City of Vancouver proposing business licenses for AirBnB rentals

Source: Daily Hive

In an effort to combat a lack of rental housing in Vancouver, the City is proposing creating business licenses for short-term rentals such as AirBnB.

A report outlining the framework for such a license is coming to council on October 4, and states anyone who wants to rent out their principal homes – whether they own or rent – for less than 30 days must follow a set of guidelines to do so.

In order to get a short-term rental license, applicants have to prove that the home they live in is their main residence – empty homes or investment properties won’t be considered for short-term rentals – through a tax assessment or signed tenancy agreement that permits short-term sublets.

They must also prove that they live in the home they say is their principal residence with government ID or a utility bill.

“Vancouver is striking a balance in our approach to short-term rentals that ensures the best use of all our housing,” Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a release. “Long term rental supply will be protected and residents will be able to do short-term rentals in their principal residences.”

“Housing is first and foremost for homes, not operating a business. Both the City’s research and broad public input tell us we can have short-term rentals in Vancouver to help supplement income, while ensuring long term rentals are back in the rental market.”

The proposed plan would legalize approximately 50% of current short-term rental listings and also ban more than 1,000 homes listed for long-term tenancy.

As it stands, the city’s rental vacancy rates are at 0.6%, which is one of the lowest in Canada. The City said back in July that Vancouver has 5,000 short-term rentals, 75% of which are whole houses or apartments.

As part of the strategy to combat empty homes in Vancouver – of which there are 10,800 – and increase much-needed rental stock, the City also will implement an empty homes tax in 2017. Their aim is to get the rental vacancy rate up to 3% from 0.6%.

BC Supreme Court – Articles Cited in Expert Reports Are Not Evidence

Today’s guest post comes from B.C. injury claims lawyer Erik Magraken


Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, confirming that articles cited in expert reports are not evidence and outlining how these documents can be used at trial.

In today’s case (Cambie Surgeries Corporation v. British Columbia) the Plaintiffs, who are suing the government of BC arguing certain Provincial health-care laws are unconstitutional, sought to introduce articles and texts cited by their expert witnesses into evidence.

Mr. Justice Steeves provided the following concise and helpful statement addressing the limits and procedural use of such documents:

11]         It follows that I do not agree that the plaintiffs can go as far as they would like to go and put in articles through their experts on examination in chief. I adopt the approach in the Sopinka text and add the following procedural requirements:

1.     An article or text cited by an expert in his or her report may be identified by the expert and then entered as an exhibit for identification. I emphasize that the article or text has to be cited, but the expert report does not have to specifically state that the expert is adopting the article or text.

2.     As part of the examination in chief of the expert he or she may be taken to specific parts of the article or text. These will be read into the record.

3.     The expert can use the excerpts to clarify terminology or ambiguities in his or her report or use the excerpts to make the report more understandable, and the expert can adopt the excerpts as his or her own. I acknowledge that, to be more understandable, different reports may require different applications of this approach.

4.     The article or text itself will remain an exhibit for identification and is not evidence.

5.     Any hearsay issues will be decided as set out in the Mazur judgment.

6.     The expert is not permitted to give a new opinion or adopt an opinion other than the one in his or her report.

7.     If it is not clear, the expert may be cross-examined on any part of his or her evidence.

Cdn homebuyers expected to absorb higher costs of tighter mortgage insurance rules

Excerpted article was written by Barbara Shecter | Financial Post

Residential mortgage insurance premiums are likely to increase for homes in hot real estate markets as a result of beefed-up capital requirements for Canada’s mortgage insurers coming into force next year.

And it is homebuyers who are expected to bear the added cost, rather than the financial institutions that lend the money for home purchases, according to Peter Routledge, an analyst at National Bank Financial

“We believe Canadian homebuyers will absorb the bulk of these higher costs directly or indirectly via higher mortgage interest rates,” Routledge said in a note to clients Monday.

“Said differently, we do not expect a material impact on bank or mortgage lender earnings strictly as a result of higher mortgage insurance premiums.”

The capital changes proposed last week by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions require added consideration of factors including a borrower’s credit score, outstanding loan balance, and the amount of time left to fully repay the mortgage. The new rules are to come into effect Jan. 1 following a consultation period, and are intended to account for risks in hot real estate pockets across the country including high price-to-income ratios.

