Archive for March, 2019

Toronto real estate ripe for laundering money

Sunday, March 31st, 2019

Federal government to look into money laundering in real estate

Neil Sharma
Mortgage Broker News

In light of renewed concerns about Canadian real estate being used to launder money, the federal government has pledged to take action.

“This issue was identified as a real priority—it has become a priority for my government,” Bill Blair, Canada’s federal minister for organized crime reduction, told Bloomberg. “We recognize and acknowledge the impact that this criminal activity—money laundering—has had on British Columbia, on the affordability of housing, and on the integrity of our financial institutions.”

Last week, a study by Transparency International Canada, Canadians for Tax Fairness and Publish What You Pay Canada revealed that, since 2008, $28.4 billion worth of housing in Toronto alone was purchased anonymously, $9.8b of which in cash. The study drew upon 1.4 million homes to reach its conclusion.

“Canada’s lack of beneficial ownership transparency makes our entire country an attractive destination for money laundering,” read the report.

Erica Mary Smith, broker of record and co-founder of Stomp Realty, says Toronto real estate provides an ideal scenario for money launderers.

“Million dollar condos sell every day and if people are laundering money, all they have to do is find a multiple offer scenario,” she said. “A bully offer will come in but everyone is none the wiser because there are eight offers on the property and they just think the buyer really wants the property. The higher the offer, the more money they clean.”

Smith isn’t surprised by the scale of untraceable money permeation in the city’s market. She first noticed the phenomenon about a decade ago when she worked in-house for a builder.

“It was around 2008 or 2009 that it started to take off,” she said. “We would have foreign buyers all the time who would try to buy under a different name. You’d never meet them. Sometimes the money would just come through and we’d have the feeling that it isn’t being done the proper way, but it’s hard to prove. They try to use certain IDs or are evasive when it comes to supplying certain things. Builders went through this a long time ago with black market money coming from overseas for the purpose of being cleaned through properties. That’s why RECO brought in in the forms.”

However, there’s only so much compliance measures like Receipt of Funds and Individual Identification Forms can catch. Smith says that Bank of Montreal recently revealed to her that it’s grappling with a surge in fake documentation.

“BMO told us the problem they’re facing now is fake preapproval letters,” she said. “People pretend they have the money to get the preapproval, but they don’t and they flip the condo prior to closing, so they never really have to close the mortgage. They flip and assign.”

In the broker channel, Shawn Stillman, says there are more measures in place to parry suspicious activity, but, like Smith, he noted A lenders are more susceptible fraudulent activity.

 “Most of our lenders don’t allow us to do mortgages through corporate entities and it has to be held in a personal name, so for the most part we don’t run into issues with corporations,” said the principal broker of Mortgage Outlet. “The major banks, through their branch network, will do mortgages in corporate names and they probably see a lot more instances of suspicious activity than we do in the broker channel.”

Copyright © 2019 Key Media

Davie and Nicola a 21 storey highrise with 128 homes at 1485 Davie Street by Vivagrand Developments

Thursday, March 28th, 2019

Davie and Nicola takes a prime West End location

Michael Bernard
The Province

Davie and Nicola

What: A total of 128 one-to-three-bedroom units in a 21-storey highrise in the West End; from $789,900

Where: 1485 Davie St., Vancouver

Developer: Vivagrand Developments

Sales Centre: 1676 Robson St.

Hours:  By private appointment

Telephone: 778-737-8666

The West End, with its proximity to English Bay, Stanley Park and the city’s financial and entertainment district, has been viewed by many as a neighbourhood offering the best of all worlds.

At the same time, the opportunities for buyers have been limited, especially in the last few years, notes Jonathan Cheung, senior project manager at Rennie Marketing Systems. That makes a new project being marketed by Rennie, a 128-unit tower called Davie and Nicola, especially attractive to both professionals and downsizers looking to locate themselves within reach of everything at a reasonable price.

“For the last year, there really has been nothing new for sale,” he said. “The last project was at Alberni on Robson and it was selling at the $3,000-a-square-foot-plus range. “We have been hovering around the $2,000-square-foot range.”

