Anshu Arora LLM, MSc, PMP

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During a public meeting on Monday, Surrey City Council approved the measure of permitting city staff to proceed with the process of obtaining a loan of $150.6 million to fund three new major community and recreational facilities.


The long-term borrowing scheme will fully cover the construction costs of the new replacement $90-million Newton Community Centre, including the land acquisition, as well as the full costs of the $40-million City Centre Sports Complex.


Another $20.6 million will be borrowed to help cover the $50.1-million Cloverdale Sport and Ice Complex, with the remaining $29.5 million funded through pay-as-you-go city financing.


These capital projects were previously approved by city council in November 2020 as part of the 2021 five-year capital plan, which will help address growing pressures for new recreational facilities as a result of Surrey’s continued strong population growth.


In October 2020, city council approved the acquisition of 16 contiguous parcels at 6965-7005 King George Boulevard and 13511-13570 70A Avenue, forming a 7.2-acre parcel for Newton Community Centre, a new public park, and other civic uses. These parcels include the current Rona store and a number of vacant properties.


Design work on the new Newton facility, including a replacement rink for the nearby Newton Ice Arena, will begin in early 2021, and construction is targeted to begin in late 2021 for a completion in 2023.


Further north up the King George Boulevard Corridor, the City Centre Sports Complex is envisioned to be a major expansion of the Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre at 13458 107A Avenue. Much of the city-owned property is currently used as surface parking, which opens up the opportunity for an expansion without land acquisition.

When complete, it would add to the area’s recreational precinct already established by the adjacent Whalley Athletic Park and BC Lions training centre.






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Port Coquitlam is giving a break to local property owners wishing to get more out of their expensive land by building coach houses.


Mayor Brad West said he hoped giving staff rather than council the job of approving these buildings would “send a message” that these tiny houses are a permitted use when built according to city rules.

“I have a lot of trust in our staff to deal with the issues that come up — which inevitably do come up between neighbours — [to ensure they] are addressed appropriately,” West said.


Although not inexpensive to build because they require the same costly bathroom, kitchen and heating, water and ventilation as main houses (and fewer cheaper bedrooms), coach houses have appeal for single family property owners seeking to get more use of their land, either by renting out the space or using them as living quarters for extended family members.


Port Coquitlam, which has approved 14 development permits, with 10 already built and another 10 under review, has permitted them in eligible single family lots through a streamlined Development Permit process.


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Residential and land sales so far this year in the city of Vancouver exceed annual numbers for 2018 and 2019. These are numbers from January to November 2020, and sales in December have yet to be counted.


Sales in 2020 so far from January to November exceed the whole of 2019, meaning 12 months of the year, in Vancouver, which numbered 7,357. Year-to-date sales also surpass the whole of 2018 in Vancouver, which came to 7,285. The same is happening on a regional level.


The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,044,000. This represents a 5.8 per cent increase over November 2019.


Attached home sales in November 2020 totalled 632, a 40.1 per cent increase compared to the 451 sales in November 2019. The benchmark price of an attached home is $814,800. This represents a 5.6 per cent increase from November 2019.


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Metro Vancouver home sales hit 3,047 in August at a benchmark price of $1.04 million, as the housing market continued its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.


The number of homes sold last month was nearly 20 per cent higher than the 10-year average for August, although there was a slight decrease from the 3,128 homes sold in July, The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said on Wednesday.


The benchmark price in August was 5.3 per cent higher than August 2019 and 0.7 per cent higher than July for the Vancouver area, said the board, which covers Burnaby, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Richmond, South Delta, Squamish, Sunshine Coast, Vancouver, West Vancouver and Whistler.


Board chairwoman Colette Gerber said the higher-than-average sales were driven by people who put their plans on hold in the spring, when home viewings were locked down to slow the spread of COVID-19. “Low interest rates and limited overall supply of homes for sale are creating competition in today's housing market,” Gerber added in a statement.


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In this article we look at 3 different circumstances in which British Columbia real estate is dealt with after a person passes away.

Transmission to Surviving Joint Tenant

Many British Columbians own property in joint tenancy with another person, often with their spouse. A joint tenancy is a special type of ownership that arises when the title to the property specifically states that it is owned in joint tenancy.

If the words “joint tenants” are not specified on title, then ownership will not be in joint tenancy. When two or more people are on title and the words “joint tenants” are not present, the law presumes another type of ownership, called a tenancy in common. For tenancies in common, when one owner dies, that person’s share passes through their estate, not to the surviving owners. In a joint tenancy, when one joint tenant dies, the surviving joint tenant is automatically entitled to the deceased’s share of the property. Although the right is automatic, it is necessary to file paperwork with the BC Land Title and Survey Authority (LTSA) to make the transmission effective. Generally speaking, this includes filing the original death certificate and accompanying LTSA filing form (typically, a Form 17 Fee Simple) with the Land Title office, along with payment of a processing fee. After the LTSA processes the application for transmission to surviving joint tenant (this process may take a few weeks or more), the deceased owner’s name will be removed from title, leaving the surviving joint tenant as the sole owner.


Sale by Estate

Commonly, a person will give their executor the power to sell their property after they die, with the intention that the executor will distribute the proceeds among the deceased’s children or beneficiaries. This power is usually specified in a will. After a person dies, and before the executor can deal with the deceased’s real estate, the executor must be registered on title as the owner of the property. This requires a grant of probate from the Supreme Court of BC.

Once a grant of probate is obtained, the process to transmit title to the executor is fairly simple and is done by application with Land Titles. After the executor becomes the registered owner of the property, they are able to sell or otherwise deal with the property, subject of course to their duties to the estate as executor and to the deceased’s will, if any.


Transfer to Named Beneficiary under a Will

When a person names someone in their will who receive a gift of real estate, additional steps are required before the beneficiary can become the legal owner. Whenever real estate passes through the estate, the executor must first go through the process outlined above, including obtaining a grant of probate and applying to become the registered owner of the property. If the will names someone to receive a gift of property, the executor is generally obligated to transfer the property to the named beneficiary. This process can take some time, as the law restricts the executor from transferring real estate to a beneficiary for 210 days following the grant of probate. This rule is intended to protect persons who may have a wills variation claim if they were not adequately provided for in the will. There is an exception when all of the beneficiaries consent to the early transfer of the property before the 210 day period expires.

In practice, this means that a person who is named in a will to receive real estate in BC may have to wait a year or more before title can be transferred to them. This is because of the time it takes the executor to obtain a grant of probate (often 4-6 months after death) and the 210 day mandatory waiting period after the grant of probate is issued.

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