Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Need Help In These Challenging Times?

Monday, August 3rd, 2020

Tenants Not Paying Rent?

Landlord and Tenant Branch is Closed?

Government Says Evictions Are Illegal?

What’s Going On And How Can Landlords Survive  (and even thrive?)

The rental industry is pretty crazy these days. According to the government we can’t even evict tenants who refuse to pay to pay rent.

And lawyers and paralegals are demanding huge fees to “help” you with no guarantees of refunds if they lose at the tenancy branch.

Go ahead and ask them: if you don’t give me the result for the thousands of dollars I pay, will you pay me back?

Now is the time for all small business landlords to join our community and we become a strong voice for change!

Network with other landlords, many successful and experienced, to make sure your rental business succeeds

Join Our Landlord Community for A One Time Registration Fee!

BC Evictions Begin Sept 1 And More!

Friday, July 17th, 2020

BREAKING – Big changes are finally on the way for BC landlords.

The BC government will be lifting the moratorium on evictions Sept 1. Renters have until July 31, 2021 to pay arrears. The province is keeping rent increases frozen until the end of the year.

The rental repayment framework will apply once the ban on issuing evictions for non-payment of rent is lifted. It requires the landlord to give the tenant until July 2021 to repay any outstanding rent, as long as monthly installments are paid.

The repayment framework is designed so renters will not have to make their first payment until the 1st rent due date following 30 days notice of repayment plan. This will be Oct. 1 for most renters, assuming landlord provides repayment plan before the end of August.

Need Help With New Rules And Dealing With Your Tenants?

Join the largest landlord forum in Canada. Get help and advice from experienced and successful landlords in BC and around the country.

BC Rental Supplement Extended Until End Of August

Sunday, June 21st, 2020

The B.C. government is extending the temporary rental supplement until the end of August 2020 to support renters and landlords during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to CBC News the temporary rental supplement (TRS) program provides $500 per month for eligible households with dependents and $300 per month for eligible households with no dependents. Eligible roommates are also able to apply for the supplement.

People who have already been approved for the TRS do not need to reapply, the government said in its announcement of the extension Friday. They will receive an email asking them to confirm they plan to live at the same address through July and August.

New applications will be accepted until Aug. 31 and will be eligible for a supplement for the month they are received.

“COVID-19 has touched all aspects of our lives and our economy,” Housing Minister Selina Robinson said in a statement.

“We’re continuing to protect renters as we also ensure landlords are receiving some income during this time.”

The government also said the ban on evictions for reasons other than non-payment of rent will be lifted later in June.

That will allow evictions in situations where, for example, a new owner buys the rental property and intends to move in or when a tenant is endangering the landlord or other tenants or subletting an apartment without permission, the province said.

Evictions in such situations will require a notice period of one to four months.

The province said it would provide advance notice before lifting the moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent. Tenants will be responsible for repaying any owed rent, the statement read, but a framework will be put in place to give tenants time to repay owed rent.

Since the supplement was announced, the province said, 82,500 eligible applications for rent assistance have been submitted.

Discuss this and other vital issues in our BC Landlords Forum.

 

PAY YOUR RENT CAMPAIGN 2020

Monday, May 4th, 2020

Smart Tenants Will Pay Rent & Cooperate With Your Landlord For a Win-Win Situation

Small landlords know the challenges tenants face.  Because we faced them too!  Many us were renters before.

We want to work with you to keep you renting from us.

Please know that just because we own a rental property, or rent out our basement, doesn’t mean we are rich. We aren’t.

Many of us are working class people who have decided to avoid the crazy stock market and buy a rental property to help us when we retire.

We need rent to be paid so we can also survive and want to cooperate with you to make sure we have a win-win relationship. We have to pay our mortgage, property taxes, insurance, maintenance.

There are calls saying “Don’t Pay Rent” all over social media

We want to make sure tenants know good landlords want to work with you for all of us surviving.

We support tenants in need, but many of us are also on the financial edge!

To prove our support, thousands of landlords and this association are lobbying both the provincial and federal government to create a nation-wide “rent bank” that will help tenants in need get grants or low-cost loans to pay rent.

