New Listing in UBC. Keats Hall, quality construction by Polygon. Full rain-screen. Conveniently located in the heart of UBC. Steps away from transit, Rec Centre, University Hill School, Medical School and directly across from Pharmaceutical Building. Perfect for families and investors. This south-facing 2 bedrooms/2 baths home features spacious/functional floor plan with 9' ceiling, open kitchen with s/s appliances, gas range and a good size balcony. Call 778-991-0649 for your private viewing. Click the below link to view more details.


204-2280 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver

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Courtyard facing 1 bed suite at St. James House Pl. in UBC. This immaculate top floor unit has a 12" ceiling and large windows bringing in lots of light. Amenities include a party room, steam, sauna room, hot tub and guest suites. Ideal for family with child study at UBC, a walking distance to University Hill Secondary & Elementary School, Pacific Spirit Park, save on foods and UBC facilities. Why rent when you can own?
 
Click below link for detailed information
 
 
More Listings Photos at below link
 
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Keats Hall in UBC built by Polygon. This spacious 1 bedroom with 9' ceilings, large balconies. Conveniently close to University Market place, University Hill Schools, recreation facilities, and buses. It is directly across from UBC Pharmaceutical science and Medical School. Top floor and facing garden. Comes with 2 parking stalls and one storage locker. Why rent when you can own?
 
Click here below link for more information.
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PATHWAYS: Built by Adera, the 'Green' residential community in Wesbrook Place Village. The unit features upgraded appliances, crown mouldings, dark wood baseboards, matching cabinet, gas F/P. It comes with a peaceful large patio facing the courtyard, extra large parking stall and one locker. Steps to groceries, restaurants, shops, convenient public transit, Pacific Spirit Park, community parks, beaches. Short walking distance within catchment for University Hill Secondary, Acadia Road Elementary School. Gold rated by university's Residential Environmental Assessment Program (REAP) - commit to various green building technologies and materials; water efficiency, indoor environmental quality and innovative design.Tenanted till end of April for $2500/month.

Click below link for listing details:
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Most Vancouver Kitsilano Home Buyers and Sellers are not sure if it is the right time to buy or sell a Kitsilano Townhouse. Even worse, many are getting irrelevant or out of date Kitsilano housing and real estate statistics. Today, we will provide a comprehensive list of Kitsilano Vancouver Townhouse Price charts from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV). We hope these REBGV Stats can help home buyers make the right buying and selling decisions


Kitsilano Vancouver Townhouse Home Price Index (HPI) Chart



Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O5Yu-Nyj


 

Kitsilano Vancouver Townhouse Average Sales Price


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O5Yy-sZf

 

Kitsilano Vancouver Townhouse for Sale Average Listing Days on Market


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O5YL-FFi

 

Kitsilano Vancouver Townhouse Average Price Per Square Foot


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O5YJ-lbx


Kitsilano Vancouver Townhouse for Sale Total Inventory


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O5Y6-PxS

Kitsilano Vancouver Townhouse for Sale New Listings


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O5YI-K0d

Kitsilano Vancouver Townhouse Sales Volume


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O5Yk-leg


Kitsilano Vancouver Townhouse Sales to Actives Ratio


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O5YG-9j0

More Kitsilano Real Estate Price Charts

More Real Estates for Sale MLS Listings

Kitsilano

False Creek

North Vancouver

Richmond

Vancouver

Vancouver West

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Most Vancouver Kitsilano Home Buyers and Sellers are not sure if it is the right time to buy or sell a Kitsilano House. Even worse, many are getting irrelevant or out of date Kitsilano housing and real estate statistics. Today, we will provide a comprehensive list of Kitsilano Vancouver House Price charts from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV). We hope these REBGV Stats can help home buyers make the right buying and selling decisions


Kitsilano Vancouver House Home Price Index (HPI) Chart



Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O5Pu-8GM

 

Kitsilano Vancouver House Average Sales Price


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O5P8-wPD


 

Kitsilano Vancouver House for Sale Average Listing Days on Market


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O5Py-fGt

 

Kitsilano Vancouver House Average Price Per Square Foot


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O5Pr-yFZ


Kitsilano Vancouver Houses for Sale Total Inventory


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O5Pa-NTA

Kitsilano Vancouver Houses for Sale New Listings


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O5PJ-RPF

Kitsilano Vancouver House Sales Volume


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O5PW-yGQ


Kitsilano Vancouver House Sales to Actives Ratio


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O5Px-kCG

More Kitsilano Real Estate Price Charts

More Real Estates for Sale MLS Listings

Kitsilano

False Creek

North Vancouver

Richmond

Vancouver

Vancouver West

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Most Vancouver Kitsilano Home Buyers and Sellers are not sure if it is the right time to buy or sell a Kitsilano Condo. Even worse, many are getting irrelevant or out of date Kitsilano housing and real estate statistics. Today, we will provide a comprehensive list of Kitsilano Vancouver Condos Price charts from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV). We hope these REBGV Stats can help home buyers make the right buying and selling decisions


Kitsilano Vancouver Condos Home Price Index (HPI) Chart



Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O5vR-qpD

 

Kitsilano Vancouver Condos Average Sales Price


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O5vS-4OO


Kitsilano Vancouver Condos for Sale Average Listing Days on Market


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O5vA-uYM

 

Kitsilano Vancouver Condos Average Price Per Square Foot


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O5vy-NgS


Kitsilano Vancouver Condos for Sale Total Inventory


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O5vD-t5u


Kitsilano Vancouver Condos for Sale New Listings


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O5vJ-cqW


Kitsilano Vancouver Condos Sales Volume


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O5vW-Hs1


Kitsilano Vancouver Condos Sales to Actives Ratio


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O5vx-pv9

More Kitsilano Real Estate Price Charts

More Real Estates for Sale MLS Listings

Kitsilano

False Creek

North Vancouver

Richmond

Vancouver

Vancouver West

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Most UBC Home Buyers and Sellers are not sure if it is the right time to buy or sell a UBC House. Even worse, many are getting irrelevant or out of date UBC housing and real estate statistics. Today, we will provide a comprehensive list of UBC Vancouver House Price charts from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV). We hope these REBGV Stats can help home buyers make the right buying and selling decisions


UBC Vancouver House Home Price Index (HPI) Chart



Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O2Ks-isi


UBC Vancouver House Average Sales Price


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O2KD-hE8


UBC Vancouver House for Sale Average Listing Days on Market


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O2Ka-mJY

UBC Vancouver House Average Price Per Square Foot


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O2Ki-q1t


UBC Vancouver Houses for Sale Total Inventory


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O2K6-r2n

UBC Vancouver Houses for Sale New Listings


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O2Ko-xqh

UBC Vancouver House Sales Volume


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O2K4-smB


UBC Vancouver House Sales to Actives Ratio


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O2K9-uAf

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Most UBC Home Buyers and Sellers are not sure if it is the right time to buy or sell a UBC Townhouse. Even worse, many are getting irrelevant or out of date UBC housing and real estate statistics. Today, we will provide a comprehensive list of UBC Vancouver Townhouse Price charts from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV). We hope these REBGV Stats can help home buyers make the right buying and selling decisions


