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Municipalities may soon be able to zone for rental developments only

Click to play video: 'NDP to crack down on real estate tax evasion' NDP to crack down on real estate tax evasion
The NDP government has introduced legislation it says will crack down on tax evasion associated with flipping condos. Keith Baldrey has the details – Apr 24, 2018

The B.C. government has introduced legislation that would allow municipalities to zone areas for rental developments only. Local governments currently do not have the ability to create that type of zoning.

The way it would work is that undeveloped land that is zoned for rental would have to be developed with rental properties. The local government will have the control over how many rental homes are needed on the land. The bill, if passed, would also allow local governments to make sure existing rentals cannot be redeveloped for another use.

READ MORE: City of Vancouver proposes rental-only zones, new rental czar to ease housing crunch

“There is a shortage of rental homes in British Columbia,” said Housing Minister Selina Robinson. “The steps we are taking today will both help local governments track the needs of their communities, and give them a powerful tool to deliver homes people can afford in the communities where they work, go to school and raise their families.”

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Municipalities would have to let developers know in advance what percentage of the development is required to be set aside for rentals. The zoning authority will be optional.

The province also introduced legislation on Tuesday that would make it mandatory for real estate developers to collect and report information on the pre-sale of condos and pre-sale condo contract assignments, to combat tax fraud. If the legislation is passed, developers would be required to include terms in contracts to inform buyers of the new collection and reporting requirements.

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“For too long, people who resell condos before they have been built have been inflating real estate prices, without necessarily paying taxes on their gains,” said Finance Minister Carole James. “We are making it fairer for people who want to buy a condo, by making sure those who flip pre-sale condos are paying their fair share.”

The Planning Institute of BC says it will be closely watching the effects of the changes. Director Carole Jolly said she has one concern in particular.

“When local governments apply this legislation and utilize it a variety of housing types are important and so ghettoization is something to be mindful of in making sure that doesn’t become one of the outcomes.”

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But she says overall, from a planner’s point of view, the legislation would be a positive step in trying to tackle housing affordability.

-With files from Michelle Morton

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