In 2024, several policies impacting buyers, sellers, renters and real estate professionals in Canada will come into effect. Below you will find a breakdown of new and updated industry and consumer policies that may affect both your business and your clients.
REALTOR® Cooperation Policy
CREA (Canadian Real Estate Association)’s newly-effective REALTOR® Cooperation Policy, created by the Realtor Code’s Duty of Cooperation (Article 30), aims to enhance professionalism and collaboration across the industry. The policy mandates Realtors to list residential properties on an MLS® (Multiple Listing Service) within three days of public marketing, excluding direct communication with affiliated parties. Sellers must also be informed of the benefits of MLS marketing, with written confirmation required if they choose otherwise.
Penalties: Enforced by local boards, penalties for non-compliance include license suspension and access restrictions:
- Suspending, restricting or terminating a realtor’s license to use and display CREA’s trademarks (for example, REALTOR® or MLS®)
- Suspending, restricting or terminating a realtor’s access to CREA services including such things as CREA WEBForms®, the REALTOR.ca DDF® and REALTOR.ca
- Imposing any other restrictions that CREA determines is appropriate
Exemptions: The policy excludes new construction, commercial properties and rentals.
You can read more about this policy on CREA’s website here.
Short-term Rental Restrictions
In November, 2023, the Government of Canada unveiled its 2023 Fall Economic Statement, which details new tax, spending and inventory-boosting measures. This includes new efforts to incentivise short-term rental operators to return properties to the long-term housing market. Going forward, income tax deductions will be denied in cases where short-term rental owners are not compliant with provincial or municipal licensing, permitting or registration requirements. This applies to all expenses incurred on or after January 1st, 2024.
You can read more details from the 2023 Fall Economic Statement here.
Prohibition on the Purchase of Residential Property by Non-Canadians Act (Foreign Buyer Ban)
In addition to the new federal legislation above, the Prohibition on the Purchase of Residential Property by Non-Canadians Act, otherwise known as the Foreign Buyer Ban, was introduced last year and remains in effect until December 31, 2024.
You can find more details about this policy here.
New Short-term Rental Housing By-laws
In late 2023, the provincial government introduced the Short-Term Rental Accommodations Act which imposes stricter regulations and enforcement on short-term rental housing. As of May 1st, 2024, the Act will require short-term rental hosts to display a valid business licence number on their listing in regions where a licence is required by the local government. Short-term rentals will be limited to the host’s principal residence, plus one secondary suite or accessory dwelling unit, in select communities.
Additionally, protections for ‘non-conforming use of property’ will no longer apply to short-term rentals. Later in the year, the British Columbia government will implement a short-term rental registry, and require rental platforms to share data with the Province.
Expanded Speculation and Vacancy Tax
The province has expanded its existing speculation and vacancy tax laws to 13 new communities, including Penticton, Courtenay and Kamloops. Homeowners in applicable regions will be required to declare how they used their property in 2024 for the first time in January, 2025.
Introduced in 2018, the speculation and vacancy tax is 2% for individuals who don’t pay the majority of their taxes in Canada, or 0.5% for Canadian citizens or permanent residents who pay the majority of their taxes in the country.
Updated Zoning Rules
New zoning laws are under consideration to deliver more small-scale, multi-unit housing across British Columbia. Under the proposed legislation, one secondary suite or one laneway home will be permitted in all communities throughout the province. In most areas within municipalities of more than 5,000 people, by-laws will also be adapted to allow three to four units on lots currently zoned exclusively for single-family or duplex residential, and permit six units on larger lots close to transit stops with frequent service.
Additionally, the new zoning rules would require municipalities to update community plans and zoning by-laws on a regular basis to ensure that there is enough housing for current and future residents. Changes to zoning by-laws will roll out across 2024.