Condos can’t distinguish between cannabis and tobacco when instituting a no-smoking rule, says Denise Lash of Lash Condo Law.
On Oct. 17, Canadians will be able to legally smoke cannabis, but many condo owners and tenants won’t be able to do so at home, nor will they be entitled to smoke tobacco, even if previously permitted as condo corporations rush to put restrictions in place.
When cannabis legalization appeared on the horizon, smoke penetration into the units of non-smokers became a concern demanding action, says Denise Lash, founder of Lash Condo Law in Toronto. Condo lawyers decided the best way to control what owners saw as an impending nuisance was to develop rules banning smoking inside units, on balconies and common areas.
“All my stats show that, at the end of the day, the vast majority of condo owners are in favour of some ban of some sort,” says Rodrigue Escayola, a civil litigator with experience in condominium law, a partner at Gowling WLG and the elected director of his own condominium board in Ottawa.
Condo corporations are taking the cannabis issue as an opportunity to tackle a source of another nuisance: tobacco smoking, says Escayola.
“Is there going to be a full ban? Is it going to be a ban just on balconies? Is it going to be a ban just in the unit? The vast majority, 80 per cent I would say, are in favour of some form of a ban,” he says.
Condo rules have power under s. 58 of the Condominium Act to “promote the safety, security and welfare” of owners and property and to prevent “unreasonable interference with the enjoyment” of units and common elements, according to Ontario’s provincial legislation. These rules must meet a reasonableness threshold, says Lash.
“You really can't distinguish between tobacco and marijuana for the purposes of a rule,” she says. “We don't think it would be a reasonable rule to say no smoking marijuana but you can smoke tobacco.”
Lash says condo lawyers had taken the position for years that while condo corporations could prevent owners from smoking in common areas they could not prevent them from smoking in their units.
When neighbours would complain, the corporation would use provisions about causing a nuisance to other owners to confront the smoker.
“In any given week, I have two files dealing with a tobacco dispute,” Escayola says.
Lash says condo corporations are developing rules to prohibit cannabis cultivation and delivery of product to the concierge as well to avoid liability.
When a condo corporation creates a rule, it is required to alert owners, who have 30 days to summon 15 per cent of their fellow owners to requisition a meeting. If a meeting is called and at least 25 per cent of the owners show up to that meeting and then a majority vote against the rule, the rule is dead.
Even with a smoking ban in place, corporations can allow a grandfather clause to let owners or tenants who already smoke to continue doing so for a specific period of time, under certain conditions, says Escayola.
They are not legally required to grandfather someone, but the industry generally accepts that including this clause “would be in line with any rule’s statutory requirement to be reasonable,” Escayola said via email.
Aug. 13 was the date condo corporations needed to initiate the process of creating a smoking ban, to be able to have the rule in place in time for legalization on Oct. 17, says Escayola. The further from that date a smoking ban was in place, the more persuasive an argument for grandfathering a cannabis smoker would be and the longer the duration of that grandfathering period.
“I would say if the consumption of cannabis has been legal for a day, or a week, or even six months, how much grandfathering do we need to grant people? When you bought your condo, did you buy it knowing that you'd be able to smoke cannabis here?” he says.
The standard grandfathering period for a tobacco smoker would be two years, Escayola says. The period for cannabis smoking would be much shorter, considering the period during which it will have been legal.
Those smoking cannabis medicinally would also need to be grandfathered, as they have previously been permitted to do so, says Lash.
There will be two grounds on which Escayola foresees these bans being challenged in court: reasonableness and accommodation. The reasonableness of a tobacco smoking ban has already been tested in court and Escayola says he predicts a cannabis-smoking rule will be maintained if challenged on reasonableness.
Condo corporations have a duty to accommodate a disability, he says. But a successful challenge on those terms will need to prove the disability, that they are prescribed cannabis for treatment, that they are required to consume cannabis by smoking and other methods of ingestion will be insufficient and that they must smoke inside the unit and cannot just go outside.
“I don't think it's going to be that easy. I don't think that just waving ‘disability’ will necessarily result in the rule being bent to accommodate,” he says.
Canadians will be legally permitted to purchase cannabis, possess and share up to 30 grams and grow cannabis plants at home, according to the Cannabis Act. Provinces are in charge of retail and setting the minimum purchase age.
The City of Ottawa's Public Health Officer has proposed prohibiting cannabis smoking inside and on the balconies in “all multi-residential buildings,” according to a blog post written by Escayola.
