An Update On The BC Tenant Protection Changes

On March 25, 2020, the BC government announced that renters would not be evicted if they could not pay rent due to the COVID-19 crisis. It also introduced a Temporary Rental Supplement (TRS) to help renters pay their rent. 

Last month, it partially lifted the ban on residential rental evictions, but maintained the moratorium on rent increases and evictions for non-payment of rent. 

The government has also extended the TRS program that was supposed to end in June, to the end of August. The rental supplements of $300-$500 are paid directly to the landlords. 

Between April 9, 2020 and June 15, 2020,  BC Housing received more than 90.000 applications for the temporary rent supplement, and nearly 82,500 eligible applications were confirmed. 

On July 2, 2020, the following tenancy laws came into effect:  

A landlord can now issue a Notice to End Tenancy for any reason (other than unpaid or late payment rent). Landlords with existing orders for eviction can now take them to the courts for enforcement and can enforce a writ order effective immediately. Landlords can enter a rental suite with 24 hours notice and do not need the tenant’s consent. They are expected to follow health guidelines like physical distancing, cleaning and wearing masks when appropriate. 

The change also allows for personal service of documents to resume, rather than via email. The landlords’ ability to restrict access to common spaces for COVID-19 related health reasons remains. 

A tenant who has not paid rent could face eviction once the state of emergency is over. 

If you require more information regarding this issue or any other developments that have taken place recently, please contact us or call us on 604 913 1000. Our real estate professional advisors will be only too pleased to be of assistance. 

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If You Have Investment Properties Earning Rent – You Must Read This

 If You Have Investment Properties Earning Rent – You Must Read This 

As COVID-19 makes its way through our lives and the economy like a hurricane sweeping over land, it leaves nothing untouched. Its has also affected rents. Cities like Vancouver and Toronto are seeing rent reduction rates that would have been unheard of at the beginning of the year. 

While rents in some Canadian cities have declined a bit or even risen slightly in the last few months, the cities of Vancouver and Toronto, homes of the priciest rental market in the country, have seen rents falling fast because of the pandemic. 

Last week, posted figures showing that compared to a year ago, rents in Metro Vancouver are down by about 9%.  The average rent demanded for a 2 bedroom apartment in Metro Vancouver had dropped by almost $450 to $2,478 a month. 

Reasons for rental declines: 

Flood of new rental inventory has hit the market   

In the pre COVID-19 economy, real estate investors with a portfolio of homes would be renting them out on the short-term rental market. They would be making more money renting out homes for days or weeks, than they would with traditional long-term leases. But now with the lockdown and restrictions on movement across borders and regions, the short-term market has virtually dried up overnight.  

This has made some owners seriously think about selling their investment properties, while others are being forced into the long-term rental market, adding much needed supply to the tight rental markets that the Lower Mainland has been experiencing for the longest time. 

New home owners stuck with 2 homes 

Some homeowners bought a new home before the lockdown and have yet to sell the old one. They are in a bind as this is no longer in a seller’s market and selling has become much more difficult. An option they face is to rent out the home that is for sale, bringing in some much needed funds, while they wait and hope for prices to rise again. 

Decline in international students 

The lockdown has forced a ban on international travel. Many universities are contemplating on line education that will not require international students to be physically on campus. Canada has over 300,000 international students per year studying at its institutes of higher learning. Their absence will be noticed and make a noticeable impact on rental properties and the economy. 

Decline in seasonal workers and visitors

Canada will have less immigration, fewer international students and, with the border closed for the foreseeable future, not nearly as many seasonal and part-time workers. All typically are renters. 

Tighter borders provincially and internationally means landlords who once offered costly short-term rentals, like those on Airbnb, have been hit hard in attractive cities like ours, whose economies rely more than most on the traveller. Former airbnb properties are now being marketed as long-term rentals. 

More rental units built ready for occupation

The dire rental-housing situation that Vancouver has faced over the last few years, has prompted the municipal and provincial governments to push for an increase in the construction and availability of purpose built rental units. Many of these building which were on the drawing board a 2-3 years ago, are now fully constructed and inviting tenants to rent. This has further increased the inventory of rental units available in the region. 

Home buyers are buying homes today for potential move-in dates 30, 60, or 90 days from now. If you are contemplating a move, contact us. We have the experience, tools and know how, to navigate this uncertain market.  

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Take Heed Of Your Property Tax Assessment – There Could Be Some Savings Here

On January 1, 2017 property assessments became available on the BC Assessment website. And as expected, the increases in property values are substantial: values were calculated as at July 2016 when local real estate prices were at their peak. 

The main issue here is that your property value has risen and you are facing a higher than normal property tax rate hike. 

It is important to note that a sharp increase in your property value does not necessarily indicate a proportional property tax hike; it’s relative to how much your property appreciated compared to others in the same municipality. 

In view of this year’s higher assessments, the Provincial government just announced an increase in the Home Owner Grant threshold from $1.2million to $1.6million, in an effort to assist homeowners whose property values and taxes have increased substantially. 

