community centre.

A tax of two per cent on the house’s assessed value could cost Stooks up to $60,000 annually, he said, meaning he’d have no choice but to sell.

“Although I love it, it’s my second home, I just can’t afford to pay that every year.”

Stooks said his situation isn’t unique and he knows of a number of families in the Phoenix area that live part time in B.C. to escape the summer heat _ the opposite of Canadian snowbirds.

While he said it’s understandable the government is trying to curb speculation to cool the soaring housing market, long-term residents shouldn’t be penalized.

Stooks isn’t putting the house on the market yet, holding out hope that the government may reconsider.

Selling it could pose a challenge as well, he said, since buyers from outside B.C. could also be subject to the tax.

Bill Veenof, chairman of the Regional District of Nanaimo, said he raised concerns with the finance minister about the effect the tax could have on property values for local owners and on future development.

“It creates a taxation-based, unlevel playing field,” he said about the tax only applying to select areas.

“Developers look to many funding sources, and one of those sources is money from away. If that dries up, that money will likely go to our neighbouring regional districts and we’ll see a downturn of development opportunities.”

Veenof said he was pleased the government heard his concerns and left the regional district out of the tax, but added with Nanaimo and Lantzville are subject to the tax, debate will continue.

“We’ll have to see how it works out, but it’s potentially challenging,” he said.

Copyright © 2018 Key Media

Canopy 302 townhomes by Tynehead Park at 9718 161A Street Surrey by StreetSide Developments

Thursday, March 29th, 2018

Canopy designed to appeal to different demographics

Mary Frances Hill
The Province


What: 302 townhomes bordered on two sides by Tynehead Park

Where: 9718 161A Street, Surrey

Residence sizes and prices: two, three and four bedrooms, ranging from 1,250 to 1,800 square feet; starting at around $500,000 (for two-bedrooms, now sold out). Remaining homes priced from $600,000s

Developer and builder: StreetSide Developments (a division of Qualico)

Sales centre address: 61 — 9718 161A Street, Surrey

Sales centre hours: noon — 5 p.m., Sat — Thurs

In her work at Canopy, StreetSide Developments’ townhome community in Surrey, designer Theresa Yoon found a way to tap into the needs and tastes of two distinct groups of homebuyers.
The 302-unit project, which will border the 260-hectare Tynehead Park, has been attracting the interest of both young families entering the real estate market and seasoned downsizers.

So Yoon and StreetSide made sure the colour palette, size, features and materials in the homes would appeal to each group.
First-time homebuyers will find in the dwellings “a modern, neutral colour palette that will work with new or existing furnishings, a layout that is suitable for a young couple or young couple with kids.”

The three- and four-bedroom townhomes would allow them to work from home, converting an additional bedroom or a ground-level room to an office, adds Yoon, principal of ID Design.

At the same time, downsizers will be sure to be impressed with the spaciousness of the homes. “The larger square footage does not make the transition from a larger single-family home or townhome seem so foreign. Appliances are practical in terms of size, they’re reputable brands, and [there is] ample storage.”
The two groups have at least one thing in common: no one likes to spend hours cleaning and scrubbing floors and countertops. To that end, Yoon says she and StreetSide chose wood laminate finishes and quartz countertops for the homes because the materials are as durable as they are attractive.

“These days, there are a multitude of amazing products that replicate the look of real wood with the benefits of being more durable, easier to clean and more practical.
“The engineered stone has amazing properties such as heat and stain resistance. Also, patterns and colours can be very subtle, unlike granite in the past, which was predominately used in multi-family homes.”

Show suite visitors might notice the ways in which linear patterns lend the open-concept space an elegant touch. The cushioned fabric of the seats in the dining room is similar in style to a headboard that stretches from wall to wall in a main bedroom, for instance. Against the neutral and elegant lines, shots of bright teal in accessories throughout the suites offset the look with a touch of informality.

“[With] the layout of the main floor being linear and open, we incorporated a lot of custom millwork, such as the dining banquette bench with a mirror above, and a sectional sofa with a media wall unit, to accentuate the open concept,” Yoon says.

“The space feels large and the furniture plan allows for a nice flow and transition between the kitchen, dining and living space.”

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.

B.C. and Vancouver home taxes: Some in the city will pay twice

Thursday, March 29th, 2018

Unclear how many hit by overlap between city?s empty homes levy and B.C.?s speculation tax

Joanne Lee-Young
The Province

Some homeowners in the City of Vancouver will end up paying two taxes aimed at discouraging the use of homes as investments rather than places to live.

