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The Real Estate Powers of Local Governments

posted on 10:25 AM, January 26, 2018
Screen shot of City of Vancouver website. credit:

Local governments receive their authorization to manage real estate through legislation. In BC, the three primary pieces of legislation are the Community Charter, the Local Government Act, and, in Vancouver, the Vancouver Charter.

“Municipalities had no powers in relation to acquiring and disposing of property prior to the Charter, unless those powers were expressly given in the legislation,” writes John McLachlan, RI. “Now, under the Charter, there is a presumption that municipalities have the capacity, rights, powers, and privileges of a natural person of full capacity unless those powers are limited by the legislation. This change now gives broader powers to municipalities to purchase and dispose of municipal assets in ways that best benefit their communities.”

Regional districts receive their powers from the Local Government Act, and how they manage property shares some similarities with municipalities, but is different in a few areas, such as how money from the sale of property is used. The City of Vancouver is a unique case, as it receives its powers from the Vancouver Charter.

Download Fall 2017

Lawyer John McLachlan reviews these three pieces of legislation to outline the ability of local governments to acquire and dispose of real property, and the process involved, in “Ask a Lawyer,” in the Fall 2017 issue of Input, page 21. Download Fall 2017

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