What are Rental Restrictions?

02.02.2016

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Rental restrictions in condos is a topic that has come up often in the last few years. Many younger buyers are looking for the flexibility to rent out their condo should their lifestyle change, while the number of investors looking to buy in Vancouver hasn’t slowed down.

A lot of condo buildings in the city have rental restrictions in their Bylaws, which stipulates various rules regarding potential rentals in the building. There are a few different types of rental restrictions (and different restrictions can be used in combination), so if having the potential to rent your unit is important to you, make sure you read the Bylaws with a fine toothed comb. Buildings instil rental restrictions in order to keep the building secure (otherwise keys can be given out to any number of people), clean (it’s a general thought that owners care more for the building) and quiet (owners will care more about their neighbour’s well being).

 

Types of Rental Restrictions

Rental Restrictions can limit the number of rental unit allowed in a building, and can do seen in a number of ways

  • No rentals at any time (to dismay investors)
  • Only a certain number of units in the building can be rented at one time
  • Owners must live in the building for a certain period of time prior to being allowed to rent their unit (this ensures the owner buys with the intent to live in the unit, but still offers some flexibility for the future)
  • Leases are restricted to certain lengths of time, for example at least or at most 1 year
  • No short term rentals allowed (to dismay Air BnB or vacation rentals)
  • No rental restrictions! As long as landlords submit proper documentation to the Strata, you can rent your unit at any time

Typically, and this is by no means a blanket statement, newer condo buildings allow rentals without any restrictions, whereas many older buildings in the city are limited in the number of rentals they allow.

It is more common for buildings to have some kind of a restriction on rentals, so looking for a condo that allows rentals can limit the number of options you’ll have when buying a home.

Rental Wait Lists

If a building has already “maxed out” it’s number of rentals (for buildings that restrict rentals to a certain number allowed in the building at one time), owners can be put on a Wait List that comes into play as soon as a new rental spot opens up. At that point, the first person on the list typically has a month or two to rent out their unit, otherwise the rental ability drops down to the next person on the list. Keep in mind that a lot of owners put themselves on the wait list just in case they want to be able to rent their unit (since those spots don’t come up too often), so even though there may be 5 people on the wait list ahead of you, they may choose not to rent their unit when their chance comes.

At the end of the day, if a building has “maxed out” their rentals, there is NO guarantee that you’ll be able to rent the unit when you need too.

Notes on Rental Restrictions in Vancouver

There are a few interesting details about rental restrictions that you should know…

– Buying from the Developer typically allows the Buyer to circumvent rental restrictions. A term in the Developer’s Contract called the “Rental Disclosure” stipulates the length of time (usually 100 years) in which the Buyer will be able to circumvent any rental restrictions instituted by the strata, thus allowing the Buyer to always be allowed to rent the unit. This key point is why a lot of investors focus on buying pre-sale condos (they will always be allowed to rent). If this “Rental Disclosure” was dated after January 1, 2010, this rental allowance is passed on to every forthcoming Buyer in the building until the date the “Rental Disclosure” expires.

– Rental Restrictions can change in a building with a 75% approval vote from the Owners. These changes can make the rental restrictions more strict, or often, more open to rentals. These changes are usually voted on at the AGM’s, though a Special General Meeting can be called with notice to all Owners. You’ll know that the Strata is considering a change to the rental restrictions by reading through the minutes.

– Most older condo buildings have strict rental restrictions or do not allow rentals. These rules have carried over from the 1970’s and 1980’s when the ability to rent wasn’t as big of an issue as it seems to be these days. As the older residents in these condo buildings move out, the new residents often look to change these restrictions.

– Owners can apply for a “Hardship” in order to rent out their unit despite restrictions that say that they aren’t allowed too. I have seen Hardships be approved for owners going through financial trouble (I have seen a Strata ask the Owner for proof of this financial trouble), for owners who were moved temporarily for a job, etc.

– Parents and Children never count towards rental restrictions, which means you are always allowed to buy a unit for your children to live in (or vice versa).

If rentals are important to you – let us know! This is something we’ll need to take into consideration in the search for your new home.

Let us know if you any any other questions on this topic, or anything else! We’re happy to help.

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