Speculation and Vacancy Tax Effective January 1, 2019
Starting in 2019, owners of residential properties in specific regions of BC may be subject to the new provincial speculation and vacancy tax.
This tax, designed to prevent housing speculation and help turn vacant and underutilized properties into homes for people who live and work in BC, is payable by owners of residential property in designated taxable regions. The tax rate varies depending on the owner’s tax residency and whether the owner is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, or a member of a satellite family. More than 99% of British Columbians are expected to be exempt from the tax. In particular, most B.C. home owners who live in a designated taxable region will not have to pay the tax because they either live in their home or they rent out their property.
Residential properties in one of these geographic areas may be taxable:
- municipalities within the Capital Regional District
- municipalities within the Metro Vancouver Regional District, excluding Bowen Island, the Village of Lions Bay and Electoral area A, but including UBC and the University Endowment Lands
- the City of Abbotsford
- the District of Mission
- the City of Chilliwack
- the City of Kelowna and the City of West Kelowna
- the City of Nanaimo and the District of Lantzville
Owners of residential properties in the taxable regions will receive more information in 2019 about the tax, including how to complete an annual declaration to claim any relevant exemptions.
Best Practices for Licensees
RECBC recommends that licensees advise their clients to seek independent professional advice to determine if a property may be subject to the speculation and vacancy tax.
More Information Ahead
Look for more information in 2019 from RECBC on what licensees need to know about the speculation and vacancy tax. A webinar, part of the Professional Matters webinar series for managing brokers, will be announced in early 2019.
Have Your Say: Open Consultations
Public Consultation on Changes to Stratas
The British Columbia Law Institute (BCLI) is seeking public input on recommendations to reform aspects of how strata properties are defined as interests in land. The recommendations focus on issue relating to:
- Common property
- Land titles
- Changes such as voting thresholds for amending a strata plan, amending a schedule to a strata plan, and amalgamating strata corporations.
The full consultation paper, a summary consultation, a response booklet, a backgrounder, and a link to the survey are all available online. The consultation is open until February 28, 2019.
Public Engagement on Money Laundering in Real Estate
The Expert Panel on Money Laundering wants to hear from members of the public about their concerns regarding money laundering in the BC real estate market. The Expert Panel was appointed by the BC Government, following the release of independent reports that found evidence that BC’s housing market may be vulnerable to criminals looking to launder money.
You can participate until Thursday January 31, 2019 at 4 p.m. by:
- emailing or
- anonymously submitting your comments online
You can learn more on the BC Government’s website.
Council Meeting Highlights
At its November 6, 2018 meeting, Council Chair Elain Duvall welcomed new Council members Karen Ameyaw, Yasin Amlani, Marianne Bond, Blaire Chisholm, Magdaline Chan and Ruth Hanson to their first meeting. During the meeting, the Council received reports concerning:
- Work in progress on consumer awareness videos relating to the new disclosure forms and changes to agency rules effective June 15, 2018;
- Information gathering underway in relation to the introduction of the new rules and preparation of a requested report to the Superintendent of Real Estate concerning the first 90 Days of the rules;
- An operations update regarding progress towards RECBC’s 3-year service plan objectives;
- Discipline and complaints resolution;
- An update on work in progress relating to the new discipline penalty regime; and
- Process improvements to streamline resolution of legal files.
Motions at the meeting included:
- Approval of updated terms of reference for Council committees;
- Appointments to the Real Estate Errors and Omissions Insurance Corporation; and
- Approval of budgets for the 2019 Applied Practice and Legal Update courses
Relicensing Education Program Reminders in 2019
In the coming year, licensees can expect changes in the frequency and timing of the reminders that they will receive from RECBC about relicensing education requirements.
We know that as busy professionals, you receive a lot of email. That’s why we’ve decided to reduce the number of reminders that you will receive from us about the mandatory courses you must complete to satisfy the Relicensing Education Program requirements. But because it is crucial that all licensees complete their required courses before applying for relicensing, we’ll be sending reminders earlier, to give everyone ample notice.
Beginning in 2019, here’s what you can expect:
- one year reminder: halfway through the two-year licensing cycle, we’ll send each licensee a reminder about the mandatory education that must be completed.
- four month reminder: four months ahead of the licence expiry date, we’ll send another reminder. If there are any outstanding education requirements that haven’t been completed, this is the time to act!
- six-week licence renewal notice: six weeks before licence expiry, every licensee receives notification to complete and submit their relicensing application. Proof of completion of all relicensing education requirements must be submitted along with the application, or the application cannot be processed. Managing brokers receive a copy of this reminder.
We strongly recommend that licensees register for a Legal Update course at least 8 weeks in advance of their licence expiry date, to ensure they have ample time to complete the course and submit their licence renewal application.
Find out more about Relicensing Education Program requirements on the RECBC website.