Cheung said the pull of those prices is readily evident with the number of people who have been registering. People are drawn to its excellent location and views of the water and mountains and the fact that the project is situated in a pocket that is a bit removed from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the West End.

About 30 per cent of the 128 homes will be in the one-bedroom and one-bedroom-and-den category, starting at 517 square feet, while two-bedroom and two-bedroom-and-den homes account for 63 per cent of the total, with space starting at 683 square feet. The remainder are the three-bedroom homes and the three townhouses.

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Inside, Vivagrand Developments has paid homage to the tradition of luxury and quality in the West End, Cheung said. The homes are equipped with top-end appliances by Wolf and Sub-Zero that are complemented by cabinetry by Binova, a well-respected Italian manufacturer. The look is rounded out by quartz countertops with waterfall edges and marble backsplashes.

Kitchens will come with a Kohler stainless steel under-mount single sink and Kallista single-control pull-down faucet, and recessed pot lights and LED under-cabinet accent strip lighting.

Buyers will have a choice of light or dark designs provided by Cristina Oberti Interior Design. There will be engineered hardwood flooring throughout with a ceiling height of eight-foot, six-inches in the main living area. Over-height solid core doors are seven feet high for added sound proofing.

Bathrooms will be encased in marble with oversized tiles on the floor and walls and with an oversized shower in a frameless glass enclosure with marble mosaic-tiled base and linear drain. Plumbing fixtures, including the hand shower and ceiling mount head shower, are by Kohler in a chrome finish and the showers include a custom niche.

Building amenities will include a gym with cardio equipment, and a social gathering area, landscaped and illuminated communal patio with barbecue, seating and dining areas and a hotel-inspired grand entry lobby and library lounge, and full concierge service.

© 2019 Postmedia Network Inc.

GTA new single-family home sales jumped 147% in February

Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

There was a jump for sales of newly-built single-family homes in the GTA in February

Steve Randall

There was a jump for sales of newly-built single-family homes in the GTA in February.

The Building and Land Development Association (BILD) says that there was a 147% year-over-year increase in sales to 639, making the highest number of single-family homes sold in the region since April 2017. However, the total was 50% below the 10-year average.

The report, using data from the Altus Group, also shows that sales of new condominium apartments in low, medium, and high-rise buildings, stacked townhouses, and loft units, totaled 772 units, down 58% from February 2018 and 51% below the ten-year average.

“Softer new condominium apartment sales in February can, at least in part, be attributed to the rapid increase in prices in the past two years, which has priced many would-be buyers out of the market,” said Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s Executive Vice President, Data Solutions. “The good news is that, although still relatively low in historical terms, there is now more inventory available to purchase and this is curbing the upward pressure on prices.”

Prices moderated

Benchmark prices showed slight moderation from the previous month, while year-over-year the benchmark for new single-family homes was $1,122,682, down 8%, and the benchmark price of new condominium apartments was $792,709, up 8.6% over the last 12 months.

Supply issues remain and BILD is calling for municipal and provincial governments to tackle the issues that are restricting home building in the GTA.

While optimistic, the association also remains concerned about the impact of the mortgage stress test.

“We are hopeful that the measures introduced last week in the federal budget will enable more first-time home buyers to enter the market and purchase the type of home they want,” said President & CEO David Wilkes. “However, these measures are only the first step and BILD will continue to advocate for a review of the mortgage stress test so more first-time home buyers can

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Legal Cannabis is Smoking Up Neighbourhoods in Toronto & Vancouver

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

Schools, shopping, transportation, arts and recreations still matter most to home buyers

Kara Kuryllowicz

So far, the fact cannabis is now legal Canada-wide has had little, if any impact, on Toronto and Vancouver’s residential real estate, but if it reduces crime rates, which is a possibility, it may eventually boost demand and value in certain neighbourhoods.

