Legally Speaking

A Whole Lot to Know About the Land Owner Transparency Act #533

On November 30, 2020, the Land Owner Transparency Act1 (LOTA) came into effect, and with it, the Land Owner Transparency Registry (LOTR). Now, with every change in title to a property in British Columbia, a transparency declaration must be filed with the Land Title and Survey Authority of British Columbia (LTSA). Individuals acquiring an interest

Powers of Attorney Can Be Tricky #532

Licensees must be aware of the challenges that exist when representing someone who claims to have the legal right to act on behalf of a property owner on the basis of a power of attorney. Is the power of attorney valid? Was it properly executed? Does it empower the attorney to deal with real property?

Beyond Your Expertise: When to Recommend Clients Get Legal Advice #531

The Question I am asked for advice from licensees on potential claims daily. They often describe a scenario involving complex matters beyond the expertise of a licensee, such as taxes, structural issues/defects or complicated legal questions, like whether a contract alive or dead? They want to know what they should do and what they should

Knowing the Rules May Not Be Enough #529

A recent discipline decision from the Real Estate Council of BC (Council) illustrates how important it is for licensees to be aware of and follow Council guidelines and their interpretations, which can be found in newsletters, notices, articles, and answers to Frequently Asked Questions, all readily available on Council’s website. In this decision,1 a couple

Suing for Unpaid Deposits #527

Generally speaking, if a buyer breaches a contract for the purchase of real estate and the seller accepts the buyer’s refusal to perform the contract (as known as “repudiation”), an innocent seller is entitled to retain the deposit paid by the buyer under a contract of purchase and sale. But what happens when a buyer

Necessity is the Mother of Invention #526

The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected many parts of our society and economy – including the real estate industry. Terms many of us hadn’t heard of just three months ago – social distancing, self-isolation, lockdown, and Zoom conferencing – are now as common as, “What’s for lunch?” Buying real estate, particularly in a caveat emptor

Protect Your Clients and Reduce Claims Risks During COVID-19 #525

These are unprecedented times with the arrival of COVID-19. We have all heard that many times and it’s true for all industries, including real estate. Although the market has slowed down, there will still be deals made and deals completed. There will also still be claims made against licensees. For the most part, these claims

Collapsing Deals: A Refresher on the Common Law Principles #524

The current situation with COVID-19 has led to daily changes in the way we live our lives and conduct our business. The rapid changes and daily announcements have led to a lot of uncertainty and questions. In periods of flux, whether economic, political or social, we often see a greater number of collapsing real estate

Strata Termination Update #521

A year ago in Legally Speaking No. 509, I described two Supreme Court of British Columbia cases that addressed whether a strata corporation must first pass an 80% vote (sometimes called a “winding-up resolution”) before strata council may list the whole complex for sale with a brokerage or enter a contract to sell the entire

When Cooperatives Become Uncooperative #520

When we think of residential occupation, our minds turn to fee simple ownership, strata property ownership or maybe rental occupation. A lesser known but growing form of housing is cooperative housing under the Cooperative Association Act SBC 1999 c.28 (“Act”). Unlike strata ownership, members of a cooperative do not own a specific unit. Members of

Back-Up Offers: There’s a Clause for That #519

Roughly twice a year my heart stops when a claim comes to my attention. Why? Because a licensee reports that the seller has sold the property twice! Naturally, the seller is upset. They only have one property to sell and two buyers demanding it.  In these instances, the seller typically accepts an offer for the

Strata Parking May Get Simpler #518

In its newest report (the “Report”), the British Columbia Law Institute’s formidable committee of strata experts (the “Committee”) recommends more changes to the Strata Property Act (the “Act”). If adopted, these changes will make it easier for a REALTOR® to confirm how strata parking is designated. 1 Background Depending on the circumstances, a strata parking

The First Law of Holes #517

Will Rogers defined the first law of holes as follows: “When you find yourself in a hole; stop digging.” A recent discipline decision of the Real Estate Council of British Columbia1 suggests the licensee involved should have taken Mr. Rogers’ advice. The licensee acted as the designated agent of the seller in the sale of

Pitfalls in Transactions Involving Strata Condominiums #516

A recent Civil Resolution Tribunal decision1 highlights some important practice points for licensees in transactions involving strata condominiums. The buyer of a strata condominium claimed against the seller’s agent in misrepresentation and false advertising arising from the description of the building as having a “fully rainscreened exterior” in the MLS® listing. The buyer was surprised

Liability For Strata Insurance Deductibles #515

Many strata owners do not know they may be personally liable to reimburse their strata corporation for its insurance deductible, the portion of the loss the insured must pay in an insurance claim, which can be many thousands of dollars. The British Columbia Law Institute’s formidable committee of strata experts (the “Committee”) recently recommended changes

Death at a Property Revisited #514

In 2007, a man was murdered outside the gates of his Shaughnessy home. The murder, described by the police as a targeted killing, remains unsolved. The victim lived in the home with his wife and two children. The property was owned by his mother-in-law, who resided in China. One of his daughters attended a private