The new premier of British Columbia David Eby used to be a housing minister and was the former attorney general.
He will be introducing legislation in the provincial legislature giving the Province the authority to tell municipalities how much housing they need to build after consultation with them. The goal is the proposed “Housing Supply Act” will provide “new housing targets will encourage municipalities to address local barriers to construction so that housing can get built faster, including updating zoning bylaws and streamlining local development approval processes” according to the Province’s press release. There are already housing targets developed by Metro Vancouver, and the Province is silent on how those targets will be folded into this proposed new work.
The Housing Supply Act is intended to be enacted by the middle of 2023.
The second piece is a surprising one and not for the reasons you are anticipating. Mr. Eby is also suggesting amending the Strata Property Act to end rental restriction bylaws. The only proposed rental restriction that will be maintained is for seniors’ housing, where people over 55 years of age live.
This Strata Property Act amendment makes sense for some of the weirder things that happen, like when a young couple has a baby and then gets informed by the Strata Council that people under 18 years of age cannot live in the unit. There is also the challenge of some stratas that put limits on the number of people that can live in a unit, which is tough for families that have more children than the Strata Council limit per unit.
But there is another side too. While the Premier has suggested that allowing rentals in strata buildings will put on the rental market potentially 2,900 empty strata units in the province, it also may bring in a new kind of investor snapping up strata units specifically to rent as high end rental or as longer term AirBnB or VRBO.
While this will still be prohibited under the Strata Property Act, it will be hard to enforce without clearer definitions This of course could also raise the price of strata units as they can now be rented out entirely, or strata owners can legally rent out part of their condo, bringing in a new class of investors. Look for strata prices on previously age and rental restricted buildings to rise as investors buy in for monthly rental revenue streams.
It may have been prudent to have firstly defined more exacting legislation governing how short term rentals will be defined, administered and governed, which potentially could place more existing rental units in circulation for residents, not visitors.
In June 2016 a consultant’s study suggested there were over 6,200 short term rental units in Vancouver. By 2022, city staff reported to Council that short term rentals had dropped to 2,325 units. Those of course are the units that have been registered by the city, while there are some citizens that have been notifying the City of a myriad of short term rentals still in operation that have been missed.
Legislation to change the Strata Property Act has been approved and it is anticipated that the changes will be immediately implemented. You can take a look at this handout on the proposed changes provided by the Province.
You can take a look at the YouTube video below with journalist Liza Yuzda describing the changes, with a cameo appearance from UBC’s Tom Davidoff.