Dash and Escayola say they have heard from condo owners who are upset that their board is dictating to them what they do inside their own private home, especially when the federal government has made it a legal activity.
“The fact that it's permitted at a higher level doesn't prevent you from being more restrictive. [Condo] corps can be more restrictive than the city, which can be more restrictive than the province, which can be more restrictive than the federal [government],” Escayola says.
Condos have rules about the colour of drapes, whether an owner can barbecue on their balcony and what kind and what size of pets owners are allowed to have, says Escayola.
“There's already tons of rules in condos,” he says. “We tell you ‘not to’ because this corporation has decided that these are the collective rules that we want to live by. And people flocked to this condo because they like these rules.”
Local companies in every province supply goods and services to the oil sands—creating jobs, growth and economic opportunity in local communities.
Canada’s oil sands contain 170 billion barrels of oil—representing the third largest oil reserves in the world. This vast natural resource benefits all Canadians: while the oil sands are located in northern Alberta, their development involves the purchase of supplies and services from across the country—everything from vehicles to transport people and products, steel and parts to build plants and pipelines, manufactured goods ranging from drill bits to safety gloves, and services such as environmental consulting and monitoring.
This supply chain creates major economic spinoffs like jobs, growth and tax revenues benefiting communities across the country.
And it’s all because energy giants say the global market is on its way towards rebalancing — oh, and a problem in the Middle East
NEW YORK — Oil prices hit a more than two-year high on Monday after major producers said the global market was on its way towards rebalancing, while Turkey threatened to cut oil flows from Iraq’s Kurdistan region toward its ports.
The November Brent crude futures contract was up US$1.51, or 2.5 per cent, at US$58.37 a barrel by 11:33 a.m. EDT, its highest since July, 2015.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for November delivery rose US$1.02, or 2 per cent, to US$51.68 a barrel, close to highs last seen in May.
“It’s all driven by the idea is that the production cut is starting to work and the rebalance is underway,” said Gene McGillian, director of market research at Tradition Energy in New York.
Even as both contracts rallied, concerns about U.S. production growth weighed on WTI, widening the spread between the two, he said.
The discount of the WTI to Brent futures widened to US$6.61, the widest since August 2015.
The Iraqi government does not recognize the referendum and has called on foreign countries to stop importing Kurdish crude oil.
“If this boycott call proves successful, a good 500,000 fewer barrels of crude oil per day would reach the market,” Commerzbank said in a note.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and several other producers have cut production by about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) since the start of 2017, helping to lift oil prices by about 15 per cent in the past three months.
Kuwaiti Oil Minister Essam al-Marzouq, who chaired Friday’s meeting in Vienna of the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee, said output curbs were helping to cut global crude inventories to their five-year average, OPEC’s stated target.
Russia’s energy minister said no decision on extending output curbs beyond the end of March was expected before January, although other ministers suggested such a decision could be taken before the end of this year.
Iran expects to maintain overall crude and condensate exports at around 2.6 million bpd for the rest of 2017, a senior official from the country’s state oil company said.
Nigeria is pumping below its agreed output cap, its oil minister said.
Inventory and average sales price hold month over month Entry-level buyers turn their attention to semi-detached product
Edmonton, September 5, 2017: Month over month, unit sales volume was flat or down across all categories, which is typical for the month of August. Average prices for residential properties in the Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) in August 2017 were down 2.66% compared to July 2017, but were up 0.78% relative to August 2016.
The number of all residential units reported sold was 1,542. This represents a month-over-month decrease of 4.93%, but only a year-over-year decrease of 2.03%. The number of single family detached units sold was 930. This represents a decrease of 7.28% compared to July 2017 and a decrease of 1.38% compared to August 2016. It was a softer month for condominium sales with 398 reported, which is down 4.10% month over month and down 10.36% year over year. Duplexes and rowhouses continue to perform well with 184 unit sales in August 2017, which was up 1.66% compared to July 2017 and up 19.48% compared to August 2016.
“Entry level buyers appear to be turning their attention to semi-detached product for the best value, as opposed to condominiums. Changes to mortgage rates and qualifying rules may be impacting these segments. In the current market there is significant selection for the value conscious buyer. We continue to monitor the market closely to gauge the longer-term impact of the new mortgage rules,” says James Mabey, the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton Chair.
In August, inventory was 8,570, which represents a decrease of 0.23% compared to July 2017, and an increase of 10.10% compared to August 2016. Total new residential listings in August were 2,961, down 4.91% from July 2017 and up 9.75% from August 2016.
