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Notice

Ontario Extends Declaration of Emergency to July 15

June 24, 2020

The provincial government has passed legislation to extend the Declaration of Emergency to July 15 from the current June 30 expiry date. The government is hoping that this will be the last extension of the emergency declaration.

This latest extension provides Ontario with the additional time, flexibility, and the necessary tools to safely and gradually allow more places to reopen, while continuing to support frontline health care providers in the fight against COVID-19. This will allow the province to make or amend emergency orders as needed as it continues to ease restrictions in support of its phased reopening.

Many of the emergency orders made under the state of emergency are expected to continue even after July 15, including bans on large gatherings.

Please refer to the provincial news release for complete details.

News

New Public Health Unit Region Classifications

November 23, 2020

As of Monday, November 23rd at 12:01 a.m. the Province will move several regions to different levels inside the framework to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The regions marked with an * indicates regions that will be moving into a new level.

Here are the highlights:

  • Toronto and Peel will move into the Lockdown level;
  • Durham Region and Region of Waterloo will move into Red-Control;
  • York Region, Halton and Hamilton remain in Red-Control; and,
  • Ottawa moves back into Orange-Restrict.

Please see the full list below.

Lockdown:

  • Toronto Public Health; and
  • Peel Public Health.

Red-Control:

  • Durham Region Health Department*
  • City of Hamilton Public Health Services
  • Halton Region Public Health
  • Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services*
  • York Region Public Health

Orange-Restrict:

  • Brant County Health Unit
  • Huron Perth Public Health*
  • Niagara Region Public Health
  • Ottawa Public Health
  • Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit*
  • Southwestern Public Health*
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health
  • Windsor-Essex County Health Unit*

Yellow-Protect:

  • Chatham-Kent Public Health*
  • Eastern Ontario Health Unit*
  • Grey Bruce Health Unit*
  • Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
  • Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington Public Health*
  • Middlesex-London Health Unit
  • Peterborough Public Health*
  • Public Health Sudbury and Districts
  • Thunder Bay District Health Unit*

Green-Prevent:

  • Algoma Public Health
  • Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit
  • Hastings and Prince Edward Counties Public Health
  • Lambton Public Health
  • Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit
  • North Bay Parry Sound District
  • Northwestern Health Unit
  • Porcupine Health Unit
  • Renfrew County and District Health Unit
  • Timiskaming Health Unit

Help Stop the Spread

We are in a very critical time in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Case counts are increasing in many regions across our Province and our hospital resources are being stretched dangerously thin.


For real estate, the Province has prohibited real estate open houses in Red-Control and Lockdown. If your region is entering those levels, you are restricted under the Framework from hosting an open house.

While some businesses in areas going into Lockdown must close, real estate is considered, under Provincial rules, an essential service. Therefore, real estate businesses in regions under Lockdown can continue to operate provided they follow the direction of public health officials. This is something OREA asked the Province to maintain so that Members can work with their clients to complete transactions.

Real estate brokerage offices and board offices must continue to adhere to requirements for workplace screening and for face coverings at indoor workplaces at all five levels of the Province’s framework.

CECRA Extension and CERB to Transition to EI

August 10, 2020

CECRA Extension

The government announced that the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) plan will be extended through the month of August. This program was initially designed to cover the months of April to June, and was further extended to July.

The rent relief program is a joint federal-provincial plan to lower base rent by up to 75 percent for eligible small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19, if their landlords agreed to take part. Commercial property owners have been offered forgivable loans to cover 50 percent of their monthly rent payments. The loans will be forgiven if the property owner agrees to reduce eligible businesses" rent by at least 75 percent.

CERB to Transition to EI in the Fall

The government stated that it will soon start to transition remaining recipients of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to the federal Employment Insurance (EI) program. This move is expected to take place in September when the CERB is schedule to end. The last scheduled CERB pay period is set to end on Sept. 26. The taxable, personal income benefit — launched in early April — provides $2,000 every four weeks to eligible applicants who lost work or their jobs due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic as of mid-March.

For those who don"t qualify for EI (like contract workers, self-employed, part-time or those involved in the gig economy), the government will create a transition parallel benefit that is similar to EI. Going forward, recipients will be able to work more hours and earn more money while still receiving the benefit.

The government is taking this opportunity to overhaul the EI system by improving its IT systems, simplify its application process, and better reflect the growing number of self-employed and part-time workers in Canada.

More details on the CREB transition to EI are expected before end of August.

