More stratas moving to 55+ in response to B.C. rental changes

In response to recent B.C. government changes requiring buildings to accept renters, stratas are increasingly voting to make a move to a 55-plus requirement.

However, some have concerns about what this means for young renters who often already have a tough time finding housing.

Delta councillor Dylan Kruger says he has no problem with buildings that were originally built as 55-plus but worries if too many stratas vote to change their buildings to fit that category, that will have knock-on effects.

“I do get concerned that, as an apparent loophole in this legislation, we might actually be losing some good rental housing for tenants. So that’s something that I’m certainly concerned about and will be raising with my provincial representative,” he told CityNews.

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Kruger says he worries the strata changes could leave some younger families looking to rent on the outside looking in.

“I don’t think it jives with the intention of the legislation. We’re trying to create more rental opportunities for people. And I think the message the province is trying to send is that housing should be for everyone. We shouldn’t be creating exclusionary situations based on age or income. And I think that’s actually the unintended consequence of what’s happening here,” he said.

Tony Gioventu with the Condominium Home Owners Association of BC says about five to 10 stratas are meeting every week to discuss this change.

“I’m just encouraging everybody to think about the implications down the road. It takes a three-quarters vote to pass them, to undo them or amend them takes a three-quarters vote. And that may be more difficult to achieve,” he said.

But Gioventu suggests even if many stratas implement a 55+ requirement, the buildings have not generally been the source of affordable rental stock for families.

“By doing this, all we may be doing is displacing people to other forms of housing. But what we really need are affordable housing units for families in this province and strata housing is not the solution,” he explained.

“It just isn’t affordable for the average family to spend $2,500 or $3,000 a month for a rental.”

Young renters won’t be impacted by age restrictions, B.C. government says

In response to concerns raised by some about the impact on young renters, the province is encouraging people to avoid the rushed adoption of new bylaws.

In a statement to CityNews, the B.C. Ministry of Housing says a 55-plus requirement in stratas would not be extended to younger tenants already living there.

“Some people mistakenly believe that over 55+ stratas will also be able to ban rentals. If a bylaw did change to 55+, younger residents currently residing in the strata lot could be exempted (i.e., they could continue living there and be exempt from the new bylaw),” the ministry said in an email.

“The amendments to the Strata Property Act do not exempt the future children of current residents from a bylaw that the strata corporation may pass.”

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Despite the affirmation from the province, Kruger says the legislation should serve as a motivator for younger tenants to get involved on their strata councils.

“Strata councils need voices of young families on them, and typically, that’s not the type of person that enters onto a Strata council,” he said. “It’s a good thing to have a mix of incomes and ages in a strata situation based on my experiences. It’s a good thing for the liveliness of your community.”

Some realtors have also suggested a change to 55+ could reduce the value of units in those buildings.

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