“A drop in month-over-month units sold in August is historically normal activity for the Edmonton region,” says Mabey. “But average sales prices were higher this August than in any August over the last five years. This may be a positive sign for the economy overall and for forward price growth in the housing market.”
Average days on market across all categories of residential properties in the Edmonton CMA was 57 days. That was four days longer than the average for July 2017 and two days longer than August 2016. On average, single family detached homes sold in 51 days, condominiums sold in an average 68 days, and duplexes / rowhouses sold in 64
MLS® System Activity for July 2017
1 Census Metropolitan Area (Edmonton and surrounding municipalities)
Edmonton rental market: Tenant demand increases, buyer investment decreases A new market report analyzing the multi-family sector during the first half of 2017 shows a tightening vacancy rate by a sharp decrease in transaction dollar volume
New high-rise project the Mayfair on Jasper are still in lease-up phases and not presently contributing to the vacancy rate decrease.
Edmonton’s rental market continues to stabilize as newer multi-family stock attracts tenants and pushes down the city’s vacancy rate.
A new market report from CBRE Limited analyzes the multi-family sector during the first half of 2017 and found that the overall rental vacancy rate has decreased from 6.3 per cent in December 2016 to 5.9 per cent in June 2017.
For newer properties, built post-2000, the June 2017 vacancy rate is only 3.9 per cent. Older properties post a vacancy of 6.3 per cent.
“Apartment fundamentals are expected to improve as activity in the service sector, several large infrastructure projects, and increased stability in the energy sector continue to attract potential tenants to the city,” the report states.
The townhouse market has seen slightest vacancy rate, due to a high demand and limited supply. In the first half of 2017, only 1.1 per cent of townhome stock was vacant.
Alberta’s oil recession has actually boded well for the city’s population grow, which has caused job seekers to migrate from rural areas into the province’s major centres like Edmonton.
While current landlords are enjoying increased tenant demand, multi-family properties are seeing a decrease in buyer demand. Investment in rental properties is down 59 per cent year-over-year.
However, CBRE believe the decrease in sales is due in part to new developments that are still under construction but expected to be readily absorbed when completed and put on the market.
“We expect that several for-sale construction projects that are nearing completion will transact towards the end of 2017, picking the investment volume back up,” said CBRE’s Jane Woertman in an email.
Investment dollar volume in the first half of 2017 totalled $130.4 million. Eight hundred and eighty-four rental suites have been sold so far this year.
As of June2017, there are approximately 2,002 purpose-built rental suites under construction in Edmonton, according to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
From garage suites to apartment buildings, Edmonton's shipping container companies get creative with small spaces
From the inside, Satesh Narine and Maria Madsen’s new garage suite looks like a regular apartment, with two bedrooms, a bathroom, a living area, laundry machines and modern kitchen. Strategically placed furniture and a space-saving table make the tiny home seem bigger, but the suite’s real secret lies in the walls, which were made from three shipping containers stacked on top of each other. Shipping containers carry goods from China to the West Coast, but most of them retire once they arrive in Canada because it’s cheaper for companies to build new ones. As in other parts of the world, shipping container homes are becoming more popular in Edmonton and the companies who make them are expanding into other markets and taking on more ambitious, multi-storey projects. Daniel Engelman, who co-owns the Edmonton shipping container home company Honomobo, said their production has increased dramatically during the past year, from about a dozen homes per year to 50. “Definitely faster than we expected,” he said. People from 96 countries have reached out to Honomobo, which has projects planned for Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.; Colorado, and even Inuvik, N.W.T. (That one will have to be shipped on a barge that leaves once a year.) Many of Honomobo’s homes are going to British Columbia and California, where there is lots of money flowing and high demand for housing in cities like San Francisco. Compared to other cities, it can be easier for companies to build container homes in Edmonton, Engelman said. In Vancouver, the permit process can take six months to a year, but in Edmonton that timeline is typically much shorter.
New zoning regulations passed by Edmonton’s city council in July, which will take effect Sept. 1, permit garage and garden suites in low-and medium-density residential zones. (Previously, the suites were discretionary, so city development officers could approve or refuse them, and neighbours could appeal.)
“I think there’s a huge market for this,” said AJ Slivinski, owner of Step Ahead Properties, which is building Westgate Manor, the city’s first shipping container apartment building at 16315 96A Ave.
