Leasehold Properties in Whistler
What is a leasehold property?
A leasehold property is a property that has a landlord and a tenant, whereby the tenant occupies the land/property for the duration of an agreed upon term. Sometimes these leases are prepaid, or have ongoing lease payments. At the end of the term, the lease is either renewed based upon an initial lease agreement stipulating a ‘right of renewal’ for an agreed upon term(s), or the lease expires without a renewal option in which case 1 of 2 things can happen in the case of a stratified property:
1- the landlord and tenant agree to a new lease agreement under the same terms and conditions as before, however the rent (for the lease) can be charged at current market rates and the term length can also be changed.
2- the landlord must buy out the tenants if no new lease can be agreed upon, again at current market rates; if the basis for calculating the purchase price was not set out in the original strata lot lease.
In the Suncrest development in Whistler which consists of 2 and 3 bedroom townhomes, many buyers and sellers and even agents, are unaware that the lease for this development has no automatic right of renewal after is 99 year lease (commencing 1992). So by 2091, the landlord and tenants must either agree on a new lease , or the owners get bought out. No one can know which route will occur that far ahead but it is something prospective buyers and sellers should be aware of.
The complex was developed with lands leased by the Resort Municipality Of Whistler (RMOW); the landlord, however the buildings themselves are owned by the owners. Essentially, the leasehold strata plan allows the owner to occupy the strata lot for the duration of the agreed upon term as set out in the ‘Head Lease’.
Note: because of this, you can often find that prices are much lower than a similar ‘freehold’ property. If you don’t plan on living there forever it can be a cost effective method of owning in Whistler in comparison to freehold purchases of a similar size and style.
So what properties in Whistler are Leasehold?
Eva Lake Village
1,2,3 bedroom condos/townhomes located in the Nordic Whistler subdivision. This complex also has an employee restricted covenant on the title to the properties, meaning anyone can own them but an employee or retiree of a Whistler based business must occupy it. There is also 1 building in the complex that is freehold, not leasehold; confusing right?! The leasehold buildings have a 99 year lease with a plan for the municipality to purchase the units at fair market value, or as decided by arbitration. However when the time comes I am sure the municipality will try and renegotiate a lease.
2 studio units in the Highpointe complex in Nordic Whistler, which is otherwise a freehold complex. These 2 studios are also employee restricted, and have a lease up until 2188 (a 200 year lease from its start in 1988). This complex is a short walk to Creekside, with shops and the ski hill nearby, and offers a potentially good entry level price point into the Whistler real estate market for a single or couple looking to move away from renting.
2 and 3 bedroom townhomes located in the Brio Whistler subdivision which is within walking distance to Whistler village. Again, this complex also has an employee restricted covenant. It too too has a 99 year lease with no right of renewal.
Studios, 1 bedroom and 2 bedroom units. Built in the 1970’s this complex is located in the southern end of the Nordic Whistler subdivision, close to the creekside gondola. This complex is a little different from the first 2 in that banks do not lend on it (meaning no conventional mortgages), but also that anyone can own or occupy it (no employee restrictions) and it can also be rented out on a short-term (nightly) basis which is great for revenue production. All your expenses (maintenance fees, taxes etc) are covered in your monthly strata fee, and it has a 200 year lease but all owners make up the value inn association and therefore have a voice in decision making about the leases when they expire.
Leasehold properties in Whistler don’t have to be daunting, you just need to understand them!
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