December 2014
Connections (December 2014)
Connections: Advocacy News from the British Columbia Real Estate Association – December 2014 
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  Good News for Stratas: Civil Resolution Tribunal Update

It's been under development for some time, and now the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) is really starting to take shape. The CRT is a long-awaited voluntary mechanism to resolve many strata and small claims disputes.

The CRT is scheduled to launch in 2015, and will be available 24/7 online. High-level descriptions of the process and the tools that will be available are offered on the new CRT website, which debuted in November: www.civilresolutionbc.ca.

Shannon Salter was appointed as Chair of the CRT earlier this year. She is specifically qualified for this position, with her experience as a commissioner of the Financial Institutions Commission, vice president of the British Columbia Council of Administrative Tribunals and vice chair of the Workers' Compensation Appeal Tribunal.

While the CRT will be able to handle many strata disputes, matters that affect land or that deal with significant issues in a strata complex will be outside of the CRT's mandate. The Civil Resolution Tribunal will be able to address disputes such as:

  • non-payment of monthly strata fees or fines,
  • unfair actions by the strata corporation or by people owning more than half of the strata lots in a complex,
  • unfair, arbitrary or non-enforcement of strata bylaws (such as noise, pets, parking, rentals),
  • issues of financial responsibility for repairs and the choice of bids for services,
  • irregularities in the conduct of meetings, voting, minutes or other matters,
  • interpretation of the legislation, regulations or bylaws, and
  • issues regarding the common property.

BCREA has supported alternative dispute resolution since 2010, and congratulated the provincial government in 2012 when the legislation was passed. The Association believes the CRT will provide strata owners and renters with an affordable way to settle disagreements and help improve compliance with the Strata Property Act.

 Floodplain Maps Progress

Since spring 2013, BCREA has worked with several stakeholders to implement the Floodplain Maps Action Plan—a structured approach to ensuring that existing floodplain maps around the province are updated and remain current.

The Floodplain Maps Action Plan is truly a collaborative initiative. A Working Group provides expert insights and guidance on implementation, and includes representatives from the Adaptation to Climate Change Team at Simon Fraser University, Fraser Basin Council, Ebbwater Consulting, Northwest Hydraulic Consultants Ltd, Kerr Wood Leidal, Urban Development Institute and Okanagan Basin Water Board.

Following quarterly meetings of the Working Group, BCREA publishes progress reports. For more information about this initiative, visit www.bcrea.bc.ca/government-relations/flood-protection. If you'd like to receive progress reports directly, please contact Norma Miller ([email protected]).

 A Nod to the Property Transfer Tax

Following its annual provincial budget consultation, the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services published its report in mid-November, as required by legislation.

This year's report explicitly mentions BCREA's recommendations to minimize the negative impact of the PTT:

  • Increase the 1% PTT threshold from $200,000 to $525,000, with 2% applying to the remainder of the fair market value.
  • Index the 1% PTT threshold using the MLS® Home Price Index, and make adjustments annually.

Although the committee did not adopt these among its 58 recommendations, the report includes the following suggestion to address housing affordability: Explore options to change the Property Transfer Tax to assist first-time home buyers, and consider ways to mitigate the effects of property speculation on housing affordability.

More information:

 Contact BCREA

Contact BCREA at [email protected] with your comments about these issues, or to provide an update on your organization’s successes.

For more information about BCREA’s public policy positions, visit www.bcrea.bc.ca.

BCREA is the professional association for more than 18,500 REALTORS® in BC, focusing on provincial issues that impact real estate. Working with the province's 11 real estate boards, BCREA provides continuing professional education, advocacy, economic research and standard forms to help REALTORS® provide value for their clients.

To demonstrate the profession's commitment to improving Quality of Life in BC communities, BCREA supports policies that encourage economic vitality, provide housing opportunities, respect the environment and build communities with good schools and safe neighbourhoods.

To subscribe to receive BCREA publications such as this one, or to update your email address or current subscriptions, click here.

British Columbia Real Estate Association
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PO Box 10123, Pacific Centre
Vancouver, BC V7Y 1C6
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