It’s not clear yet how many will be on the hook for both the city’s empty homes tax of one per cent of a home’s assessed value and the province’s speculation tax, which starts at 0.5 per cent of assessed value, minus $2,000.

For owners of an empty or lightly used $800,000 Vancouver condo, for example, it’ll mean paying $8,000 for the empty homes tax and another $2,000 for the speculation tax.

In early March, the City of Vancouver said there were 8, 481 residential properties that were unoccupied or under-utilized for more than 180 days in 2017, but that included 2,132 properties for which a status had not yet been declared. It also included two categories of unoccupied or under-utilized properties that will qualify for an exemption from the empty homes tax because the homes were being renovated, redeveloped or transferred, or the owner was in a hospital or care facility.

At the time, the city said it would, by mid-March, issue a bill for the empty homes tax to declared and deemed vacant properties with payments due April 16.

It anticipates making public the number of owners who have to pay the empty homes tax in late April, declining to give even a ballpark figure of the number of households it has presumably invoiced by now or an estimate of the dollar amount the tax will raise.

The province’s definition of a long-term rental property that is exempt from the speculation tax is one rented for at least six months out of the calendar year in increments of at least 30 days. The city’s definition is similar at 180 days.

The city’s empty homes tax is designed to encourage owners to rent out empty or lightly-used units. The speculation tax does that too, but it also has a sliding scale of higher taxes aimed at stemming offshore capital from foreign investors and so-called satellite families who want to own empty or lightly used properties.

Asked to comment on the overlap of these two taxes for some homeowners in Vancouver, the B.C. Ministry of Finance said its “speculation tax is broader than the City of Vancouver’s empty home tax in targeting foreign and domestic speculators.” 

The B.C. speculation tax will be phased starting in 2018.

The 0.5 per cent speculation tax will apply if the owner lives in B.C., is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, and is not part of a so-called satellite family — one that earns a high worldwide income, but pays little or no income tax in B.C.

For owners who are Canadian citizens and permanent residents who do not live in B.C., the tax is one per cent of assessed value, minus the credit — or $6,000 for an $800,000 Vancouver condo‚ 

For owners who are foreign investors or part of satellite families, the tax is two per cent of assessed value, minus the credit — or $14,000 for the $800,000 condo.

“Many speculators might simply eat that cost and not list or rent their units,” said Josh Gordon, public policy professor at Simon Fraser University’s School of Public Policy.

“We need to remember that we are in the midst of a housing crisis with very low vacancy rates and there are a lot of people in precarious or uncomfortable situations. Attempts to free up housing stock in many of the communities, especially from people who are parking wealth in speculative assets, should be welcomed.”

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.

BC Taxes

Wednesday, March 28th, 2018


The Buyer is and will be, on the Completion Date, a “foreign entity” or a “taxable trustee” as defined in the British Columbia Property Transfer Tax Act (as amended) (collectively, the “Foreign Entity”). The Buyer is aware that the Property Transfer Tax Act, as amended, imposes an additional Property Transfer Tax of 20% of the fair market value of any residential property being purchased by a Foreign Entity.


PTT – Property Transfer Tax Explanation;


The property transfer tax continues to be a cash cow for the province. The province is expected to collect $2.23 billion this year from the tax after bringing in $1.6 billion last year. The province is also increasing the tax on properties over $3 million from three per cent to five per cent, see new calculations below;


PTT- Calculations; The Buyer will thus be required to pay Property Transfer Tax equal to the total of:


  1. 1% of the Purchase Price on the first $200,000
  2. 2% of the Purchase Price that exceeds $200,000 does not exceed $2,000,000
  3. 3% of the Purchase Price that exceeds $2,000,000 but does not exceed $3,000,000
  4. 5% of the Purchase Price that exceeds $3,000,000; plus


The Buyer has obtained or will obtain independent legal advice with respect to the payment of Property Transfer Tax.

Speculation Tax – A new tax on Foreign and Domestic speculators that will apply in Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Capitol and Nanaimo Regional Districts and Municipality of Kelowna and West Kelowna

Starting this year 2018 (date to be announced) the provincial government will apply a 0.5 per cent ($500/$100K of property value) speculation tax of assessed value on homes owned by people who don’t pay taxes in British Columbia. The tax goes up to 2 per cent in 2019 ($2,000/$100K of property value) and will stay at that rate going forward. It is expected to bring in $87 million this year. The tax will target foreign and domestic speculators who don’t pay taxes in BC including those who leave their units sitting vacant. This will include satellite families.


