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The Lay of the Land


Disruptive Technologies and Real Estate Pricing

Posted in Construction, Technology
Michael Nienhuis

You don’t need a degree in urban land economics to know that real estate prices generally increase with elevation, or to understand why, since most of us appreciate a great view.

But this hasn’t always been the case. In ancient Rome, for example, the poor tended to live on the upper floors of apartment buildings where views were best but it was a long walk up and the risk of perishing in a fire was much higher. –> Read More

Supreme Court of Canada decides that substance trumps form in the application of the Section 8 Interest Act prohibition on higher default interest to an incentive rate mortgage

Posted in Commercial, Policy, Residential
Ben Leith

In Krayzel Corp. v. Equitable Trust Co., 2016 SCC 18 (“Krayzel”), the Supreme Court of Canada held that an interest rate increase that was structured as a lower rate in the absence of default infringed Section 8 of the Interest Act (Canada). In its analysis, the majority decision looked at whether mortgage loan that offered a lower rate of interest where there was no default is in substance the same as imposing a higher interest rate after a default. It ultimately found that framing the higher rate of interest as part of an incentive to avoid a default could not save a loan from the Interest Act prohibition. –> Read More

Building up BC – Building Act

Posted in Construction, Municipal
Joy Ren

The British Columbia Government has started to bring into force some of the key provisions of its new Building Act.

The Act, which was passed by the legislature in the early half of 2015, is intended to provide greater consistency in the building and construction industry, and to modernize and streamline the building regulatory system. –> Read More

Calculating Damages for False Estoppel

Posted in Commercial, Policy
D. James Papadimitriou

The Quebec Court of Appeal in Meyerco Enterpresis Ltd. v. Kinmont Canada Inc. (2016 QCCA 89) has recently partially overturned a lower court ruling that awarded damages for a false estoppel signed by a tenant based on application of a cap rate paid by the buyer and addressee of the estoppel instead applying general principals of ‎damages including mitigation. –> Read More

B.C. Government Shines a Light on Shadow-Flippers with New Regulations

Posted in Policy
Scott SmytheConrad RegoJulia Bennett

Shadow-flipping has been the subject of intense media attention over the past few months, and there has been increasing pressure on the B.C. government to address the issue.  The government responded on May 9, 2016 by unveiling new regulations aimed at combatting the practice.  The regulations, issued pursuant to the Real Estate Services Act, come into effect today.

What is shadow-flipping?

Shadow-flipping a property involves the assignment of a purchase contract by a purchaser to a third party for a fee, often on multiple occasions and for increasingly higher fees.  There is, of course, nothing wrong with entering into a purchase contract and deciding to assign it for a fee.  Assignments are a common feature of the real estate market, particularly when prices are rising. –> Read More

Disruption-Challenge or Opportunity

Posted in Commercial, Technology
D. James Papadimitriou

A recent speech at the Quebec City Real Estate Forum by a leading retailer-Peter Simons, highlighted the exponential disruption occurring in numerous sectors such as self-driving cars, car sharing services, clean energy, fintech and the state of preparedness or lack thereof in the real estate sector. –> Read More

“Occupancy Permit” and “Certificate of Occupancy”: what they are and what the difference is

Posted in Commercial, Construction, Policy, Residential, Zoning
Michael Foderick

As a municipal and planning lawyer in Ontario I am often asked by real estate counsel what an “Occupancy Permit” or “Certificate of Occupancy” is, whether they are the same thing, and how they work. This is a general short answer to those questions for quick reference. –> Read More

The Long and Short of It: City of Vancouver Tackling Short-Term Rentals

Posted in Residential, Zoning
Joy RenGordon Lamb

The City of Vancouver has started to take steps to address the use of short-term rental services such as Airbnb, Homeaway and VRBO (Vacation Rentals by Owner). Vancouver City Council recently approved a motion to ask City staff to come up with ways to regulate the use of these increasingly popular services. –> Read More

Property Transfer Tax Fairness?

Posted in Commercial, Policy
Conrad RegoPatrick Beechinor

In our previous post of February 29 (co-authored by Conrad Rego and Patrick Beechinor) we discussed the implications of the increase in B.C. property transfer tax from 2% to 3% on that portion of a property’s value which exceeds $2 million. We also noted that effective in the Spring, the names and addresses of all beneficiaries of bare trustees are to be disclosed by the transferee upon transfer to any bare trustee.  Though no reason was given by the Province for the requirement for beneficiary disclosure, industry participants have surmised that the disclosure may be a precursor for collecting property transfer tax on beneficial transfers, which are not currently taxable transactions under the Property Transfer Tax Act (British Columbia). –> Read More