On November 24, 2022, Bill 44, the Building and Strata Statutes Amendment Act, 2022 (the “Act”), was enacted and removed most rental and age restrictions in strata buildings. The amendments became effective immediately on November 24, 2022.
REALTORS® need to be aware of the impact of these changes for existing owners, buyers, and sellers.
The Act removed two rights of strata corporations to pass bylaws that could control occupancy, rental and use of strata lots:
- Prohibition of rental restrictions; and
- Removing the right to have age restrictions within a strata building, other than 55
The Act prohibits rental restrictions in several ways. Firstly, by repealing the requirement for developers who intend to rent strata lots to prepare a rental disclosure statement. Since January 1, 2010 developers have been required to file rental disclosure statements if they intend to rent or preserve the right to rent, all strata lots (or a portion thereof) either as the developer or by successive owners of the strata lots. Since 2010 most developers have filed rental disclosure statements, except for certain developments located in areas where “owner-occupied” buildings would be more desirable to prospective purchasers.
So how did rental disclosure statements work? If a rental disclosure statement was filed with the superintendent that reserved the right to rent the units for the next 100 years (for example), then any bylaws the strata corporation approved regarding rental restrictions were unenforceable until the end of the 100-year period. Without a rental disclosure statement being filed with the superintendent of real estate, strata corporations could only impose rental restrictions through passing resolutions by a ¾ vote at an annual general meeting or special general meeting to enact bylaws related to rentals.
The second way the Act prohibits rental restrictions is by repealing any provision of the Strata Property Act, [SBC 1998] CHAPTER 43 (the “Strata Act”) which allowed for strata corporations to create bylaws related to restricting or prohibiting rental. Before the enactment of the Act, a strata corporation could:
“…restrict the rental of a strata lot by a bylaw that:
(a) prohibits the rental of residential strata lots, or
(b) limits one or more of the following:
(i) the number or percentage of residential strata lots that may be rented;
(ii) the period for which residential strata lots may be rented.”
With the Act’s enactment, strata corporations no longer have any rights to create bylaws that restrict the rental of strata lots (except for restrictions on short-term rentals (or stays) of 30 days or less).
The Act repealed existing section 123 of the Strata Act which gave strata corporations the ability to enact bylaws related to pet and age restrictions and replaced it with provisions just related to pets and animals
The Act added sections 123.1 and 123.2 to the Strata Act. Section 123.1 states that the only age restriction allowed is now 55 and over:
“Age restriction bylaws
123.1 (1) The strata corporation must not pass a bylaw that restricts the age of persons who may reside in a strata lot except as permitted by subsection (2).
(2) The strata corporation may pass a bylaw that requires one or more persons residing in a strata lot to have reached a specified age that is not less than 55 years.
Previously, strata corporations were allowed to pass bylaws that restricted the age of persons who may reside in the strata lot. An example of these restrictions could be that strata lots could only be occupied by persons over the age of 19 or age 45 and over, which is not permissible under the amendments passed by the Act.
Section 123.2 provides exemptions for the age restrictions in 55+ buildings. These exemptions include caregivers who reside in the strata lot for caregiving, or people residing in a strata lot before the restriction occurred.
The Act also amended other portions of the Strata Act, such as bylaws within the Standard Schedule of Bylaws related to rental restrictions, and removed the requirement for strata corporations to confirm the number of strata lots rented on the Strata Form B.
Bill 44 also allows for electronic attendance at an annual or special general meeting without needing a specific bylaw.
What does this mean for clients?
Clients need to know the following about the new changes:
- Bylaws that prohibit the rental of strata lots are no longer enforceable. All strata lots can now be rented out.
- Bylaws that enforce only a certain number of rental units within a strata building are no longer enforceable.
- Prohibitions on short-term rentals (less than 30 days) are still allowed and enforceable.
- Any bylaws restricting the age of persons who may reside in a strata lot for persons under 55 years are no longer enforceable.
- There is no obligation for strata corporations to update their current bylaws to reflect these changes; however, they should note that some of their bylaws will no longer be enforceable.
These changes may affect not only the use and occupancy of people’s strata lots, but also the way in which their properties are listed, marketed and valued. For strata corporations in vacation ‘hotspots’ or older buildings with noise issues, these amendments may lead to more disputes and complaints for the strata corporation to address on an ongoing basis.