This will make sure there is no “landlord-tenant” conflicts or haggling and keep landlords in business and tenants safe in their rental homes.

Something similar to the Canada student loan system where people in temporary need get financial help from the government.

Landlords want to work with tenants (and tenant groups) to make this happen. And happen fast!

Avoid The “Don’t Pay Your Rent” Memes and Media

This isn’t a poor tenant vs. a rich evil landlord issue.

It’s a working class tenant facing challenges renting from a working class small landlord who is also facing challenges.

If you don’t pay rent (like so many are saying) it will lead to eventually being evicted with large debts, and your search for a new home will include no reference and bad credit.

Good Landlords and Good Tenants Working Together

Tenants make sure you pay your rent on time, or work it out with your landlord.

Short term easy answers like “don’t pay rent” will lead to unnecessary problems for tenants a few months from now.

These groups should be joining us to lobby for a nation-wide rent bank to truly help tenants instead of wanting to “stick it to the landlord” (which only lead to legal issues down the road). But it’s so sexy to be a revolutionary, right?

Be Smart

If you can’t pay rent work things out with your landlord who will give you a discount or deferred payments.

Paying Rent or Cooperating With Your Landlord On A Fair Payment Plan Is the Smart Move!

BC Tenants Speak Out: We Need To Make “No Pets” Clauses Illegal in British Columbia!

Monday, February 10th, 2020

BC landlords Pets Ok BC

Tenants Speak Out and Share Their Concerns and Opinions on the Rental Industry

As part of our “Let’s Improve the British Columbia Rental Industry” we have invited landlords and tenants to share their opinions on how we can make these improvements. These opinions are from individual contributors and are not the opinions of the BC Landlords Association. We believe by fostering communication between landlords and tenants we can improve the BC rental industry. Landlords and tenants can share your thoughts and opinions by emailing us at landlordtenantsolutions@groupmail.com

BC Tenants Speak Out:  We Need To Make  “No Pets” Clauses Illegal in British Columbia!

I’m very happy to have a way to express my opinions as a Tenant in Alberta. Call me Ms. T, I’m a Tenant in Alberta. I moved here about five years ago to find a good job and lay down roots here. It’s been okay. I dislike the total lack of respect for the environment, total lack of animal rights, and a feeling that women are second class citizens. But overall my job is pretty good and the taxes are low. The biggest problem has been dealing with so many rotten landlords.

1.British Columbia is a diverse province full of parks, beaches and trails that are perfect for a day outside exploring with your dog. It also has many exciting off-leash dog parks and doggy beaches! Once you’re done exploring, return to your pet-friendly lodging for some relaxation with the pooch. Pets can stay in guest rooms with their families, but travellers should note that they usually cannot be left unattended in rooms. Pet-friendly accommodations in British Columbia include secluded cabins in the woods, luxurious waterfront cottages, family and budget-friendly motels, upscale hotels and resorts, and much more… and the whole family is welcome – pets included!

2.Pets OK BC is an initiative created by a broad coalition of citizens and nonprofit organizations from across British Columbia. Our primary goal is to strike down laws in BC that allow property owners to impose unfair “no pets” policies on tenants in rental housing, and that allow Strata Corporations to impose pet restrictions on owners of Strata properties.

The specifics: we are urging the government to repeal and replace Sections 18 (1) (2) and (3) of the Residential Tenancy Act [S.B.C. 2002, c.78], Sections 18 (1) and (2) of the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act [S.B.C. 2002, c.77], Section 123 (1) of the Strata Property Act [S.B.C. 1998, c. 43], and repeal Section 3(4) of the Schedule of Standard Bylaws in the Strata Property Act [S.B.C. 1998, c. 43]. Doing so would allow tenants (and in some cases, owners) of all of these types of properties to keep pets in their homes.

Under the current versions of these laws, many tenants and property owners with pets across the Province are subjected to blanket “no pets” policies and bylaws. These indiscriminate rules are based on common misconceptions about the law, about relationships between human and nonhuman companion animals, and/or about the data on tenancies, property, insurance, and the business of property management. Please see our FAQ page for more information about these misconceptions.