UBC Vancouver Townhouse Home Price Index (HPI) Chart



Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O2Kh-snb


UBC Vancouver Townhouse Average Sales Price


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O2K7-Zyr


UBC Vancouver Townhouse Average Listing to Contract days


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O2Kl-dde

UBC Vancouver Townhouse Average Price Per Square Foot


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O2Kf-ZRy


UBC Vancouver Townhouses for Sale Total Inventory


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O2KH-aBB


UBC Vancouver Townhouses for Sale New Listings


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O2KR-sZL


UBC Vancouver Townhouse Sales Volume


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O2KS-tVd


UBC Vancouver Townhouse Sales to Actives Ratio


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O2KA-7Cm

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Most UBC Home Buyers and Sellers are not sure if it is the right time to buy or sell a UBC Condo. Even worse, many are getting irrelevant or out of date UBC housing and real estate statistics. Today, we will provide a comprehensive list of UBC Vancouver Condo Price charts from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV). We hope these REBGV Stats can help home buyers make the right buying and selling decisions


UBC Vancouver Condo Home Price Index (HPI) Chart



Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O2DU-81F


UBC Vancouver Condo Average Sales Price


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O2Dp-xwR


UBC Vancouver Condo Average Listing to Contract days


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O2Do-qYw


UBC Vancouver Condo Average Price Per Square Foot


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O2Dv-P0W


UBC Vancouver Condos for Sale Total Inventory


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O2D9-Oi8


UBC Vancouver Condos for Sale New Listings


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O2Dc-lOJ


UBC Vancouver Condo Sales Volume


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O2DG-MpH


UBC Vancouver Condo Sales to Actives Ratio


Click here to download PDF File: https://statscentre.rebgv.org/infoserv/s-v1/O2KB-vti

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Is UBC on leased land? 


In 2019, 71% of detached houses, and 98% of attached Condos & Townhouses sold in UBC were Leasehold properties. What this means is that when a Buyer is looking to buy a UBC Home or invest in UBC Real Estate, he or she will mostly encounter a leasehold property.


As a UBC Realtor working in the UBC area for more than ten years, many buyers have asked me, "What is a leasehold?" I thought I would take this opportunity to explain the concept of "leasehold" in this blog.


Please note that this blog is for information only. Buyers are advised to obtain independent legal advice before buying a real estate property.


What is Title to Land?

In common law, title to land means "ownership" of land. Historically, one can prove he/she has title to land or ownership of land by producing documents or deeds. Nowadays, in BC, ownership of land is registered in the Land Title Office.


There are two main types of "ownership" of land: Leasehold and Freehold. We will delve deeper into each below.


Freehold

Freehold ownership is the most common type of ownership to land or real estate property in Canada. It is also what we ordinarily think of as ownership of real property. But what does freehold mean? According to the Real Estate Council of British Columbia's (RECBC) definition, freehold means, " ... The owner of the freehold interest has full use and control of the land and the buildings on it, subject to any rights of the Crown, local land-use bylaws, and any other restrictions in place at the time of purchase". 


Confused? Don't worry, to put it in layman's term, freehold land or property simply means the owner has full use and control. Also, the owner could own the land or property for an unlimited period of time


The two most important takeaway concepts about freehold are the idea of, full use and control and ownership for an unlimited period of time. Now let's look at the concept of leasehold and see how leasehold is different from freehold.


Leasehold


What is a leasehold, and what does leasehold mean? According to the Real Estate Council of British Columbia's (RECBC) Leasehold definition, "... the right to use a residential property for a long, but limited, period of time. The owner of this right of use has a type of ownership called a leasehold interest."


In the simplest term, the Leasehold title property means the owner DOES NOT have full use and control, and ownership is for a LIMITED period of time.


What does it mean when the leasehold property owner does not have full use and control of the land?


The use of a leasehold property is generally spelled out in a document called the Head Lease or Ground Lease. The Ground Lease documents set out the terms and conditions for the use of the land between the lessor (owner of the land) and lessee (user of the land). One good example is that the lessee (person who owns the right to the use of the land) cannot build a building on the leasehold land without prior approval from the lessor (owner of the land).


If you like a sample copy of UBC Ground Lease, please contact me.


How long is the lease period?


Leasehold interests are usually set for 99 years. All of the UBC Condos and Townhouses are set for 99 years. Some leasehold interests have a shorter time period. For example, many False Creek Leasehold properties in Vancouver have a lease period of 64 years.


What is a Strata property or Strata Apartment or Townhouse?


BC had strata legislation since 1966. On July 1, 2000, the Strata Property Act replaced the former Condominium Act. A strata development is a way of subdividing land and buildings into parts for separate ownership with common features. In a strata development, individuals can own separate parts of the same development, but share common areas and related expenses. The part of the property that an individual owns is called the "strata lot." Informally, we often call this part of the strata a "unit." The remainder of the property is called the "common property."


Types of Leasehold


There are many different types of leasehold real estate. We'll be looking at the various types of leasehold real estate in detail.


  • Leasehold Prepaid - Non-Strata

This is non-strata, property, meaning the ownership of the property or land is not divided. The property sits on Leasehold land, and the use of land has been prepaid. Because the lease (use of the land) has been prepaid, the sale price is higher than the non-prepaid leasehold. An excellent example of this leasehold prepaid non-strata is 4114 Yuculta Crescent, Vancouver. It is a house with a prepaid lease until 2073.


  • Leasehold Not Prepaid - Non-Strata


This is non-strata property, meaning the ownership of the property or land has not been divided. The property sits on a Leasehold land, and the use of land has not been prepaid. An example of this Leasehold prepaid non-strata is 10 Sennok Crescent, Vancouver.


  • Leasehold Prepaid-Strata


This is a strata property where the lease has been prepaid. A good example of this is 307-5835 Hampton Place, Vancouver. This condo in UBC has a lease period of 99 years. It is a property with a prepaid lease until 2073. All the UBC leasehold condos and townhouses are prepaid and have 99 years lease period.


  • Leasehold Not Prepaid-Strata


This is a strata property where the lease has not been prepaid. An example of this is 47-1425 Lamey's Mill Road, Vancouver. The monthly lease is $770.61/month until 2040.


  • First nations lease


If the leasehold is on First Nation's Land, we often call it a First Nation Lease or First Name Leasehold. In the examples above, 4114 Yuculta Crescent, Vancouver, and 10 Sennok Crescent, Vancouver, are both on the Musqueam Band Reserve Land. There's a whole set of laws in BC and Canada that deals with First Nation's Land. Banks in Canada typically requires at least 50% down payment from the buyer for the purchase of a First Nations Leasehold property.


TYPES OF DWELLING


There are many types of dwelling a buyer may encounter when searching for a real estate in Vancouver. A residential dwelling can be broadly divided into two categories: detached or attached.


Detached House or Single Family home is a type of dwelling where there are no shared walls with any other residential property. The detached house has its front, rear, and side yards. The detached house is the most expensive type of dwelling in Vancouver.


