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Saskatoon City Council approves condo conversion policy change

Saskatoon City Council approved proposed changes to policies governing the conversion of existing rental apartments to condominiums at last night’s council meeting.


City administrators presented their report which was prepared in response to a request brought forward by Councillor Pat Lorje during the meeting of City Council held on August 13, 2007 to “provide a report to the executive Committee on a review of our existing condominium conversion bylaw, together with suggestions for improvements to ensure an adequate supply of affordable rental housing while still maintaining an orderly investment market for multi unit accommodation.”


The report highlighted the positive and negative “implications” of condo conversions including the reduction in the supply of rental housing, the disruption and displacement of existing tenants, the creation of opportunities for affordable home ownership, investment and upgrading of older properties and the opportunities condo conversions create for small investors to enter the market.


The current condominium conversion policies offer the following protections for tenants occupying the apartments to be converted:


1)tenants must receive at least three months notice prior to an application being submitted;

2)tenants must receive a reasonable opportunity to purchase a converted unit in the building; and

3)tenants, at the time of application, may stay for up to two years after the date of application.


The report, written by Tim Stueart, Manager of the City’s Development Review Section noted, “In recent months, a number of investors have been undertaking measures to remove tenants from buildings in order to circumvent the requirement to allow tenants to stay in place for up to two years after the date of application. This has been done by giving tenants notice to vacate their units prior to condominium conversion application, or by significantly increasing rental rates.”


Both of these practices are allowable under Saskatchewan’s Residential Tenancies Act, in spite of the hardship that they can cause at a time when vacancy rates are low and alternate accommodations are difficult to find.


The new policy, approved last night brings the following changes:


1)increase the notice period for tenants from three months before an application is made for conversion to six months before an application is approved;

2)delete the provision which allows tenants to stay in place for up to two years after the date of application;

3)add a new clause which will provide that during the six month notice period, no rent increases shall take effect and no construction related to the condominium conversion shall be undertaken;

4)add a new clause which will provide that should the rent be increased or construction related to the condominium conversion be undertaken during the notice period, the applicant will be required to begin the notice period again from the date that the rent increases take effect or the date that the construction work is completed; and

5)add a new clause which will provide that where an applicant has vacated or substantially vacated a residential building prior to submitting a condominium conversion application, the application shall not be approved for twelve months from the date which it is submitted. This requirement shall be waived where a building is vacant as the result of significant damage or where t has been vacated as the result of a Health or Fire Order.


Clearly, these changes provide a strong disincentive for investors to attempt to circumvent policy. Hopefully, they will provide a fair balance for both tenants and landlords when it comes to notices to vacate.


I’m always happy to answer your Saskatoon real estate questions.  All of my contact info is here. Please feel free to call or email. Norm Fisher Royal LePage Vidorra

Norm Fisher, Author of the TeamFisher Saskatoon Real Estate Blog

About Norm

Licensed in 1993, Norm brings a wealth of experience to TeamFisher. He has worked in every imaginable capacity including sales agent, office manager, team leader, broker and now, broker/owner. Norm has written a weekly review of the Saskatoon real estate market for more than 650 consecutive weeks which may make him the most consistent industry blogger in the world.Less...

Licensed in 1993, Norm brings a wealth of experience to TeamFisher. He has worked in every imaginable capacity including sales agent, office manager, team leader, broker and now, broker/owner. Norm has written a weekly review of the Saskatoon real estate market for more than 650 consecutive weeks which may make him the most consistent industry blogger in the world.

Norm is known for his passion for technology and can most often be found exploring and experimenting with the next big thing in real estate marketing. He was the first Saskatoon real estate agent to promote a home online and has been an early adopter of new technologies ever since. “Everything about this business has changed over the past 20 years, and it will happen again in the next ten. An open mind and a curious attitude are all that’s needed to continue to find new ways to serve our clients by delivering a faster, smoother, worry-free transaction,” says Norm.

In his spare time, Norm enjoys Crossfit and cycling, some years accumulating over 2,000 kilometres on the road. He’s a strong supporter of the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation and enjoys raising funds by joining fun, fitness-related initiatives like the Grouse Grind for Shelter. In 2015, he trekked the Peruvian Andes to Machu Picchu. In 2017 he walked the southern highlands of Iceland across mountains, sand, snow, ice, lava fields and forest for seven days. Collectively those initiatives raised over a million dollars for Canadian women's shelters.
 

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