Toronto Short-Term Rental Regulation Clears Final Hurdle

July 3, 2020

The City passed a bylaw amendment restricting short-term rentals in late 2017, and the rules were supposed to take effect in June 2018. But an appeal by short-term landlords to the Local Appeal Planning Tribunal (LPAT) delayed the implementation of the zoning and accompanying licensing rules.

At the end of June 2020, the divisional court dismissed the landlords’ motion to appeal the decision of the provincial tribunal that sided with the city’s regulations of Airbnb-style accommodation in November.

Following the LPAT ruling, Toronto declared the bylaws to be in effect but it is still working out enforcement and accompanying licensing details. Those were to have been released in the fall of 2019, but COVID-19 means new timelines are expected this summer, according to City staff.

The City maintained its position that the bylaws permit homeowners to earn rental income from their principal residences, but they also protect the city’s housing stock and keep hotels from operating in residential neighbourhoods, including high-rise condominiums.

Please refer to the City of Toronto’s official CECRA website

Commercial Rent Relief Program Extended Into July

July 3, 2020

The federal and provincial governments have agreed to extend the commercial rent relief program for small businesses into July. The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) will continue to be available to landlords with small business tenants who have been heavily impacted by COVID-19.

The extension of the program comes with a few changes to the subsidy to increase uptake as CECRA aid faces questions about whether it is delivering as expected.

Among the changes included in the extension of the program is that insurance payments for missed rents and provincial rent supports won’t be clawed back from the forgivable loans for current and new applicants. Previous clawback amounts will be given back to landlords that previously received loans through this program. Also, those who qualified for loans by showing revenue declines of 70 per cent in April, May and June will qualify anew without being reassessed on whether their earnings have dropped by 70 percent in July.

For complete details of CECRA and the extension into July, please check the Short-Term Rentals website for complete details on the rules, licensing and implementation details.

Ontario Extends Declaration of Emergency to July 15

June 24, 2020

The provincial government has passed legislation to extend the Declaration of Emergency to July 15 from the current June 30 expiry date. The government is hoping that this will be the last extension of the emergency declaration.

This latest extension provides Ontario with the additional time, flexibility, and the necessary tools to safely and gradually allow more places to reopen, while continuing to support frontline health care providers in the fight against COVID-19. This will allow the province to make or amend emergency orders as needed as it continues to ease restrictions in support of its phased reopening.

Many of the emergency orders made under the state of emergency are expected to continue even after July 15, including bans on large gatherings.

Please refer to the provincial news release for complete details.

TRREB Urges City to Move Forward with LTT Relief for First-Time Home Buyers

June 22, 2020

With the City of Toronto’s Executive Committee considering a report today, with options to improve affordability for first-time home buyers by providing relief from the City’s Municipal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT), the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) is calling on the Committee to move ahead with longneeded adjustments to the MLTT First-Time Home Buyer Rebate.

“First-time home buyers have been unfairly penalized by the MLTT for years. Adjustments to the MLTT first-time buyer rebate are long overdue,” said Michael Collins, TRREB President.

The average price of a residential property in the City of Toronto at the start of 2008, when the MLTT was first implemented, was $415,000, and the MLTT first-time buyer rebate was allowed up to a maximum of a $400,000 home, meaning that first-time buyers were almost completely exempt from paying any MLTT, as was City Council’s intention. The average price of a City of Toronto residential property is currently $881,000, and the MLTT first-time buyer rebate is still only allowed to a maximum of a $400,000 property. This means that a first-time buyer purchasing an average priced property today would pay $9,620 in MLTT, on top of about $10,000 of Provincial Land Transfer Tax (PLTT), for a total of about $20,000 in land transfer taxes, which must be paid up front on closing of the real estate transaction.

“Clearly, City Council’s intention of providing relief for first-time home buyers, up to the average priced property, is no longer being met,” added Collins.

Not only are first-time buyers not being given the relief that was intended by City Council, they are being forced to pay MLTT at the highest rates, even if they purchase a below average priced home. This is because the MLTT rate structure is such that the highest rates kick in starting on homes priced at only $400,000, which is 55% below the current average price. As noted by the City staff report being considered by the Executive Committee, two-thirds of first-time home buyers purchase homes priced between $400,000 and $800,000, well below today’s average home price in Toronto.

“The City is essentially forcing people, including first-time buyers, purchasing BELOW average priced properties to pay the highest MLTT rates. This is simply not progressive or fair,” said John DiMichele, TRREB Chief Executive Officer.