BC has a  glaring lack of availability of pet friendly housing, amidst historically low vacancy rates overall.  Because “no pets” policies can be imposed with impunity in rental agreements and strata bylaws across the province, many families, senior citizens, persons living with disabilities, and other individuals are forced to part with their nonhuman companions with alarming regularity. According to the BC SPCA, 1,774 animals were surrendered to their shelters because of “no pets” restrictions in 2016. That’s 5 per day, on average, and the number rises each year. And, that doesn’t include the hundreds of animals surrendered annually to the many other rescue organizations across BC.

The moral and legal precedent for this initiative is clear. In other jurisdictions in Canada and around the world, modern laws that prevent unreasonable “no pets” policies have been drafted, adopted, and proven to work, for decades. Ontario abolished “no pets” policies in rental housing in 1990. The world hasn’t ended in Ontario. Landlords in Ontario can still have pets who cause problems removed from their properties (for instance, if the pet is “making too much noise, damaging the unit, causing an allergic reaction to others, or is considered to be inherently dangerous”). This is a much fairer system than the one we have in BC, where “no pets” policies can be applied indiscriminately, which can result in unfair evictions and/or pet surrender to our overburdened animal shelters. We are long overdue for this change.

And people in BC want this change to happen, overwhelmingly. According to a poll commissioned by the BC SPCA in 2002 (McIntyre & Mustel), a majority of British Columbians agree with us that unreasonable “no pets” policies should be abolished.

We launched an online petition in 2015, which received over 14,000 verified signatures from BC residents in a few short months. On the strength of this confirmed mandate (and in part because the BC Legislature does not accept electronic petitions), we have pushed ahead to launch a formal petition to the BC Legislature to introduce these needed changes. We are also putting pressure on MLAs of all political stripes to assure their constituents that they support this initiative and will act on it. Given that housing accessibility and animal rights and welfare were both pivotal election issues in 2017, and given the massive outpouring of support we’ve seen for our campaign in recent months, it’s clear this is something our future representatives in Victoria can get behind. Some sitting MLAs have already extended support to this cause, and more politicians are expected to follow them soon.

3…………………..even Ontario landlords!

With low vacancy rates throughout British Columbia it’s important to encourage more people to become landlords. 

When more good people are motivated to invest their hard earned savings into creating secondary suites in their homes or buying an investment condo it helps tenants.  More landlords means more supply of high quality rental housing and gives tenants more options in finding a nice place to live.

We Need To Make  “No Pets” Clauses Illegal in British Columbia!

BC Tenants, KNOCK OUT YOUR LANDLORD LIKE MUHAMMED ALI IN 2020! You Need To Challenge Your Landlord To Make Them Respect You And Not Rip You Off!

Monday, January 20th, 2020

Make Sure You Clearly Show Your Landlord You Are A FIGHTER FOR YOUR TENANT RIGHTS! You Need To Teach Them You Will Fight Back!

The greatest heavyweight boxer of all time was a Black man named Muhammed Ali.  He was not the biggest fighter out there. In fact, he was normal sized and usually the “underdog”.  But he became the champion!

How?

Because he knew bigger boxers underestimated him and though he was not aggressive and weak and small. He made sure they knew he was not weak and would fight aggressively and this led the other boxers to respect him.

This is the same attitude these rich landlords have against us hard working tenants. They think we are weak.  It’s why we all need to fight aggressively and teach them to respect us…and if the don’t they will get knocked out!

Use The Muhammed Ali Strategy To Get Your Landlord To Respect You And Your Rights

Most landlords think they are clever and tenants are stupid and weak and not capable of fighting back.

Why do landlords think they are so clever?

Many bought their rental properties thanks to  mortgage fraud with fake incomes. The mortgage business is very shady and how did some lowly person end up with several rental properties? Hmmm.

And then they avoided all the laws to create a likely illegal rental as cheaply as possible. A rental that is a fire trap that could lead to the deaths of you and your family.

Keep your landlord on the defensive, ALI STYLE!

Tenants Need To Show You Won’t Be Pushed Around Or Cheated On Day 1!

Mohamed Ali knew other fighters thought he was small and old.  He knew the key to his winning (and dominating) was to show the bigger, younger fighter he knew what he was doing and he was fierce and wouldn’t back down!

