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Leaky Condo Loan Program Scrapped

Real Estate Agent with Royal LePage

The provincial government announced on July 31st, 2009 that it was ending the loan program of the Homeowner Protection Office. You'll recall that I first drew attention to the matter at the beginning of the month when the Homeowner Protection Office first indicated that there were funding problems for the interest free loan program.

The loan program was initially set-up by the NDP government in 1998. At the time, many advocates were calling on the government to pay outright for renovations required by the leaky condo mess. The loan program was intended to last 10 years and have a $250 million budget to refurbish condos built prior to 1999 (when the building code was changed to require rainscreening). Instead, it lasted until 2009 and loaned out $670 million.

The loan program had funding issues that resulted from the decline of the BC real estate market in the last year. Funding for the program came from a levy placed on new construction by the provincial government. With the decline in the market there was a fall in new housing starts that dried up the funding source.

When announcing the end of the program, Colin Hansen claimed that there is no longer a need for the loan program. I strongly disagree. As a Vancouver realtor I know of many buildings in this city that were built before 1999 that have yet to be fixed. Where will funding come from for the financially strapped owners of these buildings when the time comes?

In addition, there are also a number of buildings built under the new building code that have building envelope issues. Rainscreening, or concrete construction, are not guarantees of sound construction. The provincial government needs to continue this loan program in order to maintain confidence in the quality of our construction industry and our real estate market.

Interestingly, while the government is going to stop funding the program they will continue to collect the $750 levy on new housing starts (used as the funding source for the program).

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On June 22nd, 2009 I broke the record for the most ascents of the Grouse Grind for charity. The Royal LePage Shelter Foundation is an incredible organization which is there to help women and children suffering from domestic abuse. Of every dollar donated, 100% goes directly to those in need (Royal LePage covers all administrative costs of the charity).

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Copyright © 2009 Vancouver Real Estate in the Vancouver Realtor Blog by Sebastian Albrecht, Vancouver Realtor with Royal LePage Vancouver "Leaky Condo Loan Program Scrapped"