“People naturally want to live in neighbourhoods with low crime rates, so if there is any impact, the effect on Toronto’s residential real estate will be at best nominal and most likely positive,” says Christopher Alexander, Executive Vice President and Regional Director, RE/MAX of Ontario-Atlantic Canada, Mississauga, Ont. Alexander. “However, I have no doubt proximity to good schools, convenient shopping, transportation, arts and recreation will continue to have the greatest impact on supply and demand, and subsequently prices.”

As a result of the new Cannabis Act, which took effect on October 17, 2018, adult Canadians can legally smoke/vape, share, grow and sell the herb, with specific provincial and territorial restrictions and conditions.  In June 2018, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted: “It’s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana – and for criminals to reap the profits.” He has also said legalization helps protect communities from organized criminal involvement in the marijuana trade.

When, and if, legal access to the herb eliminates the black market and reduces associated crime, neighborhoods could become more appealing. Notably, the study Crime and the Legalization of Recreational Marijuana, published in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, found the staggered legalization of recreational marijuana in the adjacent states of Washington (end of 2012) and Oregon (end of 2014) reduced rapes and property crimes on the Washington side of the border relative to the pre-legalization years and relative to Oregon. While it also increased marijuana consumption, it also reduced the consumption of other drugs and alcohol.

Online purchases are quick and easy for anyone aged 19 and up in B.C. and Ontario, but if they want expert advice and a more tangible experience, there are still relatively few legal pot shops in either city.  Vancouver currently has three and Toronto’s first licensed cannabis retailer is set to open on trendy Queen St. West in April.

“People still want to buy homes in Vancouver, so bottom line, legal cannabis will have zero impact,” says Elton Ash, Regional Executive Vice President, RE/MAX of Western Canada, office is based in Kelowna, B.C. “Buyers from mainland China, who drive a significant amount of Vancouver’s residential transactions, don’t like the cannabis legalization at all, but it won’t keep them from investing in Canada.”

Practically speaking, the B-20 stress test introduced by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, Canada’s main financial regulator, will affect prospective buyers far more than where cannabis is bought and sold, smoked or vaped.Since January 2018, even borrowers who have a down payment of 20% or more must pass the stress test to prove they can handle interest rates that are substantially higher than their contract rate.

“The B-20 stress test is affecting the residential real estate market far more than the Cannabis Act ever could,” says Ash.

Likewise, the foreign buyers’ tax that’s applicable in certain B.C. regions and in Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe Area is a consideration for investors with an interest in Vancouver and Greater Toronto Area’s residential real estate markets. In the Greater Golden Horseshoe Area, the 15% Non-Resident Speculation Tax applies to the purchase or acquisition of an interest in a residential property, while in B.C., a hefty 20% additional property transfer tax is levied.

To date, it’s clear the tangible, measurable and unavoidable costs, such as the foreign buyer and other taxes, associated with residential real estate purchases will affect buyers’ decisions far more than the still very new Cannabis Act.

© 2019 REW. A Division of Glacier Media

What becomes of B-20 if interest rates fall?

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

Brokers are wondering if the stress test will also be repealed

Mortgage Broker News

With talk of the Bank of Canada not raising but lowering interest rates, brokers are wondering if the stress test will also be repealed.

“While it’s true that rates have been at historical lows since the end of the recession to help keep housing demand and monthly payments relatively cheap, the government has clearly been preparing us for rate increases with the B-20 stress test,” said Laura Martin, COO of Matrix Mortgage Global and director of Private Lending Hub. “The stress test has done its job.”

Earlier this month, Gluskin Sheff + Associates’ chief economist and strategist expressed his belief that the Bank of Canada would lower interest rates because of languid economic activity.

“We just came off two straight quarters of negative growth in real final demand,” David Rosenberg told BNN Bloomberg. “So, if we’re not in a recession yet, we’re just basically one notch away.

“What’s the Bank of Canada supposed to do in that environment? You first move away from your tightening bias to a neutral bias, which they’ve done. Now, they’re talking, at the margin, slight more dovishly, and the next move for an incremental central bank would be to start cutting interest rates.”

