Whereas in Vancouver, 46% of condominiums are not owner-occupied, a housing crisis took place in major cities of Canada. What do these dwellings become? Are they excluded from the rental market? What is the current legislation? 

Discover how this phenomenon impacts your rental market and how it changed in the last years 

In Vancouver, half of condos are not owner occupied 

According to Canadian Housing Statistics Program, 46% of Vancouver condominiums are not owner-occupied. This rate rockets to 49% in the British-Colombia University area. As a comparison, in 2009, only 35% of condominiums were not occupied by their owners. 

This data underlines the importance of housing investment in the city whereas it is in terms of speculation or money placement. While in Vancouver, the vacancy rate is of 1% and that the average rent price is about $2000 for a one-bedroom unit in the city center, does this really mean that these condominiums are excluded from the rental market?  

Rental, secondary home or vacant ? 

Condominiums that are not occupied by the owners are not necessarily excluded from the rental market. In Vancouver, following the 1% tax on vacant units, many investors decided to rent their condominiums, offering new units on the market and increasing the vacancy rate. The vacancy rate represents the percentage of empty dwellings. We estimate that the equilibrium between the offer and the demand is when this rate reaches 3%. Below this rate, we can talk about a housing shortage. Therefore, in Vancouver, those units are either rented long term, short-term on collaborative platforms, or vacant. 

How is it in other provinces ? 

  • In the province of Québec, la banque de données des statistiques officielles (BDSO) estimates the vacancy rate of 2,3% for 2018. This rate goes down to 1.9% in Montreal and 1.2% in Gatineau.
  • In Alberta, the cities of Calgary and Edmonton have a respective vacancy rate of 6,3 and 7%. Although it decreases, the rate remains important compared to the rest of Canada.. 
  • In Ontario, the city of Toronto instituted a tax of 1% on vacant rentals and the province taxes 15% for each investment made by a non-resident. In that way, Ontario wishes to bring back rentals on the market and increase this vacancy rate. 

Therefore, even though a rental is not owner-occupied, it does not mean that the unit remains vacant. The landlord can rent the dwelling on a short or long term basis or, for a minority of units, remain empty. As a landlord, make sure that you always have the right insurance according to your needs! 

APRIL coverage

  • The long term coverage by APRIL enables to insure your property against fire, water damages and flooding*, wind and storms, vandalism and theft. APRIL is the only insurance to offer an appliance warranty, unpaid rents and damages by tenants coverage. The liability and the rental value protection are also part of the coverage, if you do not get to collect your rent following a loss and that the unit is uninhabitable. Discover more about our coverage
  • The short-term rental insurance covers you against fire, water damages, theft, and the furniture in the unit*. Additional living expenses and rental value protection are also part of the coverage in case a loss making your unit uninhabitable. Finally, the liability up to $2 million is part of the coverage in case someone gets hurt on your property. Discover more.   
  • With the vacant rental protection, we protect you against fire, water damages*, earthquakes* and theft*. We also offer the appliance warranty and the liability in case someone get hurts on your property. Learn more about our vacant property coverage.  

Housing investment is often a life investment. Be well-informed on your rental market! Whatever the vocation of the rental is (short term rental, long-term rental or vacant house), make sure that you have the right coverage. Do not wait for a sinister to occur before subscribing an insurance policy!  


 *under admissibility criteria