Since July 2016, prices in some neighbourhoods have marginally declined while others have not.  There are a number of homeowners who strongly disagree with their assessments. If you are one of them should you file an appeal? 

You have until January 31 to appeal your property assessment.  Before you do, consider the following: 

  • There are 2 arguments for appeal: either that the assessed market value of your property is too high based on comparable sales, or that you were unfairly assessed in comparison to your neighbors. 
  • There is not a straightforward correlation between your property taxes and your property value  – the important factor here is how your property fared relative to others in your property class and local taxing jurisdiction. 
  • An appeal could work against you as a second review of your property may reveal that you were initially under assessed. 

If your property value went up 30% or 40% don’t panic. It does not mean that your property tax will increase by that much. What matters is how much your value appreciated relative to other homes in your municipality. 

If you are unsure on how to handle the recent dramatic rise in your property value and whether you should appeal or not, we have experts who can advise you as to the best course of action. Contact us on 604 695 1000, email us or visit our offices on 1280 West Pender St. 

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REGBV Report April 2019 – The Trend of Reduced Demand And Increased Supply Still Prevails In The Market.

The latest Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REGBV) report on the April 2019 real estate market, shows that buyers are reluctant to get into the market and sellers are being forced to be creative. Product that is staying on the market for more than a month is seeing discounts that were unheard of 2 years ago. For a decade it has been a sellers market. This has changed.

Residential property sales totalled 1,829 in April 2019, a 29.1% decrease from the 1,829 sales recorded in April 2018 and a 5.9% increase from the 1,727 homes sold in March 2019.

“Government policy continues to hinder home sale activity. The federal government’s mortgage stress test has reduced buyers’ purchasing power by about 20 per cent, which is causing people at the entry-level side of the market to struggle to secure financing.. Suppressing housing activity through government policy not only reduces home sales, it harms the job market, economic growth and creates pent-up demand.” Ashley Smith the REBGV President said. She added,” “There are more homes for sale in our market today than we’ve seen since October 2014. This trend is more about reduced demand than increased supply. The number of new listings coming on the market each month is consistent with our long-term averages. It’s the reduced sales activity that’s allowing listings to accumulate.”

The total number of properties listed on MLS system in Metro Vancouver in April was 14,357  – a 46.2% increase compared to the 9,822 properties listed in April 2018, and a 12.4% increase compared to the 12,744 properties listed in March 2019.

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,008,400. This represents an 8.5 per cent decrease over April 2018, and a 0.3 per cent decrease compared to March 2019.

The all-important sales-to-active listings ratio for April 2019 was 12.7%. The general rule of thumb is that there is downward pressure on home prices when the ratio dips below 12%, and upward pressure on home prices when the ratio surpasses 20% over several months.

April 2019 Sales Stats:

Detached properties                       586                  (807 – April 2018)

Apartments                              885                  (1,308 – April 2018)

Attached properties                        358                  (464 – April 2018)

Click here to obtain a full report.

In these market conditions, you need to work with a real estate company that has the experience and know how on getting you the right home. Contact us and let one of our real estate professionals obtain the best results for you.

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REBGV Market Update May 2019 – Modest Bounce In May, But Sales Remain Below Historical Averages

The latest report released by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) showed that sales in May 2019 crossed the 2,000 units sold for the first time this year.

However, homebuyer demand remains below historical averages.

“High home prices and mortgage qualification issues caused by the federal government’s B20 stress test remain significant factors behind the reduced demand that the market is experiencing today” remarked Ashley Smith, REBGV president.

Home Sales

Residential home sales totaled 2,638 in May 2019, a 6.9% decrease from 2,833 sales recorded in May 2018 and a 44% increase from homes sold in April 2019. Last month’s sales were 22.9% below the 10 year May sales average. This was the lowest total for the month since 2000.

Detached homes – 913 sales in May 2019 – 926 sales in May 2018

Apartments – 1,246 sales in May 2019 – 1,431 sales in May 2018

Attached homes – 479 sales in May 2019 – 476 sales in May 2018

Benchmark price of all residential homes $1,006,400 in May 2019.

New Listings

There were 5,861 new listings for May on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This represents an 8.1% decrease compared to the 6,35 homes listed in May 2018 and a 2.1% increase compared to the 5,724 homes newly listed in April 2019.

Total Listings

The number of listed homes across Metro Vancouver also edged upward 2.3% between April and May, to 14,685, marking the highest number of properties for sale in the region since September 2014. In April 2019 there were 14,357 listings and in May 2018 there were 11,292 home listings.

Sales-To-Active Listings ratio

This ratio explains the relationship between supply and demand that influences price. When the ratio is around or below 12% for a sustained period, then there is downward pressure on prices, and when it is above 20% for a sustained period, there is upward pressure.

Detached homes – 14.2%

Townhomes – 20%

Condominiums – 12%

If you are looking to get into this market before prices start escalating, we are offering a wide range of homes suitable for any budget. Visit our website and browse our wide range of listings.

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