Benjamin Tal, CIBC’s deputy chief economist, has already stated that he believes a Canadian recession by next year is imminent, and Davelle Morrison, a Bosley Real Estate broker, wonders if renewed activity in the nation’s housing market might be just what the national economy needs.

“If Tal is predicting a recession in 2020, and the U.S. is already seeing signs of recession, chances are it’s coming, which means rates aren’t going up, they’re coming down,” she said. “The whole reason the stress test was brought in was because rates were going up and they wanted to protect consumers to make sure they could still afford their mortgages in a rising rate environment.”

She added that, while rates may go down, prices will keep rising.

“That’s exactly why Canadians need help purchasing real estate,” continued Morrison. “Prices are to go get higher no matter what, and that’s why I feel that we need to get more people involved.”

Copyright © 2019 Key Media

High-rise commercial towers to be erected in Toronto, Vancouver

Monday, March 25th, 2019

Major high-rise office projects for tech tenants in Vancouver

Ephraim Vecina
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Major high-rise office projects accommodating more tech tenants and greater commercial investment volume are scheduled to commence soon in Toronto and Vancouver.

Leading developers Allied Properties REIT and Westbank have announced that the construction of the office towers – which are predicted to “reshape” these markets’ downtown areas – will pave the way for greater tech industry presence in Canada’s largest markets.

Tech companies have been cited by observers like Marcus & Millichap as a major pillar of stability form the office property sector.

In Toronto, the 264-metre, 1.7-million-square-foot Union Centre building will be built near Union Station.

“[Union Centre] is a sign of what Toronto is becoming,” Westbank chief executive Ian Gillespie told The Globe and Mail. “The city isn’t just about finance any more. It’s about everything: tech, culture and a variety of other pursuits.”

In Vancouver, Allied Properties REIT and Westbank will be erecting a 500,000 sq. ft. tower beside BC Place. This project is expected to become one of the city’s largest office buildings so far.

Tech’s influence in Canadian commercial real estate has been predicted to grow even stronger in the near future, with major players like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon likely spending billions in office expansions and hire tens of thousands of new workers over the next few years.

Copyright © 2019 Key Media Pty Ltd

Chinese buyers will continue to hunger for Canadian property

Monday, March 25th, 2019

Chinese buyers switching focus on other Canadian Cities

Ephraim Vecina
Mortgage Broker News

The Chinese will still actively seek out Canadian real estate, but international property portal has predicted that growth in demand will be muted compared to the fevered pace of the previous years.

In 2018, Chinese nationals expressed approximately US$1.45-billion in purchase intentions on Canadian properties.

However, with the market-cooling effects of foreigner-targeted regulations taking root in Toronto and Vancouver for most of the year, the volume of Chinese inquiries in Montreal, Calgary, and Halifax has significantly escalated.

“With steep foreign buyer taxes and high prices in Vancouver and Toronto, we have seen an increasing number of Chinese buyers shift to other cities in Canada,” CEO Carrie Law told The Globe and Mail.

Law noted that Chinese demand for Vancouver properties shrunk by 2.8% annually in 2018, and Toronto had an even worse 10.3% shrinkage during the same time frame.

In comparison, Chinese searches for Montreal homes went up by 35.7% from 2017 to 2018. Calgary enjoyed a much larger 234.4% increase, and Halifax was the clear winner with 394% growth.

“Until 2017, only a relative handful of buyers from mainland China were aware of Calgary and Halifax and many fewer purchased property in them.”

Nationally, Chinese intentions on Canadian homes will grow by about 10% year-over-year in 2019, a far cry from the increases during the era before the imposition of B-20 and foreign home-buyer taxes (76.1% annually in 2015 and 43.4% in 2016).

The detention of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou – arrested at Vancouver International Airport back in December, and raising tensions between Ottawa and Beijing – has had no perceptible impact on Chinese buyers’ and investors’ interest in Canadian property, stated.

Copyright © 2019 Key Media

Duet 707 Como Lake Avenue Coquitlam 72 homes in a 6 storey building plus townhouses by Adera

Saturday, March 23rd, 2019

Style and sustainability key to the appeal of Adera?s Duet

Simon Briault
The Vancouver Sun


Project location: 707 Como Lake Avenue, Coquitlam

Project size: 72 homes with one to three bedrooms; 479 —1,050 square feet; prices starting at $394,900

Developer: Adera

Architect: Integra Architecture Inc.

