Taxing your Principal Residence – Is it in the Cards?

For many Canadians, owning and eventually paying off their home represents the bulk of their retirement nest egg. Usually a home will keep up or exceed the rate of inflation so that it may be two or three times its original value by the time the amortization period runs out in 25 or 30 years. As the attached article points out, the decision to tax a portion of “capital gains”… Read More »Taxing your Principal Residence – Is it in the Cards?

Strata Corporation Insurance Issues – Controlling the Cost of Premiums

News articles over the past year have reported that strata insurance premiums and deductibles for many of BC’s 1,500,000 strata unit owners have risen dramatically. As a result the BC government has required the Financial Services Authority to look into the matter. The government has announced today that as of November 1, 2020: 1.     Strata corporations will get 30 days notice of strata insurance policy changes or decisions not to… Read More »Strata Corporation Insurance Issues – Controlling the Cost of Premiums

vancouver-skyline

Vancouver Real Estate: Is it the right time to buy?

It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future! – Yogi Berra This is the inevitable question that comes up whenever there is a crisis or calamity of some kind like the S & L (savings and loan) scandal of the 80’s, the dot com bubble of the 90’s, 9-11 (2001), the Wall Street meltdown (2007-8) and now the coronavirus pandemic of 2020.. COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on economies the… Read More »Vancouver Real Estate: Is it the right time to buy?

“Best terms pricing” for strata insurance –but best for who?

A recent article in the Vancouver Sun makes mention of an arcane practice among insurance brokers called “best terms pricing.” It seems that at the discretion of the insurance broker placing the policy, this pricing model can be used to set the premium for a policy of insurance on a strata complex. Several insurance companies place bids on the complex to insure different percentages of the whole value, presumably to… Read More »“Best terms pricing” for strata insurance –but best for who?

Making it harder to borrow: Is CMHC on the right track?

Recently Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (“CMHC”), a federal crown corporation, announced that it would tighten rules for mortgage insurance starting on July 1, 2020 Tightening the rules Mortgage insurance is essentially “default insurance” which is required in Canada for borrowers who cannot put down 20% or more for a down payment on a home. Insuring the mortgage makes the loan is essentially “risk-free” to a bank, so it can… Read More »Making it harder to borrow: Is CMHC on the right track?

City of Vancouver finally extends its Empty Homes Tax Declaration Deadline

Vancouver resident, Jason Weselowski was unfortunately caught by the draconian “deeming provision” set out in s.7 of the Vancouver Empty Homes Tax Bylaw. Mr. Weselowksi was levied with an $8,000.00 tax penalty (1% of the assessed value of his property) for failing to file the EHT declaration even though his home was occupied during the relevant time period. His reason for missing the deadline was due to his ongoing medical… Read More »City of Vancouver finally extends its Empty Homes Tax Declaration Deadline

Tenants’​ Rights during the State of Emergency in BC

BC has extended the State of Emergency (“SOE”) in this province until the end of April 2020 in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. It would not be a surprise if it was extended again for the month of May. During the SOE, rent cannot be increased and tenants cannot be evicted for: Unpaid rent or utilities Cause (i.e. breach of the tenancy agreement) Landlord or purchaser use (i.e. landlord or… Read More »Tenants’​ Rights during the State of Emergency in BC

Graph of realestate sales in BC dropping in March 2020

In the News: Canadian real estate markets hit hard by pandemic

“Across Canada about 65,000 homes traded hands in the first two months of the year, and many of those sales are now closing in a completely different environment than when the deals were made. Vancouver real estate lawyer Ken Pazder is already seeing the fallout. He says some clients are wondering if they have to close on deals made before the pandemic. He has to tell them that, under the… Read More »In the News: Canadian real estate markets hit hard by pandemic

Robbing Peter to pay Paul

The disingenuous Empty Homes Tax (“EHT”) was predicated on the theory that there were 25,000 empty homes in Vancouver. When the city’s own data revealed that the actual number was closer to 2,500 empty homes -a mere drop in the bucket in a city with some 300,000 households, it made no difference, as the tax generated over $30,000,000 in revenue in its first year for the ever cash strapped city… Read More »Robbing Peter to pay Paul

Condo Owners Beware: Some insurers are declining to renew strata policies

Recently, insurance companies have been in the news for increasing condominium deductibles and insurance premiums by huge amounts. In a new twist, this story causes even more concern. A seller of a strata unit in the Lower Mainland had a firm sale agreement in place, but shortly before the completion date last week, the buyer’s notary could not obtain insurance confirmation on the seller’s building. A condition of mortgage financing… Read More »Condo Owners Beware: Some insurers are declining to renew strata policies