Ali knew that if he he looked ‘weak’ or ‘intimidated’ it would lead to even more attacks from his opponents.

So he made sure from the first second of the fight to teach his opponent/landlord a lesson

…He showed them he was going to fight harder than they were and he was going to KNOCK THEM OUT!

From The Beginning Of The Fight, Ali Would Show He Would Not Be Intimidated

Ali would come out and jab, jab, jab, punch, punch, punch.  This led the other boxer to respect him.

Tenants need to do the same thing.

Make Your Landlord Know You Fight Back HARD!

Tenants Using Ali Tactics To Fight Back And Protect Your Family

So how can use be like Ali and win?

Here’s how.

If You Are Rejected From Renting a Property You Want To Make Your Home

It’s clear that many landlords refuse tenant applicants by breaking the British Columbia Human Rights Commission Laws.

The refuse you because you are on government assistance.  They refuse you because your income isn’t high enough. They refuse you because of your race or citizenship.  They refuse you because of your family.

This is all illegal…and it’s all super common!

Landlords are breaking the law by illegally denying you the home you deserve!

Always demand an exact reason why you were refused.  Record all conversations.

File a Human Rights Complaint against the landlord who refused you. Teach them a lesson they will never forget and make sure their law-breaking will end!

When You Move In

When you move in many landlords think “HAHAHAHA I GOT YOU! PAY ME!”

They have no idea that Tenants have rights and view you as simply their “cash cow” so they can buy expensive cars, take vacations, use your rent money to pay for their kids elite private school tuition!

Just Like Ali, Show Your Power, Knowledge and Willingness to Fight On Day 1

You have to show to your landlord that you are not an idiot that they can rip off.  Most landlords don’t care about the Residential Tenancies Act and don’t care about the Tenancy Branch.

Even if they are aware of it, they think YOU WON’T DARE CHALLENGE YOUR LORD

Make Sure You Challenge Your Landlord And Protect Yourself!

If you don’t do this, your landlord will NOT RESPECT YOU AND WALK ALL OVER YOU!

I know tenants are want to focus our time on our jobs, our studies and our families, but the landlords in BC are often PREDATORS and you have to take these steps to protect yourself, especially newcomers to Canada, people on government assistance, single mothers and students.

How To Do Take Action After Moving In? (No Need To Tell Your Landlord At All!)

-First, inspect the property yourself.  If you see any potential issues call your local by-law officer to get someone to come and inspect it.

Even if you don’t see any maintenance issues, call your local by-law officer  (since you are not an expert and you want to make sure your new home is safe).

-Second, call you local Fire Department and ask for them to inspect your rental to make sure it is safe for you and your family.

-Third, if there are any issues at all file against your landlord at the Tenancy Branch.

-Fourth, if there are any issues call the ….against your landlord and they will investigate

-Fifth, if you have any issues or questions, call your landlord and if they don’t answer quickly file a at the Tenancy Branch

What Can I Do If My Landlord Threatens or Harasses Me?

-You can call the police.

-You an file at Tenancy Branch

-Call your local By-law office

-Go to your local Legal Help clinic

Even after you beat down your landlord you don’t need to move out! Your landlord will FEAR YOU, and you are the WINNER! Ali Style!

1. Keep calling them
2. Demand action
3. Don’t be polite

…Show them you are smart and will not accept any ‘bad landlord’ games!

Muhammed Ali Was Underestimated and Made Sure His Landlords/Opponents Learned Fast!

Tenants need to do the same in 2020.

Fight back.  Make complaints! Call By laws. Call the Fire Department. Take Your Landlord to the Tenancy Branch.

You thought I was weak? I Will Take You To The Tenancy Branch, Call By-laws, Call Police, Get Free Legal Help,

Landlords Fear Tenants Who Know Our Rights!

By being aggressive you educate your landlord that they better BE CAREFUL in dealing with you.

And why not? Since you are paying their mortgage and making them rich. They need us more than we need them.

Get energized and get fighting because you are right and joining a huge Tenant movement for fairness!!! Fight For Your Rights!!!

BC Landlord Forum To Help British Columbia Landlords Succeed!

Monday, January 7th, 2019

Landlords EXPERT forum banner

Got Questions? Looking for Help? Want to Network With Other BC Landlords?

