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Bill 35 - Impact on Strata Corporations

February 23, 2024
Bill 35 - Impact on Strata Corporations

Bill 35 – Impact on Strata Corporations

In October 2023, Bill 35, otherwise known as the Short-Term Rental Accommodations Act, was passed in British Columbia by Minister of Housing Ravi Kahlon. The intended purpose of Bill 35 is to ban investment properties from being rented out for any period under 90 days, in an effort to create more rental housing throughout the Province.

The new legislation has been met with both criticism and praise. But what does it all mean for strata corporations in BC?

If your strata corporation already has short-term accommodation bylaws (for instance, anything shorter than 90 days), Bill 35 will have essentially no impact on you.

Bill 35 will only impact strata corporations without such bylaws, and ultimately it will not have a large impact on the strata corporation; rather, it will have an impact on strata lot Owners themselves.

Let’s break down Bill 35:

Part 1 - Interpretation and Application

Bill 35 defines a ‘short-term rental accommodation service’ as:

“The service of accommodation in the property of a property host, in exchange for a fee, that is provided to members of the public for a period of time of less than 90 consecutive days or another prescribed period, if any, but does not include a prescribed accommodation service”

What does this mean for your strata corporation?

If you have a strata bylaw that pertains to short-term accommodations or rentals, stratas should check that the wording used is in accordance with this definition.

Part 2 - Registration

This requires all property owners that still choose to offer short-term rentals to be registered. A short-term rental registry is anticipated to be launched in 2024.

What does this mean for your strata corporation?

This does not impact the strata corporation and only affects the strata lot Owner(s).

Part 3 – Specific Requirements and Related Matters

Section 13 states that a short-term rental offer must include the following:

(a) if a business licence requirement applies, the valid business licence number;

(b) the valid registration number;

(c) any prescribed information

Section 17 puts responsibility on Platform Service Providers such as AirBnB by issuing a number of requirements on them including but not limited to: having a platform representative, confirming the validity of host’s registration numbers, and record, maintain and disclose information about supplier hosts to the minister records.

What does this mean for your strata corporation?

This does not impact the strata corporation and only affects the strata lot Owner(s) who need to be aware of these requirements.

Part 4 – Compliance and Enforcement

Division 1 - Director, states the minister’s right to appoint a director under the Public Service Act. The director, according to Section 22, will be able to conduct any investigations to ensure compliance with Bill 35 and its subsequent regulations.

What does this mean for your strata corporation?

The strata corporation may now potentially have additional measures of action that could be taken in the event an owner is acting in contravention to their bylaws and Bill 35.

Andrew Fenton, President of The Wynford Group, shared their thoughts on Bill 35:  

“When short-term accommodation websites such as AirbnB and VRBO started to become popular, I remember stratas rushing to put bylaws in place. Unfortunately, even with a bylaw the biggest challenge was enforcement. I so often see volunteer strata council members spending hours in the CRT simply trying to enforce the bylaws that were approved by the Owners. I hope Bill 35 provides our clients with more effective and efficient enforcement measures.”

With Bill 35 being such new legislation, only the future will tell if it results in the intended effect on rental housing stock in BC. Strata corporations that are proactive, conduct their due diligence and consult with professionals such as their property management company or strata lawyer will be well-positioned to tackle the future challenges and opportunities that may come with Bill 35.

Owners are reminded that if they are looking to rent out their strata unit as a short-term accommodation, be sure to check the Bylaws first, and then review how Bill 35 may also have an impact.

Please note that this blog is written for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute a legal opinion. It is strongly recommended that your strata corporation consult with your management company or a strata lawyer if you require further assistance.