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B.C. Budget 2018 – Purpose-Built Rental Exempt from New School Tax

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B.C. Budget 2018 – Purpose-Built Rental Exempt from New School Tax

On Tuesday, February 20th, 2018, the Honourable Carole James, Minister of Finance and Deputy Premier for the Province of British Columbia tabled her NDP Government’s first budget since assuming power July 2017 (a budget update was presented in the legislature September 2017).  Since the BC NDP formed government with the support of the Green Party, there has been considerable pressure on the government to address the sever housing affordability crisis affecting so many people across the province. The Government has repeatedly told British Columbians that affordable housing is their number one priority with a desire to address both demand and supply, with an emphasis on the need for much more purpose-built rental housing.  While the budget addressed a broad range of issues, it did indeed focus on housing affordability with a 30-point plan found here: (http://bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2018/homesbc/2018_Homes_For_BC.pdf)

The Government’s focus on adding rental housing supply is commendable. The commitment to work with the private sector developers is key and we are especially pleased to see that the new, additional school property tax measure that normally would apply to purpose-built rental housing, is not applicable to purpose-built rental housing, as outlined in the budget legislation.  The new tax applies only to high-valued properties in the residential class including detached homes, condominiums or townhouse units and most vacant land with a taxable assessed value that exceeds $3 million.  These properties will see an increase in the school tax portion of property taxes.

We are also encouraged by the proposed new HousingHub which represents an opportunity for the community housing sector and private sector to potentially partner to develop new affordable purpose-built rental housing.  In addition, the Government measure to mirror property tax exemptions under municipal revitalization agreements will also potentially support our industry in the development of new purpose-built rental housing. The budget also placed pre-zoning for new rental housing on the table for future consideration.

David Hutniak, CEO  |   LandlordBC