Join The BC Landlord Forum And Network With Thousands of Experienced and Successful Landlords Who Can Help You and Your Rental Business Succeed!

BC landlords know that it’s more important then ever before to make sure you find good tenants.  And even when you find good tenants you need to know how to deal with any problems or situations that come up.  And deal with them professionally and effectively to protect your rental business.

BC Landlords Face Challenges

There have been a lot of changes for BC landlords recently.  For example, we now face challenges such as the “vacancy tax” which has put a big strain on many landlords to rent out their properties while seeming not even achieving the goals of the program.  The good news is there are lots of great tenants out there and if you market your property correctly you will attract these tenants. 

What Is a Good Tenant?

These are people who will treat you and your rental property with respect

1. Pay Rent On Time

Small landlords have to pay their mortgages every month and we need to get the rent on time. Good tenants make sure paying the rent when it’s due is a priority!

2. Don’t Damage The Rental Property

We all know how expensive it is to hire contractors these days. And fixing holes in drywall, cleaning carpets or other flooring can lead up to huge extra costs.  Good tenants treat the rental property like their own.

3. Respect Other Tenants

For those of us who own multi-unit rentals we know that “tenant vs. tenant” issues can be stressful and expensive. Good tenants cooperate and get along with other tenants.

4. Follow the Lease Rules

Good tenants follow the lease rules you have set up. For example, they follow rules on things like parking and give proper notice when they decide to move out and keep the rental clean to give you the opportunity to find your next tenants (and cover your mortgage!)

5. Good Tenants Respect You, Their Landlord

We keep hearing about some renters who believe their landlords are making huge profits and getting rich just by being a landlord.  Good tenants respect and appreciate their landlord who is providing them with a nice rental property.

Where Can BC Landlords Go If You Need Some Advice, Some Help Or Just Want To Network?

Join the BC Landlord Forum!

With all the challenges BC landlords are facing our team of experienced and success landlords decided to make sure our popular and influential forum is accessible to BC landlords. 

For only a one-time fee you can now get a ton of great tools and services to help your rental business succeed….including access to the Landlord Expert Forum filled with thousands of BC landlords and even more experienced landlords and property managers across Canada!

BC Landlords Need to Help Other Succeed

By working together we can help each other face challenges and overcome them. If you have a problem, another experienced and successful landlord has faced it before and succeed and can give you advice. If someone has a problem you have faced before you can help them. 

We also face some big issues in 2019!  For example, how are we going to handle tenants who smoke and grow marijuana when it is legal?

 BC Landlords Forum – Landlords Helping Landlords

This is a great place to share tips and advice.  You’ve got a ton of Alberta landlords and also experienced and successful landlords from all across Canada who are united to help each other succeed by renting to good tenants and avoiding the pros.

Welcome To Our Huge BC Landlord Community and Welcome to the BC Landlord Forum!

Big Landlord and Tenant Dispute at a Downtown Eastside building

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

September 2nd, 2013

 BC landlord and tenant dispute

Vancouver readers we have a big dispute between a landlord and tenants (and tenants and poverty activists).

The issue is over rooms at 259 Powell.

What Is the Problem?

According to the Province the Downtown Eastside activists says the landlord has evicted a couple of people without following the rules.

They also claim the landlord has ‘bribed’ some tenants to move and speak well of the landlord to counter what the tenants say.

What’s Happening?

We have posts about bad landlords and bad tenants.

This time the issue is a little different. The conflict is about the debate over gentrification of the Downtown Eastside.

What Does the Landlord Say?

Geoffrey Howes, of Living Balance, said the company recently succeeded in legally evicting a tenant who was a “major drug dealer.”

Howes said there have been two legal evictions in the building, adding: “We have had ongoing problems with rampant drug dealing in the building.”

Howes said dealers would leave the alleyway door propped open, and threaten caretakers and other tenants. “We had strangers lining up in the hallway at all hours, needles everywhere.”

“We got support from the tenancy branch to evict the primary dealer,” he said, offering documentation from the branch.

“The fact is, the only people we evict from any properties are for nonpayment of rent or illegal activities.”

Howes said seven other tenants have left the building for other reasons.

