December 13, 2015 10:55 pm
Updated: August 5, 2016 4:36 pm

Change to Strata Property Act paving the way for old condo buyouts


Michelle Renaud had no intention of leaving her 570-square-foot apartment in Vancouver’s West End.

Then she—and everyone else in her building—was offered double the value of the property.

“Absolutely felt like I hit the jackpot. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I don’t think you’re going to find another property where someone is going to come along and give you double what it’s worth,” she said.

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“I wasn’t planning on [moving], but how do you turn that down? When somebody’s going to offer you double, it’s a pretty significant offer.”

The building on 1060 Barclay Street, Barclay Manor, will be purchased by Bosa Properties, who plan on tearing down the seven-storey apartment and replacing it with a highrise.

Bosa made the offer shortly after a change to British Columbia’s Strata Property Act was passed by the government this fall. Whereas stratas used to require unanimous agreement of owners for a building to be sold, it now requires 80 per cent approval.

“It’s very good. It means the small minority can’t hold out,” said Tony Gioventu, executive director for the Condominium Home Owners’ Association of B.C.

“If you take an existing building, and it can be converted from 12 units to 100 units because of a high rise, it significantly increases in value. What might be selling for $285,000, a developer might come along and offer you $450,000 or $500,000. It could be a significant windfall.”

Gioventu says such moves could become common in the West End, where many apartments are over 30 years old and would require extensive upgrades in the decades ahead.

“A lot of these buildings weren’t really built with the intention of lasting more than 50 years. It’s kind of a time cycle issue. They need new elevators, new [roofing], new decks and balconies, so the question is what’s the best value for the property.”

But Gioventu believes the tactic will take hold throughout Metro Vancouver.

“Wherever you have transit or high density or pressure for high density is where we’re going to see people using it…We’re looking at higher density for the Lower Mainland because we’re running out of space.”

READ MORE: Landmark deals in the Vancouver real estate market due to land assembly sales

All sales have to be approved by a court, which has to agree all parties are getting a fair deal, and one resident of Barclay Manor—who did not want to appear on camera—said the prospect of losing their home was devastating.

As for Renaud? She’s looking forward to finding a new home.

“It’s been great living here, but I just think it’s an opportunity you can’t pass up.”

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