By January 17, 2019—
You might not think so, but renting out your home can be pretty risky business. Not to mention, it can be hard to find the right tenant. There are so many variables to consider. What if the renter is questionable? What if there’s sudden repairs that need to be made to your property? What if the renter disturbs the others within the strata lot?
Recently, the government of BC has released a new report outlining ways that can improve security and fairness for both renters and landlords throughout the province.
There were 23 recommendations brought to the government’s attention to increase satisfaction for renters and landlords. These points are defined in the report (see resources below). I think it’s safe to say that what everyone is looking for is fairness and security when it comes to renting, or renting out, properties.
According to the report, there are about 1.5 million renters in BC. That’s a lot of people. And to add to this, vacancy rates are actually quite low.
If you are a strata property owner with an empty unit, whether you are already renting your place out, or are thinking about it, these are some pointers you should know about.
Recommendations from the Rental Housing Task Force
In April 2018, a Rental Housing Task Force was appointed to improve security and fairness for renters. The Task Force went through the various Tenancy Acts to see what can be changed and if rules were even being followed.
Can you rent out your strata property?
Since vacancy rates are low, it is important to increase the rental housing supply. One way to increase the supply is to make existing housing units that are currently empty available. The Task Force recommended that the Province “eliminate the ability of strata corporations to restrict owners from renting their own strata units.” The current NDP government intends to increase rental supply by forcing all strata buildings to allow rentals and requiring all owners to apply for exemption to the Speculation and Vacancy Tax themselves to prove their secondary properties are rented out. This is in contrast to Metro Vancouver’s declaration of the occupancy of their home. The NDP is giving strata buildings two years to amend their bylaws. The implication is if the rental bylaws are not amended, all the owners are at risk of this tax. To sum this up, if you own a condo that’s empty, your strata corporation won’t be able to stop you from renting out your unit.
The recommendations regarding rent increase are as follows:
- Changing the maximum rent-increase formula. The previous formula allowed for increases for inflation plus an additional 2%. The new formula allows increases according to inflation only and removes the automatic 2% yearly increase.
- It allows for additional modest rent increase above inflation for cases where renovations and repairs have been completed to rental units.
This formula is meant to keep rent at a fair and reasonable rate for both the renter and property owner.
Minimum length of tenancy
The details are still being ironed out by the Task Force and the Province, but as far as we can tell, there have been no restrictions placed on the minimum length of time you can set for a tenant to rent your home. We say this, but to put a minimum length is at your own discretion. Currently, for Metro Vancouver there is a minimum of 1 month rentals for strata homes, to discourage Airbnbs. Though in most buildings you’ll find a minimum length of time tenants need to lease the home, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, or 1 year.
Because there is a lack of rental housing supply, there is a fear among renters that they can lose their tenancy through conflict with their landlord. A renter may have little opportunity of finding a new unit to rent.
Some measures are being put in place to protect long-term rental housing. Among them are “renoviction” protection, and includes Speculation and Vacancy Tax, as well as enabling strata corporations to fine owners who rent short-term in violation of the strata agreement. However, your strata corporation could have the ability to evict tenants in exceptional cases where negligence, abuse or law breaking is disrupting the environment of other tenants.
Don’t forget, for more information you need to consult licensed professionals who are able to provide accurate information and guidance for your property.