Attached dwelling generally refers to a property with a common wall attached to another property. Townhouses and Apartments (or commonly referred to condos) are examples of the attached dwelling.


Thus, when you hear people talk about a "leasehold condo" or "leasehold property," it means the title to the condo or property is in the form of leasehold, and the dwelling type is a condo.


Is leasehold property common in BC?


Leasehold property is a very common type of real estate in British Columbia and Vancouver. Lessor (person or entity owning the land) can be a government entity (e.g., City of Vancouver), education institution (e.g., UBC and SFU), or private corporation.


Many condos in the Vancouver False Creek area are leasehold properties. As well, there are quite a few leasehold properties in the Vancouver West End area. Both 1251 Cardero Street and 1850 Comox Street are leasehold condos.


Why most condos & townhouses in UBC are leaseholds? 


The reason that many condos & townhouses in UBC are leaseholds is that when the University of British Columbia was established in 1908, the Provincial Government stipulated that UBC cannot sell the land that was given to them.


In 1988, UBC Properties Trust was established to develop and bring out the untapped potential of its real estate holdings. Using the leasehold development model, UBC Properties Trust was able to circumvent the law that prohibits the university from selling free title to the land. Since 1988, UBC Properties Trust has generated over $1.6 billion in revenue to the UBC Endowment Fund.


Why do all UBC leasehold properties have a 99 years lease period?


The idea of the 99-year term was only an arbitrary period beyond the life expectancy of any possible lessee or lessor.


What happens to the UBC lease after 99 years?


At the end of the 99-year term, the lessee will have to surrender the Strata lot to the lessor unless the lease is renewed.


What will happen to the value of the leasehold property when I want to sell it ten years later?


It is generally hard to predict the future value of real estate prices. I generally tell my clients that leasehold property usually depreciate in value when there are less than 25 years left on the lease term. The reason is that banks do not want to lend money to a buyer buying a leasehold property when the term of the lease is less than the term of the mortgage.


The first leasehold property was built in 1992, and this means it has 71 years left on the lease. If a buyer bought the condo that was built in 1992, and owns the condo for ten years, by the time he or she sells the condo, the condo will have 61 years of lease remaining. The value of the leasehold property will be on par with a freehold property of the same age, size, and condition.


In my experience, UBC leasehold properties maintain excellent value because of the superb location in Greater Vancouver.


What is a leasehold property? 


A leasehold property is any type of dwelling property built on leasehold land. 


Is leasehold property easy to sell?


The sale of any real estate is contingent on the price, condition, location, supply, and demand. Thus, any of the above factors will affect the saleability of real estate. If a leasehold property is not priced well and not in good condition, it will take longer to sell.


What is the resale value of a leasehold property vs. freehold property?


As mentioned earlier, real estate is contingent on the price, condition, location, supply, and demand. The resale value of a leasehold property will start to decline when the lease term remaining is less than the term of a mortgage (usually 25 years). 


Freehold vs. Leasehold


It is hard to say which one is better. When I work with a buyer looking to buy a property in UBC, I usually advise them to find a property that best suits their needs. Some buyers I have worked with could never get over the emotional hurdle of owning a leasehold property. In that case, I tell them a freehold property suits them best.


On the other hand, I have worked with buyers who value location more than leasehold properties. These are buyers who are suitable to buy leasehold properties.


Do I still need to pay property tax for a UBC Leasehold property?


UBC leasehold property owner is still required to pay property tax. The property tax in UBC is different than that of the City of Vancouver. 


Leasehold properties in UBC do not pay Vancouver property tax. UBC property owners only pay UBC Servies Levy and Rural Tax.


If I want to buy a UBC Leasehold property, can I get a mortgage from the bank?


From the bank's perspective, UBC leasehold is generally considered as solid as a freehold property. Buyers can apply for the first mortgage from major banks such as RBC, Bank of Montreal, and TD Bank. Leasehold property value starts to depreciate when the term of the lease is less than the term of the mortgage. The average mortgage term is 25 years amortization period.


I have worked with many buyers and helped them obtain mortgages for buying a home in UBC. If you need any help getting mortgage finance, we have a team of mortgage brokers who can help you.


More Homes & Real Estates for Sale MLS Listings


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About the UNA


The University Neighbourhoods Association (UNA) acts as a municipal council for the residential areas on campus, promoting a vibrant, sociable, safe and diverse community at the University of British Columbia (UBC).


When you own or lease a property in BC, property taxes must be paid yearly. The money raised from the property taxes you pay is used to fund local programs and services. Homeowners in the UNA pay a Rural Tax to the BC Government and a Services Levy to UBC.


What is the UBC Services Levy?


The UBC Services Levy is a charge collected annually from homeowners at UBC to fund local programs and municipal-like services. The Services Levy is like the municipal portion of property taxes. It is called a levy rather than a tax because UBC is on unincorporated land and is not a municipality.


What is the UBC Services Levy used for?


Services Levy funds are collected by UBC and deposited into the Neighbours’ Fund which funds the University Neighbourhoods Association. The Neighbours’ Fund goes towards the UNA Operating Budget and Reserves.


The Operating Budget is used by the UNA to provide municipal-like services to UNA residents. The annual budget is developed by the UNA Board of Directors and approved after public consultation. Money the UNA generates is also put towards the Operating Budget.


The Neighbours’ Fund Reserves are held to meet the future needs of the community. Reserves are best practice and are required planning for the replacement of infrastructure and to guard against surprise costs.


How is my Services levy Calculated?


The Services Levy Rate equals the difference between the BC Rural Tax Rate and the City of Vancouver Residential Tax Rate. Your invoiced Services Levy amount is based on the value of your property, as determined by BC Assessment. For more information on the assessed value of your property, you can contact the BC Assessment Authority at 604-739-8588 or visit www.bcassessment.ca


When will I receive UBC Services Levy Notice?


UBC Services Levy notices are mailed out by UBC in mid-June annually. You can also access your account balance online or get more information by visiting https://finance.ubc.ca/tax-services-levy/services-levy


What is the Rural Property Tax?


If your property is not located in a city, town, district or village, it is in a rural area. UBC is unincorporated land so it is considered rural.


The BC government collects taxes on properties in rural areas to fund provincial services. The BC government also collects taxes on behalf of other organizations, such as Translink and the Greater Vancouver Regional District.


Rural tax is paid directly to the BC Government.


When will I receive Rural Property Tax if live in UBC?


Rural Property Tax notices are mailed out by the BC Government in early-June annually. You can also access your account balance online or get more information by visiting www.gov.bc.ca/ruralpropertytax


How do my taxes and services levy charges compared to residents in Vancouver?


UBC is required to ensure that the total property taxes paid by UNA homeowners is the same as the property taxes of a comparable property in the City of Vancouver. While homeowners in the UNA pay a Rural Tax to the BC government and the Services Levy to UBC, the two added together are the SAME as the City of Vancouver municipal tax for a property with the same assessed value.


I still have questions, who can I contact?