Routledge expects two headwinds to hit the Canadian housing market if the changes go ahead as proposed: higher mortgage rates and a higher probability that foreclosures will increase. The combined impact could contribute to a cooling of the market.

“Mortgage insurance premium increases passed on to the homebuyer through higher mortgage interest rates will reduce affordability, potentially stunting sales activity and slowing house price appreciation,” the analyst wrote.

He said higher mortgage insurance premiums would hit the first-time homebuyers hard, as well as the mortgage broker channel that relies on this group. As a result, he believes, mono-line mortgage lenders that originate prime insurer mortgages through the broker channel “are most at risk to a slowdown in sales activity directly related to higher mortgage insurance premiums.”

The analyst said the new rules could also serve to crimp the practice of extending the amortization period of a mortgage to reduce monthly payments when a borrower is in financial distress. This is because, under the new framework, more capital would have to be set aside against those mortgages.

“In our view, this weakens the incentive for mortgage insurance companies to forbear, potentially increasing the likelihood of foreclosure,” Routledge wrote. An increase of properties in foreclosure proceedings, in turn, would weigh on home price appreciation, the analyst said.

He noted increased mortgage insurance costs triggered by the new rules could also drive demand for uninsured mortgages.


Palmer made mark on Canadian golf, including first PGA Tour win in 1955

By Bill Beacon


Arnold Palmer: 'The King' of golf dies at 87

Arnold Palmer: ‘The King’ of golf dies at 87

The outpouring of warmth for golf legend Arnold Palmer extended across the border to Canada, even if the King of golf almost thwarted Canadian Sandra Post’s bid to win the 1978 Dinah Shore championship.

Post was tied for the lead in the final round when she suddenly had to stop for 35 minutes because organizers had Palmer in a promotion, hitting 35 shots on the par-3 17th with a chance for someone to win a cash prize if he got a hole-in-one.

“It started when I was on the 16th!” Post said on Monday. “I had to wait, and then there were all those pitch marks on the green. And the player I was tied with (Penny Pulz) was in the clubhouse.”

She won the tournament and laughs about it now. She even adds that she and Palmer were on the same plane afterwards he in first class and she one row behind in coach.

“This is a day of sadness but I’m so grateful he was in my era,” Post said.  “I was fortunate to play several rounds with him.

“He was always generous with the women’s game, playing in mixed events.”

Palmer, who died Sunday at age 87 in a Pittsburgh hospital, went from being a caddie to one of the greatest names in the sport but never seemed to forget where he came from. His humility and graciousness are remembered as much as his golf achievements.

Dave Barr of Kelowna, B.C., who won twice on the PGA Tour, played several times with Palmer and called him a role model.

“You tried to pattern your game after him and also how to treat people,” said Barr.  “You tried to learn from him.

“He probably wasn’t the best player you have to like Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods for that but he was the one who made the game popular. All of us, as pros, appreciate what he did for the game and how he allowed us to make a decent living from it. It’s a sad day.”

Palmer certainly left his mark on Canada, and not only for the courses he helped design like the Whistler Golf Club or Northview in Surrey, B.C.

The Latrobe, Pa., native posted the first of his 62 PGA Tour victories in 1955 at the Weston Golf Club near Toronto. Palmer was a Tour rookie that year and travelled between tournaments by car with his first wife Winnie. The couple camped in a field behind the superintendent’s shed.

Then he blew away the pack en route to a four-stroke win and the top prize of $2,400.

“Things came together pretty much for me in this Canadian Open and it got me started on the winning trail,” Palmer said of the win.

He also won the Canadian PGA championship at the Mayfair club in Edmonton in 1980. It was his last title before joining the seniors tour, where he had 10 wins to boost his career pro victories total to 95.

Palmer won an event called the Canada Cup six times with either Sam Snead or Jack Nicklaus as his partner, although none of them were held in Canada. The two-man team event was renamed the World Cup in 1967.

Bill Paul, now tournament director of the Canadian Open, recalls meeting Arnold Palmer at the 1981 tournament and being just as impressed with the man as the golf legend.

“I was maybe 22 and he was whatever (52),” said Paul.  “I remember it because he’s the king of golf and I’m this little peon, but he treated me like I was anybody else.