The 20-unit apartment building was built with 48 shipping containers is currently under construction. The Calgary company Ladacor Advanced Modular Systems, which has also built a hotel in Bruderheim, Alta., out of shipping containers, is handling the construction. Slivinski said the plan is to have residents move in Oct. 1. Getting the apartment complex built hasn’t been easy. The company had to spend $100,000 to bring the landscaping up to code, upgrade the storm sewer for $60,000, negotiate the number of parking stalls required by the city, and delay construction because of all the rain this summer. But Slivinski said he expects more developers and homeowners will take advantage of shipping containers’ benefits. Honomobo is also at work on a multi-level apartment building, which they expect to be built this fall or early spring in the Queen Mary Park neighbourhood. Thanks to off-site construction, container homes can be built quickly and with minimal disruption to neighbours. Narine’s garage suite, which was built by the Edmonton firm novhäus, took just three months to finish after the containers were placed on his lot in March. Container homes are also very sturdy and designed to withstand the elements. With proper insulation, they can be quieter than normal homes and warm during the winter months. Shipping containers don’t always live up to their reputation as cheap, fast and eco-friendly options, though. It’s true that there’s a large supply of used shipping containers available, but they need to be extensively cleaned as they could have been used to transport toxic materials. Some homeowners even opt to buy new containers, which defeats the purpose of recycling used steel. According to Slivinski, 150 people attended an open house for Westgate Manor’s show home in late July. Though the company has been targeting millennial tenants who work on 170 Street, many of the people who showed up at the open house were seniors looking to downsize. Narine said he could see himself living in his garage suite eventually, though he has yet to convince his wife. He was drawn to the environmental benefits of building with shipping containers and he supports infill because he sees it as a way to make living in neighbourhoods like Brookside, where he has resided since 1998, more accessible.“It’s a great neighbourhood,” he said. “We feel we’re very fortunate, but it would be nice to share it with another family.”
Take a tour inside Edmonton’s first shipping container apartment building
While it may not be the most traditional way of building, once you’re inside one of Edmonton’s newest apartments, you wouldn’t even know you’re standing inside what was once a shipping container.
A three-storey, 20-unit apartment building – made from repurposed steel shipping containers – is nearing completion in west Edmonton.
“We’re getting a lot of interest,” said AJ Slivinski, owner of Step Ahead Properties.
“Overall, everybody’s very impressed. I think their first words out of their mouth is, ‘We didn’t really visualize this.’ And I think they come to the realization that whether it’s shipping container or stick build, there is no difference.”
The sea-cans come from Canada’s West Coast. Because of the high cost of returning the containers back overseas, most of them only make a one-way trip to North America.
“It is a green option,” Slivinski said. “We are
repurposing the steel that is piling up on the coast.”
Step Ahead Properties worked with Calgary-based company Ladacor Modular Systems on the building.
The containers were repurposed in Calgary, then shipped north to Edmonton. Even the tiles, countertops, floors and walls were built in a warehouse in Calgary before making their way to Edmonton where the apartment building was constructed like “LEGO,” Slivinski said.
The process lowers construction costs while reducing building time. Slivinski said while a traditional stick build might take 12 to 18 months, shipping-container build times are around three to four months.
While Alberta has seen shipping container garage suites, lane houses and a hotel, this multi-family housing unit in the Glenwood neighbourhood is the first of its kind in Edmonton.
“Many other people are doing this, but on a much smaller scale and making it a little more eclectic where they’re painting it different colours, one or two units and making it more art,” Slivinski said.
“We’re really taking it to shipping container 2.0 where we’re going to blend our product right into the environment.
“We dare anyone to be able to tell the difference between a regular stick build apartment building and a fully built shipping container building.”
While some might think the units would be noisy with all the steel around them, Slivinski ensures potential tenants that the building is fully foamed and insulated like any other apartment building.
The building offers one- and two-bedroom units. Rent is based on the market.
“We are trying to offer a brand new product and trying to be competitive with our rates,” Slivinski said.
A show suite is now open at 16315 – 96 A Ave. The company is holding an open house from noon to 3
p.m. on Saturday, July 29.
© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Edmonton, July 6, 2017: In the Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), all residential unit average prices for June 2017 are up 3.74% compared to May 2017, and up 4.19% relative to June 2016.
Average sale prices for single family homes increased both month over month and year over year, increasing to $453,735, up 2.91% compared to May 2017 and up 4.37% relative to June 2016.
The number of all residential units reported sold were 1,867, which is mostly flat month over month, up 0.76%, and year over year, down 0.74%. Single family sales were 1,192 units, an increase of 1.88% compared to May 2017 and 1.27% in June 2016. Reported condominium sales were 461, which is up 2.67% month over month and down 5.53% year over year. There were 307 duplex/rowhouse unit sales in June 2017. This category continues to grow in popularity, with an increase of 53.5% compared to May 2017 and an increase of 68.68% in June 2016.