The City staff report, and TRREB survey research (conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs), show that the number of firsttime buyers entering the real estate market has been declining significantly in recent years. TRREB believes that this is largely because of affordability issues.

“First-time buyers are increasingly being priced out of Toronto’s real estate market and the Municipal Land Transfer Tax has exacerbated this. It is time to make adjustments to the MLTT rebate for first-time buyers, so that they receive the relief that was always intended by City Council,” added DiMichele.

TRREB has provided its detailed written input to the City’s Executive Committee, and will be monitoring the City’s actions going forward.

Pausing Commercial Evictions Legislation Passes

June 18, 2020

We posted an earlier provincial announcement at the beginning of June that the Ontario government was looking at proposing changes to the Commercial Tenancies Act that would ban evictions of small businesses that are eligible for federal/provincial commercial rent assistance during the pandemic. This move was prompted as a result of a low uptake of the program by landlords, who argued that the application process is onerous and confusing.

The Ontario government has now passed Bill 192, Protecting Small Business Act, 2020 temporarily halting or reversing evictions of commercial tenants and protecting them from being locked out or having their assets seized during COVID-19.

The legislation applies to businesses that are eligible for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for evictions from May 1, 2020 (retroactively) until August 31, 2020. The pause on evictions does not apply to those already participating in CECRA, as that program already includes a stipulation of a 3-month eviction moratorium. Of note is that the legislation is reversing evictions as of May 1, whereas originally the province was considering reversing evictions on or after June 3.

To refer to the complete provincial government announcement, please click here.

Details related to CECRA are available here.

Market Watch to Your Inbox: May 2020

June 5, 2020

MARKET WATCH REPORT AND MARKET WATCH BY THE NUMBERS INFOGRAPHIC

For a breakdown of TRREB's MLS® System housing figures for May, including sales, prices, and condo apartment rental transactions, view our latest Market Watch report, housing market charts and infographic below:

  1. Read the complete Market Watch report for May 2020 here, a quick overview here, and TRREB's News Release here.
  2. Housing Market Charts, a series of bar charts that allows you and your clients to compare May's housing figures with those of the previous three years.
  3. Market Watch by the Numbers (here), an infographic that offers an illustrative overview of May 2020 with some insight into the GTA rental market. The infographic breaks down the story behind the numbers.

MarketWatch Infographic

Click here to view the full Market Watch by the Numbers infographic.

COVID Update

June 3, 2020

Due to the ongoing pandemic challenges, the City of Toronto has announced that both residential and commercial property owners may be able to request additional time to pay their property taxes, without incurring late payment penalties or interest charges for a six-month period effective June 1 to November 30, 2020.

However, the additional time given to pay property taxes does not reduce the amount of taxes that are owed to the City.

According to the City, to be eligible:

  1. Applicants must be able to demonstrate financial hardship stemming from COVID-19, including:
    • a prolonged suspension of pay or loss of employment;
    • excessive business revenue loss or business closure;
    • pending business insolvency or bankruptcy
  2. Property owners must have a good payment history – up to date on their tax payments as of March 2020.
  3. All residential properties with a residential structure qualify. Commercial, shopping, office, industrial, multi-residential, or new multi-residential properties with a 2020 property assessment value equal to or under $10 million also qualify.

Property owners are able to apply to the program at any time between June 1 and October 31, 2020. Those interested in applying can find a list of all the required documents and other relevant information here.

Temporary Changes to Ontario Employment Standards Act

June 2, 2020

Ontario is temporarily amending its labour laws to help businesses avoid permanently laying off workers and paying out severance, which could send some into bankruptcy during the pandemic.

The government is amending the Employment Standards Act, which currently requires businesses to terminate employees who have been laid off for 13 weeks. The law then requires the business to pay severance to workers.

Terminations triggered when temporary layoffs exceed the permitted length under the Employment Standards Act can result in costly payouts, which for many businesses, especially small- and medium-sized businesses, could be the difference between survival and closure. Under the new regulatory change to the Employment Standards Act, non-unionized employees who have had their hours reduced or eliminated because of the COVID-19 pandemic will be deemed to be on Infectious Disease Emergency Leave. Workers will remain employed with legal protections and be eligible for federal emergency income support programs such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

The regulatory amendment applies retroactively to March 1, 2020, and will expire six weeks after the declared emergency ends. The regulatory amendments do not include employees represented by a trade union.;

For complete details on the provincial announcement, please read here.;