“He treated everyone the same. And every time I’d meet him after that, he remembered me and knew my name.”

In 2004, Paul invited him to help celebrate the Canadian Open’s 100th anniversary and was stunned when the four-time Masters champion said; “I’ll go to the Canadian Open and I’d like to speak at it.”

“When he said ‘yes’ it was unbelievable,” said Paul.

A year later, Palmer was back at Weston to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his first PGA win, which included playing in a skins game with Barr, Ray Floyd and Mark Calcavecchia. A statue of Palmer hugging the trophy was unveiled at the course.

Barr recalled Palmer’s firm hands and how was constantly adjusting the leather grips on his clubs at the practice range.

He wasn’t the only one to notice. Mike Weir of Bright’s Grove, Ont., the 2003 Masters champion, issued a tweet with a picture of Palmer gripping a club that said: “I admire so many things about Mr Palmer…golf wise his grip was one of the best we’ve seen!”

Palmer was credited with sparking the sport’s mass appeal at a time when the game had just started to be shown on television.

He also led the way for other athletes in capitalizing on his fame by launching a clothing line, a golf course design company, helping start the IMG sports agency and other ventures.

OSFI changing rules for mortgage insurers and update capital requirements

OTTAWA — Canada’s federal financial regulator is proposing new rules for mortgage insurance companies to better assess the risks of borrowers and deal with hot real estate markets.

The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions released its draft advisory for public consultation on Friday.

The regulator has proposed a new standard approach to assessing risk that incorporates indicators including creditworthiness, remaining amortization and outstanding loan balance.

The new capital requirements also include a base amount that applies to all mortgages plus a supplemental amount that will apply when home prices are high relative to borrower incomes.

Superintendent Jeremy Rudin says when house prices are high relative to borrower incomes, the new framework will require that more capital be set aside.

“Ultimately this will continue to provide a level of protection to both policyholders and unsecured creditors,” Rudin said in a statement.

The draft advisory is open for comments until Oct. 21, with the new rules set to take effect starting in January.

OSFI says the current capital requirements for mortgage insurance risk were developed in the early 1990s and last updated almost 15 years ago.

The Canadian Press


Why trip cancellation insurance may not cover you

Why trip cancellation insurance may not cover you

Excerpted article was written By  | Global News

A good number of Canadian consumers who buy trip cancellation insurance may be in for a nasty surprise when they try to make a claim.

“You’re basically gambling with a slot machine that in many instances has been engineered to never pay out,” Vancouver-based lawyer Scott Stanley from Murphy Battista said.

Stanley acts for victims and their families with claims against insurance companies.
“Most people will find themselves without coverage because they have innocently bought insurance not knowing that they will never have coverage because of their pre-existing health conditions or those of their family,” he said. They just simply don’t make the association.”

That was the case for Tracey Plevy. In August 2015, Plevy and her husband booked a $10,000 cruise to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. She made sure to buy travel cancellation insurance for an additional $350. The day after purchasing that insurance, Plevy says her mom went to hospital for a swollen leg. Plevy’s mom was diagnosed with cancer, but it was unclear just how serious the cancer was since more testing had to be done.

Plevy decided to go on the cruise, but five days into the trip, the Chilliwack resident received devastating news.

“My mother had a rapid form of lung cancer,” she said.

Plevy cut her cruise short and rushed home. When she submitted a trip interruption claim for over $7,000, it was denied. She appealed, but was denied a second time. Plevy says her mother’s medical records were reviewed between May 30 to August 29, 2015 and the swollen leg was seen as a pre-existing condition.

The insurance company, Travel Guard Canada, stated:

“The policy purchased excludes conditions that do not meet the policy definition of stable and controlled. Unfortunately, as this condition was present with symptoms prompting further testing/treatment prior to the risk date of August 29, 2015 we remain unable to extend coverage for your loss.”

Plevy disagrees.

“How are you to know that someone that has a swollen leg that they’re going to have cancer or going to have a terminal illness and they’re going to die?”

So what can consumers do?

“I can give all the advice in the world, but it makes no difference until the insurance industry reforms itself and by that they need to make sure that people have a better understanding of what they’re buying and what it actually covers,” Stanley said.

Plevy’s mother passed away this past August. Plevy may appeal again, but isn’t sure if it’s worth her time.

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