What Do the Tenants and their Representatives Say?

At a press conference called by Pivot Legal Society on Thursday, anti-poverty activist Wendy Pederson blinked back tears and accused Living Balance owner Steven Lippman of “harassment and intimidation.”

Pivot housing lawyer DJ Larkin said: “What is happening to the residents of the York Rooms is a violation of human rights.”

Larkin added: “It is a crisis and something needs to be done now.”

To discuss this and other Vancouver landlord and tenant issues go to the BC landlord forum.

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal Orders Landlord – Pay $15,000 To Your Tenant!

Sunday, January 13th, 2013

January 12th, 2013

bc human rights tribunal landlords

Feelings, Dignity, Self-Respect For a Tenant Who Wanted a Ramp, B.C. Human Right Tribunal Orders the Landlord to Pay Up

According to the Vancouver Sun, a landlord has been ordered to pay over $15,000 to a tenant who says she was discriminated against.

The tenant is 68 year old Joyce Stewart.

Stewart first began renting her Campbell River apartment in 1999. She suffers from club foot and a medical condition called osteoporosis. In the past few years she’s required the use of a walker for mobility.

She told the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal she requested asked the owner of her rental building, Sartoras Enterprises, to build a ramp to assist her in getting around. She said there were 5 steps made out of concrete at the rental property’s entrance and it can become a huge challenge for her to go up and down the steps.

Because the building only had these 5 steps and no ramp, her ability to leave the apartment became limited and she had to prepare days before to get both physically and mentally ready to go up and down the steps.

The B.C. Landlord Refused

Sartoras Enterprises refused her request to build a ramp for her. This refusal led Stewart to file at the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal.

It was ruled by Marlene Tyshynski (a Tribunal member) that the landlord pay $15,000 to tenant Stewart for:

“…injury to her dignity, feelings and self-respect.”

The landlord was also ordered to:

*  Build a ramp for Stewart

*  Pay $500 extra because the company didn’t send in documents needed for the case.

Could a Small Landlord Afford to Pay Such a Huge Sum of Money?

The 2013 rent increase for B.C. is only 3.8%.

Many landlords aren’t even going to increase the rent out of fear of losing their current tenants.

Now we have tribunals ordering landlords to build ramps. What’s next for landlords?

Will this ruling and huge fine lead investors to avoid rental properties in B.C.? Will it lead landlords to try to avoid renting to elderly people?

B.C. Landlords Are Facing Huge Challenges in 2013. Make Sure You Are Aware of What’s Happening and Find Great Tenants.

To Discuss this with other B.C. landlords and landlords across Canada go to the B.C. Landlords Forum.

 

feng shui

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

October 1st, 2012

For a realtor trying to survive the currently sluggish market, there might be no sight as disheartening as that of the unyielding feng shui master who shows up with the buyer to assess the property.

The master, is, after all, probably going to get the last word.

The ancient Chinese practice of feng shui, which is, roughly, about creating a harmonious environment, can have a major impact on a sale in the Lower Mainland. Feng shui master Johnson Li knows all about that, having shot down many a potential purchase.

Mr. Li has been a feng shui master since arriving in Vancouver 20 years ago. He divides his time between the Lower Mainland, Hong Kong, China, and places like Victoria and Seattle, where he’s called upon to assess homes for occupants or would-be buyers.

Feng shui got plenty of media attention in the late 1980s, when a wave of Taiwanese buyers was purchasing and renovating properties based on the system. Today, it’s still alive and well and has spread beyond the Chinese demographic, with devotees from other cultures opting to let feng shui guide their choices.

Mr. Li acknowledges that he is one of the most expensive feng shui masters in Vancouver, but his rate is even higher when he works in China. Here, he charges $8,800 to assess commercial properties; $3,800 to assess houses, and $2,800 to assess apartments. His fee is not to assess only one property for a client, but rather, as many properties as necessary until he finds one with good feng shui. He says that he once rejected more than 100 listings until he settled upon an appropriate house, which must have been an interesting situation for the buyer’s realtor.

The practice is not limited to Chinese buyers, says Mr. Li. He has clients who are Caucasian and East Indian. In Surrey, a Polish family requested his help when they couldn’t sell their house after six months without action. After his recommended changes to the house, he says they sold two months later.

