Federal Budget 2019

On March 19, the Federal Government presented the 2019 Budget. Some highlights are below:

An Affordable Place to Call Home

The Canada Training Benefit

  • A new, non-taxable Canada Training Credit to help Canadians with the cost of training fees.
  • A new Employment Insurance Training Support Benefit to provide workers with up to four weeks of income support through the Employment Insurance (EI) system.
  • New leave provisions to protect workers’ ability to take time away from work to pursue training.
  • For more information on the above three items, please visit https://www.budget.gc.ca/2019/docs/themes/good-jobs-de-bons-emplois-en.html

A Secure and Dignified Retirement for Canadians

  • Improving the economic security of low-income seniors by enhancing the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) earning exemption.
  • Additional funding for the New Horizons for Seniors Program
  • Making sure eligible Canadians receive their pension benefits.
  • For information on the above three items, please visit https://www.budget.gc.ca/2019/docs/themes/seniors-aines-en.html

Moving Forward on Implementing National Pharmacare

For an overview of the entire 2019 Budget, please click below for more information:

More Information

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The Ontario Government is Consulting on REBBA Reform – and They Want to Hear From You!

The Ontario government launched a consultation on a broad range of possible changes to the Real Estate and Business Broker Act, 2002 (REBBA). The government is seeking feedback in many areas, including multiple representation, transparency in the offer process, and salesperson incorporation.

Feedback Survey

RECO encourages all brokers and salespeople to participate by reading the government’s consultation paper and submitting comments. Click here to read the paper.

Updating REBBA will ensure that the legislation keeps pace with the evolving real estate marketplace. To learn about RECO’s position on REBBA reform, check out Proposals for REBBA Reform.

The government will be accepting feedback until March 15, 2019.

For more information about the consultation process, please see the Ontario government’s news release.

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Directional and Open House Signs

According to RAHB Rules and Regulations, Section 10 – Advertising, Sub-section 10.03 which states:

10.03 Signs giving notice of sale, rent, lease, development, exchange or open house shall not be placed on any property by more than one Brokerage, unless authorized by the Seller. Signs may only be erected on locations that conform with Municipal and Provincial sign legislation, all applicable laws, regulations, codes and bylaws. A Member shall not interfere with another Brokerage’s sign, unless such property is subsequently listed by said Member.

City of Hamilton- Open House signs permitted only on the day of the Open House, no earlier than 10 a.m. and no later than 6 p.m. Only one Open House sign is permitted per intersection per property. Directional signs are not permitted any other time.

City of Burlington – Open House signs permitted three days prior to Open House and must come down one day later. Directional signs are not permitted any other time.

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Rental Licensing Update

At the City Council meeting on Wednesday, December 19, 2018 the Hamilton City Council directed City staff to draft a plan for a potential rental licensing pilot project in Wards 1 & 8. This includes education for landlords and tenants, considerations of financial offsets and a review for all affordable housing and potential displacement issues.
We thank the City of Hamilton Council for listening to our concerns.
The report will go to the Planning Committee for review and additional delegations in 2019.

On Tuesday, December 11, 2018, the City of Hamilton Planning Committee met to evaluate the rental licensing pilot project proposal. For information on the pilot project proposal, please visit https://blog.rahb.ca/?p=23462. The recommendation/motion for the pilot project insinuated that the pilot project would be voted on at the Planning Committee, then go to Hamilton Council on December 19 for final vote, and then be implemented within the first quarter of 2019.

 

We are happy to inform members that the decision on a rental licensing pilot project in Wards 1 and 8 was postponed until at least the next Hamilton Planning Committee meeting to take place in 2019.

 

During the meeting there were 17 delegates – 15 spoke in opposition of rental licensing and two (McMaster Student’s Union and ACORN) spoke in favour. The incoming RAHB Government Relations Chair, Margaret Reid, spoke to the issue reiterating RAHB’s concerns with the pilot project as proposed. RAHB also co-authored a letter with the Hamilton and District Apartment Association, that was sent to Hamilton City Council and media on December 10 highlighting the issues with rental licensing. The letter can be found at https://www.rahb.ca/RentalLicensingLetter_10Dec2018.pdf.

 

After the delegations and much discussion by the Planning Committee, it was decided that amendments would be made to the proposal. Hamilton City Staff are to develop a comprehensive plan for the potential rental licensing pilot project, that includes:

  • concrete metrics for success
  • education for both tenants and landlords
  • an analysis of staffing levels
  • an analysis of the financial offsets for such a project, and
  • a review of the affordable housing and potential displacement issues of such a project.

 

This draft plan will need to go to another Planning Committee meeting, where delegates will again be able to speak. We will be sure to keep members informed of any developments.

