As of July. 4, 2016, the last hope anyone under the age of 40 ever had of gaining a foothold into today’s blistering hot real estate market has collapsed. I feel particularly embarrassed for such a huge precedent to have passed without me realizing it until three months after the fact, but I must interject now, the implications are too huge.
A new age in government intervention has passed; no longer are residents of B.C. allowed to build their own home. Now to be fair, they are allowed to pay money, and write a competency exam and then possibly qualify for a homeowners building permit, but no longer is any person entitled to a homeowners building permit. This is not some trivial online registry, or petty fee; this is government intrusion like never before. Before I go further, I will disclose, I built a major addition onto my home six years ago (with a home owner’s permit), and I do not currently have plans to apply for a homeowners building permit, but as a 32-year-old, I feel compelled to speak up. This is generational theft in the worst way. It is unacceptable, and must be fought.
Now let’s be clear, I am not saying that anybody should be allowed to just build a house wherever and whenever they feel like, but what was wrong with the system we had? You apply for a homeowners’ building permit, the local building inspector informs you of the critical points of inspection, you pay the fees, the inspections get completed, and your house gets built. The system already sorts out gross violations of building code and incompetence. Wall heights, spans, electrical, all of the critical structural elements are monitored. Sure your drywall job may be amateur, and your interior door trim look like a high school shop class project, but the house would not collapse, and our rustic Canadian sense of self-reliance remained intact. But the building guilds want more! What would be wrong with a law saying that when listed for sale, the home must be disclosed as “homeowner constructed”. I am all for disclosure. But we can not take away one of the most basic rights a human being can have…the right to build their own shelter.
I see this as a purposeful attempt at generational theft. Already my generation gets unjustly called lazy, entitled, and incapable of hard work. Now the powers that be in our society want to cage us into this very stereotype. Building your own home used to be the only way a 20-30 something year old could possibly get ahead in the world. And this was back when the price of a home and property was only one or two full year’s income. What is happening is the older generations are literally yelling down at the younger generations, telling us to “build our own ladder like we did” while passing a law making it illegal for us to build our own ladder. The youth are being pigeon holed into an existence of perpetual debt and patronage as the older generations just get richer and richer, while passing laws insulating themselves from any form of competition or sharing of power and wealth. It does not surprise me. This is the generation that elected Bill Clinton, George Bush II, and Trump or Hillary as their Presidents. Kim Campbell and Stephen Harper as their Prime Ministers. This is the generation that indebted my generation with public debt to bail out their gross incompetence running and investing in Goldman Sacks and General Motors. I know that if my Grandpa was alive, he would be screaming at the top of his lungs at the prospect of being told he was not allowed to build his own house. I doubt I will get much help on this one from the thousands of Canadians enjoying their retirement from Arizona. They are too busy enjoying the spoils of wealth they “earned” after having built one or even two houses on their own. But us younger people must speak up on this one. We have a right to build our own house! What is next? Will it become illegal to grow your own food or dig your own well? The system we had worked! This is not a Libertarian rant, this is a desperate plea. I grew up in a construction family. I did not become a certified carpenter, and I do not work illegally under the table for cash. But you have no right to take away my right to build my own house, as long as I can build it to code and follow the instructions of the local building inspector.