Interior designer: Cynthia Florano Designs

Sales centre: #106 – 552 Clark Road Coquitlam

Sales centre hours: noon — 5 p.m., daily

Sales phone: 604-937-9688


Adera has been in operation for 50 years, and the company is celebrating the milestone with the launch of Duet, a 72-home project that will be noteworthy for sustainability in multi-family residential living.

Eric Andreasen, Adera’s vicepresident of marketing and sales, says the quality of the building is set to be a big selling point.

“We’ve always been a leader in sustainability and we’ve only built in wood in 50 years,” he said. “We’re taking that concept to the next level with ‘SmartWood’, which will allow us to beat code when it comes to sustainability. Financially, it’s cheaper to operate on a monthly basis and it’s also helping the planet.”

“Duet will also incorporate what we’ve trademarked as QuietHome,” Andreasen added. “This is a propriety system of floor design and dividing walls that means our buildings perform better than the competition when it comes to the acoustics. Sound transmission is significantly reduced.”

The sales centre for Duet in Burquitlam Plaza at 552 Clarke Road features a demonstration of Adera’s noise-reducing technology. Potential buyers can compare noise levels in specially constructed rooms built either to standard code or using QuietHome.

Duet also features cross-laminated timber — or CLT — in the floors and elevator shafts of the building. A carbon-sequestering material that uses wood from sustainably managed forests, CLT performs as well if not better than concrete in numerous ways, according to Andreasen. Adera has installed an example at the Duet sales centre so that visitors will be able to experience it for themselves.

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Andreasen said the location of the six-storey residential building less than three blocks from the Burquitlam SkyTrain station on the boundary of Burnaby and West Coquitlam is also likely to prove popular with a wide range of buyers. In its neighbourhood plan for the area, the City of Coquitlam envisioned a walkable, complete and transit-oriented neighbourhood with a mix of housing types and access to shopping, jobs and amenities. Duet is part of that transformation, according to Andreasen.

“It’s a very attractive part of the greater Vancouver area right now in terms of the value it offers and the accessibility it provides to downtown,” he said. “Duet will give people an affordable place to live, but also allows them to go anywhere with the SkyTrain or West Coast Express very easily – rapid transit on your doorstep.”

“In times when people are getting a bit more discerning about where they spend their money, they want to make sure they’re buying from somebody who’s been around and has the experience they can count on,” Andreason added. “Over 50 years we’ve worked with the very best trades and consultants in the industry and we’re confident in the product that we’re going to build.”

As for the homes themselves, kitchens will feature quartz slab countertops with porcelain tile backsplashes and single-handle faucets with pull-down sprays in matte black finishes. The appliance packages are a combination of KitchenAid and Fisher & Paykel.

Homes at Duet come in two colour schemes, but there’s plenty of opportunity to customize. Adera’s I.D. By Me program allows buyers to personalize kitchens, bathrooms and living areas according to their liking. Options under the program include custom millwork, upgrades to the kitchen appliances, swapping out the tub for a shower with pivoting glass door and adding space-saving custom closet organizers.

Duet will include a common kitchen and lounge, secure bike lockers, a storage locker for every home and electric vehicle-charging stalls. The interior designer for the project is Cynthia Florano Designs and the building was designed by Integra Architecture Inc.

 “One of our architectural influences has always been West Coast modern design and we’ve also leaned on natural materials like cedar,” Andreasen said. “You’ll see from the renderings that Duet has a feature corner with extensive use of natural materials that makes the building look really quite impressive.”

Homes at Duet have one to three bedrooms, range in size between 479 and 1,050 square feet and prices start at $394,900. Andreasen said he expects buyers from a wide range of demographics.

