Cannabis Legislation

Cannabis Legislation: What Ontario REALTORS® Need to Know

Starting today, growing cannabis at home is legal. To make things easier for Ontario REALTORS®, OREA has assembled information that REALTORS® need to know about cannabis legalization.

And SAVE-THE-DATE: OREA will be  hosting a REALTOR® Cannabis Legalization Webinar on Wednesday, October 24, 2018 at 11 a.m.

Tune in to hear OREA’s Government Relations and Forms experts discuss cannabis legalization and what REALTORS® need to know about this important policy change. You’ll also have an opportunity to ask questions.

Link to Article: Cannabis_Info_FINAL

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Ontario Municipal Election Information 2018

The Ontario Municipal Election is this Monday, October 22, 2018 and we encourage all RAHB REALTORS® to vote for those who represent you, your family, your community and your clients.

Please see below for links to where you can find candidate information for each of the areas within our RAHB market, as well as general voter information for those areas:

City of Hamilton

City of Burlington

Haldimand County

Niagara Region

 

And when considering your available candidates, we ask that you keep the below questions in mind:

  • Do the candidates support or oppose the Municipal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT)?
  • Do Hamilton candidates support or oppose the LRT?
  • Do Burlington candidates support or oppose increased development?
  • What are the plans of Burlington candidates to reduce traffic congestion?
  • Do Hamilton candidates support or oppose rental licensing?
  • Do Hamilton candidates support or oppose easing the process to establish a secondary suite?
  • Do Haldimand candidates support or oppose development?
  • Do Niagara candidates support or oppose growth?
  • Will your candidates support or oppose initiatives to improve housing affordability?
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Warning: “Professional Tenant”

On September 28, the Association released this notice:

Members Be Aware: Suspicious Caller for Rentals and Referrals

A RAHB member office has been contacted by a man who expressed an interest in renting a house or apartment and also in introducing contacts in exchange for a referral fee. The interaction raised a number of red flags for the Broker of Record.

The details of the exchange included:

The gentleman, who said he is 64 years old, expressed an interest in renting a house or high end apartment.

He also said he would introduce the salesperson to a number of potential clients from other parts of the world, and that he has many contacts and opportunities for which he wants a referral fee.

When told that referrals can be paid only to licensed registrants, he said he is a lawyer and has approval from RECO.

He was at times aggressive in his requests.

He went by a name which, when searched online, produced links to articles about his history of not paying rent and about charges of fraud.

The incident has been reported to the Hamilton Police.

Please exercise caution if you experience a similar exchange, and consider reporting the incident to the police.

On October 15, OMDREB sent out an notice to their members which you can read here.
Please exercise caution if you experience similar exchange, and consider reporting the incident to the police.
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City of Hamilton – Rental Licensing Pilot

On September 27, 2018, the City of Hamilton Rental Licensing Sub-Committee voted in favour to establish a rental licensing pilot project in Wards 1 and 8. This recommendation will go before the next City of Hamilton Council, with anticipated implementation within the first quarter of 2019.

RAHB voted against rental licensing in the City of Hamilton for several reasons, including: a lack of clarification on the process, uneven zoning by-laws throughout the City of Hamilton since amalgamation, a lack of incorporating the Maple Leaf Strategies Report containing 25 recommendations to address the issues (above and beyond), a lack of plan moving forward, etc.

Please see below for information from the City of Hamilton’s for the rental licensing pilot project, as presented to the Rental Housing Sub-Committee:

LICENSING BY-LAW
This option is intended to assist and support in bringing low density rental properties into conformity and compliance with standards and lessen enforcement challenges presently in existence. An owner occupied low density dwelling unit with three or fewer bedrooms rented within the same dwelling will not require a licence to rent individual rooms (three or fewer) as this is allowed under current zoning regulations.

