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The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) is actively involved in the political process. You may be wondering, why? We’re involved in the political process because politicians are involved in real estate.
For example, let's take a look at each step in a real estate transaction.
Step by step
First, practising REALTORS® require a government-issued real estate licence. To get one, REALTORS® must take a minimum of six months of courses and pass a government-approved exam. Then to keep their licence and continue as practising professionals, REALTORS® must also take mandatory upgrading courses.
When a REALTOR® goes looking for potential clients, the government mandates who REALTORS® can and can’t contact and what REALTORS® can say or not say in their advertising.
When a REALTOR® takes a listing for a property, they have to rely on their thorough knowledge of government regulations and rules about topics as diverse as property assessments, zoning, the Building Code, environmental issues, and any restrictions on how a property can or cannot be used, including rent controls, to name a few examples.
Then, when a REALTOR® advertises a property for sale, they must be familiar with government rules about where open house signs can be displayed, and when and for how long they can be displayed.
If a buyer requires financing, the government regulates whether they can use their RRSP for a downpayment and how much can be used. If the buyer’s mortgage needs to be insured, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), a government Crown agency which dominates the mortgage insurance market, will likely be the insurer.
When it comes time to close the deal, it is registered at a government office.
If the property owner wants to demolish a home and cut trees, or build a second story, a new home, a garage, a laneway house, a secondary suite, a swimming pool or a fence, government regulations cover every activity.
Who creates all of these rules and policies that affect the buying, selling and owning of property?
Politicians. This is why the Real Estate Board is involved in in the political process.
Engaging policy makers
For close to a century, the Real Estate Board has worked to represent the interests of REALTORS® and their clients and to engage policy makers.
Our non-partisan Government Relations (GR) Committee (pictured at right) includes residential and commercial REALTOR® volunteers and full-time staff with decades of high-level experience, extensive knowledge of legislative and policy making processes, and strong connections to politicians and their staff.
We like to start our relationships with politicians even before they’re elected. The GR Committee invites them to candidates meetings or housing forums so their platforms can be better known.
We then keep the voice of REALTORS® front and centre on important legislative issues and we emphasize the importance of home ownership to the economy at local, regional, provincial and federal government levels.
Talking to legislators
Throughout the year, the GR Committee meets face-to-face with many of the Board’s 14 federal MPs, 31 provincial MLAs, and mayors, councillors and directors from the 22 municipalities, three regional districts and the Tsawwassen First Nation.
We also work with our partners in the real estate industry including the Canadian Home Builders’ Association of BC, the Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association and the Urban Development Institute – Pacific Region.
• Index the withdrawal limit of the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) (RRSPs for downpayments) withdrawal limits in $2,500 increments to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Extend the HBP eligibility to anyone who has recently divorced, lost a spouse, relocated for a new job, or are accommodating an elderly relative.
• Reducing the Property Transfer Tax to make home ownership more affordable.
Issues focus on land use and planning and zoning and include wide-ranging topics such as density including laneway homes, townhomes, and transit-oriented development, regional growth, transportation, fuel storage tanks, heritage preservation, signs, tree protection and parks and green space.
Issues include satellite reserves, developments on Musqueam Indian Band Lands, developments on Tsawwassen First Nation, developments on Squamish Land, new legislation to open doors on First Nations lands.