“Affordability and value are key drivers across all property segments. Buyers can be discerning, but with stable prices and potential interest rate increases around the corner it is important for buyers to get off the fence”, says James Mabey, REALTORS® Association of Edmonton Chair. “Patience is a virtue, however, as a seller if you are getting good feedback, but aren't attracting an offer it may be time to refresh with your REALTOR® whether a price correction may be necessary."
In June, inventory was 8,586, which was an increase of 6.24% compared to May 2017, and an increase of 6.55% compared to June 2016. Total new residential listings in June were 3,427, down 6.80% from May 2017 and up 14.73% from June 2016.
The all residential average days-on-market was 53 days, down one day from May and identical to June 2016. On average, single family detached homes sold in 46 days, condominiums sold in an average 61 days and duplex/rowhouses sold in 62 days.
MLS® System Activity
1 Census Metropolitan Area (Edmonton and surrounding municipalities)
SIGNIFICANT PRICE INCREASES AND HIGH DEMAND IN THE GREATER TORONTO AREA DURING THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2017 SPURRED GROWING NUMBERS OF BUYERS TO LEAVE THE DOWNTOWN CORE.
These buyers, known as move-over buyers, are looking for greater affordability in markets across southern Ontario. In turn, they are driving price appreciation in Mississauga, Brampton, Durham, Barrie, Hamilton-Burlington, Windsor, and as far away as Kingston. The GTA saw the average residential sale price rise by 29 per cent, up from $675,492 in the first quarter of 2016 to $873,631 during the same period in 2017.
At the same time, housing demand has slowed in Greater Vancouver compared to Q1 of 2016, and the average residential sale price decreased 11 per cent year-over-year, from $1,094,936 in the first quarter of 2016 to $969,900 in 2017. The decline in average sale price is in part due to the introduction of the foreign buyer tax last August, a relatively severe winter and the natural stabilization of prices after the market reached a high point in May 2016. Move-over buyers from Vancouver and buyers migrating from other provinces continue to fuel activity in Fraser Valley, Kelowna, and in Victoria, particularly in the upper-end of the market due to relative affordability in these regions.
A recent RE/MAX survey conducted by Leger found that when making buying decisions, over two-thirds of Canadians consider the location of a home to be more important than the style or size of the home. Respondents indicated that beyond price, a number of other factors influence home purchases, including: access to green space (77 per cent), proximity to work (66 per cent), proximity to retail centres (65 per cent), and proximity to family and friends (65 per cent). All of these ranked higher than the style of a home.
In response to heightened activity seen across the GTA in recent months, the Ontario provincial government announced a 15 per cent Non-Resident Speculation Tax (NRST), along with a number of other regulations in mid-April in an effort to balance the need to stabilize the market while preventing a harmful sharp correction. Similar to the foreign buyer-tax introduced in Vancouver last year, the impact of this measure on market and buyer activity in the long run is difficult to predict. This measure may impact consumer confidence in the short-term as buyers hold out until they fully understand how they are affected, causing overall market activity to slow.
In Western Canada, particularly in Alberta, slowly recovering oil prices, low interest rates, and US approval of the Keystone XL pipeline project have renewed buyer optimism, particularly among move-up buyers and millennial, first-time buyers who are typically looking to buy condominiums. The average residential sale price increased three per cent year-over-year in Calgary to $482,065, up from $467,780 during the first quarter in 2016. A wide variety
Charlottetown and Halifax experienced increased demand from foreign buyers in the first quarter in addition to sustained demand from buyers moving back to Atlantic Canada from other parts of the country to purchase more affordable housing options than what is available in Canada’s larger urban hubs.
New residential and commercial development projects in markets across the country are expected to fuel demand in these regions. These cities include Calgary, Edmonton, Kelowna, Victoria, and Regina in the West and Windsor, London-St. Thomas, Hamilton-Burlington, Mississauga, Barrie, Durham, Brampton, Ottawa, Saint John, and Halifax in Central and Eastern Canada.
My wonderful clients just received confirmation back about their tax assessment review/ adjustment we did back in the spring. I'm so excited to report they are now receiving a credit back from the city for $380! Trust me your tax assessment is not the true value of your property. The city has never even been in your home! If you need help just call me. (Now I'm just waiting on my own review ;)