Foreign Buyers Tax going up to 20% for all Properties effective Feb 21, 2018

Starting Wednesday Feb 21, 2018, the foreign home buyers tax is going up from 15 per cent to 20 per cent. Not only will the tax be applied to homes in Metro Vancouver, but will now apply in the Capital Regional District, the Fraser Valley, the Central Okanagan and the Nanaimo Regional District.

Assignments, Pre- Sales, Numbered Companies owning homes – Closing housing loopholes

The NDP was highly critical in opposition of the loopholes that were being exploited in the overheated housing market. Now in government, the NDP will try to close some of the loopholes by creating a database on pre-sale condo assignments, stopping numbered companies from owning homes and deal with mega-homes built on Agriculture Land Reserve Land.

City of Vancouver “Vacancy Tax”


Every owner of residential property in Vancouver is required to submit a property status declaration each year to determine if their property is subject to the Empty Homes Tax. Failure to declare by the deadline will result in your property being deemed vacant and subject to a tax of 1% of its assessed taxable value and a $250 penalty. To address Vancouver’s housing crisis, The City of Vancouver has implemented an annual tax on empty or under-utilized residential properties called the Empty Homes Tax. Every owner of residential property in Vancouver is required to submit a property status declaration each year to determine if their property is subject to the tax. Properties deemed empty will be subject to a tax of 1% of the property’s assessed taxable value. Most homes will not be subject to the tax, as it does not apply to principal residences or homes rented for at least six months of the year; how ever all homeowners are required to submit a declaration. The Empty Homes Tax is also known as the Vacancy Tax and is imposed under the Vacancy Tax Bylaw No. 11674.


New School Tax on properties worth $3M or more

There is an additional school tax on all BC homes valued at over $3-million. The province will level a tax of 0.2 per cent on the assessed value of a home that exceeds $3-million ($6K for $3M), but doesn’t exceed $4 million. A tax rate of 0.4 per cent will also apply to the portion of a residential property’s assessed value over $4-million. This measure is projected to bring in revenues of $250-million over the next three fiscal years.

Article Link;

Budget Link;

BCREA calls for more clarity on speculation tax

Wednesday, March 28th, 2018

Steve Randall
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

The proposed British Columbia speculation tax has been welcomed by the province’s real estate board but it wants more questions answered.

The BC finance minister gave more details of the scope of the tax Monday including defining the areas that would be included, and the exemptions that would apply.

The government says that less than 1% of British Columbians will pay the tax, which is aimed at speculative investors.

But the BC Real Estate Board says that it looks forward to more opportunities to limit the impact on homeowners.

“For example, homeowners in the City of Vancouver could potentially be charged twice for leaving their homes vacant: once by the city and once by the province. Communities could face economic problems, due to fewer visitors, less consumer spending and lower housing prices,” it said in a statement.

BCREA also raises the question of owners of development properties who may need to pass on additional costs to buyers, wherever they pay tax.

It also says that incentives should be offered for owners of vacant homes to add them to the rental market, rather than taxing them.

“BCREA urges the BC Government to undertake a formal, public consultation on the proposed speculation tax, to ensure the best input and insights are available, and to assure those affected that this measure is being carefully considered from all angles,” the statement released Tuesday concludes.

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd

B.C. clarifies speculation tax provisions

Wednesday, March 28th, 2018

Paolo Taruc
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

British Columbia’s speculation tax will not apply to residents with second homes outside of high-cost, designated urban areas, as well as many who own vacation properties, the province’s government has clarified. B.C. Minister of Finance Carole James said Monday the levy focuses on people who are treating our housing market like a stock market.

“So people in smaller communities, those with cottages at the lake or on the islands, will not pay this tax. People with second homes outside of high-cost, designated urban areas will not pay the tax. We are going after speculators who are clearly taking advantage of the market, leaving homes vacant and driving up prices,” James said in a statement.

The speculation tax will apply to:

  • Metro Vancouver
  • The Capital Regional District (excluding the Gulf Islands and Juan de Fuca)
  • Kelowna and West Kelowna
  • Nanaimo-Lantzville
  • Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Mission

According to figures released by the government, 99% of British Columbia residents will not pay the tax. The levy was announced in the 2018 budget. All properties subject to the tax this year will be charged a 0.5% rate based on their respective values. From 2019 onward, the rate will be based on status of residence:

  • 2% for foreign investors and satellite families
  • 1% for Canadian citizens and permanent residents who do not live in British Columbia
  • 0.5% for British Columbians who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents (and not members of a satellite family)

There will also be exemptions for homeowners facing special circumstances, such as those undergoing long-term medical care in medical facilities or those who are temporarily away for work purposes. British Columbians with vacant second homes valued up to $400,000 will also be eligible for a non-refundable tax $2,000 credit that is immediately applied against the speculation tax.