 

We thank Margaret Reid for speaking on behalf of RAHB, as well as other RAHB members, such as Paul Martindale and Donna Bacher, for voicing their concerns in an effort to postpone a decision on rental licensing. We also thank Bob Van de Vrande, Nic von Bredow, Lou Piriano, Andrew Robertson and other RAHB members who attended the meeting to support our efforts.

 

We will continue to work with our partners at the HDAA, Hamilton Councillors, Hamilton City Staff and other important stakeholders to ensure we are a part of the discussion and that our members are fully informed.

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Ontario REALTOR® Party Conference 2018

Earlier this week, RAHB President Jack Loft, CEO George O’Neill, Government Relations (GR) Chair Nic von Bredow, GR Vice-Chair Margaret Reid, and GR Staff Liaison Wendy Stewart attended the Ontario REALTOR® Party Conference in Toronto.

The delegates enjoyed talks/presentations from:

  • Nik Nanos, who spoke on a snapshot of the numbers for Ontario and Canadian Politics
  • David McNaughton, Ambassador of Canada to the United States
  • Three Doug Ford insiders: Melissa Lantsman (Hill & Knowlton), Michael Coates (Rubicon Strategies) and Mike Diamond (Upstream Strategies).
  • Queen’s Park Media Panel: Marieke Walsh (iPolitics), Robert Benzie (Toronto Star) and Alan Carter (Global News)
  • A political pundits panel: Warren Kinsella (Daisy Consulting Group), Kathleen Monk (Earnscliffe Strategy Group) and Char Rogers (Chestview Strategy)
  • The Honourable Doug Ford, Premier and Leader of the PC Party
  • Andrea Horwath, Leader of the NDP
  • John Fraser, Interim Leader of the Liberal Party
  • Mike Schreiner, Leader of the Green Party of Ontario
  • A panel of new MPPs: Stan Cho (Willowdale), Bhutila Karpoche (Parkdale- High Park) and Stephen Lecce (King-Vaughan)
  • The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Canada’s 22nd Prime Minister

 

The conference also included meetings with MPPs to talk about the issues:

Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 (REBBA) Reform for:

  • Enforcement
  • Better consumer protection
  • Cutting real estate red tape

 

Tax Fairness for real estate professionals because:

  • The current system is unfair to REALTORS®
  • There is a need to cut additional red tape
  • There will be minimal revenue implications
  • It strengthens consumer protection

Delegates from RAHB met with:

– Paul Miller, MPP for Hamilton East – Stoney Creek

– Effie Triantafilopoulos, MPP for Oakville North – Burlington

– Monique Taylor, MPP for Hamilton Mountain

– Jane McKenna, MPP for Burlington

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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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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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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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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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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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City of Hamilton Sign By-Laws

All members received the following e-mail on Tuesday, June 26, 2018.

RAHB members have asked us to find ways to improve professionalism across our association to ensure members are treating not only their fellow practitioners with the utmost respect, but also the public.  Your RAHB Board of Directors has, in fact, made increasing member professionalism one of our top five strategic priorities for the next three years.

We and the City of Hamilton By-Law office have recently noticed an increase in signage infractions throughout Hamilton. Specifically of concern is an increase in the number of open house directional signs within intersections and along roadways. This is outlined in Sign By-Law 10-197 (Real Estate Signs).

Under Section 5.11.2. (i), an open house directional sign, that is a temporary, free-standing sign advertising an open house, is prohibited except:

  • Between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. of the day of the open house;
  • With a maximum sign area of 0.5 m2;
  • Not displayed on a traffic island or median or attached to a light standard or utility pole; and
  • At least 0.3 m from a sidewalk

RAHB understands this by-law to mandate that there should be only one directional open house sign within an intersection, per property, within the noted time parameters.

See below for examples of violations of the by-law.

In an effort to curb these infractions and to increase professionalism, we have met with the City of Hamilton and will be working closely with them to ensure this by-law is enforced.

We support the City of Hamilton in their efforts, including but not limited to the removal of signs that violate the by-law. We also support the City of Hamilton to conduct blitzes on weekends to enforce the by-law for RAHB members, as well as non-members.

We also encourage our RAHB members to anonymously report real estate sign by-law violations throughout the City of Hamilton. To do so, please collect the information, take a photo of the infraction, and send it to Angela at angelam@rahb.ca.

Additional information on the City of Hamilton’s sign by-law can be found on our blog at https://blog.rahb.ca/?p=9628.

Angela in the RAHB office can also answer any of your questions via phone at 905.529.8101 x233.

Thank you in advance for your compliance with these important by-laws, as well as your support in enforcement. Raising professionalism is good for all members.

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