Patricia Coleman is a feng shui practitioner who caters mostly to a non-Chinese demographic in Vancouver. She has guided homebuyers and has “feng shui’d” houses to make them easier to sell.

“I have a lot of western clients,” she says. “It’s not just about trying to sell a house, but making the right decision. It’s a huge purchase. You need to ask, ‘Is it the right one?’

“Every culture has an understanding of placement and energy.”

Faustina Kwok, who lives in Richmond with her naturopath husband Martin, says their new house was built according to feng shui principles that she believes will increase its value. They also “feng shui’d” her husband’s clinic. However, when it came to the house, she wasn’t willing to forgo a good floor plan and flow for feng shui, Ms. Kwok says. She’d been inside “feng shui’d” houses that felt odd because the flow was off. But she was willing to move the driveway, and add a partial wall so that the master bedroom wasn’t in direct view of the front door.

“We just did the big modifications, like where the toilet shouldn’t be,” she says. “You don’t want to flush your fortune away. At least I take comfort knowing my toilet is not in the wrong place,” she says, laughing.

Although growing in popularity, it’s still a largely misunderstood practice, says Mr. Li. Some people think that the popularity of an address that includes the number eight is feng shui, but that’s more about superstition. Feng shui grew out of something far more practical, he explains.

“It is the art of looking at places that are safe or not, gauging whether they are a habitable place,” he says, seated in his Kingsway office, surrounded by his extensive library, a translator at his side. “Feng shui means the study of surroundings.”

Mr. Li has stopped the sale of many houses, and he’s witnessed attempts at feng shui by builders who were shrewdly, or naively, anxious to appease the Chinese market. Mr. Li explained how he once kiboshed the sale of a newly built home in West Vancouver. The builder had hired another feng shui expert to help design the house, which included a giant vertical aquarium as well as an indoor Koi fishpond. Mr. Li took one look at the aquarium and pond and gave a thumbs-down on the pricey property. His clients took his advice and walked. The builder was so furious, he says, that they asked him to put his reasons in writing.

As he poured another round of green tea, he explained that it’s a basic feng shui principle that you don’t want water above your head. As well, a Koi pond inside a house is not a good thing, he added.

When asked to explain, Mr. Li chuckled and said, “Because it will smell like fish.”

As for the feng shui practitioner who’d allowed such missteps, he explained that unfortunately, because so many consumers want instant and easy answers, there are a lot of unscrupulous practitioners who don’t know what they are doing. He doesn’t like doing assessments for developers and realtors because “they use him to make money.”

He recalls a realtor slipping him a red envelope as he was doing his assessment. The envelope was stuffed with a substantial amount of money, which he later turned over to his clients.

Emily Lo says she trusts Mr. Li for all her real estate purchases, even if it irritates the realtors, who often try to persuade her to use Mr. Li’s report as one of the subjects to sale. However, she’d prefer to get his opinion upfront, after the initial walk-through.

“He has the power of veto, and if you are paying that amount of money, you are going to trust what he says.”

Gastown realtor Ian Watt says the issue of feng shui comes up about once a month.

“A lot of my Chinese clients are really big into that,” he says. “It’s amazing, because it does affect real estate for a certain demographic. Everybody over 50 cares for sure.”

He has a client with a condo on Pacific Boulevard currently on the market, and the client refuses to let him close the window during showings.

“It’s on Pacific Boulevard, which is very noisy. The traffic sounds don’t help,” he says. “They want the window open all the time, and it’s something to do with feng shui.”

Anna Chen, who co-owns the unit with fiancé Dan, can explain. Her uncle is a feng shui master who visits from Taiwan, and he told her to keep the window open in order to sell the unit. Ms. Chen, who is 32, said that she was reluctant to believe in feng shui throughout her 20s, but now that she’s older, she’s starting to see its value.

“I think it helps. I’ve seen it help. So that’s why I asked my uncle to help me to sell the place, and also to help us buy the next place. Now, when we go to a new condo listing, sometimes I ask him to come with me. He told me the direction of the entrance and everything will affect health and fortune, how much you can make, or are you going to lose.”

 

 

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