Sept 9, 2018


Courtesy Chris Seepe, REM Online


When this law is passed, it will further grant the right to not be arrested for growing up to four plants. Again, it doesn’t mean you have the right to grow it wherever you wish. My letter specifically states you can’t grow it anywhere in or on the property without the landlord’s written permission, which we universally don’t provide because of the significant health risk from the potential growth of mould, risk of fire and the significant damage caused by the high humidity requirements for growing such plants, including hydroponics.


The right to smoke in a rental property is not enshrined in any Canadian legislation, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Human Rights Code. In the 1998 case, McNeil vs. Ontario, a smoker claimed their rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (s.12) were infringed, that nicotine is addictive and deprivation of cigarettes resulted in physical, mental and psychological suffering. The court determined that a cigarette ban was not intended to be punishment but to improve the health of all citizens and, while withdrawal from an addiction to nicotine may be an unpleasant and difficult experience, it is nevertheless temporary, limited and does not require medical attention. Many people voluntarily overcome the addiction. The above case further cited an earlier case – Edwards v. Canada (1991): “The smoking habit is far from a legal or constitutional right to which the State must pander.”

Unlike alcohol consumption, for example, cannabis smoke doesn’t respect physical boundaries and it’s much stronger smelling than cigarette smoke.


Smokers will likely run into the fundamental tenet of the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) – the right of quiet enjoyment. This phrase is a misnomer. It should state, “right of peaceful enjoyment”. A breach of this right can arise from any acts of or neglect by a tenant that results in the interference, interruption or disturbance of another tenant’s reasonable peace, comfort or privacy of their respective premises or the common areas of the property being interfered with, whether by liquids, gases, vapours, solids, odours, vibration, noise, abusive language, threats of any kind, unusual or dangerous hobbies and fires created, caused or implied by a tenant.


Two-thirds of all Canadians don’t smoke, while 14 per cent smoke daily. Children can be adversely affected by smoke and parents are likely to take very strong objection to cannabis smokers.


Ontario’s new Standard Lease Agreement (SLA) includes a section about smoking. This section empowers a landlord to use a breach of a no-smoking clause in a rental agreement as grounds for eviction.


It remains for the courts to determine if a tenant’s right to smoke marijuana for medicinal purposes is greater than a neighbour’s right to not smell it, especially since there are alternative forms of medicinal marijuana including pills, capsules and oil.

My letter states that if mould develops in their rental unit, we will not remediate it and we will require a tenant to pay for any such remediation. An N8 notice for eviction could be issued for damage to property caused by an act or inaction by a tenant that is not completely and properly repaired by that tenant.


We estimated that growing four plants a year will consume an average $600-$800/year, and electrical circuits in older buildings (87 per cent of Ontario purpose-built rental buildings were constructed before 1979) that are already under heavy loads may increase the risk of fire. My letter states that a tenant may be held accountable for any fire started due to an overloaded circuit, and that we regularly record all electricity meter readings for all units. If a landlord includes electricity in the rent, then this could become a major financial issue. Your letter might say the landlord is not be responsible for any increase in electricity cost, although you may find that this will be hard to defend in court for existing tenants.


Our smoking policy then is: “Smoking, which includes tobacco and marijuana, any electronic versions and anything smoked for medicinal, recreational or remedial purposes, and growing plants of any type or quantity that require a room temperature above 22 C or which requires any form of moisture, excluding room-temperature liquid water directly applied to the plant’s soil, which includes marijuana, cannabis and hydroponics, are not permitted to be grown or cultivated anywhere in or on the premises, including common areas and the tenant’s rented unit.”

 
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September 5, 2018

Home buyer demand stays below historical averages in August

The Metro Vancouver* housing market continues to experience reduced demand across all housing types.


The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 1,929 in August 2018, a 36.6 per cent decrease from the 3,043 sales recorded in August 2017, and a 6.8 per cent decline compared to July 2018 when 2,070 homes sold.


Last month’s sales were 25.2 per cent below the 10-year August sales average.