“A lot of people grew up in Burnaby and West Coquitlam and have maybe since been living in Yaletown or Kitsilano,” he said. “Many we’ve spoken to are actually coming back to the area or still have family there. Our demographic is going to be people who work downtown and need easy access to it but also want to be able to afford a home in this marketplace where it’s very expensive to own real estate.”

“We’re also seeing moms and dads who are looking at Duet on behalf of their kids, who may be students at SFU, which is very close by,” Andreasen added. “We’ve had a significant amount of interest already and there’s only 72 homes to choose from. We expect people will get in pretty quickly.”

© 2019 Postmedia Network Inc.

District of North Vancouver cancels another affordable housing project

Friday, March 22nd, 2019

City council voted down a proposal from non-profit Hollyburn Family Services Society

Brent Richter
Western Investor

District of North Vancouver municipal hall. | Cindy Goodman, North Shore News

District of North Vancouver council has spiked another affordable housing project, this time before plans for it were released to the public.

Council voted behind closed doors in January to terminate a proposal from the non-profit Hollyburn Family Services Society for a 100-unit, all-below market rental building on a piece of district-owned land on Burr Place.

“We were just poised to do the rezoning when the new council said ‘Not happening,’” said Nanette Taylor, executive director of Hollyburn Family Services. “Of course that was disappointing for us to be so close and yet so far.”

It was at the suggestion of the previous council that Hollyburn applied for provincial funding for the project, which the non-profit’s staff spent about a year and a half working on, Taylor said.

Under the funding formula mandated by BC Housing, 20 per cent of the units would be rented at a deep subsidy, reserved for people on disability or income assistance, low-income seniors and youth.

Half of the units would be rented out to households making up to $48,000 per year, costing no more than 30 per cent of their monthly income. The remaining 30 per cent of the units would have been offered at below-market rates for moderate income earning households.

“With the need out there, those continue to be a drop in the bucket,” Taylor said.

According to their last annual report, Hollyburn served 223 seniors in need of housing in 2017-2018 and 47 people experiencing family homelessness.

“I’m very disappointed in the new district council. They just don’t have the strong enough political will to truly address the affordable housing situation and homelessness,” Taylor added.

Now Hollyburn is scrambling to see if the proposal can be transplanted elsewhere.

“We’ll probably look at a different municipality. The city is much more amenable,” Taylor said

The decision follows the 5-2 vote by council last fall to reject an 80-unit below-market housing and seniors’ respite centre proposal for the parking lot of the old Delbrook Recreation Centre.

Mayor Mike Little said he could not comment on the specifics of why the Burr Place project was turned down because council has not yet released minutes from the in-camera meeting publicly. But he said his council will continue to work on affordability.

“District council is having ongoing discussions with not-for-profit service providers and possible funding partners to identify supportable locations for affordable and social housing projects in the district. It would be premature to comment on specific applications until these discussions have advanced further and council has the opportunity to receive community input through the appropriate consultation process,” he said.

Little said he campaigned not on creating affordable housing but on social housing.

“When district land is being put in the mix, I think we have a responsibility to produce housing that the market will not provide and my view is generally, we’re trying to get the most social benefit out of it that we can,” he said. “This is going to be a priority of this council but we’re going to do it with community consultation and making sure they fit.”

The district is embarking on a review of the official community plan, which should result in more affordable housing being built in the future, Little added.

North Vancouver-Lonsdale MLA Bowinn Ma said she was disappointed to learn of council’s decision.

“I’m keenly aware of the need for affordable housing – truly affordable housing – on the North Shore. My office hears from seniors that are one rent increase away from losing their homes, families that live in cars, and working professionals who are planning to move away because of housing costs here,” she said.

The province has been putting up billions of dollars for affordable housing, which Ma cautioned may not be available in the future.

“District of North Vancouver elected officials insist that affordable housing is a priority for them so that gives me some hope, but I wouldn’t be honest if I said that some of their recent decisions related to building affordable housing haven’t kept me up at night. I’m here to work with them when they’ve decided on their plan for moving forward on this file,” she said.

Copyright © Western Investor

Strata age restriction bylaws – BCREA Legally Speaking

Thursday, March 21st, 2019

Strata age restriction bylaws are alive and well.