For questions on the UBC Services Levy:


UBC Department of Financial Services
T: 604-822-3596
E: levy@finance.ubc.ca
www.finance.ubc.ca/revenue/services-levy


For questions on the BC Rural tax:


Surveyor of Taxes Office
T: 604-660-2421
E: ruraltax@gov.bc.ca
www.gov.bc.ca/ruralpropertytax

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Buying your first home is not only an exciting time, but it can also be a busy time with many deadlines and dates.  Unfortunately, there are also many hidden or unexpected costs that are part of the overall home buying experience.  As the premier real estate agent for UBC homes, I would like to offer you the following list of some of the hidden costs that you will incur as a first time home buyer.


Prepare for the Unexpected


The initial down payment of your home is not the only cost that you will incur as a first time home buyer. It is always a good idea to have a contingency fund that will cover costs such as:

  • Homeowner’s insurance – you will want to insure your new home as well as your belongings against fire, natural disasters and theft.
  • Closing costs – costs such as lender fees, lawyer transfer fees, appraisals fees.  Sometimes these fees are part of the closing cost, but make sure that you know how much each fee is and that you have the funds to cover these costs.

Before purchasing a home, make sure to hire an inspector.  Although this is another cost, it may save you considerable money in the long run.  A home inspector will be able to tell you if there is any damage to the foundation or structure of the home, rot or poor electrical wiring.  If any serious problems are found, you can either renegotiate the purchase price or walk away from the house.


Services and Hook Ups


Keep in mind that once you move in, you may have to pay for connection fees for many of the services that you will want in your home such as cable, electricity and internet.  If you are moving from the rent world your utility bills are going to be far higher.  You are responsible for heating your home now as well as paying for water and garbage pickup.


Remember:


As a homeowner, you will also be paying property taxes to your local municipality.  This cost can be broken down over the course of 12 months or paid as one lump sum. 


Look Ahead


When you are factoring the costs into your home purchase budget, do not forget to look past the initial home cost and factor in all the costs of improvements, upgrades or renovations.  If you know that your dream home will need to be landscaped, make sure that you properly budgeted for that yard work.  There is nothing worse than buying a home and hot having the funds to cover general upkeep or improvement projects.  You do not want to be house poor, so budget accordingly. 


There are many factors to keep in mind when you are buying your first home.  That is why the right real estate agent is important.  They can help you and offer advice as well as help you plan a budget so that the hidden costs of a first time home are fully understood. 


If you would like any more information on the hidden costs associated with a first time home or would like to see some of the new and exciting listings that are available in and around UBC, please call me today.  I look forward to working with you soon.

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After a long a dreary winter and spring, summer has finally arrived at UBC.  I am sure that you are ready for the season, but is your house?  To fully enjoy the summer months, it is important that your home is ready for the season.  As the premier real estate agent for UBC homes, I would like to offer the following tips on how to prepare your house for the summer.


Indoors


Check Your Air Conditioning


Nothing can ruin your summer faster than a broken air conditioner.  Ensure that your air conditioning unit is running smoothly this summer by getting it regularly serviced.  Every three months, it is suggested that you:

  • Check and replace the filters.
  • Flush out drain lines with a cup of bleach.
  • Trim and remove any vegetation around the outdoor unit to ensure that your air conditioner has room to breathe.

Rotate Ceiling Fans


Your ceiling fan may have a directional switch.  It is important that your ceiling fan runs in a counterclockwise direction so that it is pushing air down and not up.


Upgrade or change your Thermostat


If you haven’t already, think about replacing your thermostat with a “smart” version.  This type of thermostat will not only save you money on your monthly energy bills, it will also allow you far more flexibility on how you cool your home.  A “smart” thermostat will allow you to cool only certain rooms if you choose and run your air condition during the hottest times of the day.  You can also operate your thermostat from your phone giving you ultimate flexibility and control over your home’s cooling.


Outdoors


Fix Your Lawn


After a long and wet winter and spring, now is the time to reseed your lawn to fill in any bare patches.  A reseeded lawn will also make it harder for weeds to grow, which will alleviate the dreaded job of weeding. 


Here’s the deal:


When reseeding your lawn, also spread a thin layer of topsoil to protect the grass seed.  It is a good idea to irrigate for at least two weeks.


Lawnmower Maintenance


Before cutting your newly seeded lawn, make sure that your lawnmower and other yard tools are in peak working order.  To properly maintain your lawnmower, make sure to:

  • Change the oil and clean or replace the air filter.
  • Check and change the spark plug, if necessary.
  • Sharpen the mower blade and make sure that it is at the desired height.

Inspect all Downspouts


While you are outside preparing your home it is a good idea to check your downspouts and gutters for debris.  Make sure that all gutters are securely fastened to your home and seal any gaps or cracks with silicone.  While you are on your ladder, inspect your roof and replace or repair any broken or missing shingles.


By following these simple home preparation tips, you will be ready for summer in no time.  A well prepared home will free up time for you and your family to enjoy your favourite summer activities.  If you would like any more tips on how to get your home ready for the season or would like to see some of the new summer homes that are available in the UBC area, please contact me today.

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A home renovation is a great way to increase your home’s value, especially if you are thinking about taking advantage of the summer market.  However, figuring out how much a renovation should cost and staying within that budget can be a bit tricky.  As the premier real estate agent for UBC homes, I would like to share the following advice on how to set a renovation budget.

 

Estimate the Costs as a Percentage


Here’s the Deal:

 

You should spend no more in each room than the value of that room as a percentage of your overall house.  For example – A kitchen generally accounts for 10-15% of your home’s value, so if your home is valued at $200 000, you will want to spend $30 000 or less on a kitchen renovation. 

 

Another key piece of advice:

 

Kitchen renovations offer some of the lowest rates of return in terms of a renovation.  For every dollar you spend, your home’s value increases by 50 cents. 

 

The highest rate of return on a renovation – a mid-range bathroom remodel.

 

Consider Loan Options


Once you have decided what type of renovation you want to do and have come up with a rough estimate for that renovation, it is time to think about how you are going to finance your renovations. 

  • Refinancing – depending upon what your interest rates are on your mortgage, you may be able to refinance or add term to your loan lowering your monthly payments allowing you to save for the renovation. 
  • Line of credit – A line of credit may be a great way to finance your renovation, talk to your lender or bank to see what type of term and rate they are willing to provide you.
  • Home Equity Loan – this type of loan is also known as a second mortgage and allows you to borrow a percentage of your home’s assessed value.

Get Quotes


Make sure that you are very specific about what you want done in your renovation and get it written out in a contract.  Make sure to get a quote and include even the materials that are going to be used for the job.  Take your time to talk to a few different contractors and ask lots of questions, especially about the overall timeframe.  Don’t be afraid to ask for references and look at past jobs and customer satisfaction before making your final decision.

 

Stick to the Plan


Do not change the overall outlook of your renovation by adding side projects or changing your mind part way through a job.  This is the fastest way to add costs and time to any project.  Strive to stick to the original plan regardless of how tempted you may be. 

