June 21, 2021

History Lesson: “That’s the end of condominiums” – but not for homeowner tax advantages

Historian Michael Kluckner provides further info on the post regarding the preservation of rental housing in Kerrisdale in 1989.  The story has, you’d expect, more history.

Here’s a fascinating clip from The Province in 1973, when the TEAM council voted to put a moratorium on the conversion of rental suites to condominiums (which were relatively new at that time).

Further to the post about Kerrisdale in 1989, people might not be aware of the earlier freeze on condo conversions in 1973, only three years after the first condominium was built in Vancouver. IMO, there is no single piece of provincial legislation that’s had more of an impact on Vancouver than the Strata Titles Act of 1966.

Note this quote: “A developer in the audience uttered a string of oaths and muttered: ‘That’s the end of condominiums.'”

Here’s also a useful graphic that defines four eras of apartment buildings and the significant events that occurred simultaneously.

Michael: That 1971 amendment to the federal Income Tax Act on the principal residences, intended to encourage the good citizenship that allegedly came from home ownership, had as profound an impact on Vancouver (and elsewhere) as anything else.

The tax-free status for capital gains on principal residences is still as untouchable as the provincial Homeowner Grant – those substantial, and arguably unfair, advantages for homeowners over renters.  But it will remain unargued across the political spectrum, as this quote last week from Sun columnist Vaughan Palmer reveals:

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson was in the legislature when the Opposition B.C. Liberals challenged her for a reaction to the report (on housing affordability)’s call for phasing out the provincial homeowner grant.

“I can absolutely assure the member that we are not interested in making any changes in the homeowner grant,” she assured Opposition MLA Mike Bernier.

The provincial finance minister also advised that another of the 23 recommendations — ending the capital gains tax exemption on the sale of principal residences — was a non-starter with her federal counterpart, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland.

“I am very pleased to hear that because I think that is the right decision,” said Robinson.

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  1. So one side of this particular Overton Window gets slammed down and cemented into place.

    Thou shalt not discuss homeowner’s preferred treatment in the tax laws, and renters’ adverse treatment in the same place. Blessed be the name of sprawl, cars and freeways. And don’t mention climate at all.

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