When providing any accommodation, service or facility customarily available to the public, the provincial Human Rights Code normally prohibits one person from discriminating against another because of the other person’s age or family status, unless there is a bona fide, reasonable justification.1 But, the Strata Property Act specifically permits a strata corporation to pass an age restriction bylaw.2 A strata corporation may enforce its age restriction bylaw against any resident, regardless whether he or she is an owner or a tenant. If a strata corporation passes a new bylaw restricting the age of persons who may reside in a strata lot, that bylaw, once registered at the Land Title Office, will not apply to any person residing there when the bylaw was passed and who continues to reside there.3

Whether acting as listing or buyer agent, the Real Estate Council of British Columbia expects a REALTOR® to review a strata corporation’s bylaws for restrictions, including age restrictions.4 One must never assume from signage or advertising alone that a strata corporation is age restricted. Conversely, one must never assume from the presence of children that they are permitted in a complex.

The Real Estate Council also warns against the common misconception that a developer or a strata council can waive the application of an age restriction bylaw. The wording of the bylaw is critical. A strata council has no power to exempt someone from an age restriction bylaw unless the particular bylaw expressly says so. In one recent case, the strata corporation’s bylaws restricted residency to persons who had reached 55 years of age.5 When an elderly owner died, her 46-year-old daughter inherited sole ownership of that owner’s strata lot. Apparently assuming that strata council could exempt her from the age restriction bylaw, the daughter wrote to strata council asking for permission to reside in the strata lot.

Since there was nothing in the bylaw giving strata council authority to excuse the daughter from the bylaw, strata council refused her request. The daughter then moved in anyway. The strata corporation successfully sued the daughter for a declaration that she was residing in her strata lot in violation of the age restriction bylaw. The strata corporation also obtained judgment against the daughter for a total of $13,400 in fines at $200 per week for her continuing bylaw breach.

If the wording of an age restriction bylaw permits strata council to exempt someone from the bylaw, strata council is never compelled to do so. In Drummond v. Strata Plan NW2654, the strata corporation’s bylaw restricted residency to persons over 19 years old, unless strata council gave specific written approval otherwise, with each approval to be considered on its own merits.6 After occupying a strata lot with her 13-year-old son, an owner asked strata council to exempt her son from the bylaw. When strata council refused, the owner sued the strata corporation, claiming significant unfairness. The court dismissed the owner’s claim. The strata corporation was reasonably justified in enforcing its bylaw. Just because the decision seemed unfair to the owner did not mean there was significant unfairness contrary to the Strata Property Act.

What if a resident in an age restricted complex gives birth to a baby? In Hallonquist v. Strata Plan NW307, the strata corporation’s bylaw prohibited children under 19 years of age from permanently residing in the complex.7 When the owner bought his strata lot, he knew about the age restriction. Roughly a year later, the owner’s wife gave birth to a baby. In an effort to comply with the bylaw, the owner listed his unit for sale, but was unable to sell it. The strata corporation imposed fines for breach of the bylaw and threatened a court application to remove the child from the complex. Eventually, the owner complained to the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal that the strata corporation discriminated against him on the basis of family status. The Tribunal dismissed his complaint, pointing out that the Strata Property Act allows the age restriction bylaw and the strata corporation must enforce it.

  1. Human Rights Code, RSBC 1996, c. 210, ss. 8 and 41(2).
  2. Strata Property Act, SBC 1998, c. 43, s. 123(1.1).
  3. Strata Property Act, s. 123(2).
  4. Real Estate Council of British Columbia, Professional Standards Manual, online:
  5. The Owners, Strata Plan NWS3075 v. Stevens(13 July 2017), Vancouver S172207 (BCSC); 2018 BCSC 1784. See also Strata Plan NW3075 v. Stevens, 2018 BCPC 2.
  6. Drummond v. Strata Plan NW2654, 2004 BCSC 1405.
  7. Hallonquist v. Strata Plan NW307, 2014 BCHRT 117.

Copyright © British Columbia Real Estate Association