 

A renovation can breathe new life into any room and is a great way to add intrigue and interest to your home if you are thinking about selling.  By following these simple steps, you should be able to enjoy a newly renovated home without breaking the bank.  If you would like any more information about how a renovation can add value to your home or to see some of the new listings in the UBC area, please call me today. I'm Sam Huang. 778-991-0649

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UBC and BC government have sent out the annual Rural Property Tax Notices and UBC Services Levy Notices. The BC government collects taxes on properties in rural areas to fund provincial services.


If you have not received Rural Property Tax Notice and UBC Services Notice, please see below on how to pay your Property Tax online and contact information.


About Rural Property Tax


The BC government also collects taxes on behalf of other organizations, such as Translink and the Metro Vancouver Regional District. Rural Property Tax is paid directly to the BC government.


Rural Property Tax applies to residents living in the following neighbourhoods: Hampton Place, East Campus, Hawthorn Place, Chancellor Place, Wesbrook Village.


If you have not received your Rural Property Tax Notice, please see below Rural Property Tax Contact Information.


Surveyor of Taxes: +1 (250) 387-0555

Toll free: +1 (888) 355-2700

Email: ruraltax@gov.bc.ca


Rural Property Tax is due July 20, 2018


To pay your 2018 Rural Property Tax Notice online, please visit their website at


gov.bc.ca/etaxbc/logon


To apply for 2018 Rural Home Owner Grant Application online, please visit


gov.bc.ca/ruralpropertytax


About UBC Services Levy


The UBC Services Levy is a charge collected annually from homeowners at UBC to fund local programs and municipal-like services. It is called a levy rather than a tax because it is collected under the terms of your lease with UBC.


UBC Services Levy applies to residents living in the following neighbourhoods: Hampton PlaceHawthorn PlaceChancellor PlaceWesbrook Village.


The UBC service levy does not apply to properties within the jurisdiction of the UEL. Be sure to check the jurisdiction of the property in question. Click here to view a map of UEL.


UBC Services Levy is due July 18, 2018


For details, Frequently Asked Questions and on line access to your property statement showing your levy amount and payments received, go to the UBC Services Levy website at


www.finance.ubc.ca/tax-services-levy/services-levy.


You will need the access code from your statement to view your balance. Further details can also be found at the University Neighbourhoods Association website at


www.myuna.ca.


If you have questions about the Services Levy, please see below Revenue Accounting contact information:


Phone: +1 (604) 822-3596

Fax: +1 (604) 827-2668

Email: levy@finance.ubc.ca

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If you have been thinking about listing your UBC home and taking advantage of this summer’s real estate market then this is the blog for you. The fastest way to attract potential buyers and get full market value is by cleaning up and transforming the exterior of your home. As the premier real estate agent for UBC homes, I would like to offer you the following tips on how to improve the exterior of your home.

Clean Up

Perhaps the easiest and most cost-efficient method of improving house is by putting in some time and cleaning the exterior and yard. An attractive exterior begins with trimming the bushes, mowing the lawn and raking the leaves in your yard. Once you have completed these tasks, take the time to wash and scrub your driveway, walkway, your home’s exterior and the fence. Finally, make sure to wash and scrub the windows with a glass cleaner or with diluted detergent and warm water.

Paint

A freshly painted home is sure to turn heads. Not only does paint offer a protective barrier against the elements, it is also a great way to attract potential buyers. If painting your entire home is not in your budget or just seems too overwhelming, focus your attention on the trim, doors and shutters.

Shutter it

Another quick way to transform the exterior of your home and make it more appealing is by adding shutters. Shutters give the illusion of making your windows look larger and disrupts an otherwise bland wall. Make sure to choose a colour that contrasts the exterior colour of your home to make them stand out.

Change those numbers

Changing your house numbers is another quick way to create maximum exterior appeal. Replace or add bronze or chrome house numbers to give your home a more sophisticated and updated look. Other creative ways to use house numbers include:
  • Paint your address on a large planter at the foot of your entrance or at the end of your home’s walkway.
  • Add house numbers to a post near your front porch or at the end of your driveway.
  • Place numbers on your front gate or fence.

Other quick changes

Other quick budget friendly changes that can make a huge difference to your home’s exterior include:
  • Upgrade or paint your mailbox. A new design or colour may add a whole new flair to the outside of your home.
  • Add a tree, new flowers or bushes. A few strategically placed planters with trees or flowers will add to the ambiance of your front porch or walkway.
  • Hanging baskets full of lively flowers will brighten-up your patio or front walkway.
These budget friendly exterior boosters are sure to attract a wide range of clients to your home. If you would like any more tips or advice on how to transform the exterior of your home and make it more appealing to prospective buyers, please contact me today. I look forward to being a part of your sales team.
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When it comes to listing your home, the adage of ‘you never get a second chance to make a first impression’ applies.  A poorly listed home can make a huge difference in terms of dollars as well as the overall time that your property sits on the market.  As the premier real estate agent for UBC homes, here is a guide to 3 do’s and don’ts when it comes to listing your home.

  1. Do: Take a picture of your home from the curb

    In the real estate game this is known as curb appeal.  The importance of pictures and how you represent your home cannot be understated when it comes to attracting buyers.  Make sure you get the whole house in the shot and do not let bushes, trees or cars block the line of sight. 

    Remember:

    The exterior of your home, your yard and the overall appearance of your property is equally important and needs to be represented in your listing.  

  2. Don’t: Take a crooked photo

    This may seem like an obvious statement, but you would not believe the number of photos that are on listing sites where the house is crooked, and it looks like the home and street are on a downhill slope. 

    Make sure that when you take the picture, be mindful of your camera’s angle and that your home’s roof is parallel with the photo’s frame.

  3. Do: Consider a bird’s eye view photo

    A photo that is taken from the air is a great way to showcase a large property or a waterfront location.  Make sure that your photo not only shows the house, but also the surrounding property or water.  Both of these features are strong selling features and attractive to many buyers.  

  4. Don’t: Use a fisheye lens

    Unfortunately fisheye lenses do the opposite of what many people think – fisheye lenses actually make space look smaller and distorted.  Distorted images are a definite detractor when it comes to attracting buyers, so stick with traditional lenses to showcase your home and use design tricks to make small spaces appear larger.

  5. Do: Stage each room before photographing it

    When it comes to listing your home, you want to represent each room in as best of light as possible.  Take the time to properly stage each room and make sure that the room is well lit and clean before photographing it.  If you would like any tips on how to stage your home, I would love to assist you.

  6. Don’t: Stage a mess or an unfinished room

    When it comes to staging there are so many situations that you want to avoid.  Some of the more common pitfalls include:

    • Staging a messy or cluttered room.
    • Photographing your pets in your listing photos.
    • Staging or photographing unfinished rooms.
    • Staging photos that are dark and make the room look smaller.

These are just a few of the staging mistakes that you want to avoid.  Allow your real estate agent to be part of the listing photo process and think about how you want to represent your home.