“For too long, this housing crisis was allowed to escalate, and it has hurt working families, renters, students, seniors and others around the province. With this new tax, we’re targeting speculation in the housing market and freeing up vacant housing to be homes for British Columbians,” James said.

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd

Repair claims require strict oversight

Wednesday, March 28th, 2018

Don?t delay on maintenance

Tony Gioventu
Times Colonist

Dear Tony: I am a council member of a new highrise building in Metro Vancouver that was completed in 2017. In the fall, several owners in the penthouse units complained about water stains on their ceilings that have developed since they have moved in. The developer was contacted and, as far as we know, someone was sent to look at the roofing system and reported back that there was an overflowing drain. During recent rainfall, a number of new leaks have popped up and there is more evidence of water. The council president and property manager were satisfied with contacting the developer, but the majority of council are concerned we are not approaching this correctly.

Clearly it is a roofing and drainage problem and there might be greater problems than we realize. We still do not know if the original call out was a repair or what happened. What is our duty as a strata council?

Gord A.

Dear Gord:

The regulation of warranties in British Columbia falls under the Homeowner Protection Act, administered under the umbrella of B.C. Housing, Licensing and Consumer Services Branch. The owner-developer at the time the strata corporation is registered and occupied, must provide the owners with the warranty documents for their strata lots and the strata corporation with the warranty documents along with a maintenance manual that includes the names of all contractors and products and maintenance obligations. The warranty on the common property of the corporation begins on the earliest date of occupancy on completed sale of a strata lot.

It is important to document that date for future reference. Whenever the strata corporation has a defect that requires a claim, you must respond as soon as possible and mitigate damages. If a claim is filed, the warranty provider must to respond to the claim. They might require the owner developer execute the repairs or they might hire a separate contractor to perform the repairs. If you do not file a claim with the warranty provider, they have no record of the problem and a future problem on the same issue or relating to the defect might be frustrated by unreported failures and claims. For every claim, review the warranty and identify the method how a claim has to be filed. In most policies, the claim has to be in writing and filed to a prescribed address or contact.

You may still contact the developer; however, always copy the warranty provider. If the owner- developer or the warranty provider have conducted any repairs, they must provide the strata corporation with a written report on the repairs that were conducted. This will form part of your warranty records.

It is critical your strata council closely monitor and document all warranty claims and repairs. The warranty for your building has a value of $2.5 million and if properly administered will ensure your owners are not paying for needless repairs and you are properly managing your assets. A detailed independent warranty review at least a year before the five-year building envelope and 10 -year structural coverage is well worth the investment.

Both the strata council and the property manager have a fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interest of the strata corporation. If you willfully fail to follow the requirements set out in the warranty documents and miss deadlines or fail to file claims, owners in your strata have reasonable grounds to sue council members in the event of a loss. As there are no limits to the amount of claims, this could be a claim filed in the Civil Resolution Tribunal.

The obligations for council are simple. Gather all warranty documents. Maintain copies of all records and communications. File and copy all claims for building defects with the owner-developer and warranty provider, and document all repairs following a warranty claim.

Glacier Community Media © Copyright 2013-2018

Speculation Tax: Clarity Appreciated; More Needed

Tuesday, March 27th, 2018


The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) was pleased to see more details of the proposed speculation tax. Refinement of the areas of the province where the tax applies and the introduction of different rates for different owners indicate a more strategic approach, and provide greater certainty.

We look forward to more answers as the speculation tax takes shape, and more opportunities to minimize its negative impact in all affected areas for all homeowners who pay income tax in Canada. For example, homeowners in the City of Vancouver could potentially be charged twice for leaving their homes vacant: once by the city and once by the province. Communities could face economic problems, due to fewer visitors, less consumer spending and lower housing prices.

Also, development properties are often bought years before they are developed, and the proposed tax would add costs that would be passed on to consumers, regardless of where they pay tax.

Finally, perhaps consideration should be given to offering incentives for homeowners to rent their properties, rather than a tax penalty.

BCREA urges the BC Government to undertake a formal, public consultation on the proposed speculation tax, to ensure the best input and insights are available, and to assure those affected that this measure is being carefully considered from all angles.

Copyright ©2018 BCREA