Lawyer Mark Weisleder has studied the subject in depth:
"I have now given over 30 seminars on the new Cannabis Act to real estate brokerages, real estate boards and landlord groups. I have interviewed medical cannabis users and growers and spoken to condominium lawyers and insurers. It seems to me that most are just fearing the worst, instead of just working towards common sense solutions that will benefit everyone. Here are 6 things you need to know:
1. Why do people have to grow Cannabis when they can buy it now legally?
The fact is that if you grow the Cannabis plant safely and economically, it can cost a fraction of the retail price of a gram of Cannabis. For those who have a medical prescription that requires several grams of Cannabis per day, growing can actually save thousands of dollars per year.
2. Can condominium boards ban the use or growing of Cannabis in a condominium building?
Lawyers will be paid a lot of money to ultimately decide this as a result of human rights and constitutional law issues. This has not stopped countless condominium boards from already implementing rules banning all smoking, grandfathering only those who smoked cigarettes before the rule, and banning any growing of any Cannabis plant. Other condominium boards are doing nothing right now, and will just step in if one unit owner starts smoking Cannabis and bothers their neighbours or damages the unit as a result of growing. This is similar to stepping in if you have wild parties in your unit and bother your neighbours.
3. How are condominium boards handling unit owners who have a medical prescription for Cannabis?
Here it gets interesting. The boards will permit someone who has a medical prescription to smoke or grow Cannabis provided that they ensure that all the smoke, odors and moisture generated is kept inside their unit, so as not to bother anyone in the hallways or in neighbouring units or damage the walls with mold.
4. Can you stop a tenant from smoking Cannabis or growing Cannabis plants?
Even though it is legal to smoke or grow Cannabis, you can include a clause in a lease to stop any tenant from smoking or growing Cannabis on the premises. This should be inserted into every lease. I have created these clauses that are available in my own Ontario Guide for Landlords. If the tenant then smokes, it will be easier to evict them. But you will still have to prove that the tenant is either bothering other tenants or damaging the property.
5. What is going on with the insurance industry?
Some insurers are threatening to cancel coverage if Cannabis plants are grown on the property. This is complete over reacting, since it ignores the fact that we are not talking about a grow house operation and Cannabis can be grown safely.
6. It is possible to smoke or grow Cannabis safely in an apartment or home without bothering a neighbour or damaging the property?
This is the key point. The answer is yes. If you smoke Cannabis using a vaping pen, you can virtually eliminate the smoke and odor. If you use a “bong”, which operates like a pipe when smoking tobacco, you reduce the odor when you inhale and if you use a device called a “smoke buddy” when you exhale, you again reduce the smoke and the odor. Supplementing this with air fresheners will also assist with eliminating the nuisance altogether. You can also now buy a special “grow tent” for about $500, that is 2 feet by 2 feet in width and about 5 feet high. It just plugs into the wall, absorbs the moisture from the plants and emits warm air into the apartment. No odors and no moisture if set up properly. You grow the plants 3 feet high, harvest them and then grow again.
As you can see, this is what the solution must be. Tenants should be able to smoke under the new law, but they must make sure they are doing it in a way that does not bother anyone else, and if they must have an actual marijuana cigarette, just go outside. And if you are going to grow any plant, be upfront, show the landlord how you are doing it safely and this should satisfy not only the landlord, but also any condominium board or insurer who have any concerns.
Maybe if you are over stressed about all of this, just take a puff and relax. It will all work out."
You may watch a video at https://youtu.be/rKrD6bK11GA
If you have any question on the Cannabis Act please contact me at 1-888-876-5529
Mark Weisleder is a Partner, author and speaker at the law firm Real Estate Lawyers.ca LLP. Contact him at email@example.com or toll free at 1-888-876-5529
Depending on which part of Canada you live in, 2019 is either a year to look forward to or one to dread.
Beginning with Toronto, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada’s President and CEO Brad Henderson expects more of the same next year, but with a caveat.