This guide of listing do’s and don’ts should help you attract a larger list of potential buyers to your property.  This should in turn equate to a faster sell for top dollar.  If you would like more information on how to list your home on the hot Vancouver real estate market, please contact me today. I look forward to working with you soon.
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Vermin, broken locks and unethical landlords are a few of the trials faced by students looking for affordable housing, but some schools are trying to make things better.

 

There are familiar sights in most student neighbourhoods. Typically, these areas close to campus are filled with old, ramshackle homes, overgrown yards, discarded furniture and perhaps a student or two unconscious on a front lawn. But near York University, the student hood looks instead like a typical, well-maintained upper-middle-class Toronto neighbourhood, filled with tightly wound streets and large, modern brick homes.

 

As far as off-campus housing goes, it seems, on the surface at least, like a student paradise. And yet, according to Maclean’s annual student survey, York’s students were the most critical of their off-campus rental options, with 12 per cent describing their rentals as poor and another two per cent describing them as awful. Allison Pirnat is one of the disenchanted. The third-year human resources student has a litany of complaints about housing options near York, but the simplest deficiency is the most jarring: she can’t lock her front door.

 

Welcome to student living.

 

Going away for school is an exciting time, but many students are not fully prepared for the substandard places they reluctantly call home. Mouldy and musty rooms, cramped spaces, faulty locks, poor ventilation, suspect wiring and stained and burn-marked carpets are among the common fixtures of many student rentals. The problems don’t end there. Some will encounter quarrelsome and inattentive landlords who count on students not knowing their rights or being unwilling to fight back. Rough rentals have always been part of university life, but schools and cities are now trying to make housing safer and more comfortable.

 

“Housing affordability for post-secondary students is an ongoing challenge, and most especially in larger cities with higher housing costs, like Toronto,” says Barbara Joy, the director of media relations for York.

Meanwhile, students not only put up with bad conditions, but return to these same rentals for the duration of their schooling. Experience tells them no matter how hard they look, they are unlikely to find anything better—at least at a price they can afford.

 

An unkempt front yard—unusual for York Village—offers the only clue that the place Pirnat has called home for the past two years is a student rental. The front door opens to a small foyer, with two wooden doors on adjacent walls, each secured by a flimsy bronze doorknob lock. The basement has three bedrooms, a bath and kitchen. There are six more bedrooms upstairs, including a pair carved from a dining and living room.

 

One of those bedrooms doesn’t even have an exterior window, according to Pirnat. Instead, the landlord installed sliding glass above the door frames in the hall to allow ambient light in.

 

Pirnat never even saw the house before she moved in. When she couldn’t get time off her summer job, she sent her mom to York to scope out places. The listing claimed the house predominantly targeted female renters and was exclusively for students, but she says it was mostly hosting men in their 30s and 40s. To the best of her knowledge, none were students.

 

As many as 10 people lived in the house last year, says Pirnat. Under Ontario provincial law, any home renting to more than four individuals is a rooming house. While rooming houses are legal in parts of the city, such areas do not exist near any of Toronto’s post-secondary institutions, according to Toronto Fire Services deputy chief Jim Jessop.

Between 2010 and 2016, eight fires in illegal rooming houses claimed the lives of 10 people in Toronto. At least half of those fires were in areas near York University and Humber College, says Jessop. Despite these deaths, Toronto Fire continues to find dangerous rooming houses around colleges and university campuses. In the past 22 months, Toronto Fire has issued notices to the owners of 35 rooming houses near York and Humber. It’s a challenging situation, given the demand for student housing.

 

And they’re not going away. If anything, Toronto’s Affordable Housing Action Plan 2010-2020 calls for an increase in multi-tenant homes, albeit ones that are properly licensed. There hasn’t been a fire in a licensed rooming house since 2010, and with home and rental prices so high, rooming houses fill an important gap in the marketplace, particularly for students, seniors, new immigrants and low- or moderate-income individuals.

 

More licensed multi-tenant homes won’t hurt, but Luisa Sotomayor, an assistant lecturer in environmental studies at York University, fears students will still fall through the cracks. Many of the existing rules and regulations designed to protect renters don’t really apply to students, explains Sotomayor, who is part of a team of researchers from four Toronto-area schools studying student housing. She points to rules that prevent landlords from raising rents by more than a set amount per year. Since students are more likely to sign an annual contract and move on, they don’t benefit from these protections.

 

In the meantime, concerns remain over illegal rooming houses, many of which are safety hazards. The most common deficiencies are the absence of smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms and the required number of exits, says Jessop.

 

One of the worst offenders Jessop can recall wasn’t far from where Pirnat lives. “What stands out most in my mind is the sheer number of individuals who were living on the third floor and in the basement without a second exit,” he says. There were 17 students crammed into the house. “That candidly appalled me.”

 

No one knows how many student rooming houses there are in Toronto, but a recent report from Winnipeg by Councillor Janice Lukes suggested there were more than 150 around the University of Winnipeg. That’s a lot considering Winnipeg is a more affordable city than Toronto, and that the school is a fraction of the size of Toronto’s big schools.

 

Security is another major concern near any campus, and the neighbourhood around York is no exception. Almost a quarter of students living off campus expressed some level of concern about the safety of their neighbourhood. York Heights, an area that encompasses York University and the village, had 97 break and enters in 2016.

 

Figures like that make Pirnat’s inability to lock her front door with a deadbolt even more alarming. While it can be locked from the inside, keys don’t work in it anymore. Given that anyone who locks the door must be willing to go downstairs and unlock it, the entry never gets locked. The landlord has resisted changing it because it would mean printing nine new keys, Pirnat says.

 

As frustrated as Pirnat is with her rental, the place doesn’t seem all that bad to the casual observer. But many of the problems only reveal themselves after living there for a while, such as how the reconfiguration of the house disrupts air circulation, resulting in wild temperature swings from space to space.

 

In the bathroom, the grout is spotted with mould. On-site laundry facilities that were promised never arrived. And she’s often asked to help new tenants move in—all for $550 a month.

 

Subpar off-campus student housing is not a problem unique to York. According to the Maclean’s annual student survey, more than 10 per cent of students who live off-campus describe their rentals as substandard or poor. Their most common complaints are with the state of repair, including everything from appliances to plumbing, and cleanliness, including issues with pests. And as Jeremy Biro at McMaster can attest, escaping the student hood doesn’t mean you’ll avoid these problems. The house Biro rents out with up to eight others is in a well-kept area on the opposite side of campus from where most student rentals are. It’s on a street lined with trimmed hedges and perfect gardens that runs straight to the main gates of campus. But being in a nicer part of town doesn’t mean a better house.

 

An old bar fridge, used mattresses and discarded furniture are strewn across the backyard. Inside, grease and dirt blacken a white oven in the kitchen and surrounding tile floor. It’s a mess, but not unlike what you’d expect from an unsanctioned fraternity house (McMaster doesn’t allow frats, so it’s not an officially registered organization).

 

As messy as the property is, most of the problems are found in the basement. “It’s a short, kind of sketchy basement,” he says. Two of the three rooms below ground are tiny, and one of them gets mould on the walls every few years.

