BC ushers in a condo and strata assignment registry

In British Columbia recently, it’s been possible and also quite profitable, for someone to purchase a new property, typically a pre-sale condo, and flip it to another buyer for a higher price than what they paid.

Many have blamed flipping or ‘contract assignments’ for helping to drive up real estate prices so high that many low and middle-income residents have been shut out of the market and made rental rates some of the highest in Canada.

Then there has been the question of tax evasion and money laundering associated with real estate flips. Many politicians became convinced that the public was itching for intervention from government.

“Right now, in BC, real estate investors can hide behind numbered companies, offshore and domestic trusts, and corporations,” declared the Minister of Finance Carole James back in June when she said her government was looking to track ownership of new condo sales in an effort to unearth tax evasion.

A online Vancouver Sun poll this month asked: Do you think BC should set up a registry for pre-sale condos to curb tax evasion? – 79% of approximately 700 respondents agreed with the idea.

The Condo and Strata Assignment Integrity Register

This week James announced the introduction of the Condo and Strata Assignment Integrity Register (CSAIR) that will come into effective this January 1. From that day forward, developers selling strata units must:

  • Include terms and a notice in their contracts to inform buyers of the new collection and reporting requirements;
  • Collect information, including the terms of the assignment and the name and social insurance number or business information of the parties to the assignment; and
  • Report this information in the online register.

The Land Title and Survey Authority of BC will manage the online register system.

The Information List

A list of the Assignment Agreement Information required will be:

  • Date of the purchase agreement
  • The unit number, the strata lot number and the parcel identifier (PID) of the strata lot need to be reported, if they are available
  • Date of developer’s consent to the assignment agreement
  • Effective date of the assignment, (if it can be determined) if different from the developer’s consent date
  • Assignment fee paid to the developer for the consent, if any
  • Purchase price of the strata lot which includes any amendments to the purchase agreement or subsequent assignments, including any upgrades or prior “lifts” (the increase in value of the strata lot assigned)
  • Assignment amount payable to the assignor for the assignment (commonly referred to as a “lift”).
  • Reimbursement of the deposit paid which is the amount payable to the assignor for deposit to the deposit trustee

Canada Revenue Agency

Pertinent information from the registry will be shared with the Canada Revenue Agency so that transactions can be traced back to the assigner’s income tax return information “…to ensure that buyers accurately report the final purchase price of a condo unit, including all assignment amounts, and pay the appropriate property transfer tax.”

“The days of avoiding taxes through condo flipping are over,” James said in her statement on Monday. “This register will help bring fairness and integrity back to BC’s real estate market, so that people can afford homes in the communities where they live and work.”


Of course the other issue you need to be mindful about when working with assignments is GST payments, a topic which was explored by Paul Cowhig in last week’s NewsReal column.  In it, Paul suggests REALTORS® consider recommending professional tax specialists to advise their clients on any, and all, potential tax implications of assignments.


The Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate is encouraging your feedback on its new draft policy statement about consumer disclosure requirements. The deadline is November 19. BCREA intends to make a submission. If you have comments to share with BCREA, please email Norma Miller by 12 noon Thursday, November 15 (before their office move).