New Westminster proposes business licensing restrictions against renovictions

New Westminster’s City Council has put forward a motion to try and curb major capital overhauls of older purpose-built rental buildings, ie. renovictions. The premise of the initiative is “Enabling Safe, Secure, Affordable Housing”. The scope of this portion of the agenda includes three points:

  1. A rental replacement policy for any new development site that includes existing rental stock
  2. Rental housing revitalization initiative
  3. Business licensing restriction against renovictions

Rental replacement

The rental replacement policy proposes different levels of rental replacement. Council has put forward results from a task force that have measured the economic feasibility of requiring different levels of rental replacement and social housing in new rental developments. The ironic part is that the choice preferred by council has very limited viability at this time.

Housing revitalization initiative

The proposed rental housing revitalization initiative is also unimpressive. The city will grant an exemption for a portion of a landlord’s property tax and cover a portion of the building’s repairs and maintenance if landlords agree to certain terms. The most critical would be “revitalization program objectives, which could include the renovation of existing rental housing units”. Likely the city will expect significant bang for their buck that doesn’t put owners any further ahead and puts a moratorium on title for ten years that may not allow raising the rents.

Business licensing restriction

This is the most critical change. The city is listening to the voice of tenants that have been loudly and so far unconvincing trying to keep rents of older purpose-built rental as affordable housing. The two important provisions are:

  • Provisions for temporary accommodation for tenants in situations when evictions are deemed necessary;
  • Provisions to prohibit increases in rent payable following renovations;

Summarizing the city will expect landlords who are extensively renovating there older buildings to put up tenants in comparable accommodation at the owners cost and then put the tenant back in at the same rent. This is punitive and eliminates the feasibility of a landlord to upgrade their own property.

ApartmentBlocks is fighting for YOU

We will be submitting our thoughts on why these changes unfairly tip the balance of an aging rental stock and why affordable housing is not a landlord’s responsibility, but a provincial issue. If you have further questions or would like to voice opinions to New Westminster’s council please reach out to us.

CLICK HERE to see the corresponding pages from the council’s agenda

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