|Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan|
Today, the Ontario government announced 16 measures as part of Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan to address some of the challenges facing Ontario families as they look to purchase a home. You can see the full list here.
While we don’t support all these measures, the government has adopted several REALTOR® recommendations and agreed to do a full legislative review of the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 (REBBA).
Here are highlights from today’s announcement:
Non-Resident Speculation Tax
· Implementing a new 15-per-cent Non-Resident Speculation Tax (NRST) on the price of homes in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) purchased by individuals who are not citizens or permanent residents of Canada or by foreign corporations.
· Upon the enactment of legislation, the NRST will be effective as of April 21, 2017. Binding agreements of purchase and sale signed on or before April 20, 2017 are not subject to the NRST.
· Please consult this technical bulletin for more information.
· Expanding rent control to all private rental units in Ontario, including those built after 1991. This will ensure increases in rental costs can only rise at the rate posted in the annual provincial rent increase guideline. The increase is capped at a maximum of 2.5 per cent. Legislation will be introduced that, if passed, will enact this change effective April 20.
· The government is taking positive steps to bring more housing supply into the market. Specifically, the province will sell off excess lands for development, strike a Housing Group to examine barriers like red tape to development and work with municipalities to encourage developers to build on vacant land that is serviced and ready for development.
Review of REBBA
· One of the announcements made by the province as part of the plan was a commitment to do a broad review of REBBA including looking at practices like multiple representation and double ending.
· You may remember that the government originally committed to reviewing the practice after the CBC Marketplace report aired in November 2016. After the report aired, OREA learned that many inside government were urging the Minister and Premier to ban multiple representation.
· Recognizing the government’s commitment to Act on multiple representation, OREA’s strategy has been to encourage the province to work with us on a full review of REBBA.
· A review would be an opportunity to discuss multiple representation but to do so in a much more thoughtful/rationale way. It will also be an opportunity to lobby for other changes to REBBA like PRECs, speciality designations, greater fines, higher education standards and other changes which will help REALTORS® do business better.
· OREA wanted to avoid a situation like British Columbia where the province responded to bad media coverage and banned multiple representation in knee jerk fashion. Our approach has ensured that the government did not make any unilateral changes without broad consultation from the real estate profession.
OREA’s advocacy work on these files has ensured that we have a seat at the table with government as a trusted stakeholder fighting for affordable home ownership and high industry standards. While we cannot guarantee that there won’t be restrictions placed on multiple representation going forward, the government has committed to an open and thoughtful conversation on these important issues to Ontario REALTORS®.
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