In a shared common area in the basement, occupants dodge wires that dangle at neck level. This is a particular concern for Biro given there is a flood at least once a year due to overflowing toilets and outdated plumbing.

 

And because the frat manages the rentals, the landlord shirks his responsibility to clean between tenants, says Biro. He feels the landlord should be doing more, but adds that he isn’t sure what is required. “There is no way for us to know what our rights are and when we are being taken advantage of,” he says. “I believe some of the things that I don’t like are well within his rights, but I’m pretty sure a lot of them are not.”

 

Some students may not know if they are being taken advantage of, but Veronica Hendrick-Lockyer isn’t one of them.

For the past 14 years, Hendrick-Lockyer single-handedly raised four kids while living below the poverty line. Throughout that time, she dedicated herself to helping other at-risk mothers and children. But it was a three-bedroom rat-and-cockroach-infested apartment in Toronto’s east end that nearly drove her to give up on her dream of getting a degree.

 

Finding a place that was big enough to accommodate her, her four adult kids, a dog and a cat was an exhausting task. She had no credit rating, and without a signed lease, her son was unable to enrol in high school. She was desperate by the time she found a place. Needing to move in right away, she agreed to the landlord’s demands for three months’ rent and a security deposit even though she knew those payments were illegal.

 

Despite being more than an hour and a half by bus and subway from York, it was the best of the affordable options available to her. She looked closer to the school, but she describes the places she could afford as terrifying. “Around York is the scariest I’ve ever been in,” she says. “They were showing us places where people were still in them with garbage and filth all over the floors.”

 

Other students might have caved to the landlords, but Hendrick-Lockyer isn’t the type to back down. In the two years she’s lived in the apartment, she has endured intimidation from the landlord’s representative.

 

Power was illegally cut off one May when she was told she never paid her bill. In court, she was accused of damaging new carpet when no such work was done. When the landlord’s representative visits her unit, he seems more interested in her possessions than looking at the problems, she claims. And she came home to eviction notices plastered in the hallway of her building and on her door when she was slightly behind on her rent.

 

When Hendrick-Lockyer isn’t battling her landlord in court, she is at war with cockroaches and rats. She bleaches her kitchen countertops every morning and stores all her food, right down to her spices, in the fridge in an attempt to keep pests away.

 

It’s been hard on Hendrick-Lockyer’s family too. Her daughter, Sammantha, who is a recent graduate of a program run by Seneca College at York, says the family’s living arrangements kept her from enjoying university to its fullest. “I felt like I couldn’t connect with a lot of my peers because my problems are completely different from my peers’,” she says, although she’s not using poverty as an excuse. “If I’m not working toward something, I’m going to be living in poverty for the rest of my life.”

 

Now that her two daughters are ready to live on their own, Hendrick-Lockyer hopes to find a spot in residence where she and her son can live with their dog, Junebug. She credits her program director and staff from the university for helping her get through some of the challenges she faced in her rental.

 

Universities wrestle with how to address off-campus housing, especially since it’s a matter they have little control over. Yet they recognize it has a significant effect on the student experience. Pirnat, for one, doubts she would have gone to York had she known more about the lack of affordable and high-quality off-campus housing options.

 

To better understand this challenge, Ryerson, the University of Toronto, York and OCAD U have just launched a comprehensive two-year study into student housing in a project dubbed StudentDwellTO. This study follows up on the concerns identified in an earlier report on student travel behaviour. Among the findings of the transit report was that the amount of hardship students are willing to endure to stay close to class increases when campuses are more isolated. This is a particular challenge for York, given its situation in the north of Toronto (although the school hopes the subway extension that’s about to open will alleviate that concern).

 

York is one of several schools that offer support programs to help students learn their rights as tenants. Starting this fall, the university is also going into its residences to educate students about what they can do to protect themselves when they enter the off-campus housing market. It also goes door-to-door in student neighbourhoods to provide useful information and recently opened an 812-bedroom housing building, run by a third party, to give students more options.

 

Toronto Fire Services is getting more proactive too. Starting next spring, Toronto Fire will launch a pilot project at Humber College to teach students about the fire code. “We are trying to arm the individuals and parents with the information they need as they leave residence,” says Jessop.

 

The question is whether students will take advantage of these programs. Despite their complaints, Pirnat and Biro both say they have no intention of moving.

 

Source: http://www.macleans.ca/education/university-students-share-off-campus-student-housing-horror-stories/

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Innovative inclusive offerings have student residence struggling to meet demand.

 

Concordia University feted its new student housing residents last year with a breakfast at midnight, games of bubble soccer, excursions to IKEA and an electronic music parade. Concordia’s residence life manager Lauren Farley is a serious believer in fun—especially since many of her new dorm-dwellers arrived on campus knowing nobody.

 

Ryerson University has taken inclusiveness to a new level by making disclosure of gender identity optional when it comes to housing assignments. Fifty per cent of last year’s applicants said they’re cool with all-gender housing. Applicants who feel more comfortable cohabiting with those who identify as the same gender have that option.

 

And the University of British Columbia is introducing self-contained micro-suites (with rent set just under $700 a month) in response to Vancouver’s affordable housing crisis. At 140 sq. feet, they’re tiny, but students say the price is right.

 

This is what on-campus housing looks like now, as residence managers strive to meet the needs of a new generation of students. But these innovations have one downside—Canadian universities do not have nearly enough room to satisfy growing demand. More and more students now seem to appreciate the benefits of living and studying on campus.

 

In the past, students moved off campus after one or two years in residence. More of these upper-year students now want to stay, says Andrew Parr, UBC’s managing director of student housing. His waiting list topped 6,000 in 2017. Vancouver’s tight rental market is one factor, but not the only one, he says. Even first-year students who could live at home with their parents in the Greater Vancouver Area often take advantage of UBC’s guarantee of residence for first-years rather than commute.

 

“There’s evidence that suggests pretty clearly that living on campus enhances your academic experience,” Parr says. “It really opens up tons of opportunities that commuter students don’t have if they are spending two hours a day on a bus or in a car”—opportunities to interact more closely with faculty advisers and professors, to get more involved with student clubs, to participate in sports and to become more immersed, generally, in campus life. Or to research at the library until midnight without worrying about how to get home and back for that 8 a.m. class.

 

MORE: Horror stories from off-campus housing


A recent joint research study by the University of Toronto, OCAD University, York University and Ryerson found that long daily commutes for students “were leading to lower campus engagement and, in some cases, limiting students’ class choices” at their universities.

 

A follow-up study commissioned by the presidents of the four universities will explore the options for creating more affordable housing on, or close to, campus.

 

Concordia assigns its 900 beds on a mostly first-come, first-served basis. “Applications open in March, we fill up quickly, and we have a pretty long waiting list,” says Farley, who returned to Concordia to pursue graduate studies and serve as resident life manager after a stint as manager of crew activities for Disney Cruise Line.

 

Those who aren’t assigned a bed can turn to a year-round, student-run service that posts apartment rental ads and alerts students to any prior complaints that have might have been lodged against certain landlords in the area. Unlike Toronto and Vancouver, Montreal has a good supply of affordable housing close to its universities.