“There will be slower growth, but growth just the same, particularly since there’s a lack of product in the marketplace,” he told REP. “There’s going to continue being upward pressure on prices, but increased interest rates and mortgage stress testing has added headwinds to the lofty growth we saw in 2016 to 2017.”
Montreal will continue its ascendancy as the hottest market in the country—with perhaps the exception of Ottawa—but, like Toronto, there won’t be massive price growth.
“Montreal has continued being a healthy market with a good balance between supply and demand, and we’ll see growth with a number of transactions and modest upward pressure on price,” said Henderson.
The forecast for Vancouver, however, is not as auspicious as Canada’s two largest cities. Vancouver has suffered gales of difficulty lately, beginning with the B-20 mortgage stress test that’s similarly affecting Toronto. But with Vancouver, the NDP government increased the foreign buyer tax from 15% to 20% and it’s also introduced, even expanded, a speculation and vacancy tax.
“It’s expanded from the Greater Vancouver Area to include much of the Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island,” continued Henderson. “That market will continue to show very little activity when compared to the first part of ’16 and parts of ’17. We’ve seen considerable slowdown there and it will continue being sluggish with most players sitting on the sidelines.”
No matter which way you slice it, Alberta will be in tough through 2019. Calgary missing out on the Olympics, after a referendum revealed widespread opposition, might end up squeezing the city’s economy. However, Calgary’s economy is deeply tied to the oil and gas sector, and it has the city firmly planted in the doldrums. The federal government’s inability to get pipelines built has left the province with a glut of oil.
“What that does is deprive them of a less expensive way to get oil to the market,” said Henderson. “It’s another non-trivial headwind when compared with the price of oil and the fact that they didn’t get the Olympics. All of them together have delivered a number of blows to the marketplace.”
Indeed, the oil excess has become a major issue not just for Alberta but Canada. The province is producing more than it can get to market.
“The federal government hasn’t been able to get pipelines done and it’s really hurt the prospects of the Canadian economy,” said Shawn Stillman, principal broker of Mortgage Outlet. “That, along with the closing of GM in Oshawa—eventually there will not be a GM plant in Canada—and I can see the Canadian and U.S. economies taking downturns.”
by Neil Sharma
05 Dec 2018
A potent cocktail of pressures will drag down the Canadian residential market well into 2019, according to the latest Quarterly Financial Report new report by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
In the study covering the quarter ending September 2018, the CMHC stated that the trend shouldn’t be surprising, as the housing segment has already exhibited signs of cooling earlier this year.
“Taken together—tighter mortgage rules, rising interest rates and a slowing economy—are expected to underpin reduced demand for housing, resulting in slower price growth over the near term,” the report warned.
The national average MLS® price stood at $452,233 in the first 8 months of 2018, declining by 3.7% year-over-year. This marked the first decline in national prices since the 2009 recession.
This was made even more manifest in sales activity: MLS® transactions nationwide recorded a significant 11.7% annual slowdown from January to August this year, down to 327,206 units. Canadian housing starts during the same period remained flat at around 144,644 units.
And while the national economy is expected to benefit from a moderate pace for a prolonged duration, annual GDP growth will likely settle at 2% this year and 1.9% in 2019, “with the economy operating close to its potential rate,” the Crown corporation stated.
This economic robustness will also contribute to further interest rate growth, which in turn would propel debt service costs. The nationwide mortgage debt service ratio went up slightly to 6.5% in the second quarter of the year, compared to the 6.3% during the same time in 2017.
Further rate hikes imply “that an increasing share of household income would be required to service higher debt repayments,” according to the report, adding that “although debt levels remain elevated, these trends are expected to curb borrowing activity, while also reducing dependence on debt to fuel economic growth in Canada.”
By Ephraim Vecina
03 Dec 2018
The governing Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario renewed its pledge to increase rental housing in the provincial capital.
Speaking at the Ontario Realtor Party Conference, Premier Doug Ford reiterated his government’s intention to eliminate rent control in new builds, a key point from his government’s Housing Supply Action Plan. He specifically noted that rent control has put downward pressure on an already historically low vacancy rate, to the detriment of families.
“A Key part of our plan is getting new rental units built and getting more housing options on the market,” said Ford. “We will keep rent control in place for those who already have it, but we will reintroduce rent control exemptions for new units. This move will help families have a better chance of finding a good place to live that they can afford.”
While it remains to be seen whether or not exempting new builds from rent control will indeed increase rental supply, Toronto is desperate. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s Rental Market Report, released last week, revealed the city’s vacancy rate in October was 1.1%, a marginal increase on the 16-year low of 1% recorded last year.
“The rental market is still pretty tight,” said Jordan Nanowski, a CMHC senior market analyst. “We saw average rent increase 4.9% and people are staying put as a result. The turnover rate has decreased substantially from 14.5% to 11.2% because the average rent for vacant units are 18% higher than occupied units.”
Ford believes even more can be done to increase rental supply—although his government is still in consultations to figure out what else it will do.
“But we know we can do even more,” said Ford. “We need to cut the red tape that stops new buildings before shovels are even in the ground, or that discourages landlords looking to expand from creating new units… we need to cut red tape to make it easier to build the housing that’s needed, and we need to build faster.”
The CEO of the Ontario Real Estate Association, Tim Hudak—himself a former leader of the PC Party—welcomes the rent control amendment because he believes it will relieve pressure on available supply.
“More choice in the system will help keep rental costs under control and open up more housing choices for those trying to get out of mom and dad’s basement or get out of social housing,” he said. “Realtors also act for mom and pop investors who may invest in a condo or two and rent out for long-term income, so that’s good news for investors as well as tenants. Premier Ford pointed out that we have one of the tightest rental markets currently in North America. These measures will increase inventory and help give tenants, or prospective tenants, a lot more affordable choice.”
by Neil Sharma
03 Dec 2018
While Oshawa’s real estate market will be robust in the long run, it should expect a short-term downturn after news broke Sunday evening that General Motors is slashing as many as 2,500 jobs.
“The impact will be short lived,” said Dan Plowman, owner of Dan Plowman Team Realty Inc. “People can only freeze their buying and selling for so long—and people do freeze when they hear bad news. I remember in the ‘90s, there would be shutdowns and layoffs at the plant, and people, of course, froze. It’s terrible that the collective bargaining agreement is not being lived up to by General Motors, but I also believe our town today is not as reliant on General Motors for its work infrastructure. Oshawa is very commutable to the City of Toronto now.”
Realistically, auto manufacturing isn’t one of Oshawa’s top-three industries, so while the long-term impact of the GM plant shutting down will be negligible on the housing market, Plowman notes that the consumer psyche is fragile, and that’s enough for a temporal chill.
“Perception is reality and bad news obviously has an impact,” he said. “I believe that when people freeze—in other words, when they’re scared or uncertain—they tend to be more conservative, whether with retail shopping or purchasing cars, or even buying secondary properties, but it only last a little while. I say 60 to 90 days.”
Added Michael Dominguez, a sales representative with REMAX Jazz in Oshawa, and owner of company name is Doors to Wealth Group:
“There have been changes over the last 10 to 15 years where plants have shut down and where we’ve seen drops of 2,000-3,000 employees in one shot.The reality is that the Oshawa market has changed so much over the past generation or so that the automotive sector doesn’t represent one of the top three industries in our area. We’re fortunate we’ve been able to diversify.”
Dominguez has already fielded a few phone calls from worried investor clients, and not only does he tell them that there isn’t anything to worry about, there’s actually an opportunity to capitalize.
“I know of two deals that were conditional where people pulled out as a result of this, and I believe that for the next three to six months there’s going to be a lot of investors sitting on sidelines waiting to see what’s going to happen in marketplace,” said Dominguez. “My advice is to take advantage of this opportunity because many novice investors will sit and watch what happens.”
by Neil Sharma
28 Nov 2018
A major labour shortage in the construction industry is looming, and that could further hamper delivery of Ontario’s already constrained housing supply.
Ontario will need about 90,000 people in the next 10 years to fulfill trades jobs in the residential construction industry primarily because of retirements, and this past spring the shortage was noticeable across the province’s construction sites.
“The shortages have been going on already for three to five years and they are very real,” said Patrick McManus, chair of the Ontario Skilled Trades Alliance. “In our sector, we couldn’t find people in the spring of this past year and there tends to be a lot of people out there in the spring. We were already experiencing shortage at start of construction season and that’s something new that speaks to how far the shortage has pushed its way through industry. It’s quite concerning.”
The Residential Construction Council of Ontario and the Ontario Skilled Trades Alliance are in the process of surveying skilled trades workers in a bid to solve the industry’s impending labour shortage.
“It’s the largest survey ever done in Ontario of its kind, trying to get into retention issues in residential and related infrastructure trades,” said RESCON’s Vice President Andrew Pariser. “We partnered with George Brown’s Job Talks to take an academic approach to skilled trade issues, and they seriously questions the thoughts and feelings of why a tradesperson might enjoy, or might not enjoy, their job. One reason we picked them is they had done a federal study on trades like ironworkers and crane operators.”
Another one of the organizations’ goals is to raise the profile of trades jobs because, as Pariser says, people do not gravitate towards jobs they don’t know exist.
“We’re trying to bring more profile to lesser-known trades, as well,” he said.
With high-rise construction at an all-time high, elucidating the need for more workers in the sector, that could just as easily be the low-rise construction industry in a few years.
“What exacerbates it is residential construction is a lot of boom and bust,” said McManus. “High-rise is busy and needs trades there while low-rise is slowing down, but if it starts back up we’ll be starting at a lower point. We might not need a bricklayer tomorrow, but we might need them in two years, or four years, or five years. We have to take a long-term view. It’s about planning for the future and ensuring we are able to train people interested in construction.”
by Neil Sharma
November 22, 2018
Attempting to cement its place among the world’s great cities, Toronto’s ambitious Quayside project is under fire over privacy concerns.
The “smart city” being developed by Waterfront Toronto and Sidewalk Labs, a company under the Alphabet Inc. umbrella, has been described as a neighbourhood being built “from the internet up.” To be spread over 12 acres on Toronto’s waterfront, which is being redeveloped in what has become the largest infrastructure project on the continent, Quayside has drawn the ire of everyone from activists to technology researchers, who cite fears of covert data gathering .
Ann Covoukian, a prominent privacy expert, resigned last month from the project because she doesn’t believe enough is being done to address residents’ privacy concerns. Initially told that any data collected would be discarded, Cavoukian subsequently learned that third parties could, and probably would, access and mine the information.
“I imagined us creating a Smart City of Privacy, as opposed to a Smart City of Surveillance,” Cavoukian wrote in her resignation letter, reports Global News.
In an op-ed, BlackBerry CEO Jim Balsillie described Quayside as “a colonizing experiment in surveillance capitalism attempting to bulldoze important urban, civic and political issues.”
Balsillie took particular umbrage with Waterfront Toronto, which he wrote “continues to weaponize ambiguity while making irreversible decisions that will have major negative effects on all Canadians,” before then asking, “Is this how we want our cities and the future of our country managed?”
A Waterfront Toronto board member as well as two digital advisers also resigned months ago, with yet more threatening to leave if change is not forthcoming.
Saadia Muzaffar, a leading technologist and founder of TechGirls, resigned from Waterfront Toronto’s Digital Strategy Advisory Panel last month because she believes it is writ large that the project’s operators are ignoring residents’ privacy concerns.
According to her resignation letter, “There is nothing innovative about city-building that disenfranchises its residents in insidious ways and robs valuable earnings out of public budgets, or commits scarce public funds to the ongoing maintenance of technology that city leadership has not even declared a need for.”
