February 2010
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Connections (February 2010)
Connections: Advocacy News from the British Columbia Real Estate Association – February 2010 
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This is the very first issue of Connections: Advocacy News from the British Columbia Real Estate Association. As a valued stakeholder, your views on the issues contained in this publication are important to BCREA. We look forward to hearing from you now and in the future!

 Looking for Tax Fairness

Since the Property Transfer Tax (PTT) took effect more than 20 years ago, BCREA has championed fairness in shelter taxation. In July 2009, the provincial government added a new layer to the cause with its announcement to introduce the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST).

BCREA believes the tax burden carried by homebuyers, homeowners and landlords is unfair and that the provincial government can take more steps to ease that burden.

The Association was pleased when the government responded positively to real estate sector concerns by increasing the new home rebate threshold from $400,000 to $525,000, and the maximum rebate from $20,000 to $26,250. BCREA proposes several steps the government can take to assist British Columbians further, including indexing the HST new home rebate threshold and restructuring the PTT.

To date, more than 7,000 emails have been sent to MLAs by concerned citizens and REALTORS® supporting BCREA’s position.

At the end of April, dozens of REALTORS® from around the province will gather in Victoria to encourage the provincial government to work toward shelter tax fairness. This annual event, known as Government Liaison Days, is a key advocacy opportunity for BCREA.

For more information, visit www.bcrea.bc.ca/hst/hstaction.htm.

 Water: Too Much and Not Enough

BC communities face several significant threats related to water. Over the next few years, BCREA will focus research and lobbying efforts on flood protection and water conservation, building on previous water-related submissions to the government (Reduce Flood Risks, Making Water a Priority).

The Association also intends to participate in the provincial government’s project to modernize the Water Act. A public discussion paper is expected to be released early in 2010.

The government’s 2008 release of Living Water Smart BC was an important step toward managing this precious resource, and BCREA looks forward to future developments.

 Improving the Strata Property Act

Strata-title properties are relatively common in BC. In fact, according to Landcor Data Corporation, about one quarter of British Columbians live in stratas. On January 1, 2010, several amendments to the Strata Property Act and Strata Property Regulation came into force. According to the government’s news release, the changes will:

  • Simplify requirements for renting space in buildings constructed after Jan. 1, 2010.
  • Strengthen conflict of interest guidelines.
  • Improve strata corporation accounting practices.
  • Clarify responsibilities for strata property and expenses.

The Strata Property Act, which took effect on July 1, 2000, was a significant improvement over the Condominium Act. Even so, BCREA believes the last ten years have provided ample opportunity for real estate practitioners, strata councils, strata owners and others to identify improvements that can be made.

Therefore, BCREA looks forward to the Ministry of Housing and Social Development’s 2010 stakeholder consultations seeking input on a new dispute resolution process and requirements for depreciation reports.

 Contact Us

Please contact us at [email protected] with your comments about these issues, or to update BCREA on your organization’s successes.

To change your email address or subscribe to more BCREA publications, click here.

British Columbia Real Estate Association
1420 – 701 Georgia Street West
PO Box 10123, Pacific Centre
Vancouver, BC V7Y 1C6
Phone: 604.683.7702
Fax: 604.683.8601
[email protected]
Click here to visit the BCREA Connections archive, available on BCREA Online.
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Real estate boards, real estate associations and REALTORS® may reprint this content, provided that credit is given to BCREA by including the following statement: "Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission."