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Young families protected if stratas change age rules

Rental restriction bylaws have already been banned in strata corporations formed since Jan. 1, 2010. The latest change extended the ban on rental restrictions to stratas formed before that date.
The province says several hundred strata corporations already moved to adopt 55-plus age-restrictions bylaws. Sandor Gyarmati/Delta Optimist

It should be a relief for younger people living in strata developments.

The provincial government this week announced further changes to the Strata Property Regulation to ensure that people living in stratas with 55-plus age restrictions will be able to stay in their homes, even if their family structure changes.

Taking effect immediately, the amendment expands the list of exemptions to 55-and-over bylaws in strata buildings to include future children, dependents and spouses or partners of current residents. It will also create an exemption to permit adult children or former dependents of current residents to move back home with their parents or former caregivers.

Delta Coun. Dylan Kruger said he was pleased that the province listened to feedback and amended the regulation, noting ageist restrictions were hurting owners that bought property in good faith and looking to grow their families.

Kruger earlier this year said he was concerned a situation would arise in which younger people, who don’t have children, purchased a unit in a complex and would be subsequently told to leave if their circumstances change.

In a letter to Premier David Eby on behalf of council, Mayor George Harvie asked the government to ensure that adequate protections were in place for strata owners and their families.

His letter noted some Delta strata councils have reportedly already started the process of switching to become 55-plus residential complexes in response to the province’s legislative amendments to ban them from prohibiting rentals.

Last November, Bill 44 was introduced, the Building and Strata Statutes Amendment Act, 2022. It brought changes to the Strata Property Act including to previous rental and age restriction bylaws.

It meant that if a strata corporation had a bylaw that sets any restrictions or limitations on rentals, it was no longer enforceable. The new rules apply to all strata lots in B.C. including bare land developments.

Only age restriction bylaws of 55-and-over that apply to occupancy were still enforceable.

While the age restriction does not prohibit older people from renting in 55-plus complexes, it does leave out younger people.

A Delta staff report to council noted that if a strata council is considering a 55-plus age restricting bylaw, there must be a three-quarter vote of approval for the bylaw. Younger residents may oppose such a bylaw since it may negatively impact them in the future.

If a 55-plus age restricting bylaw were to be adopted, younger residents currently residing in the strata lot would be exempted.

The legislation was less clear whether any new resident in the same unit, such as new partners or children, would also be exempt from age-restriction bylaws, and that had been the subject of considerable concern for some strata unit owners, the report noted.

Delta North MLA Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing, this week said starting a family is a big decision and big change for many people, and that shouldn’t come with the risk of people losing their home.