Comparing Provincial Party Housing Platforms

October 16, 2020

Below is a comparison of the three main party’s platforms’ impact on real estate and housing.

COVID-19 Economic Recovery

Green

  • Allocate $300 million to create a six-month rent subsidy program for small businesses.

Liberal

  • Eliminate the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) for one year and then set it at three per cent for subsequent years.
  • Permanently eliminate the Small Business Income Tax.
  • Implement a short-term commercial rent relief that flows directly to tenants.

NDP

  • A one-time $1,000 direct deposit to families ($500 for individuals) whose household income is under $125,000 annually ($62,000 for individuals).
  • A 15 per cent refundable tax credit for small and medium-sized businesses based on eligible new payroll.

Rental Housing

Green

  • Close the gap between affordable rent and what renters are actually paying.
  • Provide a means-tested grant that applies to low- and moderate-income earners who are paying more than 30 per cent of their income in rent.

Liberal

  • Create a new residential property sub-class for rental housing of three or more units.
  • Change BC Assessment practices to ensure rental properties are no longer valued based on the highest and best use, but rather on actual rental use.

NDP

  • Freeze rental rates to the end of 2021. After 2021, permanently limit rent increases to the rate of inflation.
  • Provide an ongoing income-tested renter’s rebate of $400 per year for households earning up to $80,000 annually that are not already receiving other rental support.
  • Provide new rent supplements for residents of supportive housing ready to move on to independent living.
  • Ensure no net loss of rental units in real estate redevelopment projects.
  • Ensure prompt and effective resolutions of tenancy disputes.

Market Housing Affordability

Green

  • Close loopholes in the Speculation and Vacancy Tax that allow many foreign owners and satellite families to be exempt.

Liberal

  • Work with municipalities to review the current property tax structure to incent affordable housing development, prevent speculation and drive affordable rental housing.
  • Develop tax-relief measures to help people hurt by COVID-19 economic impacts to keep their homes.
  • Replace the Speculation and Vacancy Tax with a condo-flipping capital gains tax.
  • Implement higher property taxes for non-residents of Canada.

NDP

  • Eliminate outdated parking minimums in projects close to public transit.
  • Develop a single-window provincial permitting process.
  • Work with local governments to streamline the approval process.

Strata Insurance

Green

  • Convene a taskforce to deal with the rising cost of strata insurance to develop solutions as soon as the BC Financial Services Authority finished their investigation. The taskforce should include insurance brokers, insurers and strata owners

Liberal

  • Encourage and facilitate self-insurance models for stratas.
  • Eliminate the practice of “best-terms” pricing.
  • Reduce statutorily-required insurance for strata properties from full replacement value to a level in line with actual claims cost history.
  • Modernize the BC Building Code to address strata insurance premiums.

NDP

  • Continue with the BC Financial Services Authorities’ investigation to bring down strata insurance costs. If rates have not been corrected by the end of 2021, develop a public strata insurance option, similar to Saskatchewan.

Housing Supply

Green

  • Expand supports for co-op housing through extending leases for existing co-ops about to expire, create a land bank for new co-ops and provide security of tenure for co-ops on leased land.
  • Work with local governments to expand the “missing middle,” such as townhouses and triplexes.

Liberal

  • Establish an incentive fund for municipalities with housing policies that enable demonstrable increases in the construction and supply of new housing.
  • Implement tax and permitting changes to boost housing supply, including rental and market housing, to increase choice and improve affordability for British Columbians.
  • Require reviews of Official Community Plans every five years and require zoning bylaws be updated to reflect changes to the plan within one year after adoption.
  • Allow the waiving of hearings for Official Community Plan compliant projects.
  • Support zoning reform to provide inclusionary zoning and to ensure the Residential Rental Tenure Zoning tool cannot be used to devalue and downsize property.
  • Use provincial and municipal land for affordable housing.
  • Reduce delays in building-permit approvals and new homeowner costs.
  • Improve the municipal development approval process, based on best practices.
  • Strengthen and enforce Regional Growth Strategy targets so they are robust and effective.
  • Provide provincial funding to create a digital tracking tool to allow municipalities and applicants to track the progress of individual applicants and identify roadblocks.

NDP

  • Continue with the 10-year housing plan to provide 114,000 new, affordable homes.
  • Continue rolling out the Homes for BC plan.
  • Deliver the remaining units in the previous $550 million commitment for on- and off-reserve housing for Indigenous people, while pressuring the federal government to do its share.

Energy Efficiency

Green

  • Enact Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE)-enabling legislation.
  • Work with industry partners to enhance the Clean BC Better Homes, Better Buildings program by:
    • increasing the short-term incentives offered to stimulate retrofits,
    • accelerating the requirements of the building code and efficiency requirements of equipment, and
    • partnering with colleges, technical institutes and private organizations to develop training programs to expand employment in green retrofit space.

Liberal

  • Encourage the retrofitting of homes and businesses.
  • Modernize the BC Building Code to address energy efficiency.

NDP

  • Increase programs and incentives for both residential and commercial buildings, including PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing that allows homeowners to take out loans for efficiency upgrades and pay them back over time through annual property taxes.
  • Require REALTORS® to provide energy efficiency information on listed homes.
  • Empower local governments to set their own carbon pollution performance standards for new buildings.

Wildfire and Flood Protection

Green

  • Provide $100 million over four years to fund climate adaptation initiatives.
  • Protect communities from wildfires and flooding through landscape level, ecologically-centred, forest management and fuel treatment projects.

Liberal

  • Reduce the impact of climate-related disasters like wildfires and floods.

Agricultural Properties

Green

  • Make food production and food security part of the Agricultural Land Commission’s mandate.
  • Restrict and regulate foreign ownership of Agricultural Land Reserve land.

Liberal

  • Implement reforms to the Agricultural Land Commission to allow more opportunities for secondary residences.

To learn more, read the NDPGreen and Liberal platforms.

You can find help on questions to ask candidates over the phone, through door-to-door campaigning, or in virtual all-candidates meetings here.

Find out voting information, including how to vote by mail, here.

To see BCREA’s election asks, visit bchousingaffordability.ca.

To subscribe to receive BCREA publications, or to update your email address or current subscriptions, click here.

Source: Matt Mayers

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