Are you curious about real estate law in BC? The legislation governing British Columbia’s purchase, use, and transfer of real property is known as real estate law.
“Real property” is best defined as land and everything permanently linked to it, including vacant land and houses, flats, and other permanent structures. Buying and selling properties and applications to redevelop a specific building or set of frames are the most typical sorts of real estate transactions. Relationships between lenders and tenants are also covered by real estate law.
Each province has its own land titles system for dealing with real estate. The Land Titles Department serves as a permanent, govt, searchable registration for all commercial real estate holdings in the province. A person does not legally “own” real property if it is documented with the Land Titles Office and given a Certificate of Title.
Real estate transactions
In BC, all jurisdictions may have their separate municipal law governing the sales and purchase of any property.
In hot markets like Vancouver and Victoria, a lot of homebuyers make a lot of money. But there are also horror stories. Some people just follow their Realtor and don’t get legal advice. They end up buying a condominium that has serious legal problems attached to it. Or maybe they get involved with foreclosures, and then have to hire a lawyer to go to court for them.
Another common issue is that people don’t know about the property transfer tax, because their Realtor doesn’t tell them.
Real Estate Law In BC Primary Sources
Real estate laws come under provincial control under Canada’s federal constitution. Each region in Canada has its own legislation governing ownership arrangements, usage, purchases and sales, lending, and assets such as real estate. The majority of Canada’s provinces, as well as the three northern territories, have identical rules. The civil law authority of Canada is an exception.
Common-law interpretation is an essential part of real estate law in British Columbia’s common-law jurisdictions, including all states and territories except Quebec. In fact, in common-law provinces of Canada, several property investment common-law concepts have been formalized in legislation. The Civil Code (comparable to those used in most continental European nations) is the primary source of law in BC; however, case law addresses difficulties that arise after the Civil Code is applied.
In BC, international law does not play a substantial role in real estate law. International accords are, nevertheless, infrequently incorporated in British Columbia real estate law. Foreign court rulings are influential in BC under specific circumstances.
Real estate law
A real estate lawyer can assist with researching for liens, creating a purchase agreement, or reviewing the disclosure statement (or making sure there is one.)
Many people don’t realize how complex the Land Title Act is, or how tough the landowner transparency registry can be to deal with.
There was a recent case where someone on Vancouver Island ended up buying a property with an easement on it. There’s another person who got into a fight over ownership of land.
Important Legal Subjects for Investors
An investor wants to know that the property’s worth and revenue supply will be preserved over time. An investor will investigate if the land is affected either by registered or unregistered contracts and whether the property is free of secret obligations that might affect its usage and value. To assess the present and anticipated applications of the land, relevant zoning/land-use regulations should be studied.
Transfer-tax issues are becoming increasingly important in commercial real estate sales in most jurisdictions.
Many people don’t hire a property lawyer in BC, instead, they just work with a notary public. But a notary public doesn’t offer legal advice.
Below are a few ways that a real estate lawyer can assist you:
- Providing legal advice during real estate development projects
- Giving legal advice regarding the Real Estate Services Act
- Helping you purchase or sell residential real estate (advice only)
- Creating or reviewing a contract or purchase or a disclaimer
- Applying for some type of exemption (like for municipal taxes)
- Make sure you get all your first-time buyer benefits
- Manufactured home disputes
- Dealing with GST disputes with the CRA (this would be a tax lawyer)
- Setting up a power of attorney document
- Disputes with strata lots under the Strata Property Act
- Making a complaint with the Real Estate Association
- Dealing with the BC Financial Services Authority
Foreign Investors’ Legal Restrictions
The Competition Act and the Investment Canada Act, both at the national level, require notification to and examination by the federal government in specific cases concerning non-resident purchases. The federal Citizenship Act also allows each state to implement legislation prohibiting non-residents from owning real estate.
Most provinces and territories have made efforts to protect agricultural or non-urban property, and some have set limits on the quantity of farmland possessed by non-residents. Non-Canadian businesses must get an additional license or submit specific procedures to hold real estate in several states and territories.
Zoning and Planning
Land-use development is the responsibility of provincial governments (except on federal properties), although most zoning and planning tasks are delegated to municipalities. The majority of real estate control is done through zoning and construction by-laws.
Laws Applicable to Design, Appearance, and Method of Construction
Municipal by-laws regulate nearly all aspects of land use, the nature of buildings thereon, and the size and intensity of land development. Permits to build are required for construction and additions/alterations to buildings.
Building permit costs are often calculated depending on the planned building’s floor area or value, as well as the kind and usage of the structure. Housing materials, ventilating and air conditioning systems, power components, water and sewage systems, firefighting, access, and inspections are all governed by building laws, licensing requirements, and code norms.
The National Building Code of Canada has broadly been adopted by the municipalities of many states, leading to a trend toward building regulation uniformity. Regulations may restrict the redevelopment of a building with any kind of heritage value. To develop specialized urban areas, additional approvals pertaining based on design may be required.
Rent/Lease Or Mortgage Law
Excluding the Civil Code, which restricts the length to 100 years, rentals and lease agreements are freely flexible. A variety of interim measures were implemented in reaction to the coronavirus epidemic for residential as well as commercial leasing.
Mortgage lenders often take both main and secondary security in real estate and similar assets. A high ratio mortgage or charge registered in the land office, a debenture comprising a fee on real property, or, in certain cases where over than one landowner is engaged, a trust deed attempting to secure mortgage bonds or debentures even including a particular agent over real property are examples of typical primary security.
Real Estate Law In BC
Transfers of leases and rents, standard security arrangements for private possessions, and personal guarantees are all examples of collateral security. Declaration of collateral security is usually recorded in the relevant state’s individual property registry system.
CERS was superseded on 23 October 2021 by the Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program (THRP) and the Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program (HHBRP), which will last till 7 May 2022. The THRP and HHBRP give subsidies for eligible rent expenditures up to an additional 75 percent and 50 percent, correspondingly, for the very first five 28-day eligible periods (24 October 2021 to 12 March 2022) (up to CAD56,250 (THRP) and CAD37,500 (HHBRP) per property).
Multi-location organizations are entitled to a total of CAD750,000 each eligibility period under its THRP and CAD500,000 under HHBRP. The highest subsidy amount for THRP and HHBRP drops to 37.5 percent and 25%, accordingly, during the final two 28-day eligibility periods (13 March 2022 to 7 May 2022).
In BC, what law covers real estate?
Because the Canadian Constitution provides provinces power over properties, most real estate laws are passed at the regional (and city) level. The Land Stewardship Act, the Mines and Minerals Act, the Public Lands Act, the Land Titles Act, and the Law of Property Act are only a few real estate statutes that states will have. A Residential Tenancies Act will apply to all regions, regulating tenancies inside the state.
When someone gets into a legal dispute of property, they might find this property law confusing and may lose their private equity due to a lack of knowledge. So you would need legal advice from the top law firm in BC for the best dispute resolution in your favour.