May 2012
Connections (May 2012)
Connections: Advocacy News from the British Columbia Real Estate Association – May 2012 
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  Disclosing and Remediating Properties Used in Drug Operations

REALTORS®, real estate boards and BCREA believe the provincial government needs to take a leadership role to develop centralized, consistent processes for disclosure of property history information and for remediation of buildings used in drug operations.

Potential homebuyers and renters, and the professionals who assist them, have to navigate a maze of local government requirements, policies and bylaws to learn about the properties they consider when choosing homes. This patchwork approach results in a lack of integrity in the housing stock, and reduced confidence in the housing market.

BCREA is advancing its position on drug operations in several ways:

  • In April, REALTORS® from around the province met with their MLAs to put these recommendations forward, and the response was positive.
  • In May, the Association participated in the real estate community’s Quality of Life Symposium in Winnipeg, as part of a panel presentation on various approaches on drug operations in Alberta, Ontario and BC.
  • In June, BCREA will submit a proposal to the Union of BC Municipalities for a workshop on drug operations for the 2012 UBCM Convention in Victoria.
 Solving Strata Disputes

Early in May, Minister of Justice Shirley Bond introduced the Civil Resolution Tribunal Act—at last, the alternative dispute resolution mechanism that has been in the works for the past couple of years.

The basic model has been in use in other areas for some time, and is deemed effective. This particular tribunal will make considerable use of the Internet to make information available and encourage the prevention and self-resolution of disputes. While the tribunal will have jurisdiction over small claims disputes (to a maximum value of $25,000) and strata disputes on a wide variety of issues, matters affecting land, and some other issues, will continue to be heard in the Supreme Court.

BCREA looks forward to clarity on several points, but agrees with the government’s approach to the tribunal—particularly the principles of using resources appropriately and early resolution, or prevention of disputes. The Association is pleased to see some of its suggestions incorporated into the legislation; specifically, a self-funding model, performance measurement and reasonably swift implementation (it’s expected to be in operation by 2014).

More information

 Moving Toward the PST

Following on the February announcement of transitional rules, in May Minister of Finance Kevin Falcon introduced legislation to implement the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) and relief measures for the new housing market.

  • Bill 45: Income Tax Amendment Act, 2012 – Provides for the BC First-Time New Home Buyers’ Bonus, a one-time refundable income tax credit (to a maximum of $10,000) for first-time homebuyers who purchase newly-constructed homes. More information, including application forms, is available online.
  • Bill 54: Provincial Sales Tax Act – Reinstates the PST, as of April 1, 2013, essentially as it was before implementation of the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), though the language of the new legislation is more straightforward and some administrative improvements are evident. Most exemptions will be included in regulations, which are expected in fall 2012.
  • Bill 56: New Housing Transition Tax and Rebate Act – Implements the temporary 2% transitional tax, which will apply to newly-built homes where construction begins before April 1, 2013, but ownership and possession transfer after that date; also reinforces the promise that the 7% provincial portion of the HST (after April 1, 2013, known as the PST) will not apply to new homes—and never applied to resale homes.
  • Enhanced BC HST New Housing Rebate – The province has increased the threshold to $850,000 from $525,000 for new housing used as a primary residence where HST is payable between April 1, 2012 and April 1, 2013 (maximum rebate: $42,500). More information, including applications forms, is available online.
  • Grant for New Secondary or Recreational Residences – Effective April 1, 2012, a grant of up to $42,500 for the provincial component of the HST is available for buyers of newly-constructed secondary homes outside of the Greater Vancouver and Capital Regional Districts, between April 1, 2012 and April 1, 2013. More information, including application forms, is available online.
 Contact Us

Where do you stand on the public policy issues addressed in this issue of Connections? Contact BCREA at [email protected] with your comments about these issues, or to update us on your organization’s successes. For more information about BCREA’s public policy positions, visit

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