Considerations in developing a Low Density Rental Housing Licensing By-law and Program include:

Potential Requirements under a Licensing By-law:

(a) Owner to provide proof of ownership and contact information (principal residence), company information
(b) Property management plan
(c) Proof of insurance
(d) Local management contact info (for out of town owners)
(e) Self/City inspections for compliance with the City’s Property Standards and Yard Maintenance By-laws
(f) Electrical safety inspection
(h) Floor plan for the building
(i) Property/yard maintenance plan
(j) Parking plan
(k) Licence fee
(l) Consent to Inspection

Pilot Project Summary

FTEs Associated Costs – FTEs By-Law Amendments Required Inspections Exemptions Fee
Rental Licensing 3 $347,463 Yes Yes, consent for inspection provided by building owner. An owner occupied unit with 3 or fewer bedrooms rented within the same dwelling unit. $200 annually

 

ADVANTAGES OF LICENSING

  • Apply specifically to low density rental housing (5 units or less)
  • Apply equally to existing and new low density rental housing (5 units or less)
  • Require regular inspections
  • Require proof of insurance
  • Be funded by rental housing provider
  • Safer legal properties to rent
  • Potential reduction of enforcement costs to tax base
  • Possible elimination of unsafe, non-compliant properties from market
  • Early awareness of requirements allows for collaborative compliance
  • Competition from unsafe, non-compliant properties reduced
  • Housing stock is maintained
  • Inspection enforcement encourages preventative maintenance, which is more cost effective than deferred maintenance, and thereby helps owners maintain their properties
  • Housing inhabited by the most vulnerable populations, which is frequently the worst housing, is inspected annually
  • Poorly maintained, substandard housing can have a negative effect on neighboring property values

 

DISADVANTAGES OF LICENSING

  • Financial costs associated with a licence, passed on to tenants, higher rents
  • Financial costs associated with insurance, passed on to tenants, higher rents
  • Financial costs associated with bringing a property into compliance passed on to tenants, higher rents
  • Potential loss of rental income due to enforcement
  • Potential loss of affordable housing stock
  • May have an impact on affordable housing
  • Licensing rental housing may not be effective in addressing behavioural issues
  • Residential rental licensing should not be considered as an alternative to enforcement of existing by-laws

 

UNKNOWNS OF LICENSING

  • Although consent of entry written into regulation, unknown if tenants/owners will allow inspection
  • Compliance rates – follow-ups could be time consuming
  • Actual rental homes in Pilot Project area – 1,500 to 2,000 units estimated

 

RAHB is in contact with City of Hamilton staff to obtain more specifics on the plan moving forward and will provide those to RAHB members as they are obtained.

If you have any questions, please contact Wendy Stewart in the RAHB office at wendys@rahb.ca or 905.529.8101 x295 for more information.

More information can also be found on the City of Hamilton website at https://www.hamilton.ca/council-committee/council-committee-meetings/rental-housing-sub-committee.

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Lunch with the President

RAHB President Jack Loft recently enjoyed lunch with Stephanie Hubraj of Right at Home Realty in Burlington. Stephanie is a busy REALTOR®, anxious to be part of the RAHB volunteer corps next year, and hopes the Association soon moves to electronic lock boxes. Stephanie’s blended family, that includes college and university students, keepher busy!

For your chance to have lunch with the RAHB President, please e-mail your name to president@rahb.ca.

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RAHB @ CREA PAC Days

From September 30 to October 2, RAHB was in Ottawa for CREA’s Political Action Committee (PAC) Days. RAHB President Jack Loft, RAHB CEO George O’Neill, Government Relations Chair Nicolas von Bredow, Government Relations Vice-Chair Margaret Reid, and RAHB Manager of Communications & External Relations Wendy Stewart heard several informative speakers discuss housing and the issues affecting affordability. These speakers included:

  • The Honorable Joe Jordan, former Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and Senior Associate at Bluesky Strategy Group
  • Perrin Beatty, President & CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce who spoke on USMCA
  • David Colletto, founder partner of Abacus Data who presented data from a millennial survey. (More information about this survey can be found at http://abacusdata.ca/housing-affordability-is-the-top-issue-for-millennials-who-are-looking-to-achieve-the-dream-of-homeownership/)
  • PAC Days Media Panel, consisting of Chantal Hebert, Don Martin and Rob Russo
  • MPs Karen Vecchio and Roger Cuzner
  • The Hon. Andrew Scheer, Leader of the Official Opposition
  • The Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
  • Political Pundit Panel, consisting of Kathleen Monk, Tim Power and Lisa Kinsella

CREA also presented two major recommendations/asks that PAC reps were to address with their MPs during meetings scheduled in Ottawa:

  1. Increasing the First Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit from $750 to $2,500
  2. Evaluating policies that affect home ownership, i.e. consider the stress test in a regional perspective

For more information on these recommendations/asks, as well as resources for if you speak with your MP, please click on the buttons below:

Brochure for MPs FAQs for Recommendations/Asks

The meetings with three of RAHB’s MPs (Bob Bratina, Scott Duvall and David Sweet) went very well, with each MP being supportive of the recommendations and asks. Mr. Sweet went so far as to recommend that the First Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit be increased to $5,000.

Unfortunately, RAHB reps were unable to meet with the other MPs who represent RAHB’s market area due to scheduling conflicts:

  • The Hon. Karina Gould (Burlington)
  • David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre)
  • The Hon. Filomena Tassi (Hamilton-West – Ancaster – Dundas)
  • The Hon. Lisa Raitt (Milton)
  • Diane Finley (Haldimand-Norfolk)
  • Dean Allison (Niagara-West)

RAHB will continue to reach out to our MPs over the next year as we lead into the next federal election, and we encourage RAHB members to do the same. If you have any questions about CREA’s PAC Days or the resources above, please do not hesitate to contact Wendy Stewart at wendys@rahb.ca.

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RECO Update – Processing Delay

RECO issued the following update on their application processing delay:

We’d like to update you on a recent RECO application processing delay.

We have been experiencing longer-than-normal processing times following our recent migration to an upgraded internal database system. When the new system went live, it led to a number of unexpected functionality challenges. The bulk of those challenges have been resolved; however, technical issues were compounded during the last two weeks of RECO’s insurance period, with a large volume of registrants paying their insurance at the same time.

These challenges impacted RECO’s ability to process applications, resulting in a temporary increase in the volume of applications processed. Applications that impact an individual’s ability to trade (new registrations and reinstatements) have been given priority.

We are pleased to announce that we have returned to our posted service level standards for processing new registrations and reinstatements (10 business days).

For those existing registrants who have submitted renewal applications, we expect they will be processed by the end of October.

Please note that this processing delay does not impact a registrant’s ability to trade.

Once a renewal application and fee have been submitted, an individual’s registration is deemed to continue and they are allowed to continue trading while their application is processed. To show proof of eligibility to trade, registrants may use the MyRECO Certificate App and search tool on RECO’s website.

We apologize for the frustration that this delay may have caused. Rest assured we are working quickly and diligently to return to our service level standards for renewal applications.

 

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Notice from City of Hamilton – Sign Bylaw

On Monday, October 1, the City of Hamilton sent a notice to all Hamilton Brokers of Record regarding the City’s intention to pursue sign bylaw infractions.

Even if your office is not located in the City of Hamilton, you must abide by the City’s sign bylaws if you have a listed property in Hamilton.

Here is what the letter said:

Dear Brokers and Agents;

Please be advised that Licensing and By-law Service Officers have noticed a proliferation of Open House Signs in contravention of the Sign By-law. While it is not the City’s intention to adversely impact your business, we can no longer ignore the blatant violations of the By-law.

Moving forward we will proactively enforce the regulations of the Sign By-law with respect to real estate signs and will investigate any formal complaints.