 

Still, the on-campus residence experience is far more enriching for students, says Farley, who endeavours to make orientation week as welcoming and fun as possible before students begin serious studies in September. Residence advisers—upper-year students who live on every dorm floor—are available 24/7 to support students with any academic or other concerns that might arise. But they are also there to help foster a sense of community for the new residents.

 

And while no one was compelled to play bubble soccer (perhaps running around with your upper body encased in a giant inflatable ball isn’t everyone’s idea of fun), new residents were strongly encouraged to explore the wealth of opportunities available through student-run clubs. (At Concordia, there are clubs for chefs, entrepreneurs, game developers and those interested in artificial intelligence, along with a moot court club, a debating society and a chess club. There’s something for snowboarders and skateboarders, actors and playwrights, dragon boaters, hip-hop artists, cyclists and students who want to volunteer for worthy causes in the broader Montreal community.)

 

In Toronto, York and U of T have enough housing to guarantee residence beds to all first-year students who apply on time and make a deposit, regardless of where they live (students should check individual university websites for exact deadlines and costs, because they vary). But Ryerson can only offer space to out-of-towners, and there was a wait-list of 900-plus at the beginning of last summer. “It’s never been that high,” says Ian Crookshank, Ryerson’s director of housing and residence life.

 

Under the university’s new all-gender housing policy, applicants for housing no longer have to declare they fit into any one category—male, female, transgender male, transgender female or non-binary—unless they choose to do so.

“This is the first year we have removed gender as a function of how we assign rooms,” Crookshank says.

“If it matters, you tell us it matters and we will accommodate that. If a student would like us to use gender identity to assign them a space in a single-gendered environment, they would have to indicate that, and they would have to indicate what their gender identity is,” he says.

 

The fact that 50 per cent of students applying for housing this year selected the all-gender option “was eye-opening,” according to Crookshank. “What we heard from students is it’s great, it’s inclusive . . . and it’s not really a big deal,” he explains. “But it is a really big step from a residence [management] perspective.”

 

Well-intentioned efforts to be inclusive in the past had the unintended effect of emphasizing the gender-identity differences of young students who just wanted to go to school, be themselves and learn.

 

“We used to force students to check a box . . . and, in many cases, the housing office would then phone and say, ‘We are just trying to get a sense of what you would like. You have identified as a trans student, so we need to know what type of person you would like to live with,’ ” Crookshank says.

 

This often meant that students who had identified as transgendered or non-binary would then be relegated to a separate residence floor designated as “gender inclusive space,” rather than be included in the general mix of students.

 

The majority of residence rooms at Ryerson—95 per cent—are designed for single occupancy, but more than half of those occupants share bathrooms with two or more others. They wait their turns to use the shower and toilet stalls, which have privacy locks. So, in practical terms, an all-gender bathroom interaction might involve brushing one’s teeth alongside someone with a different gender identity, Crookshank says.

 

When UBC’s micro-units—referred to as nano suites—come on stream in 2019, residents will be able to shower, floss and brush in the privacy of their own very small bathrooms.

 

Parr says 70 of these suites will be included in a new 651-bed residence being built on campus. They have double beds that fold up into the wall when not in use, desks that fold down, a small private bathroom, closet and kitchenette area.

More than 20,000 students toured a prototype that was set up in the Student Union Building in 2016, Parr says, and 83 per cent of students surveyed indicated they would live in a nano suite for the quoted cost of just under $700 a month. That’s considerably less than the more than $1,000 a month rent for a standard self-contained studio apartment on campus.

 

Graduating high school students should research the housing options before they commit to a specific university, residence advisers say. Is there a first-year residence guarantee? If not, does the university or student union provide guidance on off-campus options? Most do.

 

Even if first-year residence is guaranteed, what happens in second year? At Queen’s University in Kingston, for instance, most students move out of residence after their freshman year—either by choice or because their rooms are needed by the incoming first-year class.

 

Political studies student Erin Moore lived in a shared residence room during her first year at Queen’s, but moved into a four-bedroom townhouse off campus in second year with three friends. “I think for first year, residence is great. It’s a lot of fun.”

 

But it can be noisy, making it difficult to concentrate “and it’s nice not having to line up with 10 other girls for the shower.”

 

The townhouse, part of a development built specifically for the student market and managed by Kingston-based Varsity Properties, has a shared common living room and kitchen, private bedrooms, a rooftop patio with a gas barbeque and bi-weekly housekeeping service.

 

Moore’s share of the rent works out to $750 a month plus utilities, which she says compared favourably with the $1,730 monthly cost of a double residence room and mandatory meal plan at Queen’s. “Residence was really expensive. I much prefer to buy my own food. All the local grocery stores have student discounts and I love to cook,” Moore says.

 

However, quality housing close to campus is in high demand. “It’s very competitive,” says Moore, whose townhouse is a 10-minute walk from campus. “I would definitely advise students planning to move off campus to start looking as early as possible. I know a lot of people start looking as early as October in their first year [for properties to move into the following year].”

 

Similarly, students who want to live on campus beyond first year should also apply early—applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. “For many people, continuing in residence does work. If you’re an athlete or you have a crazy schedule and you don’t have time to cook, it makes a lot of sense,” Moore says.

 

At UBC, sociology major Paige Lougheed recalls feeling lost and nervous when she first set foot in residence five years ago. She grew to love it, never left, and now guides the new crop of students in her role as residence coordinator.

 

Among her roles is helping first-year students overcome the shock of their first set of marks, which is common for those accustomed to being at the top of their high school class. “It’s a different method of grading and evaluation than what a lot of students who come to UBC are used to.” A dip in marks is not unusual, Lougheed says, “but some of them really struggle with that.”

 

Peer tutors—typically senior students who excel in their fields of study—visit the residences on a weekly basis to conduct group tutoring sessions in first-year math, chemistry, biology, physics, political science and economics. Residents can also book free one-on-one sessions by appointment.

 

There are professors in residence available to offer advice on course selection, or simply hang out for a discussion after a film night. “They are there to kind of break down the barrier between faculty and students . . . because sometimes students aren’t comfortable going to office hours for professors,” Lougheed says.

 

At Concordia, Farley and her team of residence advisers keep the fun factor going with regular social events throughout the year. They help new students make the connections to join intramural sports teams or direct them to one of the executive chef’s demonstrations at the self-cooking stations in the dining hall. Students can borrow the equipment and ingredients to make anything they want. Broccoli stir-fry? Not so much. “They seem to like making smoothies,” Farley says.

 

The residence advisers also serve as sounding boards as their younger peers learn to navigate the challenges of university. If they see a need, the RAs will conduct information sessions on study tips, how to budget, how to party responsibly and safe sex.

 

“That peer-to-peer support is really crucial. If they feel that they have someone to talk to who is not going to judge them, their success is higher in terms of their academic success but also their personal success.

“Res is not just for parents to feel their kid is in a safe place, but for them [the students] to start university and start it off right because it is a lot for them to take on,” Farley says.

 

Source: http://www.macleans.ca/education/the-switch-to-high-res/

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