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David's thoughts on anything real estate related


As a landlord, you may run into problems with your tenants.  Therefore, it’s important to know the BC laws around tenancy and eviction. 


The first kind of eviction you may be eligible to impose upon your tenant is a 10 day eviction.  You may provide your tenant with a notice of this kind if they do not pay rent on time, or in full. Upon receiving a 10 day eviction notice, your tenant has 5 days to pay.  If your tenant neglects to pay utility fees, you may impose a 10-day eviction notice, ONLY after giving them 30 days of written notice demanding payment. 


The next, and less urgent form of eviction notice is a 30 day notice.  You may provide your tenants with a notice of this kind for many reasons.  A few of the most common are as follows. 

  • they are unreasonably disturbing you

  • Repeatedly pay their rent late

  • Seriously damage the property

  • Have too many occupants - *I want to point out here that  if your tenancy agreement does NOT specify how people can live in the unit, you are entitled to impose an eviction notice if you feel as though your tenants have moved in an unreasonable number of roommates. 


If your tenant feels as though they have received a one month eviction notice unlawfully, they have 10 days to dispute the eviction.  


By the same token, if you feel as though your tenants are causing serious problems, you may ask the RTB for permission to evict individuals before the one-month notice is set to take effect - and you are NOT required to warn them.  If you decide to go down this route, you are required to provide your tenants with a notice of the hearing so they can prepare evidence for their defense. 


Moving along, you can provide your tenants with a two month eviction notice. According to sections 49 and 49.1 of the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA), you may impose a two month eviction notice if you or a close family member wants to occupy the rental unit, the unit was sold to the purchaser, or your tenant no longer qualifies. Your tenant has 15 days to dispute this notice. 


Finally, it may be the case that you impose an eviction of four months. This may be done if you decide to demolish the unit, convert the property to strata lots, convert the residential property into cooperative housing, convert the unit for use by a caretaker, manager, or superintendent of the residential property, or convert the unit to non-residential use. Your tenant is entitled to 30 days if they would like to apply for a dispute resolution hearing.


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The majority of strata Annual General Meetings are coming up over the next few months presenting an ideal opportunity for strata lot owners to verify that their home owner insurance policy water deductible coverage matches that of the strata corporation's master building policy and if not advise their insurance broker immediately. 


The BC Strata Property Act requires that any AGM Notice includes a copy of the strata corporation's insurance policy summary. This summary page will include a notation on what the building’s current water deductible amount is. Depending on any resultant water damage claims filed in the past policy year and the extent of damage, this deductible amount can increase to a staggering amount from the previous year. It is not uncommon for strata's today to have a deductible in the $50,000 to $100,000 range from the days of when they were $5,000 to $25,000. 

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT TO YOU AS A STRATA OWNER?

Deductible assessment coverage is an additional coverage that has become increasingly important in light of the increasing cost and frequency of resultant water damage claims. For example, if the building is damaged due to a water leak, the strata corporation would generally file a water damage claim with its own insurance company. Section 158 of the Strata Property Act states that the insurance deductible in respect of a claim is a common expense, but the strata corporation may sue an owner in order to recover the deductible portion of an insurance claim if the owner is responsible for the loss or damage that gave rise to the claim. Two landmark BC court decisions in 2007 determined that the strata corporation need not prove negligence in order to determine owners' responsibility. A strata corporation may sue a strata lot owner to recover the insurance deductible even though the owner was not negligent and merely caused or brought about the events that resulted in the damage.


To remove ambiguity and potentially save on future legal expenses, some strata corporations have passed bylaws that clarify that owners are strictly liable for damage to common property that originates in their units.

CONCLUSION

It is therefore important that all strata owners review the building policy and advise their insurance broker of the building deductible amounts to ensure their unit policy includes sufficient coverage for all building deductibles including water damage. This information is included in the insurance summary report within the NOTICE of Annual General Meeting that strata corporations are required to provide strata lot owners prior to the Annual General Meeting. Some strata buildings due to frequent or a single extensive resultant water damage claim are now facing water damage deductibles of $50,000 to $100,000.

ADDITIONAL COVERAGE FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

Additional coverage riders available to strata unit owners that are well worth considering are:


  - Increased unit improvements and betterments coverage insures upgrades to the unit a

  - Loss assessment coverage typically pays the owner's share to cover major property and liability losses on common property that may exceed the strata corporation's policy limits.

  - Request your insurance broker to advise you of any other additional riders that you should consider.


SOURCE: Insurance Brokers Association of BC

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We are living in an age where the thirst to look wealthy is making us broke.


As Morgan Housel writes in The Psychology of Money, “people measure their well-being against their peers (and) people are more keenly aware of how other people live than ever before.” This digital world drives our consumerism; tempting us to want the next best thing, and to want it now. And unfortunately, living in the most expensive North American city is only adding fuel to the fire. Those with a foot in the ‘far from modest’ Vancouver real estate market are using their home equity as a reason to continue living beyond their means; further hindering their ability to build wealth. 


Together, Vancouverites have billions of dollars worth of home value that they could, if desired, grab from. Through home equity loans, home equity lines of credit, and cash-out refinancing, lenders are keen to help many do just that. This is an attractive option to home owners as rates are often lower than other kinds of borrowing, and the interest may be deductible. Unfortunately, many are not ensuring they have access to equity in the case of an emergency. If you can’t pay back the loan, you’re vulnerable to foreclosure and can lose your home. Yikes!

Psychologically, the thought of having a home to use as a piggy bank provides a sense of security that fuels one to accumulate debt. Unfortunately, we can see the harmful effects from binging on home equity debt by looking at the catastrophic effects of 2008. As Morgan Housel puts it, “history is just one damned thing after another.” 


In order to curb this phenomenon, it’s important to learn to live within your means. Invest early, invest often, and follow a budget that works for your lifestyle. If you’re concerned about your debts, ability to pay off a mortgage, or anything in the realm of personal finance, it’s very useful to talk to a trusted financial professional. My wife happens to work as an Insurance Agent and Mutual Fund Representative here in Vancouver.  Feel free to schedule a free financial needs analysis with her HERE


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