Header graphic for print
The Lay of the Land DEVELOPMENTS IN CANADIAN REAL PROPERTY LAW

Tag Archives: commercial

The Anti-Avoidance Blues: Does a Foreigner’s Title Nominee Share Purchase Constitute an “Avoidance Transaction”?

Posted in Property Tax Assessment

On August 2, 2016, the Province of British Columbia enacted amendments to the Property Transfer Tax Act (British Columbia) (the “Act”) which introduced a new 15% property transfer tax (colloquially referred to as the “foreign buyer tax”).  This tax currently applies when a foreign national or foreign corporation purchases residential property situated in the GVRD.  The amendments also include a new anti-avoidance rule applicable to the foreign buyer tax only.  This rule has yet to be considered by a Court, but on its face it may affect the ability of a foreign national or foreign corporation to safely avail itself … Continue Reading

Commercial Condo Purchaser Tips

Posted in Commercial, Residential

With the continued exponential growth in mixed use developments which often take the form of separate components subject to condo declarations and in many cases multiple condo declarations as between the residential and commercial components, buyers and mortgage lenders will consider additional factors during their due diligence and as part of future management of the various components.… 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

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

Integrity in Real Estate

Posted in Commercial, Policy

In response to various scandals and as part of a continued global anti-corruption effort, the Canadian federal government responded with a new set of rules around integrity in procurement practices as well as sanctions for breach including termination of supply agreements and banishment. … Continue Reading

Commercial Availability Rates in Montreal: Figures have never been this high in the past 10 years

Posted in Commercial, Municipal

On May 28, 2015, Newmark Knight Frank Devencore published its Real Estate Market Study for Spring/Summer 2015 and essentially noted that vacancy rates in downtown Montreal’s Class “A” and “B” office buildings continued to increase over the second half of 2014, establishing themselves at 8,6%, up from 8% at the beginning of 2014. Overall, Newmark Knight Frank Devencore has indicated that overall availability rates, which take into consideration the office space that may currently be occupied but is available for lease or sublet, have increased to 16%. … Continue Reading

Covenants to Insure

Posted in Municipal

In most commercial leases, the landlord and tenant obligate themselves to obtain policies of insurance against certain risks.  This often includes, for the landlord, property insurance for the building and boiler equipment, liability and property policies for the landlord’s operations in the building, and coverage for loss of rental income, and, for the tenant, commercial general liability insurance, insurance for its property within the premises, and business interruption insurance.

Such obligations to obtain insurance are usually referred to as “covenants to insure”.  But what is their legal effect?  

In short, a covenant to insure precludes the party obligating itself to … Continue Reading

Proposed Amendments to Alberta’s Condominium Property Act

Posted in Commercial, Construction, Policy, Residential

On May 6, 2014 amendments to Alberta’s Condominium Property Act were introduced into the Alberta Legislature.  The Act establishes the framework for the development, sale, and governance of both residential and commercial condominiums located in Alberta and outlines the duties and responsibilities of developers, owners, buyers and boards.  The proposed amendments are designed to bring the Act, originally introduced in the 1960s, more in-line with the modern realities of Alberta’s growing condominium industry – currently, there are more than 8,000 condominium corporations registered in Alberta and condominiums account for over 20% of homes sold annually in Alberta.

More than 50 … Continue Reading

Restrictions on Foreign Investment in Alberta

Posted in Municipal

Building on Michael’s post from last week, another issue facing foreign investors in the Canadian real estate market are restrictions on the acquisition and ownership of land in the Prairie Provinces.

Alberta’s Foreign Ownership of Land Regulations (the “Regulations”) restrict foreign acquisition of interests in mainly rural land by the establishment of a scheme of controlled and uncontrolled land. Controlled land typically refers to farm land and ranches – the Regulations provide that controlled land means land in Alberta, excluding Crown land, land within the boundaries of a city, town, new town, village or summer village, and … Continue Reading

Dealing with Non-Resident Companies

Posted in Litigation, Municipal

In a topsy-turvy world, the relative strength and stability of Canada’s economy continues to attract foreign investment, including our commercial and residential real estate sectors.

Since it may not always be advantageous for foreign companies to incorporate a Canadian entity, Canadian businesses are more likely today than ever to have dealings with non-resident companies, whether as buyers, sellers, landlords, tenants or financiers.

Transacting with a foreign company raises a host of issues that need to be thought about. To illustrate just one, consider a situation where a Canadian landlord wants to enforce a covenant in a lease – say a … Continue Reading

Municipal Taxes – Vacant Unit Rebate Applications (Ontario)

Posted in Commercial

What is the test to meet in Ontario when only a portion of a commercial building is vacant?  Does the space have to be separated by walls?  Does it have to be empty?  Not necessarily on both counts.  It all depends on the facts and, a word of advice, take photos to document the vacant state.

Vacant unit rebate applications for the 2013 tax year are due February 28, 2014.  The vacant unit rebate program is found under Section 364 of the Municipal Act, 2001, S.O. 2001, c.25 and Section 331 of the City of Toronto Act, … Continue Reading

Playing Fair (or not) when Determining Fair Market Value

Posted in Commercial, Litigation

When parties are unable to establish the future value of property in an agreement – for example, options to purchase or lease renewal options – they typically agree that the transaction will be based on the property’s fair market value (“FMV”) at the time, then set out a process for determining FMV should they fail to see eye-to-eye on what’s “fair” when the time comes.

Such provisions, which range from simple to very complex, often involve appraisal of the property by an accredited real estate appraiser – in other words, someone who will be neutral and knows what he or … Continue Reading

Dealing with a Flagrant Trespass: How to Protect Your Property Rights in Canada

Posted in Commercial, Land Use, Policy

Property rights are “sacrosanct” in Canada… or at least that is what courts tell us. The practical reality is somewhat different. This was highlighted a recent incident in Calgary where a landlord had her home declared an “embassy” by a tenant who refused to vacate. The situation made headlines across the country. The incident brought attention to the rise of freemen-on-land, a group whose legal tactics are summarized in Meads v. Meads, 2012 ABQB 571. However, the incident was also emblematic of a problem that can arise for any commercial landlord or property owner in Canada: how to … 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