Strata groups pander to province’s plan to lift rent restrictions – Vernon News

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Bills aimed at bringing more affordable housing onto the market by repealing strata bylaws are coming under fire.

Bill 44 was introduced by Premier David Eby earlier this week as a response to the provincial housing crisis and would see condominiums across the province lift self-imposed rent restrictions.

Rules restricting 55-plus and short-term rentals will stand alone if they are already in a layer’s bylaws.

Tony Gioventu, executive director of the Condominium Home Owners Association, says CHOA just sent a letter to MLAs outlining why the association thinks it’s a bad idea.

“CHOA urges the Legislature to understand the potential ramifications of this decision, as it will affect a significant constituency who for nearly 60 years have bought into strata communities with confidence that their property use would have permitted control over ownership and limited rental,” he says.

The organization believes that the proposed legislation will do nothing to improve the availability of rental properties.

CHOA writes: “The largest loss of rental units identified in the past 10 years is attributed to short-term housing.” But tiers that allow short-term rentals like Airbnb and VRBO already don’t have rental restrictions and won’t free up homes.

Michelle Johnson, a property manager at Re/Max Commercial, says there is definitely a shortage of rentals on the market. “The market is tight, very tight. You put up an ad and if it’s affordable and it’s priced right, you get 100 responses.”

Gene Sarmaga, board chairman for Mandalay in Vernon, says “we will be watching this legislation closely because it has the potential to profoundly change our complex.”

Mandalay’s current bylaws prohibit any rental after two years of purchase in the strata.

CHOA members also take exception to the use of the word ‘affordable’.

“Strata properties are not affordable housing. Once strata charges, taxes, insurance and long-term renewals are calculated, landlords are not in a financial position to provide rental housing in affordable communities,” they state.

The legislation is currently undergoing first reading and, if passed, could become law in early 2023.

Eby has also announced that he will appoint a ministry dedicated to housing when he chooses his cabinet in early December.

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