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The Lay of the Land DEVELOPMENTS IN CANADIAN REAL PROPERTY LAW

Category Archives: Residential

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Should I Challenge My Property Tax Assessment?

Posted in Commercial, Municipal, Property Tax Assessment, Residential

Ontario property owners are receiving notices of assessment this year that will serve as a basis for tax collections in 2017 through 2020. Values are set by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (“MPAC”) based on estimated January 1, 2016 market values. Municipalities will then use these assessments to determine your property taxes payable.… Continue Reading

New Québec Transfer Duty Regulations

Posted in Commercial, Policy, Residential

The Quebec government has deposited new regulations to give effect to measures ann‎ounced in the March budget.

Among the clarifications are confirming that exemptions for inter corporate transfers are based on 90 per cent issued shares and not voting shares, a trigger on change of control within 24 months of an exempt transfer, clarifying that options to purchase shares are captured within the anti-avoidance provisions as well as clarifying that amalgamations are exempt transfers.… Continue Reading

Residential and Industrial Use – Never the Twain Shall Meet?

Posted in Land Use, Residential

I had the privilege (some would say misfortune) of growing up in a family business. I spent a lot of time after school and during summers in the shop and in spray booths, on crane trucks and on ladders, using all sorts of equipment and tools and generally taking in all the sights and sounds and smells (some noxious I’m sure) of a small sign manufacturing company.… Continue Reading

Stringent Non-Compliance Penalties under B.C.’s new Property Transfer Tax Regime

Posted in Policy, Residential

On Monday, July 25, 2016, the government of British Columbia announced that foreigners who buy residential property in the Vancouver area will have to pay an extra 15% on top of the current property transfer tax. This additional tax will apply to all buyers who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents, including corporations that are not registered in Canada or are controlled by foreigners.  The tax is expected to come into effect on Tuesday, August 2, 2016.… Continue Reading

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

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 … Continue Reading

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

Posted in Commercial, Construction, Policy, Residential, Zoning

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.… Continue Reading

Good-Bye nominee share sales in Quebec

Posted in Commercial, Policy, Residential

In its March 17 budget the Quebec government brought in a series of measures reforming legislation governing transfer duties.  Of particular interest is the introduction of the requirement to disclose off title transfers and the imposition of transfer duties on same.  The legislation was drafted so to previously refer to registration as the trigger for taxation.… Continue Reading

Crowdfunding

Posted in Commercial, Policy, Residential

Raising capital in the real estate context, whether through large-scale investment or by smaller, more focused means, can be an intricate, time-consuming and expensive process. Developers and others raising capital need to be mindful of various considerations when operating in this arena, depending on whether their investors are pension funds, private investment vehicles or individual investors.… Continue Reading

Exploding the Vacancy Myth: No One Home? Not So Fast …

Posted in Residential

The price of residential real estate in the City of Vancouver continues to increase at a staggering rate. This is especially true for single family homes; figures released by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver for February 2016 show a 27% year-over-year increase for single detached home prices in Metro Vancouver.  Theories to explain the craziness of this market abound, with pundits typically pointing to historically low interest rates, a relatively small land base and the effect of foreign capital as all hurting affordability.  … Continue Reading

Beware of the Residential Invasion!

Posted in Construction, Land Use, Municipal, Residential, Zoning

It must tell something about the age we live in, but TV shows and movies dealing with zombies have been all over the place for a couple of years now. However, as a real estate lawyer representing large industrial corporations, there is something I fear more than an invasion of undead people on the lookout for fresh brains: the urban sprawl!  And more specifically, the residential invasion of industrial areas caused by the urban sprawl.… Continue Reading

Mixed-Use Development: A Balancing Act

Posted in Commercial, Construction, Residential

Mixed-use developments are steadily increasing. The main challenge remains ensuring enhanced residential occupants’ experience, with a good tenant mix, while proceeding with the developer’s overall project.  Lawyers working in multi-use development will need to foresee and take into account all of the different interests at play, and provide for flexibility for the long-term development vision of their clients, yet ensuring stability and balanced rights for commercial tenants and residential co-owners.… Continue Reading

