OREA Political Action (PAC) members met in Toronto in October to take four messages to provincial MPPS:

Do not grant municipalities the ability to impose municipal land transfer taxes.
Some municipalities in Ontario have been asking the province to grant them the authority to charge a municipal land transfer tax (MLTT) over and above the provincial land transfer tax (LTT), similar to the tax imposed by the city of Toronto.

For many people, this additional, non-financeable tax creates a barrier to home ownership.  The spread of municipal LTTs to other regions of Ontario threatens to increase the cost of home ownership province-wide.  The tax is fundamentally unfair and bad for the economy.

(Note:  members of RAHB’s Communications/Government Relations Committee will be meeting with Hamilton and Burlington councillors to discuss MLTTs and the effects they have on home buyers and the local economy.)

Create a Marijuana Grow Operation Registry
Properties that were formerly used to manufacture illegal substances can pose a number of health and safety risks to home buyers.  At present, it is extremely difficult for REALTORS®, lawyers and other professionals to find out if a property has been designated by a law enforcement authority as a marijuana grow operation (MGO) or clandestine laboratory.

OREA supports the creation of an MGO/clandestine lab registry using the Land Titles System.  A registry will mitigate risks to consumers by ensuring that properties used as former MGOs are disclosed prior to completion of a real estate transaction.

Remove the provisions in REBBA 2002 that prevent registered salespeople from incorporating.
REBBA 2002 does not provide for the licensing of salespersons as personal corporations under Section 1.1 of the Act.  In addition, REBBA 2002 does not permit a broker to pay a commission to an “unregistered entity” (Section 30c).  Together these sections prevent an individual salesperson from conducting business through a corporation and taking advantage of lower tax rates.

Allowing registrants to incorporate will align the rights of real estate salespeople with other regulated professionals in Ontario and lowering taxes on Ontario businesses.  Permitting personal real estate corporations will not affect consumer protection, will have limited implications for provincial revenue and will not require significant legislative resources.

Do not impose mandatory home energy audits
In October, 2013, the legislature passed a Private Member’s Motion that called for the energy efficiency labeling of new and existing houses at the time of sale.  In essence, the motion recommends proclaiming section 3 of the Green Energy Act, 2009.  This would create a system of mandatory home energy audits (MHEA) for every residential real estate transaction in Ontario.

Mandatory home energy audits would make home ownership less affordable by imposing additional costs on real estate transactions.  It could delay transactions and could be used as a “bargaining chip” by buyers to pressure home owners to either spend thousands of dollars to improve the energy rating of their home or lower their sale price.

Watch for more information as OREA monitors these issues.