Sidewalk Labs has launched a public relations offensive to combat the bad press, but whatever ultimately becomes of Quayside may very well serve as the blueprint for more cities of its kind in the future.
by Neil Sharma
18 Nov 2018
National Bank of Canada has launched a new online mortgage application solution as part of its commitment to enhancing its digital shift, NBC’s personal banking customers can apply for mortgage pre-approval remotely in just a few steps and receive a certificate within 2 working days confirming the amount and rate guaranteed for 90 days.
Homebuyers can then use the certificate to prove their mortgage offer when making an offer on their chosen home.
"This new solution will considerably enhance National Bank's digital offering as well as future homebuyers' experience. It's fast, it's easy and clients can enjoy autonomy in the process or benefit from the support of one of our mortgage experts, at their convenience,” stated Lucie Blanchet, EVP Personal Banking and Marketing at National Bank. “Buying a home is a key moment in a client's life and we're here to make the process easier."
Clients can stop anytime during the online process and go back to where they left off or continue with the help of a mortgage loan expert.
The launch of this new mortgage solution follows the rollout of the new transaction site for Personal Banking clients, the new nbc.ca website, the new my debit contactless debit card, Apple Pay and Android Pay digital wallet service and new ABMs.
by Steve Randall
05 Nov 2018
What happens when an owner receives an incorrect status certificate issued by a condominium corporation?
That was the issue in a case before the Ontario Court of Appeal earlier this year.
Back in 2013, Mr. R. purchased a condo unit from his mother in a downtown highrise on Bay St. known as Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corporation 723. He requested a status certificate and was issued a “clean” certificate by the condo corp. The prior owner purchased the unit in 2004 and was also issued a “clean” certificate — one that did not disclose problems.
When Mr. R. decided to sell the unit in 2016, he obtained a new status certificate that stated that the unit was in breach of the condominium declaration.
Before Mr. R’s purchase, a second bedroom was added to the unit and the kitchen was relocated without the required consent of MTCC 723’s board of directors.
As a result, the new certificate warned that MTCC 723 might take steps to remove the alteration and restore it to its original layout, with the costs being added to the common expenses for the unit.
The Condominium Act says that a status certificate’s information is binding to the corporation, as of the date it is given.
On an application by Mr R., the judge ruled that MTCC 723 was bound by its earlier “clean” certificates and had to issue a new certificate without the notation about the unauthorized renovations.
MTCC 723 appealed the judge’s ruling, and a three-judge panel of the Ontario Court of Appeal reversed the lower court’s decision earlier this year.
The Condominium Act, the Appeal Court wrote, “is, among other things, consumer-protection legislation. The purpose of a status certificate is obvious: it is to bring to the attention of a prospective purchaser or mortgagee matters which may be of concern to them when contemplating the purchase of a unit.”
Bob Aaron is a Toronto real estate lawyer and frequent speaker to groups of home buyers and real estate agents.
He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 416-364-9366 or fax 416-364-3818.
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There was an increase in the number of Canadians becoming officially insolvent in August.
Figures released this week by the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada show a 0.5% rise in consumer insolvencies in the 12 months to August 31, 2018, compared to the 12-months ended August 31, 2017.
Bankruptcies were down 6.4% but this was outpaced by a 7% rise in proposals.
The proportion of proposals in consumer insolvencies increased to 54.8% during the 12-month period ending August 31, 2018, up from 51.4% during the 12-month period ending August 31, 2017.
Where the increases were
The largest annual gain in insolvencies was in the Northwest Territories (60%) although that was a rise from 5 to 8 in total.
In Newfoundland and Labrador there was a 21.8% rise from 197 to 240, while Manitoba saw a 27.4% increase from 186 to 237; and Saskatchewan saw a rise from 270 to 304.
Among the provinces with larger numbers, BC decreased slightly from 836 to 824; Alberta saw a 5.6% rise from 1,168 to 1,233; and Ontario rose from 3,164 to 3,226, a 2% gain.
by Steve Randall
02 Nov 2018