BC to end strata rental prohibitions in proposed new housing rules

Nov 21 2022, 6:46 pm

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 stratas 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.

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