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

Posted in Policy

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 … Continue Reading

Property Transfer Tax Fairness?

Posted in Commercial, Policy

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 … Continue Reading

B.C. Budget: Commercial Real Estate Implications

Posted in Commercial, Policy

On February 16, 2016, B.C. Finance Minister Mike De Jong delivered the B.C. budget for the 2016/2017 fiscal year starting April 1.

Many commentators have surmised that Premier Christy Clark responded to intense public pressure to address the perception that Metro Vancouver has a housing affordability crisis, with a budget that offers a tax break on the acquisition of new homes and the commitment to start collecting data on foreign buyers. However, little has been written on the implications of the budget on commercial real estate transactions in B.C.… Continue Reading

New Building Bylaw: No More Door Knobs

Posted in Municipal

In September, 2013, Vancouver City Council approved a new 2014 City of Vancouver Building Bylaw.  According to the City, the 2014 Building Bylaw 10908, which covers detached houses and low-rise residential buildings, brings about changes to the current Building Bylaw 9419 to support housing for seniors and people with disabilities, while supporting the objectives of the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan.

Changes include:

  • mandating of adaptable housing requirements such as wider doorways, stairways, and corridors
  • setting improved energy efficiency targets, including an upgrade to window performance, an increase in insulation levels, greater air tightness and mandatory installation of a
Continue Reading

Aboriginal title declared in historic SCC decision, Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia

Posted in Municipal

The following post on the Canadian Energy Perspective  blog written by Sam Adkins, Stephanie Axmann and Selina Lee-Andersen on June 27, 2014 may be of interest to readers of this blog:

On June 26, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) released its highly anticipated decision in Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia.[1] In this ground-breaking decision, Canada’s highest court granted a declaration of Aboriginal title over a tract of Crown lands to the Tsilhqot’in Nation (Tsilhqot’in) of the west central interior of British Columbia. This is the first time in Canadian history that … Continue Reading

New CAC Guide: Climate Change?

Posted in Municipal

Community amenity contributions (CACs) are a prickly topic for developers.  Over the past 10 or 15 years, British Columbia municipalities have increased reliance on these payments for funding public amenities, amidst continuing criticism from developers over the size of, and arbitrary process for determining and extracting, CACs.

Municipalities like Vancouver have two types of charges that they require developers to pay:

  • development cost levies, which are clearly set out in legislation and which allow municipalities to collect money for infrastructure upgrades, transportation and affordable housing
  • CACs, which are controversial charges municipalities can, but are not required to, negotiate from developers
Continue Reading

New ALR Bill: Zone Defence

Posted in Municipal

Following a core review of the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) by B.C. Energy Minister Bill Bennett and months of reports of an upcoming bill, the B.C. Government has introduced Bill 24 which divides the ALR in two zones purporting to recognize the Province’s regional differences.

In Zone 1, which would comprise much of the Lower Mainland and include Vancouver Island, the South Coast and the Okanagan, the ALR would be administered substantially the same as it is now.  In these significantly developed areas, Agricultural Land Commission decisions would continue to be focused on protecting farmland.

In Zone 2, which would … Continue Reading

REDMA: Considerations For Lenders

Posted in Municipal

Lenders should be more aware of the sweeping effects of the British Columbia Real Estate Development Marketing Act (REDMA).  Compliance by developers with the REDMA is crucial for lenders because failure to comply can lead to unenforceable purchase contracts.


The REDMA requires a developer to file a disclosure statement before marketing commences.  The disclosure statement must, without misrepresentation, plainly disclose all material facts.  Before a purchaser enters into a purchase contract with a developer, the developer must provide the purchaser with a copy of the disclosure statement and a reasonable opportunity to review it.  Purchasers have a right of … Continue Reading

Are You “Friends and Family”?

Posted in Commercial, Construction

It has been said that when you’re negotiating to buy something, you’re also selling. The negotiated acquisition involves trust and risk for the seller. As a buyer you are selling yourself to the seller as a party that the seller should do business with.

Over the years I have encountered many types of  styles and strategies from buyers and their counsel. A common buyer strategy is to criticize and disparage the asset trying to be acquired in order to obtain a lower price. This may work on the first deal, but that may be the ONLY deal you ever … Continue Reading

Beyond Borders

Posted in Commercial, Policy

Real estate marketing has traditionally been regionally focussed. Though the size of the region can differ, buyers were thought to be more likely to approach opportunities which were geographically convenient. What is geographically convenient for an institutional investor differs from what is geographically convenient for a first-time home buyer.

Development property listing in Lisbon, Portugal

While this may still be true, vendors and brokers are increasingly catering to international investors. In a recent newsletter posted on Property Biz Canada, it was reported that Century 21 recently launched a new global listings website, providing consumers around the world … Continue Reading