For your convenience, here are the regulations:

Open House directional sign

It is a contravention of the Sign By-law to place a temporary, free-standing sign advertising an open house except:

(i) between 10:00 a.m. and 6 p.m. of the day of the open house;

(ii) with a maximum sign area of 0.5 m2 ;

(iii) not displayed on a traffic island or median or attached to a light standard or utility pole; and

(iv) at least 0.3 m from a sidewalk;

Signs that are in contravention of the by-law will be subject to enforcement action, including the City removing the sign with fees being imposed and charges laid to a maximum amount of $5,000.00 upon conviction. Signs removed will be stored for a period of 28 days, after which they will be disposed of. Signs can be redeemed within the 28 days period upon payment of applicable fees prescribed in the City’s User Fees and Charges By-Law.

I trust this information is helpful. If you have any questions, or concerns, please feel free to contact me via e-mail at Lynne.Shewfelt@hamilton.ca.

For additional information on the Sign By-law please visit the City of Hamilton Website: http://www.hamilton.ca/FrequentlyRequestedBylaws, and select the Sign By-Law.

Complaints can be emailed to Licensing@hamilton.ca or by calling 905-546-2782 (option #3).

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Lunch With the President

RAHB President Jack Loft recently enjoyed lunch with Ellen Boyce of Royal LePage State Realty. Ellen is a highly successful REALTOR® and claims to have been in the business 40 years – which means she must have started when she was 6! Ellen worries that new registrants have a tough time succeeding due to the many REALTORS® in the field and lack of challenging entry requirements. Ellen has provided sage advice and mentoring to many current RAHB members, including Jack.

For your chance to have lunch with the RAHB President, please e-mail your name to president@rahb.ca.

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Seniors Day is October 1 – What Support is Available For The Seniors In Your Life?

This Monday, October 1 is National Seniors Day in Canada. It’s a day set aside to celebrate and honour seniors in this country – those who are over the age of 64. In addition to showing your respect and gratitude for the older adults in your life, this presents an opportunity to remind family, friends and clients of the housing/home resources available for seniors.

At the provincial level there are several resources that benefit our seniors:

There are also several resources available at the municipal level:

  • City of Hamilton offers Tax Assistance Programs, including a specific seniors (65+) tax rebate. These can be found on the City of Hamilton website at hamilton.ca/home-property-and-development/property-taxes/tax-assistance-programs.
  • Region of Halton (Burlington) offers the Halton Accessibility Repair Program (HARP). If you are a home owner and need modifications to your home to increase accessibility, HARP may be able to help. HARP provides limited funding to eligible homeowners to improve and/or maintain independent living. For more information please visit http://beta.halton.ca/For-Residents/Housing-Supports-and-Services/living-in-assisted-housing/Halton-Accessibility-Repair-Program-(HARP).
  • In Haldimand, Senior Support Services provide information and resources for seniors, including house cleaning, outdoor yard work, snow removal and minor repairs. More information and resources can be found at seniorsupport.ca/.
  • In the Niagara region, Community Support Services Niagara is a volunteer based not-for-profit agency providing comprehensive client-driven community support services to help seniors and adults with disabilities live independently in their own homes. Services include home maintenance, leaf and snow removal, safety at home resources, and others. For more information, please visit cssn.ca/.

These are just a few of the resources available within our RAHB areas that can help seniors with their housing/home needs. In addition to the above-listed resources, even more can be found at www.ShowMetheGreen.ca.

We encourage you to share these resources with your clients, friends and family to ensure our seniors are best prepared for their residential situation.

And please use the hashtag #SeniorsDay on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook on October 1 to share any additional resources you have with your fellow REALTORS® — and tag us too!

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Lunch with the President

RAHB President Jack Loft enjoyed a great lunch with longtime REALTOR® and volunteer Nancie Mleczko, of Coldwell Banker Community Professionals. Nancie is helping with a current Hamilton mayoral campaign and is a member of RAHB’s Nomination committee. Nancie is passionate about seeing fresh faces put their names forward for positions on the RAHB Board, and is another one of our members who believes integrity needs to be an important part of our business.

For your chance to have lunch with the RAHB President, please e-mail your name to president@rahb.ca.

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