Seizing Your Tenant’s Property – The Landlord’s Remedy Of Distress

Posted in Commercial, Policy, Residential

One of the most difficult and common problems faced by a landlord is a tenant who is unable or unwilling to pay rent. Under s. 104 of the Alberta Civil Enforcement Act, a landlord may seize the personal property of a residential or commercial tenant in order to secure the landlord’s claim for unpaid rent under the lease (although seizure is typically much more effective in a commercial context). This is called the landlord’s “right of distress.”… Continue Reading

The BC Legislature Takes a Crack at Solving the Problem of Aging Strata Properties

Posted in Commercial, Construction, Policy, Residential

On October 8, 2015, the BC Legislative Assembly introduced a Bill that could significantly expedite the redevelopment of aging strata properties in the Province. Bill-40 includes proposed amendments to a variety of statutes, including the Residential Tenancy Act, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Act, and the Oil and Gas Activities Act.  For developers, strata lot owners and strata corporations, however, the most significant aspect of the Bill concerns the Strata Property Act, and the voting threshold that must be met in in order to dissolve a strata corporation.… Continue Reading

Developers: are you meeting your FINTRAC Obligations?

Posted in Commercial, Residential

In recent weeks, news headlines revealed that the Vancouver real estate sector is currently the focus of a Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) anti-money laundering audit that has already been underway for several months. According to reports, the increased scrutiny is justified by FINTRAC risk analyses indicating that the real estate sector has a relatively high risk of money laundering when compared to other sectors that are subject to the federal government’s anti-money laundering legislation. This has raised compliance concerns and questions from real estate developers.… Continue Reading

Picturing The Lender as Landlord – Key issues for a lender to consider in a lease review

Posted in Commercial, Residential

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to the scope and level of scrutiny a mortgage lender brings to a lease review. Leases are complex commercial arrangements and lenders invariably face trade-offs between the time and expense of a thorough review and understanding the bundle of rights and obligations that make up a key driver of the value of their collateral. A lender’s lease review will look a lot like a purchaser’s, except that instead of stepping into the landlord’s shoes immediately, it must contend with uncertainty about if and when it will ever have to take over the lease and the … Continue Reading

One for the Price of Two – It Could Happen to You When You Buy Canadian Real Estate from a Non-Resident

Posted in Commercial, Residential

The first time I broke the news to a New York lawyer that his client would not receive the expected sale proceeds at closing was a memorable experience.   He launched into a profanity-laden tirade that culminated in a suggestion requiring a level of flexibility I do not possess. The experience could easily have been more memorable.   Had I not taken the necessary precautions discussed below, our client might well have been stuck paying double for his property and I would likely have had to deal with a lot worse than some colourful language.… Continue Reading

Housing Affordability and Human Happiness

Posted in Land Use, Residential

Some interesting things are emerging from the froth and churn being generated by the housing affordability crisis on Canada’s left coast.

For the first and probably last time since the dawn of civilization, on June 24th a public rally is being held to demand more economic and demographic data by those who want to know whether foreign buyers, vacant homes, speculation, geography or other factors are responsible.… Continue Reading

Charlie and the Foosball Table: A Lesson in Good Faith and ROFR

Posted in Litigation, Policy, Residential

On a recent hot summer-like day, my neighbours’ pre-school boy, Charlie (pseudonym), sauntered over the front lawn in his pajamas to peek into my garage. Charlie had his gaze fixed on the foosball table, once a crown jewel of my college days and now just collecting dust in a corner. Charlie asked in the sweetest manner “can I play with that”? Normally, this would not be an issue. However, in an attempt to preserve all of Charlie’s limbs until at least adolescence, I replied that he could play only after I had vacated the menacing and precariously-balanced machines surrounding the … Continue Reading