B.C. Opens to the Door to Housing

Reforms to Strata Restrictions

Published on March 3rd, 2023

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Three days after David Eby took office as British Columbia’s Premier on November 18, 2022, he announced sweeping reforms to rental restrictions in strata properties through Bill 44, which received Royal Assent and went into effect on November 24, 2022.

Bill 44 was designed to address the province’s housing shortage and indirectly lower rental rates. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in B.C. was $2,163 in February 2023 (Rental.ca). High rents and low supply are especially difficult for students and job seekers unable to relocate for educational or employment opportunities. 

The B.C. government’s new legislation overrides certain strata restrictions related to rentals, pets, and the age of residents.

  • Pets: Bill 44 makes it easier for people with active or retired guide/service dogs to obtain housing.
  • Age: Strata corporations can no longer pass bylaws restricting the age of residents to an arbitrary number (e.g., 19-plus); the only valid age restriction is now 55-plus except for live-in caregivers.
  • Rentals: All strata rental-restriction bylaws are invalid except for those related to short-term rentals (typically a month or less). Strata corporations must not screen tenants, require the approval of tenants, or require the insertion of terms in tenancy agreements.

For complete details, view Bill 44.

Housing Supply

Canada has fallen behind in building adequate housing. The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation report: Canada’s Housing Supply Shortage: Restoring affordability by 2030 concludes that based on current construction rates, this country will add 19 million new units by 2030, but that represents a shortfall of 3.5 million units.

Limited supply puts upward pressure on housing prices. While that may benefit landlords and property sellers, it has negative affects on society: 

  • Fewer homes mean higher property taxes per household to support infrastructure. 
  • High rents make it difficult for families and low-income earners to save for a downpayment and, if they do, high housing prices and interest rates may put mortgages out of reach. 
  • Families that cannot afford to own a home cannot build equity, a stable home, and future wealth for their children.
  • Educated, skilled workers may decide to move to other countries.

In particular, Bill 44 aims to create more rental opportunities by overriding the strata rules that prevent condominium owners from renting rooms or their entire suites. 

Just prior to the implementation of the new legislation, the B.C. Government stated, “In areas where government has data through the Speculation and Vacancy Tax, there are approximately 2,900 empty condos that cannot be rented out because strata rules prevent them from renting out their condo, and government expects there are more empty units in strata buildings in other parts of the province” (BC Gov News).

Tips on Renting 

Rental income is a welcome form of passive income; however, it is important to reduce the risks.

 1. Screen potential renters

Landlords should have potential renters complete an application listing their name(s), employer, previous landlords and references then verify the information. Landlords can request a signed authorization to conduct a credit check. 

 2. Identity Theft

There have been instances of renters assuming a landlord’s identity then selling the property. Owners should always have title insurance, take precautions with their mail, and regularly check on the property.

 3. Clarity

The written tenancy agreement should specify the length of the rental period, whether pets are permitted (and if so, the breed, size and number of pets), and the names of all the renters to avoid unwanted subleasing.

 4. Safety

Property owners should ensure that smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working order and the kitchen has a fire extinguisher. 

 5. Damage

Prior to move-in, the landlord should create an inventory with photographs of the property, its condition, and any furniture, then together walk through the property so the renter(s) can review and initial each item on the inventory. Although normal wear and tear is expected during a rental, this offers protection in the event of damage or theft.

 6. Insurance

Landlords should notify their insurance provider that they are renting all or some of their property. 

 7. Review Tenancy Laws

The B.C. government has tenancy laws that govern most types of rental agreements.  Visit the provincial government’s website for up-to-date information on agreements, deposits, etc. 


BC Gov News. November 2022. “New premier delivers action to expand housing supply within first days.” https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2022PREM0065-001745#:~:text=In%20areas%20where%20government%20has,other%20parts%20of%20the%20province

BC Laws. Accessed February 2023. “Bill 44 – 2022 Building and Strata Statutes Amendment Act, 2022.” https://www.bclaws.gov.bc.ca/civix/document/id/bills/billsprevious/3rd42nd:gov44-3.

Rentals.ca. Accessed February 2023. “February 2023 Rent Report.” https://rentals.ca/national-rent-report

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