“Home buyers have been less active in recent months and we’re beginning to see prices edge down for all housing types as a result,” Phil Moore, REBGV president said. “Buyers today have more listings to choose from and face less competition than we’ve seen in our market in recent years.”


There were 3,881 detached, attached and apartment homes newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in August 2018. This represents an 8.6 per cent decrease compared to the 4,245 homes listed in August 2017 and an 18.6 per cent decrease compared to July 2018 when 4,770 homes were listed.


The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 11,824, a 34.3 per cent increase compared to August 2017 (8,807) and a 2.6 per cent decrease compared to July 2018 (12,137).


The sales-to-active listings ratio for August 2018 is 16.3 per cent. By housing type, the ratio is 9.2 per cent for detached homes, 19.4 per cent for townhomes, and 26.6 per cent for apartments.

Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below the 12 per cent mark for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months.


“With fewer buyers active in the market, benchmark prices across all three housing categories have declined for two consecutive months across the region,” Moore said.


The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,083,400. This represents a 4.1 per cent increase over August 2017 and a 1.9 per cent decrease since May 2018.

Sales of detached properties in August 2018 reached 567, a 37.1 per cent decrease from the 901 detached sales recorded in August 2017. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,561,000. This represents a 3.1 per cent decrease from August 2017 and a 2.8 per cent decrease since May 2018.


Sales of apartment properties reached 1,025 in August 2018, 36.5 per cent decrease compared to the 1,613 sales in August 2017. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $695,500. This represents a 10.3 per cent increase from August 2017 and a 1.6 per cent decrease since May 2018.


Attached property sales in August 2018 totalled 337, a 36.3 per cent decrease compared to the 529 sales in August 2017. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $846,100. This represents a 7.9 per cent increase from August 2017 and a 0.8 per cent decrease since May 2018.

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September 6, 2018 - Courtesy of BCREA


The total value of Canadian building permits edged 0.1 per cent lower on a monthly basis in July. The decline was the result of lower construction intentions in BC.
 
In BC, the total value of permits fell 11 per cent on a monthly basis to $1.4 billion.  Residential permits decreased 15.4 per cent from June and were down 3 per cent year-over-year, as a result of lower permit activity for multi-family units in Vancouver. Non-residential permits were up 6.7 per cent from June, but were 2 per cent lower year-over-year.
 
Construction intentions in July were down in three of BC's four census metropolitan areas (CMA):

  • Permits in the Abbotsford-Mission CMA fell 10 per cent on a monthly basis to $28.3 million. Year-over-year, permit values were down 28 per cent.
  • In the Victoria CMA, total construction intentions were down by half on a monthly basis to just $76.7 million, a 40 per cent decline over this time last year.
  • In the Kelowna CMA, permits values increased by 13.3 per cent on a monthly basis to $113.2 million, and were up 44 per cent year-over-year.
  • The Vancouver CMA recorded permit activity valued at 796.8 million, a 13.5 per cent decline from May and down 9 per cent year-over-year.
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August 5, 2018


Courtesy BCREA


The Bank of Canada maintained its target for the overnight rate at 1.50 per cent this morning. In the statement accompanying the decision, the Bank noted that the Canadian economy is evolving in line with its projections and that real GDP growth is expected to slow in the third quarter due to fluctuations in energy production and exports.


Inflation is anticipated to come down from the 7-year high of 3 per cent rate observed in July, falling back to 2 per cent in early 2019. The Bank further noted that housing markets are beginning to stabilize following the implementation of the mortgage stress test.


Overall, the Bank's assessment is that higher interest rates will be warranted to achieve the 2 per cent inflation target, but policymakers are closely monitoring NAFTA negotiations and their impact on the inflation outlook.
   
With the threat of significant trade disruption looming from NAFTA negotiations, the Bank chose to pause its rate tightening cycle. However, strong economic growth over the past year has pushed the Canadian economy beyond its full-employment level, creating upward pressure on inflation.


Rising inflation and an economy operating at capacity means that the Bank of Canada will continue on its rate tightening path, likely at it next meeting in October with an ultimate goal of the overnight rate returning to between 3 and 3.5 per cent over the next two years.

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The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB.